THE 411 ON SUMMER 'BEACH BOOKS'
2017 Summer Beach Reads, as picked by Gemma and Jack
Available at Ninth Street Book Shop, corner of Market and 8th, www.ninthstreetbookshop.com
Wander through the carefully curated shelves of the Ninth Street Book Shop and you’ll invariably find yourself surrounded by books you’ve been meaning to read and books you didn’t even know existed. (In fact, we walked out with two books to add to our summer reading pile: But What If We’re Wrong by Chuck Klosterman and Best Food Writing 2016.)
So what’s going to fly off those shelves this summer? We asked owners Jack and Gemma Buckley for their recommendations. (See something you like? Click on the link of any book title here, order it online, and pick it up at lunchtime at their shop.)
Jack: A lot of times, you see something very commercial that's pretty well written, and that will be the hit of the summer. It's a beach book.
Gemma: You look at a screen all day long. When you're on vacation, you don't want to look at another screen. And if some sand gets in your book, it doesn't matter.
Jack: The prime fiction book season is probably between Mother's Day and Father’s Day. Stuff comes out like crazy. It’s hard to predict the breakout hit, but in paperback this year, there’s Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. There’s a Bill O'Reilly character, a Roger Ailes character. That will be a real big beach read. It's going to be out soon, maybe next week or so. Camino Island from John Grisham will also be huge.
Gemma: That's a June release.
Jack: The new Scott Turow novel, Testimony, just came out today. On the shelf next to him is Dennis Lehane’s Since We Fell. This is a little bit of a departure for him, with a much stronger female character. There’s still a mystery to it, but it's not the focus of the novel as much as his other work.
Gemma: My big pick this summer comes from Elizabeth Strout. Oh my god, we love her. It's called Anything is Possible. I think we're out of it for...
Jack: …another hour or so. It’s coming in today.
Gemma: It piggybacks on a book she did just prior to this, called My Name Is Lucy Barton. She is really one of our favorite authors. Anything Is Possible is a series of interconnected short stories, like the book she won the Pulitzer for, Olive Kitteridge. It’s just terrific.
Jack: She writes wonderful characters. You know who the characters are within a paragraph.
Gemma: These people are real.
Gemma: It's an entertaining read. I think I found it more entertaining than Jack did. Now the reverse of that is The Stars Are Fire, the new Anita Shreve. Jack really liked it. It’s based on historical events of these fires in Maine.
Jack: … in the 1940s, after World War II …
Gemma: And we have autographed copies of that too. Now, what else is new in paperback? Oh, The Nix! It is so good.
Jack: Former or pseudo-hippies from the 1960s will love it.
Gemma: That's us! So, there’s this small college professor whose mother has a mysterious past.
Jack: He's trying to write his mother’s biography.
Gemma: It's not going to paint her well. But it's so good. It's a snapshot of what we were doing in college.
Jack: The Chicago riots of 1968…
Gemma: …the Democratic Convention. Then there’s the son. He's a hard luck case, but it's funny. There's humor, there's pathos. It’s a great character novel.
Jack: Another one Gemma's finished already is Mrs. Fletcher.
Gemma: Tom Perrotta. Love this guy.
Jack: He's the guy who wrote The Leftovers that the HBO show is based on. Perrota can write…
Gemma: …funny character novels…
Jack: ...and great dialogue. Does it have a good ending?
Gemma: Oh Yeah. It just all comes together. Oh, I love that book. Very entertaining. He can write.
Jack: We have a whole spinner rack of things that we recommend. The one criteria we have is that it has to be well written. Mrs. Fletcher would make it on the spinner. There's only four or five books a year that make it up onto that spinner.
Gemma: We're very discriminating when it comes to books. Our reputations are on the line here.