Monday, May 28, 2012

A Beach, a Book … and Thou

Though they don’t use the words, Flavorpill’s round-up of “10 Highbrow Books to Read on the Beach” may as well be called “What You Want People to Know You’re Reading.”

Sure: there are some terrific books here, but Flavorpill’s readers aren’t indulging in Fifty Shades of Grey or even the latest Mickey Spillane via Max Allan Collins. Rather they include I Am an Executioner: Love Stories by Rajesh Parameswaran, the dependably manic The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt and the darkly thoughtful novelization about the fall of the Romanovs, Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison.

None of the summer reading we’re doing at January Magazine is available to you yet, but a fast poll of some of our reviewers has us thinking that the next few months are going to produce some sensational reading.

The Sword & Sorcery Anthology (Tachyon, July) includes work by George R.R. Martin, Fritz Leiber, Joanna Russ, Jane Yolen, Ramsey Campbell and other contemporary masters of fantasy. “Blood will flow, heads will roll, dragons will soar, and the dead shall rise.” There ya go: what could be better at the beach?

Gigi Levange Grazer’s The After Wife (Ballantine, July) follows up the bestsellers Maneater and The Starter Wife. So does the ex-wife of über-producer Brian Grazer know a couple of things about the Hollywood lifestyle? We’re thinking she’s got that beat wrapped up.

Chrissie Manby is kind of a big deal in the UK, but Random House would like to see that happen on the other side of the pond, as well. Their first big attempt is with Getting Over Mr. Right (Random, July), a contemporary romantic romp that’s a very long way from Downton Abbey.

Last year Canada gave the world Patrick DeWitt and his incredibly well-received The Sisters Brothers. This year’s hot young Canadian could well be Pasha Malla. Malla’s wildly anticipated first novel, People Park (Anansi, July), follows up a widely acclaimed and awarded debut collection, The Withdrawal Method.

One of the publicists flogging Dustin Thomason’s 12.21 (Dial Press, August) describes the book as “brain candy.” With a plot steeped in Mayan predictions and neuroscience, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that, before the end of the book, the fate of our world will hang in the balance. Yikes!

Billie Livingston’s writing (Going Down Swinging, Cease to Blush) is sharp, stylish and fiercely smart. Thus far, we’re loving One Good Hustle (Random Canada, July),  a coming-of-age novel as different as anything you’ve ever read.

And there are lots of surprises in Carsten Stroud’s (Lizard Skin, Black Water Transit) new thriller Niceville (Knopf, June). A young boy goes missing and the search to find him shows that the kid’s hometown isn’t nearly as (ahem) nice as it seems.


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