05.29.11

10 Must-Read Summer Books

Nazis. Wonder drugs. Uzi-toting mothers. Here's what to pick up this season, from the current issue of Newsweek.

Nothing Daunted
by Dorothy Wickenden

Century-old letters composed in the wilds of Colorado by two young schoolteachers provide the backbone of this stirring narrative by one of their granddaughters.

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit
by Mark Seal

At 17, Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter left Germany for the U.S., where he pursued a two-decade career as an impostor, most famously as Clark Rockefeller. This spectacular story is all in the entertaining details.

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The Man in the Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal. Viking Adult 336p. $16.84 ()

State of Wonder
by Ann Patchett

A female research scientist from a Minneapolis drug company is sent to Brazil to find a doctor working on a wonder fertility drug. Think Heart of Darkness with women.

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State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. Harper. 368p. $14.50 ()

Carte Blanche
by Jeffery Deaver

His creator may be long gone, but James Bond (with his gadgets, women, and suave lines) lives on in the skillful hands of a suspense superstar.

In the Garden of Beasts
by Erik Larson

A stunning work of history that tells the story of the professor turned U.S. ambassador who witnessed the rise of the Nazis in the 1930s.

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In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. Crown. 464p. $13.78 ()

Bloodmoney
by David Ignatius

A gripping, ripped-from-the-headlines CIA thriller set in Pakistan that will have you wondering just how much is actually fiction.

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Bloodmoney: A Novel of Espionage by David Ignatius 372 pages W. W. Norton & Company $25.95 ()

Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness
by Alexandra Fuller

As a follow-up to Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, Fuller lovingly profiles her mother, a wisecracking, Uzi-toting woman as proud of her Scottish heritage as she was in love with Africa.

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Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness by Alexandra Fuller 256 pages Penguin Press HC $25.95 ()

Once Upon a River
by Bonnie Jo Campbell

In this beautifully written, action-packed novel, 16-year-old Margo Crane gets raped by her uncle, sees her father murdered, and then takes off in a rowboat to search for her missing mother—and that's the first 50 pages.

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Once Upon a River: A Novel by Bonnie Jo Campbell 348 pages W. W. Norton & Company $25.95 ()

Tigerlily's Orchids
by Ruth Rendell

Even after 60 novels, there's no trace of staleness in Rendell's latest, a mordantly sly group portrait of the denizens of a suburban London apartment complex where things go awry in delectably awful ways.

The President and the Assassin
by Scott Miller

Against the backdrop of Gilded Age America in turmoil, President William McKinley is assassinated by an anarchist and terrorist.

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The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century by Scott Miller 432 pages Random House $28.00 ()

Plus: Check out Book Beast, for more news on hot titles and authors and excerpts from the latest books.

Malcolm Jones writes about books, music, and photography for The Daily Beast and Newsweek, where he has written about subjects ranging from A. Lincoln to R. Crumb. He is the author of a memoir, Little Boy Blues , and collaborated with the songwriter and composer Van Dyke Parks and the illustrator Barry Moser on Jump! , a retelling of Brer Rabbit stories.

Lucas Wittmann is the Books Editor at The Daily Beast.