Top 5 Summer Books
Whether you're doing some traveling, planning to hit the beach, or you just need an excuse to hang out in front of the A/C this summer, you'll need a good book to keep you company. These five new releases will take you to amazing places, no matter what the scenery looks like outside.
The latest in a proven series of crime novels with a powerful female lead
Hard Light by Elizabeth Hand (2016, Macmillan)
Hand is an award-winning author whose third novel in the Cass Neary series is just as brilliant as the first two. Neary, a photographer with a knack for seeing the beauty even in the darkest hours, isn't obliviously cheery to the world she lives in. There are real consequences for her kind of luck, and Hand skillfully explores them all. In Hard Light, Neary escapes to London with a stolen passport but changing locations has only put her into new trouble. New dangers, new allies, and a mystery Neary may not be able to unravel await.
Bonus! If you haven't read the first two in Hand's series, you can pick up all three and once and spend the rest of the summer tearing through them!
Fast-paced superhero fun
Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn (July 2016, DAW Books)
Kuhn's newest novel tells the story of two Asian American girls who grew up as best friends, allies, and – yes – superheroes. Well, one of them is. The other's her assistant and confidant, who struggles with the role of sidekick until she discovers she has powers of her own. For Kuhn's heroine Evie Tanaka, demons, dangerous cupcakes, and protecting San Francisco from total ruin seem easier than repairing a relationship with someone she's looked up to for years. Heartfelt, oh so fun, and a kickass group of women saving the day? You won't want to miss it.
Sweeping historical novel with lush setting and dysfunctional family drama
Beauty Is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan (translated by Annie Tucker, September 2015, New Directions)
This epic novel by one of Indonesia's best-known writers spans generations, exploring a telenovela-style history of a country ruled by the Dutch, the Japanese, and finally, Indonesians themselves. Kurniawan's story begins with Dewi Ayu, a teenage girl of Dutch and Indonesian heritage who finds herself imprisoned, alone, and forced into prostitution. Dazzling characters abound, with curses, ghosts, and lots of sex. There's also rape, murder, and the pain of being unwanted, but even with so much going on, Kurniawan brings the disparate threads together in the end. This meaty tome will leave a lasting impression.
A collection of short, creepy, but beautifully-written horror
Singing with All My Skin and Bone by Sunny Moraine (May 2016, Undertow Publications)
Each story is a dark surprise, over and over. As impossible as it seems, Moraine balances gut punch after gut punch with rich prose and deft storycraft in every one. Their writing is like a deadly mushroom in an overgrown forest: those colors should be a warning but how can you resist such beauty, even if it kills you? This isn't the book for happy endings or good things happening to good people, but if you want the lost ones who fall through into the other side of the mirror, this collection will keep you on your toes all the way to the last page.
Sharp, insightful essays on the intersection of feminism, geek culture, and the art of being a struggling writer
The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley (May 2016, Tor Books)
Hurley is an essayist, fantasy novelist, and two-time winner of the Hugo Award, whose non-fiction has appeared in The Atlantic and Locus, on Tor.com, and more. The work in this book explores the rift between some hardline “classic science fiction” (and its fans) and those readers and authors who want a more inclusive, modern, and fair environment for all fans to find themselves. Hurley speaks out about her own experiences as well as her take on the genre community and the world at large, providing a much needed voice and giving us all a little more to think about. Good, good stuff here, that shouldn't be missed.