Books, Summer 2004
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
by David Sedaris
Sedaris can turn the most mundane events—going to the movies, visiting his sister in Boston—into laugh-out-loud comedy. (Little, Brown, $24.95)
Now Is the Time To Open Your Heart
by Alice Walker
The first novel in six years from the author of The Color Purple follows a woman's spiritual quest through the American West. (Random House, $24.95)
The Paris Review Book for Planes, Trains, Elevators, and Waiting Rooms
No matter where you are, you'll find a story or poem to bridge the gap in this clever compendium by the likes of Michael Chabon and Philip Larkin. (Picador, $15)
Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination
by Helen Fielding
By day, Olivia Joules is a British fashion writer. By night, she's a glamorous secret agent on the trail of an international terrorist. Or is she?(Viking, $24.95)
Scribbling the Cat
by Alexandra Fuller
The author of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight rides shotgun with K, a battle-weary soldier, on an often terrifying trek through war-torn areas of Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. (Penguin Press, $24.95)
by Michael Connelly
Retired Los Angeles police detective Harry Bosch travels to Las Vegas to track down The Poet, a cunning serial killer who leaves gruesome clues in verse, in this chilling page-turner. (Little, Brown, $25.95)
Just a few pages into The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Penguin Press, $24.95), you'll understand why this novel—a literary mystery with the noir soul of a detective potboiler—spent more than a year on the best-seller lists in the author's native Spain.
The Art of the Steal: Inside the Sotheby's-Christie's Auction House Scandal, by Christopher Mason (Putnam, $26.95), uncovers the greed and under-the-table deals that brought down the heads of the world's top auction houses.
Kent Haruf returns to fictional Holt, Colorado, in Eventide (Knopf, $24.95), the follow-up to his National Book Award-nominated Plainsong. No pyrotechnics here, just the stories of everyday people in small-town America, told with rugged grace and remarkable characterization.
Satirist Jonathan Ames spoofs P. G. Wodehouse in Wake Up, Sir! (Scribner, $23), the darkly comic tale of Alan Blair, a sad-sack writer from suburban Montclair, New Jersey, and his plummy personal assistant named Jeeves.
He may no longer be president, but Bill Clinton is still one hot commodity. His long-awaited memoir, My Life (Knopf, $35), weighs in at a whopping 900 pages—not exactly beach-bag friendly—but the juicy revelations into Slick Willie's private life make it a must-read for the summer cocktail party circuit.
—H. Scott Jolley