1. A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley. Not a new book, but a new to me book! A best seller that won the Pulitzer and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The dedication in this book is so sweet -- "To Steve, as simple as that." Also, I love it when there is a page before the story begins where the author puts a quote from another source: "The body repeats the landscape. They are the source of each other and create each other...." and on it goes, from Meridel Le Sueur, "The Ancient People and the Newly Come."
2. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. My book club almost decided to read this one month, but we chose something else instead. However, I was intrigued, and it popped in my head when I was considering summer reading books. Loving Frank is a fictionalized account of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney's love story, and everyone I know who has read it has had wonderful things to say.
3. The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. In which Weisman imagines the world if the human race were suddenly extinct. The New Yorker calls it "a sort of pop-science ghost story, in which the whole earth is the haunted house." It sounds a pinch out-of-the-box for me, which is exciting in a completely dorky but fabulous way.
I have to recommend Per Petterson's Out Stealing Horses and Michael Ondaatje's Divisadero if you have not read them. Both will cause you to be transported in that magical literary way. If you're looking for other suggestions, I prescribe the 2009 Summer Books section from NPR.
So please tell me...have you read any good books lately?