The beach beckons.
Who can resist its siren call, the lure of sun, relaxation and pink drinks with little umbrellas? Not you, which is why you’re packing for vacation — so don’t forget something new to read in the sand.
This may have been said before: You can’t go wrong with “The Absolutist” by John Boyne. It’s the story of a former soldier in the aftermath of World War I who’s been injured both physically and emotionally. In his possession is a handful of letters written by his best friend during the war, and the man decides that his friend’s sister is the rightful heir to the letters, since the friend has died. When the sister asks how her brother was killed, the man tells her.
Brutal, quietly moving, and with an ending that will leave you out of breath, it’s a novel you won’t forget.
If you’ve ever loved and lost, then “I Almost Forgot About You” by Terry McMillan is what you want to pack.
On the way toward a meaningful birthday, Georgia Young is reminded of a man she was once deeply in love with — but she can never tell him how much he meant to her back then, because he was killed in a traffic accident. This makes Georgia think about all the men to whom she never said, “I love you,” and that was a wrong that definitely needed righting.
Much like McMillan’s “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” this is a book you’ll cheer about.
True crime fanatics will want to pack “A Murder Over a Girl” by Ken Corbett, the true story of a transgender teen, his death at the hands of a classmate, and the trial that’ll leave your jaw on the floor. Also look for “Morgue: A Life in Death” by Dr. Vincent Di Maio and Ron Franscell. Di Maio is a forensic pathologist, which is he guy who does autopsies. ‘Nuff said.
If the Olympics are on your radar this summer, take “Fair Play” by Cyd Zeigler with you on your vacay. It’s about gay and lesbian pro athletes — mostly, but not entirely, in the NFL — the inequality they’ve endured, and how the tide seems to be turning. There are a few surprises in this book, and encouragement.
And finally, if you like light reading, what you’re going to want to pack is “A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Everyday Life from the Stone Age to the Phone Age” by Greg Jenner. This book, filled with witty comments, fun facts and a narrative that starts with an alarm clock and ends with lights out, is enjoyable, gently humorous, and oh-so-addictive.
A spring release you might have missed is gay author Edmund White’s “Our Young Man,” a ‘70s- and ‘80s-set story of a gorgeous French model on the edge of 40 attempting to extend his shelf life as long as humanly possible. It’s a witty and breezy read that turns unexpectedly poignant at times.
Local author Rich Barnett tells of a “Delaware blue blood with a talent for shaking cocktails, a street-smart personal trainer and a flamboyant heir to a fading french fry empire” in his new book “Fun With Dick and James,” set in Rehoboth Beach. A release party is planned for Monday, July 18 from 5-8 p.m. at Miss Pixie’s (1626 14th St., N.W.). Details at funwithdickandjames.com.
“Boystown Season Five” is the latest installment in the Jake Biondi-penned gay series now featuring the photography of James Franklin. It was released in June and is available online and in print at all the usual outlets.
“Femme,” a new novel from author Marshall Thornton, is slated for a July 28 release at Amazon and Kindle Unlimited and in paperback. It tells of a “queeny” cocktail waiter Lionel who wakes up one morning to find himself in bed with a “straight-acting” softball player, Dog. They embark on a “rocky road to romance.”
“Shorts: Stories from Beneath the Rainbow” is a short-story collection that features characters from “across the queer spectrum” by author Hans Hirschi. It’s slated for a July 9 release in paperback and digital formats.