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Friday, June 13, 2014

Hot books for hot days

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Books that are published in the summer always get attention in the media.  This year there doesn’t seem to be much agreement on what the big hits of this summer will be, but at least there are many choices.  Here are some of the books getting media buzz that we have or will be getting sometime this summer:

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is a novel set in New England, originally written in French by a Swiss author, Joel Dicker.  The novel is a huge bestseller in Europe, and now it’s been released in the U.S.  This suspense novel is being compared to the television series Twin Peaks, the writings of Truman Capote, and Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy.  Reviewers say the story zooms forward without slowing down for the many twists and turns.  Sounds like an amusement park version of a book, perfect for summer.

Stephen King’s newest is Mr. Mercedes.  The novel is narrated by both the demented Mercedes Killer, who ran down 23 people with a stolen car and plans to do something even bigger, and by retired Detective Hodges, who is trying to catch him.  King has blended horror with the hardboiled detective novel in this one.

If Stephen King is not your thing, maybe The One and Only by Emily Giffin would be a better choice.   It’s considered women’s fiction, with a story of family, friendship, and finding oneself.  Thirty-three-year-old Shea has lived her entire life in a Texas college town, but a tragedy leads her to reconsider her life choices.  This one is already on the bestseller lists.

The new Outlander novel by Diana Gabaldon has just come out.  Written in My Own Heart’s Blood continues the story of Jamie and Claire.  These are time-travel books, so part of this novel is set in 1778 and part in the twentieth century.  Gabaldon says that any of the books can be read alone, without having to start at the beginning of the series.

I am Pilgrim is the first novel by screenwriter and producer Terry Hayes.  This political thriller has been compared to the Jason Bourne series and John LeCarr√©’s novels.  Pilgrim is a legendary secret agent, up against a terrorist named Saracen.  Reviewers say you will not be able to put it down and that it’s perfect for a movie version.

The Fever is a novel coming out later in June from Edgar-winning author Megan Abbott.  Although the book is about high school students, it isn’t a young adult book.  It tells the story of a mysterious epidemic among teen girls in a perfect suburban community.  A series of girls - only girls - land in the hospital with mysterious symptoms like seizures and fainting.  Is it HPV vaccinations, the polluted lake, or sexual activity?  Drawing parallels to the girls in the Salem witch trials, this novel shows how paranoia can spread in the modern world and how the teen years can be terrifying.

Emma Straub’s second novel, The Vacationers is a well-written beach read.  A long-married couple go on vacation in Mallorca with their grown children.  They all have secrets, quirks, and relationship tensions.  Straub’s writing in this is praised as funny and wise. 


If these or other summer books you’re hearing about sound interesting, come to the library to fill up your beach bag.  Remember that some of the magazine and television stories you’re seeing about this summer’s books include things not being released until August, so if you don’t see something you’re looking for, check back later or ask a staff person for some help.