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Summer 2010 reading guide

Which new summer releases should you pick up first?

By / May 24, 2010

The Faithful Place By Tana French Penguin 416 pp., $25.95


It doesn’t matter whether you’re stacking them into your suitcase or saving them on your Kindle, it still comes down to the same problem: The summer days are somehow never quite long enough to allow you to get through the stack of books that you’ve been amassing all winter.

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And then what about all those tempting releases that the publishers have been saving for June? Bookstore shelves are going to be full of flashy new titles. Which are the must-reads for vacation – and which can really wait till next winter?

To help ease reading decisions, the Monitor has put together a summer 2010 reader’s guide. Whether it’s a thriller set in Saudi Arabia, the story of the rise of Facebook, or a literary biography spiked with Chinese history, we hope to lead you to the books that will keep you turning pages all summer long.


If you read his 2006 book “The Last Mughal,” then you are already aware of both the breadth of William Dalrymple’s knowledge and his gifts as a writer of good prose. In his latest book, Nine Lives (Knopf Doubleday, 304 pp., $26.95), Dalrymple tackles a particularly complex and fascinating area of Indian culture as he profiles nine Indians – of widely varying backgrounds – all of whom continue to adhere to their ancient religious traditions, even in the face of the country’s rapid modernization.
The Price of Stones (Penguin Group, 288 pp., $25.95)is being promoted as the African version of “Three Cups of Tea.” Author Twesigye Jackson Kaguri grew up in rural Uganda and then returned home after studying in the United States determined to help his country’s 2 million AIDS orphans by opening a free primary school for them.

“[I]t is ultimately wrongness, not rightness, that can teach us who we are,” writes Kathryn Schulz. Her latest book, Being Wrong, is a study of how people come to make errors and what the consequences may be. It may not be your typical beach book, but Schulz – a journalist who calls herself the “world’s leading ‘wrongologist’ ” – manages to be at least as witty as she is erudite. Error, she insists, is “a gift in itself, a rich and irreplaceable source of humor, art, illumination, individuality, and change.”

Former Fortune magazine editor David Kirkpatrick was given remarkable access to the inner workings of Facebook. His book The Facebook Effect (Simon & Schuster, 384 pp., $26) moves from the company’s founding in a Harvard dorm room to its present-day involvement with questions of privacy and changing social mores. (If last year’s “The Accidental Billionaires” left you with plenty of questions, this is the book that will answer them.)

In Pearl Buck in China experienced biographer Hilary Spurling looks at the life and work of Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner Pearl Buck. Buck, the daughter of American missionaries, came of age during a particularly turbulent period in China’s history. Spurling’s biography offers a slice of world history as well as the life of a writer.