Summer shouldn’t be an excuse to sit around by the waves working on your deep bronze tan, frying your brain reading Cosmo and listening to your iPod for three sweet straight months (though there’s more than enough time for that, too). If you’re beach-bound and don’t want your brain to lie completely sentient, there are plenty of novels – both fiction and nonfiction – coming out over the next couple of months to keep you entertained.
NEW IN HARDCOVER
Acclaimed author and Pulitzer Prize-winner Philip Roth’s latest work, set during the Korean War, details the trying college experiences of a young man cast out of New Jersey, who must make a new life in the unfamiliar Midwest (hits shelves on Sept. 16)
My Sister, My Love
Joyce Carol Oates’ controversial new novel was inspired by a true American crime story, and maintains a dark, comedic edge as it chronicles the disappearance and murder of a young girl that ultimately tears a family apart (hits shelves on June 24).
You and Yours
The prolific Naomi Shihab Nye delivers another collection of crisply worded and stunning poetry that captures the everyday lives of Americans spread throughout the country, all from the author’s unique perspective as a Palestinian-American (hits shelves on Sept. 1).
This memoir by Brokeback Mountain screenwriter Larry McMurtry centers around a topic the author is exceedingly familiar with: literature. From his earliest experiences with books as an avid young reader up through his adult life as an author and bookstore owner, McMurtry’s engaging writing will be a must for any self-proclaimed bookworm (hits shelves on July 8).
Something to Tell You
A dark, witty novel by Hanif Kureishi about a middle-aged psychoanalyst facing a midlife crisis explores the line between sanity and insanity, and all of the shades of gray in between. The book was a hit when it was released in the UK this past February, but it lands stateside Aug. 19.
The Private Lives of Pippa Lee
Director Rebecca Miller (of celebrated films like “The Ballad of Jack and Rose”) proves to be an artistic double threat: Miller penned a nuanced novel that examines the various lives of her novel’s titular character, whose finally settled life is thrown into turmoil (hits shelves on Aug. 5).
My Custom Van
Michael Ian Black, the comedian best-known for his regular appearances on VH1 shows like “I Love the ’80s” or “Best Week Ever” delivers a riotously funny collection of essays and stories that will “blow your mind all over your face,” according to the book’s colorful subtitle (hits shelves on July 15).
Mike’s Election Guide
Divisive filmmaker Michael Moore is back with his admittedly propagandistic, liberal schtick, this time in book form, just a couple of months before what will inevitably prove to be a controversial presidential election (hits shelves on Aug. 19).
The Path to Survival
Former Vice President Al Gore continues the environmental crusade he began with 2004’s compelling documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth” with this work of nonfiction, which discusses future developments in environmental sustainability and how we can make improvements today that will greatly impact the future for the better (hits shelves on Aug. 19).
The Garden of Last Days
Andres Dubus III is well-known for his novel, The House of Sand and Fog, and The Garden of Last Days, set inside the seamy world of strip clubs in South Florida, should prove to be as equally dark and meditative (hits shelves on June 2).
NEW IN PAPERBACK
On Chesil Beach
In the wake of last year’s Academy Award nominated film based on his novel “Atonement,” British writer Ian McEwan’s name has earned more wide recognition. The author’s most recent work, Chesil Beach, is a detail-filled, mesmerizing story about two young lovers in the 1960s and their anxieties over marriage. All in all, it’s a beautifully written romance novel for people who can’t quite stomach Nicholas Sparks that should equally appeal to lovers of great literature.
Author Douglas Coupland’s darkly entertaining novel follows the story of a teenage beauty queen who, through a tragic plane crash, is able to start her life anew. It sounds kind of sappy, but expect good things from the author who wrote the classic Generation X (hits shelves on July 8).
Bowl of Cherries
Finally, enjoy longtime screenwriter and first-time author Millard Kaufman’s dark, funny coming of age novel about a 14-year-old Yale dropout.