Thursday, May 24, 2018
Books

Your summer reading list: 9 books to dive into

What makes for a great vacation escape? A book you can dive into. A story you can submerge yourself in. Every summer, publishers send out a tsunami of new titles aimed at vacation readers. Here are some promising books from this year's wave.

Colette Bancroft, Times book editor

The Thirst

By Jo Nesbo

Knopf, 462 pages, $26.95

Nesbo's gripping novels about Oslo homicide detective Harry Hole have been keeping readers up late for years. In this one, 11th in the series, Harry is drawn back to the police force he quit to investigate a strange case of serial murders of Tinder users. The women are found in their blood-spattered apartments, the only solid clue (but a baffling one) tiny fragments of paint and rust in their puncture wounds. Then, something begins to speak to Harry …

I'll Eat When I'm Dead

By Barbara Bourland

Grand Central, 325 pages, $27

When Rage Fashion Book editor Hillary Whitney is found dead in a locked conference room in the magazine's Manhattan offices, her demise is blamed on starvation: She dieted herself to death. But a few months later, when a cryptic note written in her hand turns up, Rage's editor, Cat Ono, launches her own investigation of Hillary's death. I'll Eat When I'm Dead combines sharp satire of the beauty-and-fashion industry with a twisty mystery.

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

By Jennifer Ryan

Crown, 368 pages, $26

Ryan's debut novel is set in a small village in England during World War II. With most of the men gone to fight, the women and girls must soldier on at home, and that they do — starting with defying the local vicar's edict to shut down the choir because it has no male voices. As social norms shift, so do the characters' skills and relationships. Ryan recounts their strengths and secrets through their letters and diary entries, creating a warm, sometimes funny and poignant look at life in wartime.

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life

By Samantha Irby

Vintage, 272 pages, $15.95

This collection of comic essays by the blogger who created B----es Gotta Eat is the next-best thing to bringing your most fun, foul-mouthed girlfriend on vacay with you. The book is emphatically NSFW, but a scathingly funny blast outside it. If you are suffering bathing suit anxiety, read the section called "Million Dollar Mermaid" and snort your margarita right out through your nose.

Swell

By Jill Eisenstadt

Little, Brown, 261 pages, $26

Eisenstadt first made her literary mark three decades ago as part of the group of novelists dubbed the Brat Pack. She's back with this mordantly funny novel about the Glassman family, who, in the months after 9/11, move from a cramped apartment in Tribeca to a ramshackle beach house in Rockaway, Queens. It's bad enough their new home's inauspicious nickname is the Murder House; then 90-year-old Rose, its original owner, escapes from her assisted living facility and shows up on the doorstep, determined to move back in.

Fly Me

By Daniel Riley

Little, Brown, 391 pages, $27

In this first novel, young Suzy Whitman heads west after getting her Vassar degree in 1972. In search of adventure, she moves to the groovy Southern California beach town of Sela del Mar and signs on as a swinging stewardess (nobody would have called them flight attendants then) for Grand Pacific Airlines. She finds plenty of adventures, some of which take dark turns, in this skillfully written look at another era.

Do Not Become Alarmed

By Maile Meloy

Riverhead, 342 pages, $27

This riveting novel begins with cousins Liv and Nora, their husbands and their total of four kids setting out from Los Angeles on a cruise to Central America. While on an excursion away from the ship, the kids go tubing on a river — and vanish. Meloy's well-crafted, suspenseful tale of mounting desperation and its impact on adults and children alike is amplified by issues of class and race.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

By Matthew Sullivan

Scribner, 328 pages, $26

In this debut novel, Lydia Smith lives a guarded and well-ordered life as a clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, which is populated by eccentric regulars called the BookFrogs. One day a BookFrog named Joey commits suicide in the shop — and in his pocket, Lydia finds a photo from her own childhood. At Joey's home she finds a collection of bizarrely defaced books, which may lead her to the reason for his death and to secrets buried in her own past.

Magpie Murders

By Anthony Horowitz

236 pages, $27.99

Horowitz is a TV screenwriter (Midsomer Murders), YA novelist and author of a couple of fine Sherlock Holmes homages. In Magpie Murders he tips his hat to Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers with the tale of Alan Conway, author of bestselling cozy mysteries. When his editor, Susan Ryeland, starts reading his new manuscript, she realizes that between its lines lie jealousy and ambition that could well lead to real-life murder. Horowitz combines the vintage mystery with a cleverly contemporary plot.

Contact Colette Bancroft at [email protected] or (727) 893-8435. Follow @colettemb.

     
           
Comments
Review: Strait-laced writer Michael Pollan explores psychedelics, and leaves the door of perception ajar

Review: Strait-laced writer Michael Pollan explores psychedelics, and leaves the door of perception ajar

Microdosing is hot. If you haven’t heard — but you probably have, from reports of its use at Silicon Valley workplaces, from Ayelet Waldman’s memoir A Really Good Day, from dozens of news stories — to microdose is to take small amounts of LSD, which ...
Published: 05/24/18
Bancroft: Philip Roth deftly explored male lust, Jewish identity, American history and politics

Bancroft: Philip Roth deftly explored male lust, Jewish identity, American history and politics

Philip Roth, one of the most potent voices in American fiction, died Tuesday night of congestive heart failure in a New York City hospital. He was 85.Mr. Roth was the last man standing of a generation of fiction writers sometimes called "the great wh...
Published: 05/23/18

Events: Tarbell.org founder Wendell Potter to discuss, sign book

Book TalkTarbell.org founder Wendell Potter (Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It) will discuss and sign his book at 4 p.m. May 23 at the St. Petersburg Main Library, 3745 Ninth Ave. N.Applications are ...
Published: 05/21/18
The real stuff is how Tom Wolfe best used his write stuff

The real stuff is how Tom Wolfe best used his write stuff

Tom Wolfe’s best writing lifted real people into legend: car designers and astronauts and disciples of LSD. With that writing, Wolfe lifted himself into legend as well. The author of 16 books, including such bestsellers as The Right Stuff and ...
Published: 05/18/18
Review: In Stephen King’s ‘The Outsider,’ evil can’t be true but must be true

Review: In Stephen King’s ‘The Outsider,’ evil can’t be true but must be true

On a July day, Terry Maitland, one of the most popular men in Flint City, Okla. — high school English teacher, Little League coach, husband and father, recently named the town’s man of the year — attends a teachers convention in a city over an hour’s...
Published: 05/17/18

Events: Gilbert King to discuss ‘Beneath a Ruthless Sun’ at Inkwood in Tampa

Book TalkCutter Wood (Love and Death in the Sunshine State: The Story of a Crime) will discuss and sign his nonfiction book about a murder on Anna Maria Island at 6 p.m. May 14 at Bookstore1, 12 S Palm Ave., Sarasota.The Gulfport Historical Society p...
Published: 05/11/18
Notable: As Mother’s Day nears, these new books are timely

Notable: As Mother’s Day nears, these new books are timely

NotableMore about mothersFor Mother’s Day, three new books offer a range of takes on motherhood.Beauty in the Broken Places: A Memoir of Love, Faith, and Resilience (Random House) by Allison Pataki is a memoir by a novelist whose 30-year-old husband ...
Published: 05/11/18
Review: A criminal’s confession is just the beginning in Michael Koryta’s compelling ‘How It Happened’

Review: A criminal’s confession is just the beginning in Michael Koryta’s compelling ‘How It Happened’

It’s what every investigator hopes for: a tough case finally solved when one of the criminals confesses, providing solid details and even describing where the bodies are buried.Or, in Michael Koryta’s compelling new psychological thriller How It Happ...
Published: 05/10/18
Anthony Award nominees include Tampa’s Michael Connelly, Down & Out Books

Anthony Award nominees include Tampa’s Michael Connelly, Down & Out Books

When the World Mystery Convention, a.k.a. Bouchercon, takes place in St. Petersburg in September and hands out its coveted Anthony Awards, the Tampa Bay Area will be well represented among the nominees.The award nominees, announced May 9, include Tam...
Published: 05/09/18
Updated: 05/10/18
Review: In Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘Barracoon,’ the voice of slavery’s history speaks

Review: In Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘Barracoon,’ the voice of slavery’s history speaks

It has taken Zora Neale Hurston’s book Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" 87 years to see print. But maybe it happened at just the right time.Just a week before the book’s May 8 publication date, rapper Kanye West opined in a TMZ intervie...
Published: 05/09/18