Today, June 7th, is a big day for our Best of the Month picks. Six of our top 10 Best Books of the Month are publishing today. If you include Noah Hawley's thriller Before the Fall, which published last week (and is off to a great start), that makes seven Best of the Month books published in the first week of the month. Which means I have seven Best of the Month picks to tell you about that are available right now. So I say Release the Hounds!
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley - If I were to compare this novel to a dog, it would be a bloodhound: A big, page-turning bloodhound that is leading you somewhere, although you're not sure exactly where. A private jet takes off from Martha's Vineyard and very soon crashes into the ocean. Which, if any, of the wealthy individuals on board was responsible? Or was it the security guy? Or maybe the artist who hitched a ride at the last minute? Put your nose to the ground, hop on the trail, and find out what happened in this, one of the biggest books of the summer.
Grunt by Mary Roach - This book is unquestionably a lovable mutt that doesn't look particularly attractive in the beginning but is smart, clever, and eventually grows into your best friend. How could an nonfiction account of the things that soldiers combat during their non-gun-wielding moments--things like panic, heat exhaustion, and the runs--possibly be something you'd be interested in? Amazon's Erin Kodicek explains: "It takes a special kind of writer to make topics ranging from death to our gastrointestinal tract interesting (sometimes hilariously so), and pop science writer Mary Roach is always up to the task."
Security by Gina Wohlsdorf - Security is an intelligent, attentive Doberman Pinscher--poised, ears twitching, eyes trained. Amazon's Adrian Liang writes of the thriller, "With its jump cuts between a killer prowling the luxurious hallways of the Manderley Resort and the staff who is putting the final polish on the hotel before its grand opening, Security makes you feel like you are watching the action from a distance—but readers will soon learn that it is a deliberate and ultimately brilliant narrative choice." She calls it "Sometimes raw, sometimes gory, and always riveting."
End of Watch by Stephen King - Don't stand too close to this one. This is a grumpy old Dire Wolf. It's also a cold-blooded killer. End of Watch is the third and final installment in the Bill Hodges Trilogy, and King hits his sweet spot, introducing his talent for horror into a story line that already has featured some great detective writing. The result is a book that mixes revenge, crime, and otherworldly powers, bringing the trilogy to a thrilling, satisfying close.
Never a Dull Moment: 1971 The Year That Rock Exploded by David Hepworth - I'll be honest with you: I'm running out of dog comparisons. I'm going to say Never a Dull Moment is like a Labrador Retriever, because Mick Jagger kind of looks like one, and because Amazon's Jon Foro describes this nonfiction book as "smart and a lot of fun." Foro says, "Since Keith Richards’s Life appeared in 2010 (and set the standard for rock books, by the way), a torrent of biographies, memoirs, and retrospectives has followed in its wake. Many have been excellent... and Never a Dull Moment, by the venerable music journalist David Hepworth, continues the hot streak. Hepworth, who was 21 years old in the year of his title, pulls together 12 months of events that closed the Age of Pop (i.e. The Beatles) and ushered in the Age of Rock, with its shift to album sales (vs. singles), arena acts, and erosion of race- and gender-based cultural boundaries."
Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti - I'm going to compare this memoir to a Weimaraner, because the book is clearly well-composed and described by Amazon's Penny Mann as "bold and unflinching." Here is Mann's complete review: "Speaking up for women's issues with a bold and unflinching voice is nothing new for Jessica Valenti. Her new memoir, Sex Object, evokes this trademark approach, along with insights into her personal experience, in order to explain how sexism has shaped generations of women. Many times throughout this book I was wonderfully uncomfortable with the ideas and points Valenti puts forth--and then other times I found myself angry (at myself) when I saw unexpected parallels in my own life experience. Readers who haven’t experienced Valenti's writing before may be shocked by Sex Object--but not disappointed."
This Is Your Brain on Parasites by Kathleen McAuliffe - Here is a tick-infested, flea-bitten mongrel from which you will not be able to turn away. It also has mange, but in this case it's a good thing. I'll again resort to Jon Foro's words to flesh out my summary: "Have you heard the one about the wasp that turns cockroaches into living food trucks for its larvae? How about the schizophrenia-inducing parasite that lives in your cat's litter box, literally altering human brain chemistry to its own inscrutable ends? If not, you have a choice to make: to immediately read or assiduously avoid Kathleen McAuliffe's This Is Your Brain on Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society."
See all the Best Books of June here.
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