What I'll be reading this summer

Yesterday USA Today came out with their summer books preview today and they've got all the big names (Sebastian Faulks picking up the James Bond gig, David Maraniss on the Rome Olympics, David Sedaris, Emily Griffin, E. Lynn Harris, and so on.) All good, of course. But I'd like to add three quieter books that I can't wait to read.

I edit a book section so obviously I'm required to cram more reading time into my schedule than the average person. (Not that I'm complaining!) But there is still a little sliver of time I get to devote to leisure books and here are three that I'm going to keep on my bedside table whether the job requires me to read them or not:

– "Say You're One of Them" by Uwem Akpan (coming out in June). This Nigerian-born writer's fiction about African children in crisis is reading should make for dark but beautiful reading.

– "How Fiction Works" by James Wood (scheduled for release in July). Sort of a busman's holiday I guess but it's hard to pass up criticism as well done as Wood's.

- "Stanley and Sophie" by Kate Jennings (coming out in August. This is how the book begins: "I fell in love with a prideful, tense bundle of muscle and sinew that stood seventeen inches high. You would see a small brown dog; I saw perfection." If you substituted the word "black" for "brown" in that second sentence, I could have written this. Of course I'm going to read it.

What are your not-to-missed books for the summer?

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