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Summer reading: June

June 12, 2008 |  2:13 pm


This week the editors of the Book Review published summer reading suggestions. Here are the books for June,  augmented with links to the reviews (and it'll be updated with further links when the other reviews are published). Find a nice place outdoors to get reading.

America America: A Novel
Ethan Canin
During the Nixon era, a working-class boy's involvement with a powerful upstate New York family and a rising senator reveals the heights and depths of ambition in a novel of epic scope.

A Time It Was: Bobby Kennedy in the Sixties by Bill Eppridge
A photographic history of an American icon, by the former Life magazine photographer.

Claim of Privilege: A Mysterious Plane Crash, a Landmark Supreme Court Case, and the Rise of State Secrets by Barry Siegel
How a case involving the widows of three civilian engineers, killed in a 1948 U.S. Air Force plane crash, led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision recognizing the "state secrets" privilege.

The Eaves of Heaven: A Life in Three Wars by Andrew X. Pham
A son's harrowing yet radiant account of his wealthy Vietnamese father's struggle to survive the Japanese invasion of World War II, the French occupation of Indochina and a Viet Cong "reeducation camp."

The Garden of Last Days: A Novel by Andre Dubus III
From the author of "House of Sand and Fog," a pre-Sept. 11 novel -- set in Florida and involving a Saudi jihadist and an exotic dancer at the Puma Club for Men.

How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone: A Novel by Sasa Stanisic
This debut unfolds as a stream-of-consciousness recollection of a lost childhood by a Bosnian refugee.

Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West by Deanne Stillman
This majestic tale traces the horse's evolution and die out in the Americas, its return with the conquistadors and its spread throughout the West in herds of wild mustangs whose existence is threatened today.

The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal by Gore Vidal, edited by Jay Parini
Two dozen of Vidal's best, wittiest and most coruscating critiques, culled from  half a century of mind-bending work.

Skyscrapers of the Midwest by Joshua W. Cotter
A boy struggles with identity, death, puberty, religion and human communication in this beautiful collection of coming-of-age stories in graphic novel format.

Slumberland: A Novel by Paul Beatty
A young, disaffected DJ from Los Angeles goes on a wild search in Berlin for a jazzman who may or may not be his double. (read an excerpt from the novel)

The Spies of Warsaw: A Novel by Alan Furst
A new spy novel by a master of the genre, describing the cat-and-mouse games on the European Continent preceding the outbreak of World War II.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
The piercingly witty humorist takes us from the French countryside to a mobile home in North Carolina and on to Tokyo (where he tries to quit smoking), in his sixth collection of essays on the big and little absurdities of life.

more books after the jump

-- Carolyn Kellogg

photo from Katie Brady via flickr

The James Boys: A Novel Account of Four Desperate Brothers
Richard Liebmann-Smith
What if the younger brothers of psychologist William and novelist Henry were the outlaws Frank and Jesse?

This Land Is Their Land: Reports From a Divided Nation
Barbara Ehrenreich
A satiric look by the cultural critic at what she sees as the deepening, and officially sanctioned, divide between those who have and those who barely get by.

The Secret Scripture: A Novel
Sebastian Barry
Beneath the floorboards of her room at an Irish mental hospital, 100-year-old Roseanne McNulty conceals a journal describing her youth in Sligo -- and also the story of why she was committed.

Spiral Jetta: A Road Trip Through the Land Art of the American West
Erin Hogan
A trip west out of Chicago leads an art historian to discover the vastness of solitude among the treasures of land art she encounters along the way.

Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge
Edited by Damien Broderick
What will the world be like in a million years? What will humans be like? Fourteen essays consider the possibilities.