Is that sun lounger calling you in soft, mournful tones? Or maybe you are gearing up for that arduous flight home? Either way, the more bookish among you will be heavily reliant on a diet of sparkling prose during Dubai’s long, unrelenting summer. Dan Brown and Khaled Hosseini dominated this time last year with their long-awaited fiction releases, Inferno and And the Mountains Echoed respectively, but this summer is wide open for the thrillers and post-apocalyptic genre to take over (along with your staple light reads, thought-provoking narratives and international standouts too, of course). Whatever your taste, here’s our pick of the best of the current crop.
We Were Liars by E Lockhart The potent smell of old money, New England, a couple of eccentric characters named Cadence and Mirren, an odd accident and memory loss all feature in the next novel from E Lockhart; her 2008 tome The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks sounds like a summer read for the Gossip Girl set, but Lockhart excels at writing about interesting young characters. Lockhart’s such an accomplished writer that you can rely on her prose to be emotive at the very least. Dhs64, Books Kinokuniya, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 434 0111).
The Rise & Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman We loved Rachman’s last novel The Imperfectionists; okay, it was a story about the publishing industry, but set in a far more romantic locale. Here, Rachman returns with another book about books and a globe-trotting, time-leaping caper. His strength is typically colourfully drawn characters and it’s a given that there will be a few for you to get your teeth into here. Dhs85. Magrudy’s, Beach Road Jumeirah 1, www.magrudy.com (04 344 4193). Other locations include: Al Wahda Mall and Al Bawadi Mall.
Mr Mercedes by Stephen King You know what to expect when you pick up a Stephen King novel don’t you – a TV or blockbuster film adaptation ‘coming soon’. The big man has stamped his name all over the thriller genre, so you’re guaranteed a read to dig into. Mr Mercedes is King’s first hard-boiled detective novel about a cop, a crazed man and a stolen Mercedes. We can smell the whiff of murder-mystery intrigue beginning to cook already. Dhs117. Books Kinokuniya, The Dubai Mall (04 434 0111).
The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank This book follows three generations of women each with their own baggage of issues struggling in amongst the South Carolina low country during the hurricane season. Suddenly, spending your summer cooped up with the family doesn’t seem so bad after all, does it? Expect a whimsical take on the changing perspectives between the women as they take on the task of trying to mend their self-destructive family. Dhs60. www.amazon.com.
Carsick by John Waters When the king of trash Waters, with cult classic films such Pink Flamingoes and Female Troubles to his name, decides to hitchhike across America and write about it at the ripe old age of 68 (there is still hope for us late blooming adventurers after all), you should rely on the outcome to be rather spectacular. Expect quick wit, confused strangers, cringe-worthy moments and hopefully a few laugh-out-loud ones – you ought to avoid the carsickness during this read. Dhs57. www.amazon.com.
Angelica’s Smile by Andrea Camilleri Need some cheap, cool thrills? Then, make this tome your first stop. This is the 17th novel in a series of Sicilian detective stories, though we’re told, there’s no narrative prerequisite to catch up on. Camilleri gets the blood flowing in her books in stories that remind us of a stylish gangster flick. Those painted covers always look great next to a pool, too. Dhs47. www.amazon.com.
Friendship by Emily Gould This parable is an undoubted shoo-in for the book Most Likely to Be Lazily Compared to Girls Everywhere award. The latest from this NYC blogger (www.emilymagazine.com) Gould chronicles the evolution and decay of interpersonal bonds we make in our twenties. Sure, it’s well-trodden ground, but Gould is an honest writer who needn’t rely on snark or romcom high jinks. Available from July 1, Dhs70, www.amazon.com.
Tigerman by Nick Harkaway With his playful vocabulary and whizz-bang action plots, Harkaway’s prose brings to mind the meaty thrills of US author Neal Stephenson. In his latest, Tigerman, he tells the tale of an Afghanistan vet who ends up in a former tropical colony where he meets a boy who is mad about comic books. You can presume things will get a little weird at this point. Dhs72. www.amazon.com.
California by Edan Lepucki The near-future, the apocalypse. What, no zombies? Yes, the tumble of society is a common post-millennial theme in pop culture. But expect Lepucki to buck the killer virus trends in his latest novel.This is a tale of how we act in dystopia, which is probably not all too different from how we behave today (though there will be likely far fewer post-apocalyptic novels published in dystopian America). Available from August 7. Dhs64. www.amazon.co.uk.
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami One of the greatest living writers returns to realism in his latest novel. This is a story about a man whose four best high-school friends, Mr Red, Mr Blue, Miss White and Miss Black freeze him out, rendering him, well colourless and friendless. Philip Gabriel, who translated the book into English, says we can expect a tightly crafted novel of a man plagued by a great loss and the ensuing dreams and nightmares. Available from August 12. Dhs68. www.amazon.com.
The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil In an alternative present-day Russia, people work in the largest greenhouse in the world where it’s always daylight in this debut from the award-winning Weil. Delving into the yin and yang relationship between Weil’s twin brother protagonists, Yarik and Dima who farm within the dystopian structure, expect extraordinary things from a story that mixes Russian folklore and ‘space mirrors’. Available from July 2. Dhs58. www.amazon.com.
Frog Music by Emma Donoghue The author of best-seller Room, Donoghue is back and this time she’s delving into history with a period crime thriller. Set in 1876, the story follows the exploits of eccentric French dancer Blanche Benoun as she tries to solve the clandestine murder of her close friend, Jenny Bonnet. As well as trying to solve the mystery, Blanche struggles with motherhood, friendship and obligation. Word is this is an expertly crafted novel that gives a voice to those who are so often on the outskirts of society. Dhs35. www.amazon.com.
Levels of life by Julian Barnes ‘Every love story is a potential grief story,’ writes Barnes. Split into three sections, this book weaves a tale of juxtaposing themes: hot air ballooning and grief. But not any old grief; the unrelenting kind. Barnes was married for 30 years to literary agent Pat Kavanagh. Then she was diagnosed with a brain tumour and died 37 days later. A Booker Prize judge described him as ‘an unparalleled magus of the heart’ when he won the award in 2011 for this book. See if you agree. Dhs54. www.amazon.co.uk.
Thrive by Arianna Huffington Named in Forbes’ list of Most Influential Women in Media, Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, uses this book to reflect on her collapse due to exhaustion to offer up simple, often common sense advice. Nuggets of wisdom peppered throughout the book such as get more sleep, learn how to meditate and practise how to trust your instincts are not exactly earth-shattering we admit, but it’s bound to make you reflect on where you are in your life if nothing else. Dhs35. www.amazon.com.