I recently had the great pleasure of talking books and summer reading recommendations with Sheila Burns, the co-owner of Bloomsbury Books, and Geoffrey Riley on the Jefferson Exchange.
I could easily spend all day talking about books, it really is one of my favorite parts of my job. What kinds of books do I like to read in the summer? Suspenseful beach reads, books that carry me to new places, and books that celebrate nature. There is a growing trend in the publishing world of crotchety protagonists, and the book I get asked for most often right now is A Man Called Ove. I thoroughly enjoyed our on-air discussion, and am eager to share some of the upcoming books I am most excited to recommend (and didn’t get to mention).
See What I Have Done
By Sarah Schmidt
In 1892, Lizzie Borden hacked her father and stepmother to death with an axe. Or did she? Schmidt’s own reasons for fictionalizing Borden’s tale had a chilling element: Borden visited Schmidt in her sleep and whispered, “My father has much to answer for.” And Schmidt found Borden’s ghost, whether real or imagined, was right. She confronts long held assumptions about the American murder so infamous that schoolchildren still play patty-cake to a ditty based on the crime.
Publication Date: August 2, 2017 through Atlantic Press
The History of Bees
By Maja Lunde
Three generations, centuries apart, one unifying problem: bees. First, how to tame them, then how to keep them, then how to survive without them. England, 1851. William’s depression is broken by the quest to design the perfect beehive. Ohio, 2007. George is a bee farmer watching as colonies across the country and globe disappear. China, 2098. Tao works pollinating trees, doing the job bees once held, and dreams of a better life for her son. Until tragedy strikes. This book was a bestseller and award-winner in Norway, and is coming out in America next month. What appeals to me about this eco-dystopia is both its plausibility (the phenomenon known as CCD, Colony collapse disorder, is very real), but also it’s optimism. To say more than that would give too much away. Similar to The Bees and Station Eleven.
Publication Date: August 22, 2017 through Touchstone Press
By Ben Blum
Ranger Games defies genre—a story propelled by a journalist’s quest for truth with the pace of a crime drama, the complexity of a military history, and tempered by the heart of a family memoir. Blum draws on psychology and studies of military indoctrination to explain why his cousin, Alex Blum, a U.S. Army Ranger, could have participated in the armed robbery of a bank the night before his first deployment to Iraq. Where does the culpability rest, with Alex, with his charismatic military superior, or within the wider nature of the military itself? The story is about what we know to be true, what we choose to believe, and the places where the two intersect.
Publication Date: September 12, 2017 through Doubleday Books
The Ready Made Thief
By August Rose
A young, rebellious girl, a surfeit of disappearing teens, mysterious raves run by an enigmatic leader, and a centuries’ old invention. Lee is an improbable heroine, her father gone, her flighty mother remaking herself for men until she remarries. Lee turns to thievery to avoid being invisible, acquiring goods for her classmates and hoarding the money while planning her escape. Until she is caught, arrested, and starts a journey into an underworld that starts to feel Gotham-esqe. Modern and antique technology collide in this fast-paced novel with teen-crossover potential.
Publication Date: August 1, 2017 through Viking
Little Fires Everywhere
By Celeste Ng
It begins with fire, a cleansing, and for the Richardson family (and the entire town of Shaker Heights, a place firmly entrenched in the 1950s of the Cleavers), the world is burning. Isabelle Richardson is missing, the Richardson house has gone up in flames, and the community can’t stop talking about the judge’s verdict regarding little Mirabelle McCullough. Ng writes about race, class, and families with the same assurance, empathy, and eye for detail she displayed in her debut novel, Everything I Never Told You. This is a suspenseful and unexpectedly funny story about belonging, family, and a mother’s rights. Ng creates a cast of unforgettable characters, from rebellious teenager Izzy who defies convention (and her mother), to Mirabelle McCulough, a baby caught between two cultures and the mothers who love her.
Publication Date: September 12, 2017 through Penguin Press
My Absolute Darling
By Gabriel Tallent
Turtle Alveston is a remarkable heroine, simultaneously strong and naive, with a knowledge of survival skills, weaponry, and the natural world that defies the modern age. She lives with her father, a man broken by time and life and loss, who prepares his daughter to face and survive her greatest enemy—him. Love doesn’t always make sense, and in his debut novel Tallent explores the hows and whys of loving someone who seems determined to break you. Tallent has created a world, rough and gritty but vivid with color, that will consume readers until the breathless end. Reminiscent of A Little Life, this is a book you can’t unread, but the marks the story leaves behind make us better people.
Publication Date: August 29, 2017 through Riverhead Books
Books recommended on JPR:
As much as I enjoy giving recommendations, I maybe appreciate receiving them even more. I get so many unique recommendations from our reps, friends, customers, my fellow booksellers, and writers. So please, feel free to leave a recommendation in the comments below.