If you aren't the type to take new books to the beach – don't want to get sunscreen on the pages or sand lodged in the spine – any of these would be a fine companion during Florida's daily afternoon showers. As last week's Debby downer reminded us, you can't plan your whole summer around the pool and the beach. And just a note: Most of these titles are available at Park Ave CDs, which has quietly become the only independent bookstore in town. (Yes, there are a couple of good used bookstores, but we're talking about cracking open your own fresh new copy.)
A Hologram for the King
A Willy Loman for the 21st century is stuck in Saudi Arabia waiting for a deal to happen – or not – and is forced to confront his culpability in "the global economy's gale-force winds." (McSweeney's Books, 328 pages)
It's written by a woman, it's got the word "girl" in the title, and statistics say that means most men will give it a pass. Too bad, because I think any man would give a lot for a glimpse this sharp inside the female brain. Tell you what: Just stick a piece of tape that says "Jonathan Franzen" over Flynn's name, and voilà, now it's "a muscular and insightful look at the human condition."
(Crown, 432 pages)
The Kings of Cool
A prequel to Winslow's Savages (the Oliver Stone-directed film of which opens next week), this terse origin tale of three drug-dealing surfers subverts the frantic pace and formulaic plotting of most crime thrillers with an understated, sandy-bottomed cool. (Simon & Schuster, 322 pages)
Corman's drawing style and subject matter is reminiscent of Marjane Satrapi's (Persepolis) but her story – the title is Yiddish for Underthings – is less modern: an immigrant song set in 1910 among the burlesque halls and butcher carts of the Lower East Side. (NB: plenty of graphic sex and violence.) (Schocken Books, 208 pages)
Lizz Free or Die
Not a memoir, Winstead (co-creator of The Daily Show) insists, but a collection of "messays" on the ways humor helped her find her way through various life challenges. Sounds like … a memoir. (Riverhead Books, 320 pages)
Self-Sufficiency on a Shoestring
Alan & Gill Bridgewater
Those who've wished the Foxfire books addressed needs more germane to a modern lifestyle (or anyway, not one full of hog-butchering and midwifery) will appreciate this how-to volume on things like keeping bees, chickens and goats, growing and preserving herbs and vegetables, and building and maintaining solar panels and wood stoves – all on the cheap. (Betterway Books, 192 pages)
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