THE PAGE TURNERS
A Long Way Down
Nick Hornby (Riverhead)
Thank god Hornby never had serious aspirations to join the literary elite. Where would we be without his engaging, hilarious, disarmingly smart takes on the human condition? This one involves four would-be suicides who meet on a rooftop and share their stories (Breakfast Club anyone?)
The Dog Runs of New York City
Frances R. Sheridan
If you don’t think dogs are cute you probably won’t turn the pages that much. But if you don’t think New York dogs are cute, the very magazine you currently hold in your hands will probably burst into flames. Woof.
Zorro: A Novel
Isabel Allende (HarperCollins)
We were going to put this one in the Literary section because Allende is just such a damn good writer… How can you go wrong with wonderful, lush, smart writing about a swashbuckling hero of the people? (We challenge you not to think of Antonio Banderas while you’re reading this.)
John Twelve Hawks (Double Day)
Basically, we just liked the author’s name. But as it turns out, this first novel, about mystical time travelers and their adventures has a lot of publishing types salivating on their wingtips. Cool name though.
Homewrecker: An Adultery Reader
Daphne Gottlieb (Soft Skull)
The title kind of says it all on this one. Because nothing is more satisfying than other people’s tales of woe (especially when there’s sex involved). With writing from Neal Pollack, Lori Selke, Gina Frangello and more.
The Whores on the Hill
This first-time novelist takes us on a journey to an all-girls high school in the early 1990s for a heavy dose of suburban ennui, manifested in drugs, casual sex, and violence (self-inflicted and otherwise). You need more reasons to read it?! It’ll make you nostalgic for high school and incredibly thankful that you never have to go back.
The Italian Secretary
Caleb Carr (Caroll and Graff)
We think Carr’s kind of a goofball, but like other millionaire-writer goofballs, he knows how to keep the ol’ plot chuggin’ along. In this particular joint, Carr has decided to write a Sherlock Holmes mystery… nothing too frilly or meta. We guess he just wanted to read more Holmes stories, so he wrote one himself.
Bret Easton Ellis (Knopf, August 16)
The so-called enfant terrible of American letters plays himself in this disturbing, dread-filled tale of murder, paranoia and evil dolls. (Imagine if Ellis just started turning out pleasant fables from the life of a country gentlemen? Now that would be disturbing.)
As Serious As A Heartattack
By Louisa Luna (Washington Square Press)
Louisa Luna wears pulp fiction like a hipster chick in a vintage dress and looks pretty good doing it. The story is as much a whodunit as an old-fashioned big city diary. It’s replete with empathetically drawn New York City details, and a loneliness familiar to anyone who’s waited on a piss stained subway platform
THE CONVERSATION STARTERS
SHAM: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless
Steve Salerno (Crown, June 28)
Dr. Phil a southern-fried fraud? Dr. Laura a hypocritical scold? Exult in your own private neurosis and learn how the self-helpers help themselves — to hefty profits!
Inside the Cage: A Season at West 4th Street’s Legendary Tournament
Wight Martindale, Jr. (Simon Spotlight)
Really big men on an itty-bitty court, the Pro-Classic Tournament’s 25th season just began at the Cage, a New York City institution and “the best playground court in America.”