Book Talk: Summer by the Book

by Erica Moody

Dive into a page-turner while poolside.

It’s the perfect time to catch up on reading and these buzzworthy selections will entertain and inform you all season long.

By Aimee Agresti
Even wonks need a beach read, and this one has it all: politics, power and privilege wrapped in one delightfully juicy novel. The “campaign widows” in Washington author Agresti’s book are spouses who have been left behind while their significant others are on the campaign trail. It’s a plight that many D.C. residents are sure to relate to, and the “escapist” read (Agresti’s words) will appeal even to those outside of the political world. (Graydon House)

By Lauren Weisberger
Miranda Priestly’s hardworking, fashion-obsessed assistant Emily (played by Emily Blunt to perfection in “The Devil Wears Prada”) is placed front and center in Lauren Weisberger’s hilarious sequel. The book takes us into Emily’s post-Priestly life where she’s now an agent to the rich and famous. The Manhattanite is averse to the suburbs but career demands take her to Greenwich, Conn. and a cutthroat world of backstabbing housewives and slimy senators. (Simon & Schuster)

By Curtis Sittenfeld
Curtis Sittenfeld has a way of capturing contemporary American life in a manner that’s concise, original and witty, all wrapped up in digestible prose that makes it seem effortless. Her first collection of short stories includes gems like “A Regular Couple,” in which a honeymooning husband and wife run into a high school nemesis who ends up ruining their vacation, and “The Prairie Wife,” the tale of a woman who obsessively follows her college ex-lover on social media. (Random House)

By Clint Watts
A former FBI special agent and cyber-security expert looks into a “social media world of hackers, terrorists, Russians and fake news” in this expose?/guide to protecting yourself in a climate of manipulation and misinformation. Watts took his research seriously, befriending terrorists and their sympathizers online to get a comprehensive look at the inner-workings of their networks. He also looked into Russian “fake news” tactics and how to recognize when you’re being duped. (Harper Collins)

By Nancy MacLean
The 2018 Lillian Smith Book Award winner addresses racial and social inequality issues in a thoroughly researched work examining the influence of money in politics, particularly that of James McGill Buchanan and the rise of the radical right. It’s timely for those who may be wondering, “How did we get here?” (Random House)

By Mona Hanna-Attisha
This account of the clean water crisis in Flint, Mich. was written by the city hospital pediatrician who led efforts to address the public health emergency even after the government told her she was being irrational. The author’s heroic firsthand account will inspire readers to activism. (Random House)

By Jake Tapper
When Jake Tapper is not reporting on corruption in Washington, he’s writing about it. The CNN anchor’s debut political thriller opens in 1954 in Rock Creek Park when a congressman wakes up in a car with the dead body of a woman nearby. David Baldacci called this fictional glimpse at the 1950s political underground a “potent thriller.” (Harper Collins)

By R.O. Kwon
Kwon’s debut novel is a classic boy-meets-girl story with a dark twist. When the female protagonist joins an extremist cult to cope with the death of her mother, a group-led bombing sends the book spiraling into a race against time. You’ll leave the book pondering loss, violence, religion and the obsessive lengths some will go to for love. (Riverhead Books)

By Kate Greathead
Greathead’s excellent debut explores the interior life of a privileged New Yorker who becomes a single mother in her early thirties. Laura is a flawed and at times irritating character, whose progressive ideals are often at odds with her actions and upbringing; her daughter Emma is headstrong and sensitive, her openness in stark contrast to her mother’s reserve. Greathead’s elegant prose, humor and astute social observations make this a book to revisit again and again. (Simon & Schuster)

By Elise Hoffmann, Chris Niemczewski, Anton Papich and Jeff Prehn
Is your adult child lounging at home all summer refusing to get a job? This hilarious little book will remind you that you’re not alone, and perhaps serve as a tool to broach the subject with your freeloading twenty-something. Local authors Hoffmann and Niemczeski collaborated with photographers Papich and Prehn for the 40-page book that includes photo collages featuring Papich’s own son. (Bent Frame Publishing)

Keep your children engaged as well.
By Markette Sheppard, Illustrated by Cathy Ann Johnson
Local television personality, CBS’s Markette Sheppard has released her first children’s book, a feel-good celebration of the wonder in a child’s world. The uplifting board book with vibrant illustrations is excellent for classrooms and young readers between the ages of two and five. (Agate)

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