My book for loving friends, we have one month until Labor Day, and that means it’s time to read all your beach bags can hold.
Time for the next release of #FiveBooksForYourBeachBag. Load it up, pack your sunscreen and snacks – you have a lot of reading to do.
Also – alert! Siren! – We’re halfway through 2022, and you should keep your Century Club rosters! For those who don’t know, I challenge my columnists each year to reach 100 books. Reading 25-49 takes you to the Quarter Century Club. 50-99 in the half century, and 100+ in the century club. Evaluate your list, and see how far you need to get to the latter half of the year.
And now, here are 5 new releases to add to your bag (and list.)
1. “Dirtbag, MA: Confession,” by Isaac Fitzgerald
A New York Times and USA Today bestseller, I was initially drawn to the title. After reading it, I can see why this book is so crowded—best book of the summer, Rolling Stone Culture Choice, and a finalist for the 2022 New England Book Award, among others. Many Massachusetts readers—particularly men—may feel this way. If you liked “The Tender Bar” by JR Moehringer, try this one. According to the publisher’s summary:
Isaac Fitzgerald was an altar boy, waiter, smuggler, and cyclist. But before all that, he was a bomb that blew up his parents’ lives―or so he was told.
His essays begin with a childhood that moves with superhuman speed from safety to violence, a pilgrimage through trauma to self-understanding, and eventually acceptance. From growing up in a Boston homeless shelter to a bartender in San Francisco, Fitzgerald seeks to control his own story and embrace the idea that one can be generous with oneself by being generous with others.
2. “The Last White Man” Mohsen Hamid.
Attention, SouthCoast Book Clubs: This is your pick in August. There is a lot to unpack here. The New York Times bestselling author of “Exit West” is back with a timely novel that reads like a “Black Mirror” episode with its teeth. According to the publisher’s summary:
One morning, Anders wakes up to find himself transformed. Overnight, his skin turned dark. Its reflection is strange. Soon, reports of similar events began to appear. Across the Earth, people are awakening in new incarnations, unsure of how their neighbors, friends, and family will greet them. Some see the transformations as the long-fearing reversal of the established order that must be resisted to a bitter end. For some, a feeling of deep loss and dissatisfaction with wars with deep love. For Anders and his lover Una, change is an opportunity for a kind of rebirth.
It’s time for the book club discussions.
3. Tremendous: American Women and the Struggle for Equality: 1920-2020 by Elizabeth Griffiths
Basic reading. For high school students, college students, book clubs – for living humans.
Griffith received her Ph.D. from American University and a BA from Wellesley College. She is the Kennedy Fellow at the Harvard Politics Institute and the Clingenstein Fellow at Columbia Teachers College, and has “spent her career working for women’s rights as an activist and academic, teaching women’s history at both the secondary and university levels,” according to the publisher. Author of “In Her Own Right: The Life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton” – the inspiration for the PBS documentary Ken Burns, Griffith here provides a comprehensive overview and insight into the struggles of an entire century.
4. “Aurora” by David Koepp
“Aurora” will soon become a Netflix movie by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, and it’s an unquestionably thriller. Again, like the “Black Mirror” episode. According to the publisher’s summary:
In Aurora, Illinois, Aubrey Wheeler tries to get by after her semi-criminal ex-husband breaks up, leaving his unruly teenage son behind. Then the lights go out – all over the world. A solar storm caused power outages almost everywhere. Suddenly, Aubrey must take on the mantle of a fierce protector of her suburban neighborhood. Meanwhile, her estranged brother, Thom, is a wealthy, hyper-neurologically prepared CEO in Silicon Valley, plotting to emerge from the crisis in a gilded shelter. But the complicated history between the siblings is far from over, and what seems like the end of the world is just the beginning of many long-awaited reckonings…
5. “The Lost Kings” by Terrell Johnson
As you know book lovers by now, I’m a fan of thrillers/mystery, and this was another page-turner. According to the publisher’s summary:
Stuck in a shack in rural Washington with their alcoholic father, twins Jenny and Jimmy King are inseparable. Until one night, when their father came home covered in blood. The next day, he’s gone…and so is Jimmy. Jenny has been snatched from everything she knows, including Maddox, the boy she could learn to love.
Twenty years later, Jenny was in England, drinking a lot, sleeping with a married man, when Maddox reappeared, claiming to have tracked down her father. Surprised, Jenny has to decide whether to continue escaping her past or confronting her father and finally finds out what really happened that night, where her brother was, and why she was the one who was left behind… #ReadInOneDay
Lauren Daly is a freelance writer. She tweets @laurendaley1. Read more at https://www.facebook.com/daley.writer.