Spend Your Summer with Algonquin

Summer is here, and whether you’re headed to the beach, the pool, or your living room sofa, you’re going to need a great book to keep your summer reading hot. Here are the books everyone will be talking about.

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The Darwin Affair by Tim Mason

It’s June 1860 in London, and within moments of each other, an assassination attempt is made on Queen Victoria and a petty thief is gruesomely murdered. Chief Detective Inspector Charles Field quickly surmises that these crimes are connected to an even more sinister plot — a shocking conspiracy in which the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species has set off a string of murders, arson, kidnapping, and the pursuit of a diabolical madman named the Chorister. As the investigation takes Field from the dangerous alleyways of London to the hallowed halls of Oxford, the list of possible conspirators grows as the body count escalates. And as he edges closer to the Chorister, he uncovers dark secrets that were meant to remain forever hidden. Buy now.

The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity McLean

Part mystery, part darkly comic coming-of-age story, The Van Apfel Girls are Gone is a page-turning read — with a dark, shimmering absence at its heart. Tikka Malloy was eleven and one-sixth years old during the long hot summer of 1992, living in an Australian suburb with her sister and their three best friends. That summer was when the Van Apfel sisters, Ruth, Hannah, and the beautiful Cordelia, mysteriously disappeared. Did they just run — far away from their harsh, evangelical parents — or were they taken? While the search for the girls united the small community, the mystery of their disappearance was never solved, and Tikka and her older sister, Laura, have been haunted ever since by the loss of their friends. Now, years later, Tikka has returned home to try to make sense of that strange time, of the summer that left her frozen in the past, of the girls that she never forgot. Coming 6/25.

The Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele

The global economy has collapsed and the electrical grid has gone down. In this new world, Carson, on the East Coast, is desperate to find Beatrix, a woman on the West Coast who holds his heart. Working his way along a cross-country railroad line, he encounters lost souls, clever opportunists, and those who believe they’ll be saved by an evangelical preacher in the middle of the country. Meanwhile, Beatrix and her neighbors begin to construct a cooperative community that suggests the end could be, in fact, a bright beginning. Without modern means of communication, will Beatrix and Carson reach each other, and what will be left of the old world if they do? Coming July 9: pre-order now.

The Collector’s Apprentice by B.A. Shapiro

It’s the summer of 1922, and nineteen-year-old Paulien Mertens finds herself in Paris—broke, disowned, and completely alone. Everyone in Belgium believes she stole millions in a sophisticated con game perpetrated by her then-fiancé, George Everard. To protect herself from the law and the wrath of those who lost everything, she creates a new identity, a Frenchwoman named Vivienne Gregsby, and sets out to recover her father’s art collection, prove her innocence—and exact revenge on George. Vivienne is soon caught up in the Parisian world of post-Impressionists and expatriates, and her life only becomes more complicated as she becomes entwined in romantic entanglements and murder accusations. Now in paperback. Buy now.

A Death in the Rainforest by Don Kulick

An engaging, deeply perceptive, and brilliant interrogation of what it means to study a culture, A Death in the Rainforest follows anthropologist Don Kulick into the tiny village of Gapun in New Guinea to document the death of the native language, Tayap. Over the course of thirty years, he traveled to Gapun several times to document Tayap before it disappeared entirely, and he found himself inexorably drawn into their world, and implicated in their destiny. This book takes us inside the village as he came to know it, revealing what it is like to live in a difficult-to-get-to village of two hundred people, carved out like a cleft in the middle of a tropical rainforest. But it’s also an illuminating look at the impact of white society on the farthest reaches of the globe—and the story of why this anthropologist realized finally that he had to give up his study of this language and this village. Buy now.

Courting Mr. Lincoln by Louis Bayard

When Mary Todd meets Abraham Lincoln, a country lawyer lacking in money and manners, in Springfield in the winter of 1840, she at first finds him an enigma. It’s not long, though, before she discovers him to be an amiable, profound man who, despite his awkwardness, has a gentle wit to match his genius, and who respects her keen political mind. But as their relationship deepens, she must confront his inseparable friendship with his charming roommate Joshua Speed, who has taught Lincoln how to dance, dress, and navigate the polite society of Springfield. Courting Mr. Lincoln creates a sympathetic and complex portrait of Mary unlike any that has come before; a moving portrayal of the deep and very real connection between the two men; and most of all, an evocation of the unformed man who would grow into one of the nation’s most beloved presidents. Buy now.

Southernmost by Silas House

In the aftermath of a flood that washes away much of a small Tennessee town, evangelical preacher Asher Sharp offers shelter to two gay men. In doing so, he starts to see his life anew—and risks losing everything: his wife, locked into her religious prejudices; his congregation, which shuns Asher after he delivers a passionate sermon in defense of tolerance; and his young son, Justin, caught in the middle of what turns into a bitter custody battle. With no way out but ahead, Asher takes Justin and flees to Key West, where he hopes to find his brother, Luke, whom he’d turned against years ago after Luke came out. And it is there, at the southernmost point of the country, that Asher and Justin discover a new way of thinking about the world, and a new way of understanding love. Buy now.

The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel

The Optimistic Decade follows four unforgettable characters and a piece of land that changes everyone who lives on it. There is Caleb, founder of the back-to-the-land camp Llamalo, who is determined to teach others to live simply. There is Donnie, the rancher who gave up his land to Caleb and who now wants it back. There is Rebecca, determined to become an activist like her father and undone by the spell of both Llamalo and new love. And there is David, a teenager who has turned Llamalo into his personal religion. The Optimistic Decade brilliantly explores love, class, and the bloom and fade of idealism, and asks smart questions about good intentions gone wrong. Buy now.

Love and Death in the Sunshine State: The Story of a Murder by Cutter Wood

When a stolen car is recovered on the Gulf Coast of Florida, it sets off a search for a missing woman, local motel owner Sabine Musil-Buehler. Three men are named persons of interest—her husband, her boyfriend, and the man who stole the car. Then the motel is set on fire; her boyfriend flees the county; and detectives begin digging on the beach of Anna Maria Island. Author Cutter Wood was a guest at Musil-Buehler’s motel as the search for her gained momentum. Driven by his own curiosity, he began to talk with many of the people surrounding or involved in the crime. But there was only so much that interviews and transcripts could reveal. Wood carries the investigation of Sabine’s murder beyond the facts of the case and into his own life, crafting a tale about the dark conflicts at the heart of every relationship. Buy now.

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