Picks and Pans Main: Summer's Hottest Reads
07/10/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT
LOST HEARTS IN ITALY by Andrea Lee
A skillful, involving story about an American expatriate's adultery and its fallout.
THE FLAMENCO ACADEMY by Sarah Bird
Novelist Bird captures the staccato passion of flamenco in a rapturous love triangle.
GIRLS MOST LIKELY by Sheila Williams
Four African-American girls bond during grade school and stay superglued through their 30th high school reunion in this cheerfully addictive novel.
LITERACY AND LONGING IN L.A. by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack
A briskly paced love story with a winning heroine: a neurotic former reporter who loses herself in books.
WIVES BEHAVING BADLY by Elizabeth Buchan
In this terrific sequel to Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman, a man who doesn't go back to his wife becomes a mistress's worst nightmare.
LEFT BANK by Kate Muir
An engaging tale about a quirky couple who learn the meaning of love after a scary mishap in Paris involving their daughter.
IF YOU LOVED THE DA VINCI CODE ...
RESURRECTION by Tucker Malarkey
The author of An Obvious Enchantment weaves the discovery of the Gnostic gospels into an elegantly written thriller.
THE EXPECTED ONE by Kathleen McGowan
This riveting novel embroiders on the fantasy that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had children. (Due out in August.)
BLACK ORDER by James Rollins
His eighth Sigma Force thriller bristles with Nazi plots, mythological beasts and spiritual mysteries.
COCKEYED by Ryan Knighton
A darkly funny memoir about learning to live in the dark by a journalist who is slowly losing his sight.
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY by Howell Raines
The best-selling author of Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis returns with more Hemingway-style fish tales.
THE BIRTHDAYS by Heidi Pitlor
A debut novel that offers sharp insights into simmering resentments and misunderstandings among relatives.
CLASS MOTHERS by Katherine Stewart
Murder, desire and really nice jewelry among fancy Manhattan preschool moms. A delectable bonbon of a book.
ESPRESSO TALES by Alexander McCall Smith
The likeable Dunbartons of Edinburgh star in this smartly paced latest from the prolific McCall Smith.
A PASSION FOR ICE CREAM by Emily Luchetti
The pastry chef perfects the national fave—and you can too.
COOKOUT USA by Georgia Orcutt and John Margolies
Maine lobster to Washington Planked Salmon, via the grill.
DOING NOTHING: A HISTORY OF LOAFERS, LOUNGERS, SLACKERS AND BUMS IN AMERICA by Tom Lutz
Don't just sit there—read about just sitting there! An ambitious text that leaves no sloth unexamined.
THRILLS AND CHILLS
THE DEAD HOUR by Denise Mina
Brutally funny Scottish writer Mina returns with the slam-bang second installment of her Paddy Meehan mystery series.
THE DEVIL'S FEATHER by Minette Walters
War correspondent Connie Burns tangles with a dangerous mercenary in this chilling adventure. (Due out in August.)
CANDLES BURNING by Tabitha King and Michael McDowell
A touching ghost story (natch—Tabitha is Steven King's wife) starring a 7-year-old who can see the dead.
PROOF POSITIVE by Phillip Margolin
A forensic investigator turns murderer in this clever novel by crowd-pleaser Margolin. CSI fans take note!
NEVER FEAR by Scott Frost Frost, who wrote for Twin Peaks and The X-Files, comes up with a taut, terrifying tale about a female detective tracking a serial killer.
TWELVE SHARP by Janet Evanovich
Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is back for a 12th outing. This time, a kidnapper comes after our heroine, and high drama ensues.
MOMMIES WHO DRINK by Brett Paesel
Cathartic essays by a party girl turned mom who longs for the bad old days. (Due out in August.)
THE AMAZING MACKEREL PUDDING PLAN by Wendy McClure McClure pairs illustrated diet recipe cards from the '70s (Weight Watchers' "Surprise Chowder," anyone?) with her own LOL commentary.
THE NASTY BITS by Anthony Bourdain
High- and low-lights from the culinary world by the delightfully jaded chef.
IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote
Actor Scott Brick brings Capote's true-crime masterpiece to chilling life.
BETWEEN, GEORGIA by Joshilyn Jackson
The author's warm twang makes her novel about feuding Southern families resonate.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS by Augusten Burroughs
Edgy true stories read by the Running with Scissors author himself.
IVY + BEAN by Annie Barrows
A charming new series starring a pair of unlikely chums. Ages 6-10.
WEE GILLIS by Munroe Leaf
Back in print after 20 years, this winsome story details a Scottish lad's road to bagpipe-playing greatness. Ages 4-8.
EATS, SHOOTS AND LEAVES by Lynne Truss
Trick those tykes into learning a little punctuation with a delightfully illustrated version based on Truss's adult bestseller.
OLIVIA FORMS A BAND by Ian Falconer
Falconer's enterprising piglet turns her talents to music, with earsplitting results. Ages 4-8.
AND IN AUDIO ...
THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE by Kate DiCamillo
A magical tale about a little girl and the power of love from the author of Because of Winn-Dixie, in a nuanced reading by actress Judith Ivey.
KING DORK by Frank Portman
Read with fitting sarcasm by actor Lincoln Hoppe, Portman's story of a wannabe rocker is just the thing for those snarky teens in the backseat.
REALITY-TV FIX: Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst
Fun fiction about reality show contestants. Beats America's Got Talent by a mile.
TELL THE BOOK CLUB: One Mississippi"] by Mark Childress
An offbeat, Southern-fried coming-of-age tale.
REALLY LAZY-DAY READ: Printed sideways to be scanned while reclining, Bed Books—editions of classics including H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds—work perfectly by the pool. Available at www.bedbooks.net.