Two words I hate: Beach Book. They conjure someone emptying his or her brain into a bucket, running mindlessly toward the ocean, towel and “lite read” in hand, as if sun and sand somehow rob us of our sense.
If you want “light,” make it light in weight, as in these new paperback releases of 2013 hardcover books:
And speaking of Gilbert, her novel, “The Signature of All Things” (Penguin, $17), is the 19th-century tale of Alma Whitaker, who is deep into the mysteries of evolution, when she falls in love with a man who draws her in the opposite direction – toward the spiritual and magical. “A hot-blooded book,” says the New York Times.
Set in Mississippi in 1927, “The Tilted World” (Morrow, $14.99), is a novel by husband and wife duo Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin. Franklin is an award-winning mystery writer, and Fennelly, a poet, heads the MFA program at Ole Miss in Oxford. You’ll find moonshine, mayhem, mystery and a baby abandoned in the middle of a crime scene.
Now for two hefty hardbacks:
Meryl Gordon’s “The Phantom of Fifth Avenue: The Mysterious Life and Scandalous Death of Heiress Huguette Clark” (Grand Center, $28) unlocks the mystery of why this extraordinarily wealthy woman spent her twilight years secluded, eating sardines from a can and watching reruns of “The Flintstones.”
Helen Rappaport’s “The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra” (St. Martin’s, $27.99), which Kirkus Review calls “an absorbing account of the making of a queen through her awful, protracted grief.”
A few of my old favorites: