The Daily Beast Recommends
This week, James Patterson cranks out another one full of gratuitous sex and violence and Michael Lang delivers the inside scoop on Woodstock.
Swimsuitby James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Gratuitous sex and violence to go along with your poolside margarita.
Patterson’s latest is perfect summer reading if you like lots of sex and violence to go with your poolside margarita. He teams up yet again with Maxine Paetro for this disturbing, fast-paced thriller. The two trot out one of the most chilling villains yet: Henri Benoit, a hired killer who targets young women. Benoit videotapes his slayings and sends the tapes to “The Alliance,” a mysterious death group that employs him. Be warned—this book contains very graphic scenes.
The Road to Woodstockby Michael Lang
The festival's co-founder shares insider details on Woodstock.
It’s the tale of a generation: the pot-smoking, jazz-listening kid from Brooklyn, the head-shop proprietor in Miami, and the long-haired hippie haggling with dairy farmers in upstate New York. These are all iterations of Michael Lang, co-founder of the Woodstock music festival. In his upcoming book, The Road to Woodstock, Lang recalls the suitably nonlinear path he forged across the country, meeting musical and artistic visionaries along the way, that culminated with a cultural explosion that would resonate for decades to come. The book is filled with factoids that would leave the most devoted folkies and moptops surprised—for instance, Lang invited John Lennon to play the festival but not Bob Dylan (Lang’s favorite set was that of Sly & the Family Stone). Nowadays, Lang is producing films and plays, though he says he’s never described himself as “career minded.”
Good Things I Wish Youby A. Manette Ansay
Summer romance and mystery all in one.
Just in time for the beach, Good Things I Wish You is the story of two summer romances—separated by 150 years. A. Manette Ansay, author of Vinegar Hill, tells the story of Jeanette Hochmann, a divorced novelist who’s looking for love. But she’s not looking where you’d expect: She’s scouring history for clues that Clara Schumann—wife of composer Robert Schumann—had an affair with her husband’s protégé, Johannes Brahms. Complete with photographs, sketches, and notes, the book details Jeanette’s new discoveries of an oft-studied love triangle. But life does tend to imitate art, and as Jeanette studies the details of the Schumann affair, she finds that her own life parallels that of her protagonist.
Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles
A layover in life?
We’ve all had to go through it: Surprise thunderstorm or booking glitch leaves us twice removed from the familiar, stranded in a foreign city and further quarantined to an uninhabitable terminal. Sure, most of us can get through it by retreating to our light reading, but Bennie will have quite a different experience. In his lauded first novel, Dear American Airlines, Jonathan Miles traces the tale of Bennie, who finds himself alone and without a flight at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. But what starts out as an angry letter to an air carrier becomes a meditation on his layover in life. With a sharp, crisp voice, Miles tells one man’s story, with forays into Poland, California, and the Holocaust. Though probably not through a support representative, Bennie is bound to learn something important about where he’s come from and where he is going.
Heroic Measuresby Jill Ciment
The author of The Tattoo Artist explores chaos and gridlock in Manhattan.
Publisher’s Weekly called it “gripping”—and readers can now grip a copy of their own, as Jill Ciment’s new novel, Heroic Measures, hits shelves Tuesday. Sure to score rave reviews, much like her last novel, The Tattoo Artist, the new book is a testament to Ciment’s lauded writing style. The story, set in Manhattan, begins almost farcically, when a gas tanker gets stuck in the Midtown Tunnel, creating traffic gridlock and a local media blitz. Ciment navigates her characters through the chaos ignited by “Terror in the Tunnel,” the veterinarian’s office, and the world of real estate with a literary precision and tact rarely reserved for such material. Heroic Measures will delight eager fans awaiting Climent’s next work.