What to read

Savor the end of summer with the season's best novels, including the latest from Cormac McCarthy, Kathryn Harrison, Kelly Link, Bret Easton Ellis and more.

Topics: Books,

What to read

It’s sad, but true: Summer is almost over. Soon, we’ll trade in weekends at the beach for long walks among falling leaves, warm sunsets for chilly evenings, strappy sandals for boots with buckles. Soon — but not yet. There are still a few weekends until the seasons change, and before you rush to pull down your beach umbrellas and fold up those big terry towels, why not try to get a few more afternoons on the boat, the water, or the back porch? Soak up the sun while it’s still hot — and while you’re at it, grab a great read from our list below.

In the early part of the summer we recommended the best literary novels and most entertaining beach reads to tote along on your adventures. But the hottest months have brought another batch of terrific fiction, and we wanted to highlight the best books you might have missed before the autumn chill sets in. Our hot picks are listed below. You won’t go wrong with a single one.

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“Lunar Park” by Bret Easton Ellis
In this quasi-memoir-turned-ghost story from the notorious ’80s Brat Packer, a character named Bret Easton Ellis tries to outlive his life of excess.
Reviewed by Laura Miller

“Necklace of Kisses” by Francesca Lia Block
In this lyrical fairy tale, Weetzie Bat — the post-punk heroine of Block’s young-adult books — finds herself all grown up.
Reviewed by Andrew O’Hehir

“No Country for Old Men” by Cormac McCarthy
The lord of horses and cowboys follows a modern-day Texas manhunt — and a botched drug deal — in this hard-boiled cinematic thriller.
Reviewed by Ira Boudway

“Magic for Beginners” by Kelly Link
Another entrancing collection of surreal suburban tales from the author of the underground hit “Stranger Things Happen.”
Reviewed by Laura Miller



“Trance” by Christopher Sorrentino
This ambitious and powerfully written novel uses the Patty Hearst kidnapping to capture a uniquely terrifying period in American history.
Reviewed by Andrew O’Hehir

“Envy” by Kathryn Harrison
From the author of “The Kiss,” a gripping, unsettling story about a middle-aged psychoanalyst’s emotional and sexual adventures.
Reviewed by Amy Reiter

“A Factory of Cunning” by Philippa Stockley
In this well-crafted comedy of manners, a wickedly charming woman with a secret past stirs up trouble in 18th century London.
Reviewed by Laura Miller

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    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Talking Heads, 1977
    This was their first weekend as a foursome at CBGB’s, after adding Jerry Harrison, before they started recording the LP “Talking Heads: 77.”

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    Patti Smith, Bowery 1976
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    This was taken at the Punk Magazine Benefit show. According to Chris Stein (seated, on slide guitar), they were playing “Little Red Rooster.”

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    No Wave Punks, Bowery Summer 1978
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    Richard Hell + Bob Quine, 1978
    Richard Hell and the Voidoids, playing CBGB's in 1978, with Richard’s peerless guitar player Robert Quine. Sorely missed, Quine died in 2004.

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    Bathroom, 1977
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    Stiv Bators + Divine, 1978
    Stiv Bators, Divine and the Dead Boys at the Blitz Benefit show for injured Dead Boys drummer Johnny Blitz.

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    Ramones, 1977
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    Hilly Kristal, Bowery 1977
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    Dictators, Bowery 1976
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    Richard Hell, Bowery 1977 – never before printed
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