As we slip into summer reading season, here are a half-dozen worthy new-in-paperback prospects.
“Reporter: A Memoir” by Seymour M. Hersh (Knopf, $17.95). “Just as there are few books about the inner workings of sausage factories, good books about the making of journalism are few and far between, and Hersh’s memoir is a welcome addition,” wrote The Washington Post in a review of Hersh’s book, in which the writer describes himself as “a survivor from the golden age of journalism.”
“The Great Believers” by Rebecca Makkai (Penguin, $16). This elegant, gripping novel, set in alternating chapters in 1985 Chicago and 2015 Paris, was one of my favorites of 2018; it’s full of tiny worlds created. Makkai takes us back to a time many would like to forget: the early years of the AIDS epidemic, and a group of young men facing the ravages — and the hellish randomness — of the disease, never knowing who next would be taken.
“Ohio” by Stephen Markley (Simon & Schuster, $16.99). Set in a fictional Ohio town and starting off with the funeral of a former football hero killed in Iraq, Markley’s first novel follows 10 members of the town’s high-school class of 2003. A New York Times review noted that the novel “churns with such ambitious social statements and insights that at times it feels like a kind of fiction/op-ed hybrid,” but concluded: “The real core of this earnestly ambitious debut lies not in its sweeping statements but in its smaller moments, in its respectful and bighearted renderings of damaged and thwarted lives.”
“The Clockmaker’s Daughter” by Kate Morton (Simon and Schuster, $17). The sixth novel by Australian novelist Morton is told in multiple voices across many years, beginning with a little girl trained as a thief in Victorian London. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called it an “outstanding, bittersweet” novel, noting that “the stories, brilliantly told by Morton, offer musings on art, betrayal, and the ways in which real lives and real places can evolve over time into the stuff of legends.”
“Lake Success” by Gary Shteyngart (Random House, $18). Shteyngart, author of “Absurdistan” and “Super Sad True Love Story,” kicks off with a hero on the run: a drunk, bleeding billionaire at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, fleeing his life in search of the real America. “What he finds is picaresque and oddly reassuring,” wrote Seattle Times reviewer Jeff Baker, noting that “At every stop on the journey, Shteyngart’s comic touch is as well-timed as a Patek Philippe Aquanaut.”
“The Summer Wives” by Beatriz Williams (HarperCollins, $16.99). This latest novel from Williams (“Cocoa Beach,” “Tiny Little Thing”) might be just the summer read you’re looking for. Spanning the 1930s through the ’60s, it involves a murder, a patrician Long Island Sound community and a vengeance-minded actress. A starred Kirkus Review described it as “satisfyingly tempestuous — and eminently beachworthy.”