Summer doesn't mean muchin San Francisco. Opportunities for beach reading may be slim, but there is a bounty of new reads waiting to be taken on your wine getaway in Napa, to that rare afternoon on the sand at Ocean Beach, or — more realistically — onto your couch on an overcast July day. Still, War and Peace is best reserved for the winter months, so here are 15 summer reads to keep you busy in the season to come.
The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction, Neil Gaiman (William Morrow,May 31)
Neil Gaiman is a master of the subtly fantastical, but his prowess as an essayist is mighty too. Here his nonfiction work is collected for the first time, a gift for fans of Gaiman and the art of the essay alike.
Modern Lovers, Emma Straub (May 31, Riverhead)
Straub was a summer hit with 2014's The Vacationers, and here she returns with a novel about two families struggling to endure a sticky summer in Brooklyn.
Before the Fall, Noah Hawley (May 31, Grand Central)
Noah Hawley may be a first-time author, but he knows a thing or two about good mysteries. After all, he is the creator and show runner of FX's runaway hit Fargo, and this thriller proves he's skilled in suspense across multiple mediums.
The Hour of Land, Terry Tempest Williams (May 31, Sarah Crichton)
Williams, the author of Finding Beauty in a Broken World and Oprah-endorsed, writes about 12 national parks across the U.S. and what they mean on a personal and cultural level. Best read in proximity to trees and with a tent available — you'll want to plan a trip once you crack this one open.
But What If We're Wrong, Chuck Klosterman (June 7, Blue Rider Press)
Chuck Klosterman can write about the Celtics, Guns N' Roses, or Kafka with equal aplomb. Now the pop culture essayist behind Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs returns with a compelling new read examining the present through the prism of the past.
End of Watch, Stephen King (June 7, Scribner)
It's a new Stephen King book — need we say more? OK, fine. In this title, which ends the trilogy King began with Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, retired cop Bill Hodges must do battle with a crazed psychopath.
Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, Mary Roach (June 7, W.W. Norton)
Having already explored the terrains of Mars, the digestive system, ghosts, and human cadavers, the brilliant and hilarious Mary Roach now turns her attention to science's relationship with the military. No one combines fascinating science with humor quite like Roach, and Grunt is no exception.
Barkskins, Annie Proulx (June 14, Scribner)
Proulx is best known for her short story “Brokeback Mountain,” but in Barkskins, the Pulitzer Prize-winner has crafted an epic and compelling narrative focused on nature's destruction.This one is a heavy hitter, but well worth the investment.
Here's to Us, Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown,June 14)
What happens when three romantic rivals all converge on a Nantucket cottage to mourn the death of the man who possessed their shared affection?
The Girls, Emma Cline (Random House,June 14)
In the tradition of Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides comes a brilliant story about a group of girls drawn to a cult in 1960s Northern California. Drawing on the Manson Family and violent close of the counterculture years, Cline's debut novel is a stunning achievement.
Fight Club 2 (Graphic Novel), Chuck Palahniuk (Dark Horse, June 28)
In an intriguing twist, Palahniuk offers the sequel to his most famous novel in a new medium. Fight Club 2 is a graphic novel that picks up 10 years after the end of Project Mayhem, and promises to continue the pathos of bloodied white collars set forth in the original.
Saga: Volume 6, Brian K. Vaughan (Image Comics,July 5)
If you haven't read Saga, you're missing one of most engrossing graphic novel stories around. A three-time Eisner winner for Best Continuing Series, volume six carries on the intergalactic narrative that is at once otherworldly and deeply personal. In the meantime, grab the first five installments and you'll quickly see what all the fuss is about.
Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty (Flatiron Books,July 26)
Moriarty is an Australian novelist whose past titles like Big Little Lies and What Alice Forgot have catapulted her onto The New York Times bestseller list. Her newest book focuses on one weekend shared by three couples and their children, and the unexpected consequences that arise.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One & Two, J.K. Rowling (July 31, Arthur A. Levine)
Fans hungry for more tales of Harry Potter and his wizarding world are counting the seconds until the release of this title, the official script of the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which picks up Harry's story 19 years later.
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy Schumer (August 16, Gallery Books)
In Schumer's debut memoir, expect more of the same deliciously biting humor and sharp observations she employed so well in last year's Trainwreck and her hit Comedy Central show, Inside Amy Schumer.