50 shades of summer
Summer thrillers share a beach towel with political books this season
Thursday, June 7, 2012View full version
Books about politics pick up the pace this summer in anticipation of the fall election. But there are also traditional page turners — and even a recent title or two that combine fiction with political intrigue.
Several “summer” reads already have found places on the best-seller lists. The soft-core erotic romance “Fifty Shades of Grey” has tied up a few places, along with May novels by Hilary Mantel, Richard Ford and John Irving.
While Mantel’s “Bring Up the Bodies” imagines political games played by Henry VIII’s court, James Mann will take a look at the real-life White House in “The Obamians.” (Whatever Mann finds, it’s sure to be a less bloodthirsty group than the Tudors.)
E.J. Dionne wants to mend “Our Divided Political Heart,” and David Limbaugh rails about “The Great Destroyer.”
Other authors urge action on the economy (Chris Hedges), switch from nonfiction to fiction (Peter Heller) or mark the anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death (Lois Banner).
Here are some of the recent and upcoming books for summer:
“Equal of the Sun” by Anita Amirrezvani is set in 16th century Iran and shows that women then, like Queen Elizabeth did in England, could have influence in bloody power struggles. Inspired by the life of Princess Pari Khan Khanoom.
“XO” by Jeffery Deaver puts a pop movie star in danger from a stalker.
“Wicked Business” by Janet Evanovich is the newest in the popular author’s series about a Salem, Mass., baker who deals with occurrences more magical than rising dough.
“Girl Gone” by Gillian Flynn may be one of the hottest suspense offerings of the summer, a thriller about a missing wife and her suspicious, golden boy husband.
“Heading Out to Wonderful” by Robert Goolrick is set in a Virginia town visited by a charismatic war veteran in 1948. By the author of “A Reliable Wife.”
“Kiss the Dead” by Laurell K. Hamilton is the best-selling St. Louis author’s 21st novel in her sexy paranormal series about vampire hunter Anita Blake.
“Gilded Age” by Claire McMillan reimagines an Edith Wharton novel, setting “The House of Mirth” story in preppy, moneyed Cleveland.
“The Risk Agent” by Ridley Pearson is a new suspense series by the St. Louis author, who sets this novel in far-away Shanghai, where his family lived for a year.
“The Chaperone” by Laura Moriarty follows young Louise Brooks and her guardian to New York as the daring young girl and future silent movie star takes a dance workshop.
“An Unmarked Grave” by Charles Todd continues the historical mystery series featuring a World War I nurse.
“The Age of Miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker is a promising debut novel in which a California girl copes with her first love and other standard coming-of-age issues. But all is set against a fantastic, doomsday premise that involves a slowdown of the Earth’s rotation.
“Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter divides its story between a mysterious starlet at a run-down Italian hotel in 1962 and a modern-day studio lot in Hollywood.
“Island Practice” by Pam Belluck profiles an idiosyncratic surgeon who rarely leaves Nantucket Island, supports conservative views, but also hands out marijuana cookies.
“Diamond in the Rough” by Shawn Colvin is a memoir by the Grammy-winning musician.
“Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco examine Camden, N.J., the poorest city in the country, and warn about the future if there remains a deep underclass.
“The Mansion of Happiness” by Jill Lepore attempts nothing less than a “history of life and death.”
“The Great Destroyer” by David Limbaugh says President Barack Obama is spending us into oblivion.
“The Obamians” by James Mann looks at “the struggle inside the White House to redefine American power,” as its subtitle says. By the author of “The Rise of the Vulcans.”
“Barack Obama: The Story” by David Maraniss is a multigenerational biography of the president by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.
“Where They Stand” by Robert W. Merry looks at U.S. presidents in the in the eyes of voters and historians.
“American Tapestry” by Rachel L. Swarns illuminates Michelle Obama’s family history and her multiracial forebears.
“New Ways to Kill Your Mother” by Colm Toibin is the catchy title for a collection of essays about writers, their work and their families.
“Superman” by Larry Tye recounts the “high-flying history” of the comic book hero.
“The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln” by Stephen L. Carter offers an alternate history by imagining that Lincoln survived the assassination attempt.
“Gold” by Chris Cleave brings the author of “Little Bee” to St. Louis to talk about his new novel, a story of two friends who are Olympic speed cyclists at the 2012 London games.
“Where We Belong” by Emily Giffin promises to be another blockbuster beach read about family relationships. The book by the author of “Something Borrowed” involves an adoptee who looks for her birth mother.
“Shadow of Night” by Deborah Harkness follows a reluctant witch and her vampire husband as they move to Elizabethan England. A follow-up to the popular “A Discovery of Witches.”
“The Next Best Thing” by Jennifer Weiner travels to Hollywood with a young screenwriter, who finds a new set of problems after the thrill of having her sitcom accepted.
“The Nightmare” by Lars Kepler brings back Inspector Joona Linna (“The Hypnotist”) to figure out what happened to a woman found dead in a boat drifting in the Stockholm archipelago.
“Mick” by Christopher Andersen details the “wild life” of Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger.
“Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox” by Lois Banner may actually offer new details about the movie star. Banner is a professor of history and gender studies at the University of Southern California.
“The Teavangelicals” by David Brody says the Tea Party is “taking back” America.
“Love Is the Cure” by Elton John gives the famous singer’s personal account of his efforts against AIDS.
“Runaway Girl” by Carissa Phelps details her memories of running away, becoming a 12-year-old prostitute and, finally, graduating from law school and vowing to help others.
“Lionel Asbo” by Martin Amis looks on celebrity culture using the story of a boy and his thuggish uncle who wins the lottery.
“Misfit” by Adam Braver marks the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death, imagining the last weekend of the troubled actress’s life.
“The Dog Stars” by Peter Heller, about a pilot who alone survives a deadly flu, is the first novel by the author of several nonfiction adventure books.
“Munster’s Case” by Hakan Nesser sends Detective Van Veeteren to investigate the murder of a lottery winner.
“Summer Lies” by Bernhard Schlink is a collection of short stories by the author of “The Reader.”
“Thy Neighbor” by Norah Vincent is the writer’s debut novel, in which a depressed man starts spying on his neighbors and uncovers some clues about the truth behind his parents’ violent deaths.
“Obama’s America” by Dinesh D’Souza will be among the anti-Obama titles, which will continue into fall.
“Dearie” by Bob Spitz is a biography of beloved chef Julia Child.
“Phi” by Giulio Tononi is an exploration of “consciousness that uses the latest science framed by imaginative narrative.”