The Daily Beast Recommends
This week: a summer sailing murder, an undercover spy novel by an undercover author, and a little soul-searching for the GOP.
NOC: Non-Official Coverby Nicholas Anderson and Maxine Paetro
An MI6 agent guides us through the frontlines we never see.
Lately we’ve seen Sir John Sawers, the newly appointed head of MI6—more commonly known as Her Majesty’s Secret Service—humiliatingly exposed by his less-than-careful wife and her Facebook profile. But if you’re not interested in seeing an intelligence operative in his swimming trunks, you may want to delve into this slightly more action-packed profile of the quintessential cool customer. Nicholas Anderson is not likely to follow the same fate as Sawers, primarily because Nicholas Anderson is a fabricated name, and his newly published account is a fictionalized memoir. Rarely has the average Joe been able to see the life of the secret agent in such vivid candor. Non-Official Cover takes us across the globe in the shoes of the most dangerous professionals on the planet—a must read for any fan of espionage.
The Game of Opposites: A Novelby Norman Lebrecht
The ultimate story of survival.
Norman Lebrecht won the Whitbread First Novel Award for The Song of Names. Now comes a follow-up: The Game of Opposites, which documents the struggle of a Holocaust survivor as he navigates through love, regret, and the compulsion for revenge and resolution. The protagonist, who collapses in an unnamed country at the end of a World War, falls in love with his nurse and later marries her. But he’s haunted by his time at a labor camp, and when he sees his commander after several years, he has to choose between forgiveness and vengeance.
The Castaways: A Novelby Elin Hilderbrand
Get caught up in high-society scandal.
Nothing spices up summer like a mysterious death-by-sailing mishap. But if you mix in a slew of prominent young Nantucket couples, the bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand, and a shocking, unpredictable twist, you’ve got one jalapeno popper of a summer novel. Greg and Tess MacAvoy capsize their boat and perish during their luxurious anniversary sail, leaving the Kapenashes, the Drakes, and the Wheelers to investigate the mysterious circumstances that robbed them of the fourth pillar of their closely knit social scene. And there’s bound to be a little romance, too, as Hilderbrand was nominated for the 2008 Romantic Novel of the Year Award for her novel, Barefoot.
Not Now, Voyager: A Memoir by Lynne Sharon Schwartz
The acclaimed author expertly reflects on travel.
We can all learn from our own voyages, but it’s less common to learn from someone else’s—it takes a truly masterful storyteller. Lynne Sharon Schwartz is nothing less than that. The recipient of multiple grants, including those from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, Schwartz brings authority to an all-too-widespread genre: the traveler’s memoir. From her early travels to Rome to a journey to Jamaica, to a family trip to Montreal, Not Now, Voyager depicts, in addition to journey from place to place, a journey of the mind.
The Conservative Soul: How We Lost It, How to Get It Back by Andrew Sullivan
A self-help manual for the GOP.
Just as the Republican Party has fallen on hard times, along comes Andrew Sullivan’s The Conservative Soul to offer a little direction. In his 2006 book, Sullivan wrote about the rising threat of religious fundamentalism, which had come to dominate the GOP, weighing it against the threat from Muslim fundamentalism. In Conservative Soul, the blogger underscores the importance of what a conservative doesn’t know. “The defining characteristic of the conservative is that he knows what he doesn’t know,” Sullivan writes. “As humans we can merely sense the existence of a higher truth, a greater coherence than ourselves, but we cannot see it face to face.” Sullivan references everyone from Montaigne to philosopher Michael Oakeshott in a book The New York Times calls “Sullivan at his wonderful best.”