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Here Are Five Page-Turners for Summer Reading Season

This weekend not only kicks of the summer vacation and travel season. It also kicks off the summer reading season. So The Texas Standard reached out to the mavens of manuscripts at the Kirkus Reviews. 

Editor-in-chief Clay Smith sat down with David Brown to discuss some of the best books available this season. Smith's picks for summer reading with a punch include:

Natchez Burning by Greg Isles. "Greg Isles is a guy who has been publishing thrillers for a while and he was on a routing publishing schedule, you know, year after year ... He had a car crash and was induced into a coma recently and so this is his first thriller in five years. And it deals with all that southern stuff. You know, race, long held secrets, society and readers are loving it. It is hard to put down."

  • An Untamed State by Roxanne Gay. "It's about a woman named Mireille who is the daughter of a wealthy corporation owner and she goes to Haiti. She's an African-American female and her husband is white and while she is in Haiti she is kidnapped. Roxanne Gay is known for not pulling any punches. It is bold and honest and she leaves some questions unresolved. But just the fact that she's raising question that other writers aren't: all about race and America's relations with other nations."

Smith also points out some new fiction from Texas authors:

  • Elizabeth Crook has a new novel called Monday, Monday. "It is about the shootings at the UT Tower in 1966. And her interest is not in Charles Whitman, the killer, but in how the victims have dealt with that scandal that sort of marked their their lives."
  • Elizabeth McCracken of the Michener Center has a new book of short stories, Thunderstruck. "[McCracken] is one of the most respected short story writers in the country. And they're very dark: murder happens in these stories children disappear; but there is a great deal of surreal humor to those stories and humor is a really integral element to what she's doing."
  • And Austin author Sarah Bird releases Above the East China Sea on May 27. "Sarah comes from a military family - her family was stationed at Okinawa. And so this one is about that, and about ghosts and suicide and the historical legacy of the atrocities committed there."

For those of you who prefer looking rather than reading this summer? Smith says, "There is a beautiful coffee table book that I have to call out called Surf Texas, by Kenny Braun...He's shot photographs for Texas Monthly and Wired Magazine and a bunch of other places. He's a surfer himself. He really immerses you in the scene there and...some of these photos are shot half in the water and half above it and so you feel like you're right there without having to surf yourself." 

Emily Donahue is a former grants writer for KUT. She previously served as news director and helped launch KUT’s news department in 2001.
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