It’s time to back up the book wagon and unload all sixty zillion new titles for June. Welcome to the beginning of the month, when the vast Publishing Machine does a reset and assumes you’ve finished everything shoved at you in the last thirty days. Here comes the new release rush. Get your padded armor on. Books be a-flinging!
We’ll start out with the expected June blockbuster. No, not James Patterson. He’s taking this week off. This one is by John Grisham, and is his umpteenth legal thriller in the last couple of decades. Remember when legal thrillers were a new thing? These days, legal dramas are as ubiquitous as Facebook memes. In Camino Island, Grisham eschews all that meme stuff for a classic heist set-up. Priceless books stolen from Princeton Library. Bookseller in sleepy Florida town has a dark secret. Budding novelist (with writer’s block, no less) wants to play Jr. Detective. And things go awry, as you can expect. A fabulous way to start your June reading.
Next up, we have J. C. Geiger’s debut YA novel, Wild Man. Lance Hendricks is a perfect kid—plays trumpet, 4.0 GPA, has earnest heart palpitations for a girl, knows his way around cars. When his trusty steed—er, car—breaks down in the middle of the Washington wilderness, things—wait for it—go awry. It’s like David Lynch’s Lost Highway meets The Wizard of Oz, but without all the monkeys.
[And we’ll gloss over the characterization of the Washington woods as spooky wilderness terrain, because, you know, some of us have those woods in our back yards, and they’re not that spooky.]
Anyway, we like J. C. We met him at Children’s Institute earlier this year, and he’s got a wide-eyed energetic style that is right there on the page. We’re delighted that his book is finally out and that you can all enjoy it too.
And speaking of books finally being out, Richard A. Kirk’s Necessary Monsters drops this week. We’ve had it for a few weeks because we have an inside line with the publisher, but we can officially say nice things about it now. It’s a phantasmagoric fantasy novel set in a world that took a sharp right turn around the Industrial Revolution. Things are both ornate and clockwork and driven by old rituals in Kirk’s world, and the story of Lumsden Moss and his quest for the secret of Nightjar Island is a road trip through monster-inhabited lands.
And speaking of wild rides and monsters, Kichard Kadrey is back with the ninth Sandman Slim novel, The Kill Society. Slim—real name Jim Stark—is trapped in the far reaches of the afterlife this time around (he never catches a break, this guy, which might have something to do with his wiseass attitude and overall lack of respect for the heavenly hierarchy), and he’s got to pull a Mad Max Fury Road to get back to the land of the living. Sounds easy, right?
As you can imagine . . . things go awry.
And speaking of things not turning out the way we’d think, Anthony Horowitz’s latest thriller is a true puzzle. Magpie Murders is ostensibly the worst set-up ever: book editor reads the latest cozy English crime drama from world-famous author. But, said editor starts to realize that the manuscript may be a cry for help or a summation of some truly heinous crimes. Is the world-famous author, who is known to be a bit of a handful, putting her on, or is she seeing a dastardly plan unfolding before her eyes? You almost need a wall chart or something to figure this one out.
And speaking of wall charts, how about a six-foot Shakespearean timeline? That’s right! Thirty-eight of the Bard’s best, detailed out in a handy wall chart that lets you envision the world of Shakespeare as never before. It’s got quizzes and Gant charts and even a pocket magnifier (for finding that oft-quoted soliloquy from the emo-est of Danish princes that is printed in microscopic print somewhere along the border, most likely). Making Shakespeare interactive and fun! It’s “Things Go Awry” the Wall Chart Version!
After all this non-stop nonsense, let’s end our day with a little light reading. And by light, we mean, reading that will lighten our spirits and energize our bodies. Thich Nhat Hanh has been teaching Buddhism for more than fifty years, and The Art of Living is a collection of seven essays that will loosen all the of the kinks in your brain and spine, giving you permission to just let go of so much of the cruft that accumulates. We like books—and we like reading—but, at the end of the day, we’re just a source of light and joy in everyone’s lives. If you can’t be at the bookstore all the time (and thank goodness for that, really; we all need some time away from the shelves), then taking some bookstore joy with you is a good practice. Reading Thich Nhat Hanh is always joy-giving.