Cracking the Books

Come now, no one can spend the whole summer water-skiing and vodka-luging. Why not pick up one of the many summer books just hitting the shelves. You’ll get to War and Peace in the fall.

Boys of Summer
While everyone else is all crushed out on David Sedaris (Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim) and David Foster Wallace (Oblivion), you can have a one-night stand with Natasha, the debut short-story collection from up-and-comer David Bezmozgis. Then cure your wanderlust with J. Maarten Troost’s The Sex Lives of Cannibals, a hilarious tale about a not-so-great escape to a remote island in the South Pacific.

Bad Girls
As one might expect from the come-hither title, the protagonist of Here Kitty Kitty, by Jardine Libaire, walks that tightrope between sophisticate and psycho. Erica Kennedy, meanwhile, may or may not have based the characters of Bling on Russell Simmons and Naomi Campbell. Who cares? It’s a great read. Uptown is just as naughty in Valerie Ann Leff’s Better Homes & Husbands, which exposes the seamy underbelly of a fictional Park Avenue co-op.

Workers Unite!
Bosses of the world, watch out. Assistant lit is here to stay. Hollywood gets hit twice, with The Assistants, by Robin Lynn Williams, and The Second Assistant, by Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare. Alison Rose’s smart, fun memoir, Better Than Sane, recounts her climb from New Yorker receptionist to writer. (See? You’re not toiling for nothing.)

Guilty Pleasures
Carol Wolper dishes about a Mulholland B-lister in Mr. Famous. Mystery and money fill Star Craving Mad, Elise Abrams Miller’s novel about a teacher who goes gaga for her student’s movie-star dad. Bridget Jones meets James Bond in Helen Fielding’s Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination.

Get Lit
If you’d rather read in the deep end of the pool, Alessandro Baricco’s Without Blood is a war-themed novel that’s bittersweet, but never dreary. The Kite Runner, a gripping debut from Afghan-born Khaled Hosseini, is about the unlikely friendship between two boys on opposite sides of Kabul society. A kinky tale of love and murder from Ripley author Patricia Highsmith, Small g is finally coming out in the U.S.

Now that should keep you busy between splashes.

All titles available at your local bookstore or online at amazon.com.