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The best in summer reading
By BARBARA HOFFERT  |  June 8, 2009

AH-HEM! Hemingway’s Paris memoir A Moveable Feast will be released in a new edition with previously unpublished material.

Hot town, summer in the city. . . . or in the country. . . . or at the beach. Wherever you are, don't forget your books. Here's the latest from Thomas Pynchon, a restored edition of Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, a little Romanticism from poet April Bernard. And much, much more.

Big summer plans? Put them aside when these big summer books arrive. In THOMAS PYNCHON's Inherent Vice (Penguin Press, August 4), LA private eye Doc Sportello watches the '60s wind down. LARRY MCMURTRY's Rhino Ranch (S. & S., August 11) wraps up a series that's been playing since The Last Picture Show. RAY BRADBURY lights your fires again with Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation (Hill & Wang, August 3), a graphic novel illustrated by Tim Hamilton.

Remember DAI SIJIE's Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress? Revisit its glories with Dai's newest fable, Once on a Moonless Night (Knopf, August 14), about a lost Buddhist sutra recorded on a bit of silk belonging to China's last emperor. For some modern magic, try LEV GROSSMAN's The Magicians (Viking, August 11), featuring a teenaged protagonist who finds that the imaginary world of his beloved childhood books is real.

Love is complicated: just ask the Brontës. Emily discovers passion with her father's curate in DENISE GIARDINA's Emily's Ghost: A Novel of the Brontë Sisters (Norton, July 27). In JESSICA SHATTUCK's Perfect Life (Norton, August 3), poor Neil wants to be more than just a sperm donator. Utterly Monkey man NICK LAIRD's Glover's Mistake (Viking, July 9) features a badly drawn love triangle, while Gaspar Heredia — an illegal Mexican immigrant in Spain — finds crime and passion in ROBERTO BOLAÑO's The Skating Rink (New Directions, August 4).

But nothing's ever easy. The hero of WARD JUST's Exiles in the Garden (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, July 7), a photojournalist at work during the Vietnam War, righteously refuses an assignment and watches his life unravel. In JUSTIN CARTWRIGHT's To Heaven by Water (Bloomsbury, August 6), a man who won't openly mourn his wife's death finally lets loose in the Kalahari Desert. Former Marvel Comics Batman illustrator DAVID MAZZUCCHELLI publishes his much-anticipated first graphic novel, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon, July 7), in which a poor devil who's been burned out of his New York apartment must find his way in the hinterlands.

In 1974 New York, as imagined by COLUM MCCANN, characters ranging from tightrope walker Philip Petit to a disillusioned Irish monk Let the Great World Spin (Random, June 23). In contemporary Washington State, everyone is worried about homeland security, but JIM LYNCH's border patrolman in Border Songs (Knopf, June 19) would rather listen to the birds. Back East at Harvard, NICK MCDONELL's characters get An Expensive Education (Atlantic Monthly, August 11) — while professor Susan Lowell profiles a famed African freedom fighter, Somali-born David just wants to get into the right eating club.

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Related: Exposures, Review: Bad Boy Made Good, Photos: Exposures, More more >
  Topics: Books , Media, Poetry, SummerGuide2009,  More more >
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