Whether you’re hopping on the jitney or climbing up to tar beach, don’t forget some choice reading material. Here are some faves:
THE CLOSED CIRCLE Jonathan Coe [Knopf, May] This sequel to 2001’s The Rotters’ Club finds the woefully underrated Coe following his clique of Birmingham high schoolers to London and points beyond, where they have penetrated the higher echelons of contemporary British journalism and politics.
ALL YESTERDAY’S PARTIES: THE VELVET UNDERGROUND IN PRINT Clinton Heylin [Da Capo Press, May] Relive the glory days of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable with this compilation of reviews, flyers, and VU ephemera.
A LONG WAY DOWN Nick Hornby [Riverhead, June] In a departure from Hornby’s usual territory of angst-ridden, pop-obsessed, lovable schlubs in romantic turmoil, Down gives us four protagonists with only one common trait: the desire to commit suicide on New Year’s Eve. Happy summer!
THE CLUMSIEST PEOPLE IN EUROPE, OR MRS. MORTIMER’S BAD-TEMPERED GUIDE TO THE VICTORIAN WORLD Todd Pruzan and Mrs. Favell Lee Mortimer [Bloomsbury, June] Mrs. Mortimer—armchair traveler and author of such proclamations as “The Spaniards are not only idle, they are very cruel”—makes a persuasive and hilarious case for staying put.
THE HISTORY OF LOVE Nicole Krauss [W.W. Norton, May] Publishing gossip has it that this second novel by Krauss is far better than—though oddly similar to—her famous husband’s (Jonathan Safran Foer, for those keeping score).