'Finders Keepers' by Stephen King, June 2
A masterful, intensely suspenseful novel about a reader whose obsession with a reclusive writer goes far too far—a book about the power of storytelling, starring the same trio of unlikely and winning heroes King introduced in Mr. Mercedes.
“Wake up, genius.” So begins King’s instantly riveting story about a vengeful reader. The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.
Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later, a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after thirty-five years.
Not since Misery has King played with the notion of a reader whose obsession with a writer gets dangerous. Finders Keepers is spectacular, heart-pounding suspense, but it is also King writing about how literature shapes a life—for good, for bad, forever.
'Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva' by Rosemary Sullivan, June 4
A painstakingly researched, revelatory biography of Svetlana Stalin, a woman fated to live her life in the shadow of one of history’s most monstrous dictators – her father, Josef Stalin.
Born in the early years of the Soviet Union, Svetlana Stalin spent her youth inside the walls of the Kremlin. Communist Party privilege protected her from the mass starvation and purges that haunted Russia, but she did not escape tragedy – the loss of everyone she loved, including her mother, two brothers, aunts and uncles, and a lover twice her age, deliberately exiled to Siberia by her father.
As she gradually learned about the extent of her father’s brutality after his death, Svetlana could no longer keep quiet and in 1967 shocked the world by defecting to the United States – leaving her two children behind. But although she was never a part of her father’s regime, she could not escape his legacy. Her life in America was fractured; she moved frequently, married disastrously, shunned other Russian exiles, and ultimately died in poverty in Spring Green, Wisconsin.
With access to KGB, CIA, and Soviet government archives, as well as the close cooperation of Svetlana’s daughter, Rosemary Sullivan pieces together Svetlana’s incredible life in a masterful account of unprecedented intimacy. Epic in scope, it’s a revolutionary biography of a woman doomed to be a political prisoner of her father’s name. Sullivan explores a complicated character in her broader context without ever losing sight of her powerfully human story, in the process opening a closed, brutal world that continues to fascinate us.
'In The Unlikely Event' by Judy Blume, June 4
In her highly anticipated new novel, Judy Blume, the New York Times #1 best-selling author of 'Summer Sisters' and of young adult classics such as 'Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret', creates a richly textured and moving story of three generations of families, friends and strangers, whose lives are profoundly changed by unexpected events.
In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life. Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen, and in love for the first time, a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, she paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place—Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable,” Elizabeth Taylor haircuts, young (and not-so-young) love, explosive friendships, A-bomb hysteria, rumors of Communist threat. And a young journalist who makes his name reporting tragedy. Through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on.
'In the Unlikely Event' is vintage Judy Blume, with all the hallmarks of Judy Blume’s unparalleled storytelling, and full of memorable characters who cope with loss, remember the good times and, finally, wonder at the joy that keeps them going.
'Tom Clancy's Under Fire' by Grant Blackwood, June 15
'Tom Clancy's Under Fire' is the latest breakneck Jack Ryan Jr. adventure novel from one of Clancy's most successful collaborators: Grant Blackwood.
On a routine intelligence gathering mission in Tehran Jack Ryan, Jr. has lunch with his oldest friend, Seth Gregory, an engineer overseeing a transcontinental railway project. As they part, Seth slips Jack a key, along with a perplexing message.
The next day Jack is summoned to an apartment where two men claim Seth has disappeared, gone to ground with funds for a vital intelligence operation. Jack's oldest friend has turned, they insist, leaving Jack with a warning: If you hear from Seth Gregory, call us immediately, and do not get involved. But they don't know Jack. He won't abandon a friend in need.
Joined by Seth's primary agent Ysabel, an enigmatic Iranian woman who is his only clue to Seth's whereabouts, Jack's pursuit of the truth leads him across Iran, through the war-torn Caucasus, and finally deep into territory coveted by the increasingly aggressive Russian Federation.
Jack soon finds himself lost in a maze of intrigue, lies, and betrayal where no one is who they seem to be - not even Seth. It seems Seth has a secret of his own. A secret that is driving him to the brink of treachery.
Racing against the clock, Jack must unravel the mystery: Who is friend and who is foe? Before it's over, Jack Ryan, Jr., may have to choose between his loyalty to his friend and his loyalty to his country.
'Modern Romance' by Aziz Ansari, June 15
People today have more romantic options than at any point in human history, and thanks to social media, smartphones and online dating, our abilities to connect with these options are staggering. Yet we also have to face new and absurd dilemmas, such as what to think when someone doesn't reply to your text but has time to post a photo of a pizza on Instagram. But this transformation of our romantic lives cannot be explained by technology alone. Whereas once most people would find a decent person who probably lived in their neighbourhood and marry by the age of 23, today we spend years of our lives on a quest to find our soulmate.
While Ansari has long aimed his comedic insight at modern relationships, here he teamed up with award-winning sociologist Eric Klinenberg to research dating cultures from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Paris, crunch the quantitative data and interview some of the world's leading social scientists. The result is an unforgettable tour of the romantic landscape.
'The Festival of Insignificance' by Milan Kundera, June 18
'Enchanting ... it explores all aspects of a declining civilisation without taking any of them too seriously ... In this novel of Flaubertian seduction, free of blame and guilt, insignificance is the very essence of life.' La Repubblica
Casting light on the most serious of problems and at the same time saying not one serious sentence; being fascinated by the reality of the contemporary world and at the same time completely avoiding realism - that's 'The Festival of Insignificance'. Readers who know Kundera's earlier books know that the wish to incorporate an element of the "unserious" in a novel is not at all unexpected of him. In 'Immortality', Goethe and Hemingway stroll through several chapters together talking and laughing. And in 'Slowness', Vera, the author's wife, says to her husband: "you've often told me you meant to write a book one day that would have not a single serious word in it... I warn you: watch out. Your enemies are lying in wait."
Now, far from watching out, Kundera is finally and fully realizing his old aesthetic dream in this novel that we could easily view as a summation of his whole work. A strange sort of summation. Strange sort of epilogue. Strange sort of laughter, inspired by our time, which is comical because it has lost all sense of humor. What more can we say? Nothing. Just read.