“Hillbilly Elegy,” is a best-selling memoir about the proud families mired in poverty in Appalachia. Author J.D. Vance, who split his childhood between West Virginia and Middletown, Ohio, shares how he avoided a fate that swallowed so many others, including his own mother, and how he accomplished what should have been impossible.
Colson Whitehead recently won the Pulitzer Prize in literature for this novel, and deservedly so. If it’s possible for a story about runaway slaves to be both beautiful and horrifying, this one is it.
Here are a few more books you’re likely to see people reading this summer:
1. “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Margaret Atwood’s 1986 dystopian novel about an America that has been taken over by a Christian fundamentalist group is enjoying a resurgence of interest and a new generation of readers. It also has been made into a new TV series.
Though Franken is no longer a comedian, the title of his new memoir makes it clear he hasn’t lost his sense of humor. Franken details his journey from being a writer and performer on “Saturday Night Live” to a U.S. senator representing the state of Minnesota.
No one taps into America’s psyche like Stephen King, whose 1986 book about a demon embodying a clown set on killing seven kids is seeing new sales as a new movie based on the story is set to debut this summer.
4. “Two By Two”
Nicholas Sparks, the king of the tear-jerkers is at it again. His latest offering is the story of a young father and husband who has the perfect life—only to have the bottom drop out.
John T. Edge, a columnist for Garden & Gun Magazine (yes, there is such a thing), shares some stories behind the history and evolution of southern cooking, from church dinners and the women who organize them, to the rise of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Oh, and a definition of “pot likker.”
6. “Right Behind You”
Lisa Gardner’s latest killer-thriller centers on a young girl emerging from a family tragedy and recently adopted by two FBI profilers, but there’s one problem: Her older brother may be the serial killer they’re looking for.
No one writes about Americans and what they’re really like better than Joan Didion. This slim but engrossing nonfiction book was produced from notes Didion recorded while traveling through the Deep South in the 1970s.