Summer Guide: Pulitzer Winner Jonathan Weiner Follows the Search for Immortality

Long for This World examines the scientific battle against aging

The Return
By Roberto Bolaño, July

Each of the stories in Bolaño's second collection, several of which appeared in The New Yorker and Playboy, read as if it was written in one furious sitting, Bolaño's bony hand fighting to keep pace with the relentless invention or recollection of scenes, characters, and dialogue. There are fallen women, and detectives, and dusty strung-out guys from the narrator's past who suddenly appear, then fade into oblivion again. Somehow it all feels completely real. (His third collection, The Insufferable Gaucho, comes out in August.) New Directions, 205 pp., $23.95

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran
By Rob Sheffield, July

Most people say "Nirvana" or "grunge" when asked what defined the '90s. Sheffield's first memoir, Love Is a Mixtape, analyzed that connection with chatty, heart-on-the-sleeve precision. His new one candidly examines his flailing adolescence through the prism of '80s rock hits. Your favorite Hall & Oates song, for example, determined "what kind of idiot" you were, and Paul McCartney's "No More Lonely Nights" taught him that "not worshipping a girl was a waste of time." Dutton, 288 pp., $25.95

Composed
By Rosanne Cash, August

Rosanne Cash was born a month before her dad's first single, "Cry, Cry, Cry," was released on Sun Records. The birth was apparently hell on her mom ("It sounded like a mean-spirited, medieval exercise in physical endurance," Cash writes), and seems to have foreshadowed the emotional rockiness ahead, courtesy of JC. But Rosanne got through it, leaving behind a trail of heartrending, genre-crossing songs, all of which now look like preparation for this deeply felt and gorgeously written memoir. Viking, 253 pp., $26.95

Packing for Mars
By Mary Roach, August

Having energetically explored sex and death in three previous books (Stiff, Spook, and Bonk), bestselling author Mary Roach is now interested in space. But since NASA endlessly simulates all future space activities, it's possible, in a sense, to visit space without ever leaving Earth. Accordingly, Roach travels to Florida and asks burning questions such as: How is the passing of bodily fluids accomplished at zero gravity? Her signature wit and optimism are here in spades. W.W. Norton, 322 pp., $25.95

Proust's Overcoat
By Lorenza Foschini, August

Subtitled The True Story of One Man's Passion for All Things Proust, Foschini's slim but vivid volume relates the story of Jacques Guerin, a collector, bibliophile, and Parisian perfume maker. Guerin rescued many of the late novelist's possessions (overcoat, rug, drawings) from the clutches of his family, who disapproved of Marcel's homosexual and anti-bourgeois leanings and wanted the artifacts destroyed. Considering Proust's sympathy for the "souls trapped in inanimate objects," Guerin did him a huge favor. Likewise Foschini in rendering his passionate, obsessive quest. Ecco, 144 pp., $19.99

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