New books to read this summer

Books The Arts

May 29, 2024

June books

Notable new releases

compiled by Sally Brewster

All the Colors of the Dark by Chris Whitaker

1975 is a time of change in America. The Vietnam War is ending. Muhammad Ali is fighting Joe Frazier. And in the small town of Monta Clare, Missouri, girls are disappearing. When the daughter of a wealthy family is targeted, the most unlikely hero emerges — Patch, a local boy, who saves the girl, and, in doing so, leaves heartache in his wake. Patch and those who love him soon discover that the line between triumph and tragedy has never been finer. And that their search for answers will lead them to truths that could mean losing one another. A missing-person mystery, a serial-killer thriller, a love story, a unique twist on each, Chris Whitaker has written a novel about what lurks in the shadows of obsession and the blinding light of hope.

The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

In the near future, a civil servant is offered the salary of her dreams and is, shortly afterward, told what project she’ll be working on. A government ministry is gathering “expats” from across history to establish whether time travel is feasible — for the body, but also for the fabric of space-time. She is tasked with working as a “bridge” living with, assisting and monitoring the expat known as “1847,” or Commander Graham Gore. Commander Gore died on Sir John Franklin’s doomed 1845 expedition to the Arctic, so he’s a little disoriented to be living with an unmarried woman who regularly shows her calves, surrounded by outlandish concepts such as washing machines, Spotify and the collapse of the British Empire. But, he soon adjusts. Over the next year, what the bridge initially thought would be, at best, a horrifically uncomfortable roommate dynamic evolves into something much deeper. By the time the true shape of the Ministry’s project comes to light, the bridge has fallen haphazardly, fervently in love, with consequences she never could have imagined.

Southern Man by Greg Iles

Fifteen years after the events of the Natchez Burning trilogy, Penn Cage is alone. Nearly all his loved ones are dead, his old allies gone, and he carries a mortal secret that separates him from the world. But Penn’s exile comes to an end when a brawl at a Mississippi rap festival triggers a bloody mass shooting — one that nearly takes the life of his daughter Annie. As the stunned cities of Natchez and Bienville reel, antebellum plantation homes continue to burn and the deadly attacks are claimed by a Black radical group as historic acts of justice. Panic sweeps through the tourist communities, driving them inexorably toward a race war. Robert E. Lee White, a Southern war hero, seizes the public imagination as a third-party candidate for president. Dubbed “the Tik-Tok Man,” and funded by an eccentric Mississippi billionaire, White rides the glory of his Special Forces record to an unprecedented run at the White House. To triumph over the national party machines, “Bobby” evolves a plan of unimaginable daring. One fateful autumn weekend, with White set to declare his candidacy in all 50 states, the forces polarizing America line up against one another. 

The Magic Pill: The Extraordinary Benefits and Disturbing Risks of the New Weight-Loss Drugs by Johann Hari

In January 2023, Johann Hari started to inject himself once a week with Ozempic, one of the new drugs that produces significant weight loss. While around 80% of diets fail, someone taking one of the new drugs will lose up to a quarter of their body weight in six months. To the drugs’ defenders, here is a moment of liberation from a condition that massively increases your chances of diabetes, cancer and an early death. Still, Hari was wildly conflicted. Can these drugs really be as good as they sound? Are they a magic solution — or a magic trick? Finding the answer to this high-stakes question led him on a journey to interview the leading experts in the world. He found that along with the drug’s massive benefits come 12 significant potential risks. He also found that these drugs radically challenge what we think we know about shame, willpower and healing. What psychological issues begin to emerge when our eating patterns are suddenly disrupted? Are the drugs a liberation or a further symptom of our deeply dysfunctional relationship with food?  SP

Sally Brewster is the proprietor of Park Road Books, 4139 Park Rd.

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