Five buzziest summer beach reads
It's the time of year when that novel-reading itch kicks in and we feel compelled to drop all activities in favor of reclining on a lawn chair (or a sofa, or a towel, or a hammock -- we're not picky) and burying our noses in a gripping summer read.
Several works of fiction have bubbled up on this season's short list of "it" books, the tomes most likely to peek out from the tote bags of literary-minded beach-goers. I've chosen the five that I think are the buzziest.
Check 'em out, then vote for the one you're most interested in reading in the poll below. And by all means, feel free to share what's on your summer lit list -- be it the latest from Stephen King or a classic from Charles Dickens -- in the comments section.
"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larsson (Available now)
To call the final installment in the late Larson's Millennium trilogy "eagerly anticipated" is kind of an understatement. In this book -- currently perched at the top of the New York Times best-sellers list and the Nielsen BookScan list -- the "girl" of the title is faced with murder charges that her crime-solving partner Mikael attempts doggedly to fight. Haven't read the first two? It's a long summer, so there's plenty of time to delve into "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and "The Girl Who Played With Fire," a series that Post reviewer Patrick Anderson says "ranks among those novels that expand the horizons of popular fiction."
"The Passage" by Justin Cronin (Available now)
A post-apocalyptic vampire saga, but with literary cred (author Cronin is an alum of the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop), this is the most-talked-about novel of the summer. Thankfully, it's also scored uniformly positive reviews -- the Post's Ron Charles wrote, "by the third chapter, trash was piling up in our house because I was too scared to take out the garbage at night." Two more installments are forthcoming. And, of course, a movie is already in the works.
"The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner" by Stephenie Meyer (Available now)
A genuinely developed work of fiction, or a movie tie-in disguised as a novella? You make the call. Either way, this companion piece to "Twilight: Eclipse" -- which, coincidentally, arrives in movie form June 30 -- is a big deal within the Meyer fan base. And if you need a vampire fix, it's certainly lighter, in all manners of the word, than Cronin's "Passage."
"Imperial Bedrooms" by Bret Easton Ellis (Releases tomorrow)
Aficionados of '80s culture may be especially interested in this sequel to "Less Than Zero," the novel that launched Ellis's literary career and spawned a film adaptation starring Andrew McCarthy and Robert Downey, Jr. The books reconnects with the core characters, but 25 years later. Apparently, though, they're still acting like it's 1985.
"Lucy" by Laurence Gonzales (Available July 13)
This story of a primatologist who adopts a charming young girl, only to discover she's half-human, half-ape, sounds intriguing; it also apparently cannot be described without comparing it to the works of Michael Crichton.
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