SUMMER’S back, and with it, the annual ritual known as summer reading. Here, we suggest 52 books worth looking at, organized by month of publication: a trove of fiction, nonfiction and reissues guaranteed to turn up the heat.
“Bangkok Haunts” by John Burdett (Alfred A. Knopf). A Royal Thai police detective receives a snuff film whose victim is a woman he once loved.
“Cat O’ Nine Tails and Other Stories” by Jeffrey Archer (St. Martin’s). The fifth collection by the British crime novelist, with illustrations by Ronald Searle.
“The Diana Chronicles” by Tina Brown (Doubleday). The former editor of the New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Tatler parses Princess Diana’s short, tragic life.
“Divisadero” by Michael Ondaatje (Alfred A. Knopf). Violence upends the lives of a man and his children working on a Northern California farm in the 1970s.
“Endless Universe: A New History of the Cosmos” by Paul J. Steinhardt and Neil Turok (Doubleday).Two theoretical physicists argue that the Big Bang was not the beginning of everything after all.
“F5" by Mark Levine (Miramax). A cultural history of the tornadoes that ripped across the country’s midsection in 1974.
“The Gravedigger’s Daughter” by Joyce Carol Oates (Ecco). The daughter of a World War II German refugee embarks on an American pilgrimage.
“Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton” by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr. (Little, Brown). The investigative reporters detail how the 1960s Wellesley college idealist became a polarizing politician and presidential candidate.
“The Maytrees” by Annie Dillard (HarperCollins). The marital travails of a Provincetown couple.
“Michael Tolliver Lives” by Armistead Maupin (HarperCollins). The sweet-spirited Southerner of “Tales of the City” returns, an older and wiser man.
“On Chesil Beach” by Ian McEwan (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday). A newly married couple face cruel revelations.
“Peeling the Onion” by Gunter Grass (Harcourt). This memoir ranges from Grass’ boyhood in Danzig through his time in the Waffen-SS and an American POW camp to his start as a novelist.
“Secret Asset” by Stella Rimington (Alfred A. Knopf). British MI5 officer Liz Carlyle hunts a mole in the intelligence agency as her compatriots try to avert a terrorist strike.
“The Shadow Catcher” by Marianne Wiggins (Simon & Schuster). The fictionalized lives of the author and Western photographer Edward Sheriff Curtis are entwined.
“The Short Bus” by Jonathan Mooney (Henry Holt). Mooney, severely dyslexic, travels the country interviewing other veterans of “special ed” and posing the question, “What is normal?”
“Soon I Will Be Invincible” by Austin Grossman (Pantheon). This debut novel rallies superheroes against the machinations of Dr. Impossible.
“Taste: Acquiring What Money Can’t Buy” by Letitia Baldrige (Truman Talley). The arbiter of our elegance discusses good and bad taste, whom to emulate and what to avoid.
“A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton” by Carl Bernstein (Alfred A. Knopf). Her evolution from conservative Midwesterner to liberal social activist to powerful politician.
“Before” by Irini Spanidou (Alfred A. Knopf). A woman married to a talented, volatile painter fights for identity and survival in 1970s Manhattan.
“The Book of Fables” by W.S. Merwin (Copper Canyon Press). The poet’s enigmatic short prose from two out-of-print collections, plus several new pieces.
“The Complete Stories” by David Malouf (Pantheon). A comprehensive collection of the award-winning Australian novelist’s short fiction.
“The Dark River” by John Twelve Hawks (Doubleday). Two brothers are “travelers,” able to move among realms of consciousness: One becomes power-mad, the other must stop him.
“The Dud Avocado” by Elaine Dundy (New York Review Books). A new edition of the semi-autobiographical frolic of a novel in which an American ingenue storms Europe in the carefree 1950s.
“Inner Workings: Literary Essays 2000-2005" by J.M. Coetzee (Viking). The South African novelist examines the work of some of the 20th century’s greatest writers.
“Juicy Mangos: Erotica Collection” edited by Michelle Herrera Mulligan (Atria/Simon & Schuster). Steamy tales of sex and desire from Latina writers.
“Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America” by Eric Jay Dolin (W.W. Norton). Why Nantucket mattered.
“New England White” by Stephen L. Carter (Alfred A. Knopf). A murder in a New England university town involves a prominent black couple.
“Peony in Love” by Lisa See (Random House). See’s fifth novel is set in 17th century China.
“The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington” by Robert D. Novak (Crown). The veteran political reporter reflects on a controversial career in the cross hairs of power.
“The Raj Quartet” by Paul Scott (Everyman’s Library). This masterwork exploring the final days of British rule in India is reissued with an introduction by Scott biographer Hilary Spurling.
“Requiem for an Assassin” by Barry Eisler (Putnam). A rogue CIA operative kidnaps John Rain’s closest friend.
“The Road to Samarcand” by Patrick O’Brian (W.W. Norton). The late author of the Aubrey/Maturin historical novels published this adventure tale in 1954 about an archeological expedition.
“The Secret Servant” by Daniel Silva (Putnam). Master art restorer and Israeli intelligence officer Gabriel Allon discovers a terrorist conspiracy in Amsterdam’s Islamic underground.
“The Tin Roof Blowdown” by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster). Dave Robicheaux in post-Katrina New Orleans, where the line between survival and criminality is desperately blurred.
“The Water’s Lovely” by Ruth Rendell (Crown). A 10-year-old bathtub drowning comes alive in the nightmares of the victim’s stepdaughter.
“Wolf of the Deep: Raphael Semmes and the Notorious Confederate Raider CSS Alabama” by Stephen Fox (Alfred A. Knopf). The wily Confederate captain of a British-built steamship sets fire to Union ships until he’s forced to flee across the Atlantic.
“The Assassin’s Song” by M.G. Vassanji (Alfred A. Knopf). A privileged youth from western India attends Harvard, and 30 years later is drawn back to his native land by a tragedy.
“The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster, and the Water We Drink” by Robert D. Morris (HarperCollins). A history of water-borne pathogens from the mid- 19th century to the present day.
“by George” by Wesley Stace (Little, Brown). The scion of a British family of performers takes up ventriloquism.
“Circling My Mother” by Mary Gordon (Pantheon). Gordon remembers the rich and turbulent life of her mother, the daughter of Sicilian and Irish immigrants.
“The Cleft” by Doris Lessing (HarperCollins). The story of an ancient community of women living in a coastal wilderness, with no knowledge of men.
“Consumption” by Kevin Patterson (Doubleday/Nan Talese). A debut novel set among the Inuit, exploring ethnicity and life in the Canadian Arctic.
“Hugo Chavez” by Cristina Marcano and Alberto Barrera Tyszka (Random House). The controversial life of Venezuela’s president.
“The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Their Daring Quest to Live Forever” by David M. Friedman (Ecco). An account of the bizarre experiments to promote eternal life carried out by the aviation pioneer and a Nobel laureate.
“In Europe: Travels Through the Twentieth Century” by Geert Mak (Pantheon). A Dutch journalist finds the European Union hobbled by a lack of “shared historical experience.”
“King of Bollywood: Shah Rukh Khan and the Seductive World of Indian Cinema” by Anupama Chopra (Warner). The rise of “the Tom Cruise of Hindi film” and an overview of the Indian film industry.
“Learning to Fly” by Mary Lee Settle (W.W. Norton). Before her death in 2005, Settle completed this memoir, which recalls the time as she’s turning 20, sure of her calling as a writer.
“Loving Frank” by Nancy Horan (Ballantine). Who ruined Frank Lloyd Wright’s first marriage? Horan imagines the life of Mamah Borthwick Cheney and her time with the architect.
“Red Rover” by Deirdre McNamer (Viking). Two brothers return to their native Montana after their paths diverge in World War II.
“The Sabotage Cafe” by Joshua Furst (Alfred A. Knopf). A survivor of the 1980s Minneapolis punk scene searches for her missing teenage daughter.
“Seizing Destiny: How America Grew From Sea to Shining Sea” by Richard Kluger (Alfred A. Knopf). The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Ashes to Ashes” revisits Manifest Destiny.
“Spook Country” by William Gibson (Putnam). Gibson’s new novel, a follow-up to “Pattern Recognition,” is a meditation on espionage, the media and the brave new world of the 21st century.