Enjoy one of these summer picks in the sun or the shade
Afterlife by Julia Alvarez
Dominican American writer Julia Alvarez is back with her first adult novel in almost 15 years. Retired English professor Antonia Vega has suddenly lost her husband. Now, one of her sisters is missing, and Mario – an undocumented Mexican man who lives in her neighborhood – needs her help getting his fiancée from Colorado to their town in Vermont. Once she arrives, there are more problems, and Antonia is pulled between a sense of duty to her family and her wish to help someone survive in an unfamiliar country. Passages from literature and poetry that loop through her mind help her make sense of her grief and the struggles of life in contemporary America.
– Allison Thiessen
Final Draft: The Collected Work of David Carr by David Carr (author) & Jill Rooney Carr (editor)
New York Times columnist David Carr, who died in 2015, was widely admired for his incisive writing on the changing media landscape, politics and much else, but he is perhaps best known for his harrowing 2008 memoir, “The Night of the Gun,” which detailed his years-long struggles with addiction. This collection, edited by his wife, Jill Rooney Carr, showcases writing from his beginnings with a Minneapolis alternative weekly through his editorship of Washington City Paper and other stops along the way to the Times. It also features a gracious foreword by Ta-Nehisi Coates, whom Carr mentored when Coates was a City Paper intern. This title is highly recommended for readers interested in contemporary culture and journalism.
– Bland Lawson
Sekret Machines: Chasing Shadows by Tom DeLonge
Are you interested in delving into a book series? “Sekret Machines: Chasing Shadows” (book one) by Tom DeLonge (of Blink 182 and Angels and Airwaves) and A.J. Hartley (Shakespearean and New York Times bestselling author) delivers a thrilling military science fiction novel that blends fact and fiction. This book centers around the idea that there are secret space programs, and the story is based on information from actual sources within the military and intelligence community. It draws from reported sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena. Moving back and forth in time, the novel spans many decades and is told through four main characters whose interesting stories interlock: Major Alan Young (a pilot), Jennifer Quinn (an heiress), Timika Mars (an investigative journalist and blogger) and Jerzy Stern (a survivor of the Holocaust and former prisoner of war). If you like secret mysteries, you will love this series.
– Lisa Gieskes
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Grady Hendrix perfectly captures the oppressive South Carolina summer heat, southern suburbia and 90s nostalgia in this horrifyingly captivating novel. A group of housewives in Mount Pleasant gather monthly for a true crime-themed book club, and our protagonist, Patricia, wishes something more exciting would happen in their lives. But when James Harris, a charmingly handsome man, moves into the neighborhood, Patricia is attacked, children begin to go missing and even more bizarre events start to happen. Patricia knows James is not the charismatic man everyone makes him out to be, but how can she convince anyone to take her seriously? Slightly satirical and delightfully disturbing, this is not your typical vampire book. As Hendrix lets you know from the beginning, this one ends in blood.
– Morgan Ryan