The official start of summer is nearly upon us and the unofficial signs of the season have been evident for weeks: road construction (someday Highway 3 will be finished, I just know it), high heat, and, of course, great reads at River City Books.
Here are five fresh books that look especially enticing, titles you just might want to take with you to the beach or cabin, and quickie summaries of each:
Strange Piece of Paradise
By Terri Jentz
In the summer of 1977, Jentz and her Yale roommate make a cross-country bike trip. They pitch a tent in central Oregon. As they are sleeping, a man in a pickup truck deliberately runs over the tent and then attacks them with an ax. No one is ever arrested. Fifteen years later, Jentz returns to the small town where she was nearly murdered and makes an extraordinary discovery: many people in town say they know who did it, and he is living freely in their midst.
The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
By Umberto Eco
A fascinating, abundant novel — wide-ranging, nostalgic, funny, full of heart-from the incomparable Eco. The story is about Yambo, a 60ish rare-book dealer who lives in Milan, has suffered a loss of memory; he can remember the plot of every book he has ever read, every line of poetry, but he no longer knows his own name, doesn't recognize his wife or his daughters, and remembers nothing about his parents or his childhood.
The Pale Blue Eye
By Louis Bayard
From the critically acclaimed author of Mr. Timothy comes an ingenious tale of murder and revenge, featuring a retired New York City detective and a young cadet named Edgar Allan Poe.
The Book of the Dead
By Preston Douglas and Lincoln Child
Continuing the breathtaking story begun in the New York Times bestseller Dance of Death, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child present the ultimate showdown between good and evil — set against the backdrop of an ancient Egyptian curse.
By John Updike
The ever-surprising John Updike’s 22nd novel is a brilliant contemporary fiction that will surely be counted as one of his most powerful. It tells of 18-year-old Ahmad Ashmawy Mulloy and his devotion to Allah and the words of the Holy Qur'an, as expounded to him by a local mosque’s imam.