My BookLoving friends, we have one month until Labor Day, and that means it’s time for all the beach reading your beach bags can hold.
It’s time for our next installment of #FiveBooksForYourBeachBag. Load ’em in, pack the sunscreen and snacks — you’ve got lots of reading to do.
So — alert! sirens! — we’re more than halfway through 2022, and you should be keeping your Century Club lists! For those who don’t know, each year, I challenge my column readers to hit 100 books. Reading 25-49 gets you into the Quarter Century Club; 50-99 into the Half Century, and 100+ into the Century Club. Take stock of your list, and see how much you need to hit in the last half of the year.
And now, here are 5 New Releases to add to your bag (and list.)
1. “Dirtbag, Massachusetts: A Confessional,” by Isaac Fitzgerald
An instant New York Times and USA Today bestseller, I initially was drawn to the title. After reading it, I can see why this one had so much buzz— A TIME Best Book of the Summer, a Rolling Stone Top Culture Pick, and a 2022 New England Book Award Finalist, among others. Many a Massachusetts reader—especially the guys—may feel this one. If you liked “The Tender Bar,” by JR Moehringer, try this. According to the publisher’s synopsis:
Isaac Fitzgerald has been an altar boy, a bartender, a smuggler, and a biker. But before all that, he was a bomb that exploded his parents’ lives―or so he was told.
His memoir-in-essays begins with a childhood moving at breakneck speed from safety to violence, a pilgrimage through trauma to self-understanding and, ultimately, acceptance. From growing up in a Boston homeless shelter to bartending in San Francisco, Fitzgerald strives to take control of his own story and embrace the idea that one can be generous to oneself by being generous to others.
2. “The Last White Man,” by Mohsin Hamid.
Attention, SouthCoast Book clubs: this is your August pick. There is so much 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 teeth. According to the publisher’s synopsis:
One morning, Anders wakes up to find himself transformed. Overnight, his skin has turned dark. His reflection, a stranger. Soon, reports of similar events began to surface. Across the country, people are waking up in new incarnations, uncertain how their neighbors, friends, and family will greet them. Some see the transformations as the long-dreaded overturning of the established order that must be resisted to a bitter end. For some, a sense of profound loss and unease wars with profound love. For Anders and his lover Oona, the change is a chance at a kind of rebirth.
Ripe for book club discussions.
3. “Formidable: American Women and the Fight for Equality: 1920-2020,” by Elisabeth Griffith
Essential reading. For high school students, college students, book clubs — for living humans.
Griffith earned her Ph.D. from The American University and an undergraduate degree from Wellesley College. A Kennedy Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics and a Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia Teachers College, she has “spent her career working for women’s rights as an activist and an academic, teaching women’s history at the secondary and college level,” according to the publisher. The author of “In Her Own Right: The Life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton,” — the inspiration for Ken Burns’ PBS documentary, Griffith delivers here a comprehensive overview and insight into a century’s worth of struggle.
4. “Aurora,” by David Koepp
Soon to be a Netflix movie from Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, “Aurora” is an unputdownable thriller. Again, like a “Black Mirror” episode. According to the publisher’s synopsis:
In Aurora, Illinois, Aubrey Wheeler is just trying to get by after her semi-criminal ex-husband split, leaving behind his unruly teenage son. Then the lights go out—across the globe. A solar storm has knocked out power almost everywhere. Suddenly, Aubrey must assume the mantle of fierce protector of her suburban neighborhood. Meanwhile, her estranged brother, Thom, is a wealthy, neurotically over-prepared Silicon Valley CEO, who plans to ride out the crisis in a gilded bunker. But the complicated history between the siblings is far from over, and what feels like the end of the world is just the beginning of several long-overdue reckoning…
5. “The Lost Kings,” by Tyrell Johnson
As you BookLovers know by now, I’m a thriller/mystery lover, and this was another page-turner. According to the publisher’s synopsis:
Stuck in a cabin in rural Washington with their alcoholic father, twins Jeanie and Jamie King are inseparable. Until one night, when their father comes home covered in blood. The next day, he’s gone… and so is Jamie. Jeanie is ripped from everything she knows, including Maddox, the boy she could be learning to love.
Twenty years later, Jeanie is in England, drinking too much, and sleeping with a married man, when Maddox reappears, claiming to have tracked down her dad. Stunned, Jeanie must decide whether to continue running from her past or to confront her father and finally find out what really happened that night, where her brother is, and why she was the one left behind… #ReadInOneDay
Lauren Daley is a freelance writer. She tweets @laurendaley1. Read more at https://www.facebook.com/daley.writer.