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Serge Gainsbourg: A View From The Exterio r
Alan Clayson (Sanctuary Press, July 10)
You can read all the books about Serge Gainsbourg you want, but you will never, never get laid like he did.
Def Jam, Inc.: Russell Simmons, Rick Rubin, and the Extraordinary Story of the World’s Most Influential Hip-Hop Label
Stacy Gueraseva (One World/Ballantine, July 26)
A comprehensive look at one of hip-hop’s most important (and most revolutionary) labels. You crazy for this one, Stacy Gueraseva!
KRS-One (Sensei Publications, July 31)
One of the earliest socially conscious rappers, the outspoken Kris Parker offers up his first collection of writings, which stand in remarkable contrast to the thugged-out, bling-crazy state of mind of mainstream, contemporary hip-hop.
Modernity and Progress: Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Orwell
Ronald Berman (U. of Alabama Press, August)
We’re not actually sure who would win in a bar fight — but if we had the choice, we’d read Orwell’s account of the fight in question. (Though it’s quite possible that the two Americans would gang up on the Englishman, and Fitzgerald would totally grab a chair and just start swinging it over his head, crying like a three-year-old the whole time.)
Belle and Sebastian: Just A Modern Rock Story
Paul Whitelaw (St. Martin’s Griffin, August 1)
This book is probably more than just anecdotes about the numerous times when people realized Belle and Sebastian weren’t just two guys named Belle and Sebastian. But we can’t make any guarantees.
Franz Kafka Encyclopedia
Richard T. Gray (Greenwood, August)
Because what else would you rather do on a sweltering summer day at the beach than get in touch with your inner feelings of paralytic claustrophobia? (See the fools at play and oblivious in the monotonous surf!
Towelhead: A Novel
Alicia Erian (Simon and Schuster)
This powerful coming-of-age story (set on the eve of the first Gulf War) finds a 13-year-old living with her traditionalist Lebanese father in Houston, dealing with the crises of puberty on her own.
William T. Vollman (Viking)
At a lean 832 pages this represents one of Vollman’s lighter romps through topics of world-historical import. Somehow he’s managed a provocative, fictional look at the mess that was the first half of the 20th century.
The Hungry Tide: A Novel
Amitav Ghosh (Houghton Mifflin)
Set in a remote archipelago off the coast of India , Ghosh’s latest novel (her fifth) is part anthropology, part romance and part elegy — and as an added thrill-bonus, Bengal tigers might attack any character at any moment.
Never Let Me Go
Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf)
Everybody’s talking about Ishiguro’s artful investigation into the near-future ramifications of cloning for human gain (in this case, using friendly clones as organ-generating machines). You should be too.
The Diary of Andrés Fava
Julio Cortázar (translated by Anne McLean, Archipelago Press)
Cortazar is an ever-so slightly unsung 20th century master of the short story (he can’t officially be unsung… after all, his story Blow Up was made into the famous Antonioni film). Amazingly though, this is the first English translation of The Diary.