Spring into Summer
Whether you are in the mood for essays, short stories, romance or mystery, there are many great books out there to choose from. Beloved authors you may know, like Maggie Shipstead (Great Circle), Riley Sager (Survive the Night), Tom Perotta (Mrs. Fletcher) and Jess Walter (Beautiful Ruins) have written something new. Authors you should get to know are Meredith Schorr (The Boyfriend Swap) if are looking for romance, Catherine Steadman (Something in the Water) if you like psychological thrillers and Therese Anne Fowler (A Good Neighborhood) if fiction is your thing. Find a few that sound good to you and add them to your summer reading pile; the best new books of 2022 are hitting the shelves!
The Blue Butterfly, A Novel of Marion Davies by Leslie Johansen Nack
New York 1915, Marion Davies is a shy eighteen-year-old beauty dancing on the Broadway stage when she meets William Randolph Hearst and finds herself captivated by his riches, passion and desire to make her a movie star. Following a whirlwind courtship, she learns through trial and error to live as Hearst’s mistress when a divorce from his wife proves impossible. A baby girl is born in secret in 1919 and they agree to never acknowledge her publicly as their own. In a burgeoning Hollywood scene, she works hard making movies while living a lavish partying life that includes a secret love affair with Charlie Chaplin. In late 1937, at the height of the depression, Hearst wrestles with his debtors and failing health, when Marion loans him $1M when nobody else will. Together, they must confront the movie that threatens to invalidate all of Marion’s successes in the movie industry: Citizen Kane.
All’s Fair and Other California Stories by Linda Feyder
In present-day Southern California, a diverse group of characters seeks the fulfillment and connection this sunny state has always promised. They come with hopes for a better lifestyle, for a change of perspective, or for the dry, mild West Coast weather.
A couple moves to Palm Desert from New York for the arid, warm climate a doctor prescribes and they manage both illness and homesickness. The woman makes an unlikely friend in a young albino boy who teaches her a harsh lesson about the margin for cruelty that resides in us all. A young Mexican woman migrates to California and marries an American man—only to be deserted. A young man is disqualified from the Naval Aeronautical program and returns to his sister’s home, where he struggles with his identity and sexuality. After years of estrangement, a teenage girl travels to California from New York to spend the summer with her father.
This collection contains several “snapshot” stories—poetic pauses—that blend a set of images into an artistic visual unit, much like a brief cinematic experience. Every character in this collection is distinct from the next, but all of their stories unfold under the glare of the same Southern California sun—a western desert light so clear and unfiltered that it reveals everything.
You Have a Friend in 10A by Maggie Shipstead
From New York Times best-selling author Maggie Shipstead, an irresistible collection of short stories–her first–that showcases her sparkling humor, irrepressible intelligence, and glorious affinity for the short form.
In this collection of dazzling stories, Maggie Shipstead’s prowess in short fiction is on full display for the first time. Diving into eclectic and vivid settings, from an Olympic village to a deathbed in Paris to a Pacific atoll, and illuminating a cast of indelible characters, Shipstead traverses ordinary and unusual realities with cunning, compassion, and wit.
In “Acknowledgments,” a male novelist reminisces bitterly on the woman who inspired his first novel, attempting to make peace with his humiliations before the book goes to print. In “The Cowboy Tango,” spanning decades in the open country of Montana, a triangle of love and self-preservation plays out among an aging rancher called the Otter, his nephew, and a young woman named Sammy who works the horses. In “La Moretta,” a couple’s honeymoon in the hills of Romania builds ominously into a moment of shattering tragedy. In the title story, a former child actress breaks with her life in a religious cult, narrating with mesmerizing candor a story of vulnerability, loss, and the surrealism of fame. You Have a Friend in 10A is sophisticated, gripping, and hilarious, with knockout after knockout: a collection to seal Shipstead’s reputation as a versatile master of fiction.
Somewhere We Are Human: Authentic Voices on Migration, Survival and new Beginnings by Ryan Grande, Sonia Guiñansaca and Viet Thanh Nguyen
A collection of 35 bold, important, and groundbreaking essays and poems by migrants, refugees and Dreamers—including award-winning writers, artists, and activists—that illuminate what it is like living undocumented today.
In the overheated debate about immigration, we often lose sight of the humanity at the heart of this divisive issue. The immigrants and refugees living precariously in the United States are mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. Individuals propelled by hope and fear, they gamble their lives on the promise of America, yet their voices are rarely heard.
During this time of political unrest and uncertainty, this anthology of essays, poetry, and art reminds us of this truth and seeks to shift the debate—now shaped by rancorous stereotypes and xenophobia—towards one rooted in humanity and justice. Through their storytelling and art, the contributors to this moving and thought-provoking book remind us that they are flesh and blood people who laugh, who cry, who rage, who dream. Transcending their current immigration status, they offer nuanced portraits of their existence before migration, the factors behind their choices, the pain of leaving their homeland, and their collective hunger for a future not defined by borders.
Going beyond border militarization, mass detention, and draconian anti-immigrant legislation, Somewhere We Are Human is a journey of memories, anecdotes, and yearnings from migrants both newly arrived to America as well as those who have been here for decades, and those who have ultimately chosen to leave. Touching on themes including race, class, gender, nationality, sexuality, politics, and reproductive rights, Somewhere We Are Human reveals how joy, hope, mourning, and perseverance can take root in the toughest soil, and bloom even in the harshest of conditions.
From Lisa Taddeo, #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of Three Women and “our most eloquent and faithful chronicler of human desire” (Esquire), Ghost Lover is an electrifying collection of fearless and ferocious short stories.
Behind anonymous screens, an army of cool and beautiful girls manage the dating service Ghost Lover, a forwarding system for text messages that promises to spare you the anguish of trying to stay composed while communicating with your crush. At a star-studded political fundraiser in a Los Angeles mansion, a trio of women compete to win the heart of the slick guest of honor. In a tense hospital waiting room, an inseparable pair of hard-partying friends crash into life’s responsibilities, but the magic of their glory days comes alive again at the moment they least expect it.
In these nine riveting stories—which include two Pushcart Prize winners and a finalist for the National Magazine Award—Lisa Taddeo brings to life the fever of obsession, the blindness of love, and the mania of grief. Featuring Taddeo’s arresting prose that continues to thrill her legions of fans, Ghost Lover dares you to look away.
A Week of Warm Weather by Lee Bukowski
Tessa Cordelia appears to have it all—a loving husband who’s just opened a dental practice, a beautiful baby girl, a big house in the suburbs, and a large, supportive family. But when her husband’s reckless choices resurrect a trauma from her childhood, she must decide which is more costly: keeping his secrets or revealing them. He manipulates Tessa into believing his career and their happiness depend on her silence. She feels like she’s losing her mind. Is her husband’s habit so awful? In many ways, he’s an ideal husband; should she let him have this one thing? Determined to maintain the lie that she’s living the perfect life, Tess lies to everyone she knows—except for CeCe, a woman new to the area whom she’s just befriended. But after confiding in her, Tessa learns that CeCe has an explosive secret of her own, and her world is further upended.
A gripping, nuanced exploration of the havoc addiction can wreak on a family, A Week of Warm Weather is the story of a woman who has to figure out how much she is willing to lose in order to find herself.
As Seen On TV by Meredith Schorr
Emerging journalist Adina Gellar is done with dating in New York City. If she’s learned anything from made-for-TV romance movies, it’s that she’ll find love in a small town – the kind with harvest festivals, delightful but quirky characters, and scores of delectable single dudes. So when a big-city real estate magnate targets tiny Pleasant Hollow for development, Adi knows she’s found the perfect story – one that will earn her a position at a coveted online magazine, so she can finally start adulting for real…and maybe even find her dream man in the process.
Only Pleasant Hollow isn’t exactly “pleasant.” There’s no charming bakery, no quaint seasonal festivals, and the residents are more ambivalent than welcoming. The only upside is Finn Adams, who’s more mouthwatering than the homemade cherry pie Adi can’t seem to find – even if he does work for the company she’d hoped to bring down. Suddenly Adi has to wonder if maybe TV got it all wrong after all. But will following her heart mean losing her chance to break into the big time?
The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman
A woman has gone missing. But did she ever really exist?
A leading British actress hoping to make a splash in America flies to Los Angeles for the grueling gauntlet known as pilot season, a time when every network and film studio looking to fill the rosters of their new shows entice a fresh batch of young hopefuls–anxious, desperate, and willing to do whatever it takes to make it.
Instead, Mia Eliot, a fish out of water in the ruthlessly competitive and faceless world of back-to-back auditioning, discovers the sinister side of Hollywood when she becomes the last person to see Emily, a newfound friend. Standing out in a conveyor-belt world of fellow aspiring stars, Emily mysteriously disappears following an audition, after asking Mia to do a simple favor. But nothing is simple. Nothing is as is seems. And nothing prepares Mia for a startling truth: In a city where dreams really do come true, nightmares can follow.
It All Comes Down to This by Therese Anne Fowler
A warm, keenly perceptive novel of sisterhood, heartbreak, home, and what it takes to remake a life at its halfway point, for fans of Ann Patchett and Emma Straub.
Meet the Geller sisters: Beck, Claire, and Sophie, a trio of strong-minded women whose pragmatic, widowed mother, Marti, will be dying soon. Marti has ensured that her modest estate is easy for her family once she’s gone––including a provision that the family’s summer cottage on Mount Desert Island, Maine, must be sold, the proceeds split equally between the three girls.
Beck, the eldest, is a freelance journalist whose marriage looks more like a sibling bond than a passionate partnership. In fact, her husband is hiding a troubling truth about his love life. For Beck, the Maine cottage has been essential to her secret wish to write a novel––and to remake the terms of her relationship.
Despite her accomplishments as a pediatric cardiologist, Claire, the middle daughter, has always felt like the Geller misfit. Recently divorced, Claire’s unrequited love for the wrong man is slowly destroying her, and she’s finding that her expertise on matters of the heart unfortunately doesn’t extend to her own.
Youngest daughter Sophie appears to live an Instagram-ready life, filled with glamorous work and travel, celebrities, fashion, art, and sex. In reality, her existence is a cash-strapped house of cards that may tumble at any moment.
But when C.J. Reynolds, an enigmatic southerner with his own hidden past enters the picture, the future of the Maine cottage––and of the sisters themselves––will take on an entirely new dimension.
Tracy Flick Can’t Win by Tom Perrotta
Tracy Flick is back and, once again, the iconic protagonist of Tom Perrotta’s Election—and Reese Witherspoon’s character from the classic movie adaptation—is determined to take high school politics by storm.
Tracy Flick is a hardworking assistant principal at a public high school in suburban New Jersey. Still ambitious but feeling a little stuck and underappreciated in midlife, Tracy gets a jolt of good news when the longtime principal, Jack Weede, abruptly announces his retirement, creating a rare opportunity for Tracy to ascend to the top job.
Energized by the prospect of her long-overdue promotion, Tracy throws herself into her work with renewed zeal, determined to prove her worth to the students, faculty, and School Board, while also managing her personal life—a ten-year-old daughter, a needy doctor boyfriend, and a burgeoning meditation practice. But nothing ever comes easily to Tracy Flick, no matter how diligent or qualified she happens to be.
Among her many other responsibilities, Tracy is enlisted to serve on the Selection Committee for the brand-new Green Meadow High School Hall of Fame. Her male colleagues’ determination to honor Vito Falcone—a star quarterback of dubious character who had a brief, undistinguished career in the NFL—triggers bad memories for Tracy, and leads her to troubling reflections about the trajectory of her own life and the forces that have left her feeling thwarted and disappointed, unable to fulfill her true potential.
As she broods on the past, Tracy becomes aware of storm clouds brewing in the present. Is she really a shoo-in for the Principal job? Is the Superintendent plotting against her? Why is the School Board President’s wife trying so hard to be her friend? And why can’t she ever get what she deserves?
In classic Perrotta style, Tracy Flick Can’t Win is a sharp, darkly comic page-turner, and a pitch-perfect reflection on our current moment. Flick fans and newcomers alike will love this compulsively readable novel chronicling the second act of one of the most memorable characters of our time.
The Angel of Rome by Jess Walter
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Ruins and The Cold Millions comes a stunning collection about those moments when everything changes–for the better, for the worse, for the outrageous–as a diverse cast of characters bounces from Italy to Idaho, questioning their roles in life and finding inspiration in the unlikeliest places.
We all live like we’re famous now, curating our social media presences, performing our identities, withholding those parts of ourselves we don’t want others to see. In this riveting collection of stories from acclaimed author Jess Walter, a teenage girl tries to live up to the image of her beautiful, missing mother. An elderly couple confronts the fiction writer eavesdropping on their conversation. A son must repeatedly come out to his senile father while looking for a place to care for the old man. A famous actor in recovery has a one-night stand with the world’s most surprising film critic. And in the romantic title story, a shy twenty-one-year-old studying Latin in Rome during “the year of my reinvention” finds himself face-to-face with the Italian actress of his adolescent dreams.
Funny, poignant, and redemptive, this collection of short fiction offers a dazzling range of voices, backdrops, and situations. With his signature wit and bighearted approach to the darkest parts of humanity, Walter tackles the modern condition with a timeless touch, once again “solidifying his place in the contemporary canon as one of our most gifted builders of fictional worlds” (Esquire).
And There he Kept Her by Joshua Moehling
They thought he was a helpless old man. They were wrong.
When two teenagers break into a house on a remote lake in search of prescription drugs, what starts as a simple burglary turns into a nightmare for all involved. Emmett Burr has secrets he’s been keeping in his basement for more than two decades, and he’ll do anything to keep his past from being revealed. As he gets the upper hand on his tormentors, the lines blur between victim, abuser, and protector.
Personal tragedy has sent former police officer Ben Packard back to the small Minnesota town of Sandy Lake in search of a fresh start. Now a sheriff’s deputy, Packard is leading the investigation into the missing teens, motivated by a family connection. As clues dry up and time runs out to save them, Packard is forced to reveal his own secrets and dig deep to uncover the dark past of the place he now calls home.
Unrelentingly suspenseful and written with a piercing gaze into the dark depths of the human soul, And There He Kept Her is a thrilling page-turner that introduces readers to a complicated new hero and forces us to consider the true nature of evil.
Blood Orange Night by Melissa Bond
Brain on Fire meets High Achiever in this visceral, propulsive memoir detailing a woman’s accidental descent into prescription benzodiazepine dependence and the life-threatening impacts of the drugs’ long-term use.
As Melissa Bond raises her infant daughter and a special-needs one-year-old son, she suffers from unbearable insomnia, sleeping an hour or less each night. She loses her job as a journalist (a casualty of the 2008 recession), and her relationship with her husband grows distant. Her doctor casually prescribes benzodiazepines—a family of drugs that includes Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, Ativan—and increases her dosage on a regular basis.
Following her doctor’s orders, Melissa takes the pills night after night; her body begins to shut down and she collapses while holding her infant daughter. Only then does Melissa learn that her doctor—like many doctors—has over-prescribed the medication and quitting cold turkey could lead to psychosis or fatal seizures. Benzodiazepine addiction is not well studied, and few experts know how to help Melissa as she begins the months-long process of tapering off the pills without suffering debilitating, potentially deadly consequences.
Each page thrums with the heartbeat of Melissa’s struggle—how many hours has she slept? How many weeks old are her babies? How many milligrams has she taken? Her propulsive writing crescendos to a fever pitch as she fights for her health and her ability to care for her children. Lyrical and immersive, Blood Orange Night shines a light on the prescription benzodiazepine epidemic as it reaches a crisis point in this country.
The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager
Casey Fletcher, a recently widowed actress trying to escape a streak of bad press, has retreated to the peace and quiet of her family’s lake house in Vermont. Armed with a pair of binoculars and several bottles of liquor, she passes the time watching Tom and Katherine Royce, the glamorous couple who live in the house across the lake. They make for good viewing—a tech innovator, Tom is rich; and a former model, Katherine is gorgeous.
One day on the lake, Casey saves Katherine from drowning, and the two strike up a budding friendship. But the more they get to know each other—and the longer Casey watches—it becomes clear that Katherine and Tom’s marriage is not as perfect and placid as it appears. When Katherine suddenly vanishes, Casey becomes consumed with finding out what happened to her. In the process, she uncovers eerie, darker truths that turn a tale of voyeurism and suspicion into a story of guilt, obsession and how looks can be very deceiving.
With his trademark blend of sharp characters, psychological suspense, and gasp-worthy surprises, Riley Sager’s The House Across the Lake unveils more than one twist that will shock readers until the very last page.
The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark
Meg Williams. Maggie Littleton. Melody Wilde. Different names for the same person, depending on the town, depending on the job. She’s a con artist who erases herself to become whoever you need her to be—a college student. A life coach. A real estate agent. Nothing about her is real. She slides alongside you and tells you exactly what you need to hear, and by the time she’s done, you’ve likely lost everything.
Kat Roberts has been waiting ten years for the woman who upended her life to return. And now that she has, Kat is determined to be the one to expose her. But as the two women grow closer, Kat’s long-held assumptions begin to crumble, leaving Kat to wonder who Meg’s true target is.
The Lies I Tell is a twisted domestic thriller that dives deep into the psyches and motivations of two women and their unwavering quest to seek justice for the past and rewrite the future.
The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Plot, a Tonight Show Summer Read pick, Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Latecomer is an immersive, deeply perceptive story of three completely different triplets, and the upending of their family with the late arrival of a fourth.
Born into a wealthy New York family, the Oppenheim triplets — Harrison, Lewyn and Sally — have led charmed lives: carefully educated and wildly indulged. Now, on the verge of their departure for college, and eager to escape one another at last, they are forced to contend with an unexpected complication: a fourth Oppenheim sibling, formerly a leftover embryo from their own long ago in vitro genesis, has just been born. How can they begin to imagine the impact this unwanted latecomer will one day have on all their lives and the utterly unexpected revelations that will emerge?
Tracing the Oppenheim family through past, present and future, The Latecomer is the latest from an accomplished author, known for the depth of her character studies and her uncanny ability to bring readers into the messy complications of family life.
Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner
The internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society returns with a compelling and heartwarming story of post-war London, a century-old bookstore, and three women determined to find their way in a fast-changing world.
Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare book store that has persisted and resisted change for a hundred years, run by men and guided by the general manager’s unbreakable fifty-one rules. But in 1950, the world is changing, especially the world of books and publishing, and at Bloomsbury Books, the girls in the shop have plans:
Vivien Lowry: Single since her aristocratic fiance was killed in action during World War II, the brilliant and stylish Vivien has a long list of grievances – most of them well justified and the biggest of which is Alec McDonough, the Head of Fiction.
Grace Perkins: Married with two sons, she’s been working to support the family following her husband’s breakdown in the aftermath of the war. Torn between duty to her family and dreams of her own.
Evie Stone: In the first class of female students from Cambridge permitted to earn a degree, Evie was denied an academic position in favor of her less accomplished male rival. Now she’s working at Bloomsbury Books while she plans to remake her own future.
As they interact with various literary figures of the time – Daphne Du Maurier, Ellen Doubleday, Sonia Blair (widow of George Orwell), Samuel Beckett, Peggy Guggenheim, and others – these three women with their complex web of relationships, goals and dreams are all working to plot out a future that is richer and more rewarding than anything society will allow.
Some interesting ones on this list… I really enjoyed the Bloomsbury Girls.