And the Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hosseni
Hosseni wrote A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner, so, you know, he's held in high esteem. His newest also takes place in the Middle East, and will also be seen on every beach and best-sellers list this summer.
A Delicate Truth, John le Carre
With the exception of maybe James Bond scribe Ian Fleming, John le Carre is the greatest espionage writer ever. His first book, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, was a brilliant twist on the genre, a sad mystery of a burnt-out and morally corrupted protagonist who inhabited a completely different spy world than Bond's. And his latest—published at the sprightly age of 81—is another page-turning, yet thought-provoking, tale.
Inferno, Dan Brown
Sure, it's essentially the exact same book as The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, and The Lost Symbol. You'll still be entertained. Put Inferno—Dan Brown's return to Italy, symbols, and futuristic technology (you know the drill)—on your Kindle and kill it during a quiet day at the beach. And if you hate the thing, and hate Brown's still amazingly awful and repetitive writing style, this reviewer has written the mother of all takedowns for the Telegraph.
The Broken Places, Ace Atkins
Atkins is a seriously good crafter of thrillers. For this one, think Jack Reacher as a small-town sheriff.
Bad Monkey, Carl Hiaasen
The still-funny Carl Hiaasen's latest is another Floridian yarn that features shark attacks, way-too-optimistic real estate investors, and, yes, a bad monkey.
'90s Island, Marty Beckerman
Friend of the site Marty Beckerman is responsible for the utterly hilarious The Heming Way, a guide to living your life like the gun-toting, animal-slaughtering, booze-inhaling Papa. His new work, '90s Island, taps into our generation's favorite source of nostalgia to craft a novella about the digital pets, grunge, and inline skates of our childhoods. All that and a bag of chips.
Light of the World, James Lee Burke
Plot-twisting, violent detective novel that features a serial killer presumed dead = Perfect poolside reading.
The Kill Room, Jeffrey Deaver
Take what I wrote above, substitute "serial killer presumed dead" for "sniper trained by U.S. government." Repeat.
Bleeding Edge, Thomas Pynchon
Fact: Finishing a novel by the brilliant and reclusive Thomas Pynchon makes you cool. Fact: His last, the Big Lebowski-esque stoner romp Inherent Vice, might have been the most fun thing he's ever written. And fact: Bleeding Edge, which looks to be more on the serious side, promises to be the most entertaining novel written about the late-90s dotcom bubble.
TransAtlantic, Colum McCann
Not, by any means, a stereotypically bro book, but if you're looking to get literary this summer, you can do worse than the latest from the author of the mind-blowingly good Let the Great World Spin.
A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin
The educated guess states that Game of Thrones will return around April of next year. Can you wait that long? And do you want the smug satisfaction that comes with already knowing about an event like the Red Wedding? Then you should read the books.
(If there is a downside it's that every character is, like, 12. The sex scenes don't translate well.)
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Ben Fountain
It's been called the Slaughterhouse Five and the Catch-22 of the Iraq War, and while it technically came out last summer, who cares. Billy Lynn is brilliant, a satiric tale of a Bravo Squad that returns from the televised battle of Al-Ansakar Canal to a grateful country ready to deem the men national heroes. Only thing is: The nation's way of expressing its thanks might strike you as absurd. And darkly funny.
The novel takes place over just a few hours, culminating in a Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game and a halftime show with Beyonce. You'll relate to everything, and every poor guy, involved in the plot.
Another relative oldie—but The Art of Fielding is my favorite book of the last five years. For baseball fans, college fans, fans of great writing.