I'll be out of town for the rest of the week, basking in the considerable cuteness of my niece and nephews, and enjoying long runs in the rural countryside without fear of being sideswiped by some fool trying to text while driving. It'll be nice to get out of L.A. for a few days.
And, of course, getting a jump start on my summer reading on the flight to Pennsylvania. In my absence, here are a few of this summer's best-looking books, some for now, and some to look forward to.
What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn
Definitely this summer's What the Dead Know.
The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS by Elizabeth Pisani
"With wit and fierce honesty, an epidemiologist talks about sex, drugs, and the mistakes surrounding international AIDS prevention. Pisani reveals how easy it is to draw wrong conclusions from "objective" data and how much money is spent so very badly."
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
"In essay after essay, Sedaris proceeds from bizarre conundrums of daily life to the most deeply resonant human truths. Culminating in a brilliant account of his venture to Tokyo in order to quit smoking, his sixth essay collection is a new masterpiece of comic writing."
The Rhino with Glue-On Shoes and Other Surprising True Stories of Zoo Vets and Their Patients by Lucy H. Spelman and Ted Y. Mashima
"A moray eel diagnosed with anorexia…A herd of bison whose only hope is a crusading female doctor from Paris…A vet desperately trying to save an orphaned whale by unraveling the mystery of her mother’s death…This fascinating book offers a rare glimpse into the world of exotic animals and the doctors who care for them."
The Last Embrace by Denise Hamilton
"Lily Kessler, a former stenographer and spy for the OSS, comes to Los Angeles to find her late fiancé's sister Kitty, an actress who is missing from her Hollywood boardinghouse. The next day, Kitty's body is found in a ravine below the Hollywood sign. Unimpressed by the local police, Lily investigates on her own. As she delves into Kitty's life, she encounters fiercely competitive starlets, gangsters, an eccentric special-effects genius, exotic denizens of Hollywood's nightclubs, and a homicide detective who might distract her from her quest for justice. But the landscape in L.A. can shift kaleidoscopically, and Lily begins to see how easily a young woman can lose her balance and fall prey to the alluring city's dangers"
Real World by Natsuo Kirino
"Psychologically intricate and astute, dark and unflinching, Real World is a searing, eye-opening portrait of teenage life in Japan unlike any we have seen before."
Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer
"Television reporter Riley Spartz is recovering from a heart-breaking, headline-making catastrophe of her own when a longtime police source drops two homicide files in her lap. Riley suspects a possible serial killer and stages a bold on-air stunt to draw him out."
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
"By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, this memoir is both for fans of this masterful yet guardedly private writer and for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in distance running."
The King's Favorite: A Novel of Nell Gwyn and King Charles II by Susan Holloway Scott
"Nell Gwyn has never been a lady, nor does she pretend to be. Blessed with impudent wit and saucy beauty, she swiftly rises from the poverty of Covent Garden to become a sensation in the theater. Still in her teens, she catches the eye of King Charles II, and trades the stage for Whitehall Palaceand the role of royal mistress."
The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
"A Dickensian cast of characters in 19th-century New England comes brilliantly to life in this wondrous debut novel about an orphaned boy and the colorful con man who claims to be his brother."
Southern Storm: Sherman's March to the Sea
I'm going to bring this one home just to listen to Potts complain about it. Yeah, I know, Sherman was a thug.