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Great Summer Reads, 2018

Travel, LifeRebecca O'Byrne2 Comments

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What's Hot on Your Bookshelf, July 2018


 
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'Widow Basquiat: A Memoir' by Jennifer Clement

Jean-Michel Basquiat's transition from the subways to the chic gallery spaces of Manhattan brought the artist into the company of many of New York's established and aspiring stars. Unable to deal with the demands that his new fame brought, in 1988, at the age of twenty-seven Basquiat, the most successful black visual artist in history, died from a heroin overdose.

Widow Basquiat is an exploration of the artist as seen through the eyes of his muse, Suzanne. It is a love story like no other.

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'Sweetbitter' by Stephanie Danler

Newly arrived in New York City, twenty-two-year-old Tess lands a job working front of house at a celebrated downtown restaurant. What follows is her education: in champagne and cocaine, love and lust, dive bars and fine dining rooms, as she learns to navigate the chaotic, enchanting, punishing life she has chosen. The story of a young woman’s coming-of-age, set against the glitzy, grimy backdrop of New York’s most elite restaurants, in Sweetbitter Stephanie Danler deftly conjures the nonstop and high-adrenaline world of the food industry and evokes the infinite possibilities, the unbearable beauty, and the fragility and brutality of being young and adrift.

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'Neon in Daylight' by Hermiona Hoby

New York City in 2012, the sweltering summer before Hurricane Sandy hits. Kate, a young woman newly arrived from England, is staying in a Manhattan apartment while she tries to figure out her future. She has two unfortunate responsibilities during her time in America: to make regular Skype calls to her miserable boyfriend back home, and to cat-sit an indifferent feline named Joni Mitchell.

The city has other plans for her. In New York's parks and bodegas, its galleries and performance spaces, its bars and clubs crowded with bodies, Kate encounters two strangers who will transform her stay: Bill, a charismatic but embittered writer made famous by the movie version of his only novel; and Inez, his daughter, a recent high school graduate who supplements her Bushwick cafe salary by enacting the fantasies of men she meets on Craigslist. Unmoored from her old life, Kate falls into an infatuation with both of them.

Set in a heatwave that feels like it will never break, Neon In Daylightmarries deep intelligence with captivating characters to offer us a joyful, unflinching exploration of desire, solitude, and the thin line between life and art.

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'Girls' by Emma Cline

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be-infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.

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'The Price of Illusion' by Joan Juliet Buck

From Joan Juliet Buck, former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris and “one of the most compelling personalities in the world of style” (New York Times) comes her dazzling, compulsively readable memoir: a fabulous account of four decades spent in the creative heart of London, New York, Los Angeles, and Paris—“If you loved The Devil Wears Prada, you’ll adore The Price of Illusion” (Elle).

In a book as rich and dramatic as the life she’s led, Joan Juliet Buck takes us into the splendid illusions of film, fashion, and fame to reveal, in stunning, sensual prose, the truth behind the artifice.

The only child of a volatile movie producer betrayed by his dreams, she became a magazine journalist at nineteen to reflect and record the high life she’d been brought up in, a choice that led her into a hall of mirrors where she was both magician and dupe. After a career writing for Vogue and Vanity Fair, she was named the first American woman to edit Vogue Paris. The vivid adventures of this thoughtful, incisive writer at the hub of dreams across two continents over fifty years are hilarious and heartbreaking.

Including a spectacular cast of carefully observed legends, monsters, and stars (just look at the index!), this is the moving account of a remarkable woman’s rocky passage through glamour and passion, filial duty and family madness, in search of her true self.

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'Visible Empire' by Hannah Pittard

On a humid summer day, the phones begin to ring: disaster has struck. Chateau de Sully, a Boeing 707 chartered to ferry home more than one hundred of Atlanta’s most prominent citizens from a European jaunt, crashed in Paris shortly after takeoff. It is the second-deadliest disaster in the history of aviation. Overnight, the city of Atlanta changes.

Left behind are children, spouses, lovers, and friends faced with renegotiating their lives. Robert, a newspaper editor, must decide if he can reconnect with his beloved but estranged wife, whose swindler parents have left her penniless. Nineteen-year-old Piedmont Dobbs, recently denied admission to an integrated school, senses a moment of uncertain opportunity. And Mayor Ivan Allen is tasked with the job of moving Atlanta forward—the hedonism of the 60s and the urgency of the Civil Rights movement at his city’s doorstep.

Visible Empire is the story of a husband and wife who can’t begin to understand each other until chaos drives them to clarity. It’s a story of the promise and hope that remain in the wake of crisis.

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'Follow Me To Ground' by Sue Rainsford

Ada, a girl who hasn’t gone quite to plan, and Father live a quiet life together, in a clearing in the woods outside of town. They spend their years tending to local Cures – the human folk who come to them, cautiously, with various ailments, and for whom they care little.

Ada embarks on a disquieting relationship with a local Cure named Samson, much to the displeasure of her father and Samson’s widowed, pregnant sister. When Ada is forced to choose between her old and new lives, what she does will change the town – and The Ground itself – forever.

Follow Me To Ground is an unnerving, beautifully controlled tour-de-force, a sinister tale that questions our preconceptions of predator and prey and the consequences of unchecked desire.

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