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60 new books to read this summer

June 5, 2009 | 10:13 am

Summerreads09

The L.A. Times books editors sorted through the piles of books coming out this summer with, from what I understand, the intention of recommending 50. But there are 60 books that make up the best of this summer’s forthcoming reads. Which means that it was too good to stop.

A few are already on shelves:

The Scarecrow: A Novel
By Michael Connelly
L.A. Times reporter Jack McEvoy’s been laid off and is trying to finish one more deadline -- and catch a killer -- before his exit.

Shanghai Girls: A Novel
By Lisa See
Sisters leave Shanghai behind to forge new lives for themselves in 1930s Los Angeles.

The Signal: A Novel
By Ron Carlson
An estranged couple’s wilderness trek results in harrowing encounters with strangers, secret missions -- and some unexpected hope.

After the jump: 57 more books, arranged by month of release and alphabetically by title. My favorite stretch is the "I's" in August.

Coming in June

And Then There’s This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture
By Bill Wasik
A snapshot of our information age’s frenzied metamorphosis.

The Angel’s Game: A Novel
By Carlos Ruiz Zafón
The author of “The Shadow of the Wind” describes a diabolical deal between a young writer and his mysterious shadowy client.

A Bright and Guilty Place: Murder, Corruption, and L.A.’s Scandalous Coming of Age
By Richard Rayner
The City of Angels’ un-angelic, corrupt past, as experienced by a public prosecutor and a crime-scene investigator.

Conquest of the Useless: Reflections From the Making of “Fitzcarraldo”
By Werner Herzog
The filmmaker’s diaries of the struggles behind the making of his 1982 epic of a would-be rubber baron.

Erased: A Novel
By Jim Krusoe
What should you do when you receive a postcard from your dead mother?

Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City
By Greg Grandin
Henry Ford’s purchase of a vast plantation in the Amazon led to an experiment (unsuccessful) in exporting America to other lands.
 
Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, a Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese
By Brad Kessler
How the author fled life in New York City for a farmhouse on a mountain.

I Am Not Sidney Poitier: A Novel
By Percival Everett
Orphaned, wealthy and with an unfortunate name, a black boy known as Not Sidney Poitier throws social hierarchies into chaos.

In the Kitchen: A Novel
By Monica Ali
A body in his basement leads a famous chef into an unsettling world of femmes fatales and secret crimes.

Larry’s Kidney: Being the True Story of How I Found Myself in China With My Black Sheep Cousin and His Mail-Order Bride, Skirting the Law to Get Him a Transplant -- and Save His Life
By Daniel Asa Rose
The subtitle says it all.

Let the Great World Spin: A Novel
By Colum McCann
A portrait of New York City in the transitional 1970s as a varied cast of characters copes with loss, political upheaval and change.

One Ring Circus: Dispatches From the World of Boxing
By Katherine Dunn
An anthology of the pugilist’s art and its many players: the stars, the amateurs, the trainers, even the cut men.

Operation Bite Back: Rod Coronado’s War to Save American Wilderness
By Dean Kuipers
An  L.A. Times editor’s look at how an eco-radical’s use of a scorched-earth policy against fur farmers led to the rise of the Animal Liberation Front.

The Story Sisters: A Novel
By Alice Hoffman
The struggles of three sisters from Long Island after one of them retreats from life’s sorrows to live in a fairy-tale world all her own.

The Strain: A Novel
By Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Vampires have been biding their time on Earth, hiding and quietly feeding: Now, they want to take over.

Strangers: A Novel
By Anita Brookner
A London retiree is surprised to find his bachelorhood unsettled by the attention of three women.

This Wicked World: A Novel
By Richard Lange
An ex-Marine who’s done prison time (he had good reasons) looks into an immigrant’s death and finds sinister depths beneath L.A. a la Raymond Chandler and company.

Trouble: A Novel
By Kate Christensen
A coming-of-middle-age novel of three friends -- a trust-funder, a therapist and a rock star -- and their struggles with relationships, rendered with the author’s acerbic wit.

Coming in July
American Adulterer: A Novel
By Jed Mercurio
Simon & Schuster
A fictional portrait of John F. Kennedy as husband, father, leader of the free world -- and all too human.

Best Friends Forever: A Novel
By Jennifer Weiner
Two old high school best friends overcome a gap of 15 years and their differing social status to help each other in a crisis.

The Book of William: How Shakespeare’s First Folio Conquered the World
By Paul Collins
On the trail of the 1623 document -- which contains 36 of Shakespeare’s plays --  from its creation until the present day.

Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It: Stories
By Maile Meloy
Explorations of the battles that characters -- ranchers, farmers and other denizens of the American West -- wage on behalf of love.

Camus, A Romance
By Elizabeth Hawes
A biography of the French philosopher that doubles as a memoir of the author’s own effort to understand him.

Cooperstown Confidential: Heroes, Rogues, and the Inside Story of the Baseball Hall of Fame
By Zev Chafets
Behind the veil: A history of one of sports’ holiest places.

Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom From the Urban Wilderness
By Lyanda Lynn Haupt
An overabundance of the black-plumed bird is an ominous ecological sign as well as a window into the animal kingdom.

Everything Matters! A Novel
By Ron Currie, Jr.
In rural Maine, a young man struggles with his dysfunctional family, not to mention his prophetic powers, as the world braces for apocalypse.

Exiles in the Garden: A Novel
By Ward Just
The son of a powerful U.S. senator faces the consequences of turning his back on Washington and  society and living on its margins.

Free: The Past and Future of a Radical Price
By Chris Anderson
The author argues that businesses gain more benefits by giving away products than by charging for them.

Get Real: A Novel
By Donald E. Westlake
The late author’s final installment of the hilarious adventures of John Dortmunder and his felonious associates.

Glover’s Mistake: A Novel
By Nick Laird
A love triangle among artists plays out amid the London art scene.

Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950-1963
By Kevin Starr
The author’s "Americans and the California Dream" series continues with a look at the state in the postwar years.

I’m So Happy for You: A Novel
By Lucinda Rosenfeld
When life blooms suddenly for unlucky Daphne, her best friend Wendy is torn between enthusiasm and crippling jealousy.

Jericho’s Fall: A Novel
By Stephen L. Carter
A dying former CIA head possesses a secret that foreign powers want and an old flame may be able to uncover before he dies.

A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition
By Ernest Hemingway
The original manuscript version includes a number of unfinished Paris sketches removed before the book’s publication.

Short Girls: A Novel
By Bich Minh Nguyen
Two siblings find the realities of love as mysterious as their Vietnamese heritage and discover that the best support comes from each other.

"What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?" Jimmy Carter, America’s "Malaise," and the Speech That Should Have Changed the Country
By Kevin Mattson
Inside the Carter White House.

Where the Money Went: Stories
By Kevin Canty
The author takes on varied themes -- love, egotism, disillusionment -- and renders them with a clear, sympathetic eye.

The Wild Marsh: Four Seasons at Home in Montana
By Rick Bass
The author celebrates the distinctive qualities of each month of the year in his beloved Yaak Valley.

Coming in August

Await Your Reply: A Novel
By Dan Chaon
A long-lost twin carefully eludes his brother, while a high school graduate has second thoughts about running away to start a new life with her old teacher.

Before the Big Bang: The Prehistory of Our Universe
By Brian Clegg
Why we may want to reconsider conventional thinking on the beginnings of the universe.

The Bride’s Farewell: A Novel
By Meg Rosoff
A poor young woman in 1850s England flees her home and future responsibilities on her wedding day, but soon realizes she can’t escape her past.

An Expensive Education: A Novel
By Nick McDonnell
Ivory tower debate on the future of Africa meets real-world troubles in the villages of Somalia.

Heart of the Assassin: A Novel
By Robert Ferrigno
A relic of the Christ’s cross could help to unite an America divided into Muslim and Christian sectors in this post-apocalyptic story.

Imperial
By William T. Vollmann
Massively uncategorizable and deeply idiosyncratic, Vollmann’s 1,300-plus-page look at the U.S.-Mexico border region is as elusive as the area it evokes.

Inherent Vice: A Novel
By Thomas Pynchon
Thomas Pynchon goes noir ... or sort of, in this novel that takes place in late 1960s L.A.

It Feels So Good When I Stop: A Novel
By Joe Pernice
The singer-songwriter pens an adult-beverage tale.

The Magicians: A Novel
By Lev Grossman
A fantasy-loving student discovers that a magical land he read about as a child really exists -- though in reality it is a darker, more dangerous place than he expected.

A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disasters
By Rebecca Solnit
Is disaster good for society? Solnit thinks so, and in this provocative book, she explains why.

Red to Black: A Novel
By Alex Dryden
Two agents -- one British, one Russian -- fall in love while spying on each other and join forces upon learning that new Russia’s imperial ambitions look a lot like the communists’.

Self’s Murder: A Gerhard Self Mystery
By Bernhard Schlink
The author of “The Reader” returns with a dour, elderly sleuth who is assigned to track down the silent partner in a successful German bank.

Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading
By Lizzie Skurnick
A reader’s memoir of the long relationships we form with certain books.

The Silent Hour: A Novel
By Michael Koryta
A posh (and creepy) mansion once used as a rehab for paroled murderers contains secrets only P.I. Lincoln Perry can solve.

Silver Lake: A Novel
By Peter Gadol
Two architects’ happy life together is shattered by a peculiar yet attractive stranger.

Something Incredibly Wonderful Happens: Frank Oppenheimer and the World He Made Up
By K.C. Cole
The former Times science writer chronicles the life of the physicist, brother of Robert, and his revolutionary ideas in art and science.

South of Broad: A Novel
By Pat Conroy
A diverse group of teens in Charleston, S.C., forms close bonds amid social upheaval and personal travails.

Strength in What Remains: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness
By Tracy Kidder
The author follows a young medical student’s escape from ethnic tensions in Burundi and his eventual return to build a clinic for his people.

That Old Cape Magic: A Novel
By Richard Russo
Everything changes for Jack and Joy Griffin, but the one constant in their family’s life is the presence of Cape Cod.

L.A. Times list posted by Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Steve & Jemma Copley via Flickr

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