This month, PW and AARP bring you a handful of hot summer reads, including hefty novels, notable nonfiction and helpful how-to's to keep you company at the beach or wherever you'll be relaxing. Enjoy, and keep cool!
Sun Going Down
by Jack Todd
This sprawling, multigenerational epic set in the American West (think: Lonesome Dove) and spanning the Civil War to the Depression of the ’30s is the first novel by 61-year-old Todd, a boomer who deserted the Army during the Vietnam era and later renounced his citizenship to live in Canada.
by Peter Matthiessen
Paris Review cofounder Matthiessen, whose books epitomize his generation with their coverage of far-flung lands and spiritual journeys, has retrenched his Watson trilogy based on the 1910 murder of a south Florida farmer. The new version shed 400 pages, and though it still weighs in at nearly 900 pages, this doorstop is well worth the lifting.
by Isabel Fonseca
The author of Bury Me Standing (and wife of Martin Amis) delivers her first novel, about a marriage of 23 years thrown into upheaval after a wife discovers a salacious e-mail sent to her husband by a mysterious woman. It’s pleasantly uncomfortable—and very funny.
by Claire M. Johnson
Middle-aged “dinosaurs” battle it out with the “young brats” on the teaching staff of an elite San Francisco cooking school in this highly amusing culinary mystery.
by Maureen Freely
Set in present-day and 1960s Turkey, this literate thriller by the English translator of Orhan Pamuk’s novel Snow will appeal to the “duck and cover” generation who wax nostalgic about the Cold War.
by Germaine Greer
Both celebrated and notorious for The Female Eunuch, her 1971 book that linked sexual liberation to the women’s movement, feminist scholar Greer now examines what we know about Ann Hathaway, dispelling myths and vividly portraying the lives of ordinary women in Elizabethan England.
Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America
by Rick Perlstein
Award-winning author Perlstein explains how President Nixon became the architect of America’s divided political house with a rhetoric of law and order and traditional values that still echoes today.
The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories: China from the Bottom Up
by Liao Yiwu, Foreword by Philip Gourevitch.
In this harrowing, deeply empathetic oral-history collection, Chinese writer Liao interviews a host of wildly colorful characters from the margins of today’s Chinese society: a professional mourner, a leper, a delusional peasant, and a human trafficker.
The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music
by Steve Lopez
With self-effacing humor, fast-paced yet elegant prose, and unsparing honesty, journalist Lopez tells an inspiring story of heartbreak and hope as he tries to help an accomplished but homeless violinist find his way off the streets.
Reflections of a Wine Merchant
by Neal Rosenthal
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Rosenthal turned his life around in 1977 when he gave up his law career. Here he leads us through his three decades as a wine merchant, starting with the opening of his Manhattan shop in 1978. Early misadventures and small-scale successes follow, as he makes significant discoveries far off the paths habitually beaten through wine-producing countries such as France and Italy.
Can’t Remember What I Forgot: The Good News from the Front Lines of Memory Research
by Sue Halpern
Armed with both hope and healthy skepticism, science writer Halpern sorts out the facts from the myths, about memory, forgetting, and the future of Alzheimer’s treatment.
Death Benefits: How Losing a Parent Can Change an Adult’s Life—For the Better
by Jeanne Safer
Psychotherapist Safer brings a dirty secret out of the closet: some people are liberated by the death of a parent who was hurtful or controlling. She also advises on how to make sense of this difficult emotional legacy.
Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best at Any Age
by Valerie Ramsey with Heather Hummel, Foreword by Susan Lucci
A stay-at-home mother who became a runway model in her 60s, Ramsey offers frank advice on everything from nutrition to exercise, beauty regimens, and sexuality.
Perfumes: The Guide
by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez
Less a manual to choosing the perfect fragrance than a wide-ranging, critical review of some 1,200 perfumes, both famous and obscure, this comprehensive book is unfailingly entertaining. Or, in the words of Jimmy Durante, “the nose knows.”