Summer reading list: A mysterious outbreak, Sin City and the end of the world

Tod Goldberg
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      The Rise & Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman (June)

      A big, bold, funny, sprawling literary masterpiece about a young girl taken from her home by mysterious perpetrators. Now, years later, she owns a bookstore in America and tries to make sense of the bizarre course of her life. A fitting follow up to Rachman’s debut, the wonderful The Imperfectionists, and a love letter to the power of books.

    • The Fever by Megan Abbott (June)

      Abbott has been one of the most interesting novelists for years, combining psychological fiction, crime, noir and the secret lives of teens into some spectacularly inventive works, like 2012’s Dare Me. Her latest unravels the secrets of a small town and its high school, the breeding ground of a disturbing illness.

    • Big Damn Sin City by Frank Miller (July)

      If you’re a fan of Miller’s iconic graphic novel series—or have only seen the movie and were curious if there were, say, 1,400 more pages of story to be told—this new release combines all seven installments into one handy brick of a book. And if you’re new to graphic comics, you can’t ask for a better entry drug than the stark black and white world Miller has created, which will be back on the big screen this August.

    • California by Edan Lepucki (July)

      Handpicked by Stephen Colbert to bedevil Amazon, Lepucki’s debut novel isn’t just a publicity stunt—it’s one of the finest dystopian novels since The Handmaid’s Tale. When a young family flees a crumbling LA for the newly wild exurbs of California, it finds peril around every corner, emotionally and physically, in this near-future examination of a nuclear family on the brink.

    • World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters (July)

      The conclusion to Winters’ brilliant The Last Policeman trilogy—which follows the travails of Hank Palace, a detective who still cares about his job, even with a doomsday asteroid hurtling towards Earth—should answer the big questions about just what happens when the world hangs in the balance and only one lawful man gives a damn.

    • More Curious by Sean Wilsey (July)

      Along with John Jeremiah Sullivan, Wilsey is one of the finest chroniclers of that weird intersection of popular culture and normal American life, his essays usually a mixture of participatory journalism and in-depth self-examination. This collection should provide equal parts of both.

    • The Best American Poetry 2014 Edited by David Lehman & Terrance Hayes (August)

      Let’s face it, the world would be better if we all read a bit more poetry. This annual collection of the best works published in the previous calendar year will up your literary cred by the pool and probably edify your soul in the process. Not a bad way to end the summer.

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