Regardless of what the calendar claims, summer shuts down this weekend as normal schedules resume and vacations end. That gloomy news calls for one last reading extravaganza of summer books. Here are five choices, each a quick and grand read, to close out the season with appropriate aplomb.
- Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto by Steve Almond (Melville House). School football practice and the NFL preseason have already begun, and into the middle of this activity arrives Almond’s considered and personal exploration of why football is problematic, even unethical.
- Herbie’s Game by Timothy Hallinan (Soho Crime).
A riot to read and fast moving, the “Junior Bender” books are a delight. In the fourth of the series, Junior, the wisecracking PI to the crooks of L.A., gets personal as he investigates the murder of his mentor.
- The Long Way Home by Louise Penny (Minotaur: St. Martin’s).
Armand Gamache, the newly retired and former chief inspector of homicide within the Sûreté du Québec (National Police of Quebec), returns in Penny’s tenth smart and beautifully set mystery—one that focuses upon a character who has been lost for a while.
- Shadows in the Vineyard: The True Story of the Plot To Poison the World’s Greatest Wine by Maximillian Potter (Twelve: Grand Central).
This quick-reading and tense nonfiction whodunit, well set in the wine center of France, traces the efforts to expose and stop an extortion plot.
- The Vacationers by Emma Straub (Riverhead).
A family, with each member possessing their own fracture points, abandon Manhattan for Mallorca and a two-week holiday. Observant, wry, and delightful, Straub’s writing makes their trip, and their undoing, a pleasure.