Valdosta Daily Times


May 19, 2013

Cool Summer Reads


- — ELSEWHERE: A MEMOIR, Richard Russo, July 30. Richard Russo’s novels “Empire Falls,” “The Bridge of Sighs,” have earned him a Pulitzer Prize. This summer, he switches gears from fiction to memoir with “Elsewhere.” A man of vivid prose, readers can hopefully expect the same from Russo’s memoir. One may also find the details, the threads, from his own life that explain the trajectories of his dually heartfelt and tough-minded novels.

THE ENGLISH GIRL, Daniel Silva, July 16. If you’ve never read one of Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon novels then you’re missing one of the smartest and entertaining spy thrillers available. Like clockwork, each summer, Silva releases a new Gabriel Allon book. It is the type of series that longtime Silva readers enjoy for the familiarity with the style and recurring characters but newcomers can feel welcome stepping into any of the titles. And there’s always the intrigue of the brooding, brilliant Gabriel Allon, a member of the Israeli intelligence organization as well as a world-class restorer of masterpiece paintings. He takes assignments of state stealth from the Israeli government while also taking assignments from patrons such as the Vatican to restore ancient canvases. All the while trying to maintain a personal life built on the fiery tragedy of his past when duty to country intruded upon his responsibilities as a husband and father. As for “The English Girl,” longtime readers know what to expect; newcomers will find a great new series with plenty of back titles to also enjoy and likely a new adventure next summer.

THE FALL OF ARTHUR, J.R.R. Tolkien, May 23. Considering he’s been dead for decades, J.R.R. Tolkien continues being quite the prolific author. Of course, he’s received a great deal of posthumous help from his son, Christopher, as well as the enormous popularity and success of the movie adaptations of his books, “The Lord of the Rings,” and now “The Hobbit.” In the past few years, through Christopher, several previously unpublished works, such “The Children of Hurin,” have been printed. Now, comes “The Fall of Arthur,” which is the godfather of fantasy’s take on the King Arthur legend, and as the title suggests, Tolkien focuses on Arthur’s last days.

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