|So many books, so little left of summer!
General rule: Don't work on a book about the world's greatest piece of cheese. Corollary: Don't tell your editor that you're working on a book about the world's greatest piece of cheese. Exception granted to Michael Paterniti, whose nonfiction The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece Cheese, turns out to be an unexpected delight.
One of the amusing motifs in Arthur Phillips' novel Prague is that the expats who find themselves in Budapest in the early 90s think that they're probably in the wrong town. Necessary Errors by Caleb Crain suggests they were right. Prague was the place to be, not least for its gay, 20-something protagonist, who finds exile the best possible Baedeker.
In The Pioneer Detectives: Did a distant spacecraft prove Einstein and Newton wrong?, a Kindle single, science writer Konstantin Kakaes makes a genuinsly exciting read out of the Pioneer Anomaly: why the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecrafts exited the solar system more slowly than any theory had predicted.
She Left Me the Gun: My Mother's Life Before Me, a memoir by Emma Brockes, uncovers the reasons her mother summarily abandoned her former life in South Africa and moved to England.
Even if it broaches some uncomfortable territory, The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance, by Sports Illustrated senior writer David Epstein, explains the roles that natural ability and effort play in creating superb athletes.
Psychiatrist Mark Epstein, author of the wonderful book Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness, has written The Trauma of Everyday Life, out August 15, which looks at the ways trauma can make more compassionate people of all of us.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's new novel, Americanah, is a major achievement. It starts with two Nigerian teens falling in love, then spreads out across the globe, over many years, delineating the ways race remains a defining theme of America.
Another big one: The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez is set during the long drug wars of Bogotá.
Short story fan? Don't miss the debut collection by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh titled Brief Encounters With the Enemy. Out August 13.
Schindler's List author Thomas Keneally has a new novel out August 20: The Daughters of Mars follows two Australian sisters who serve as nurses during WWI.
Shop Talk: New York's 100 Most Interesting Stores
by MUG publisher Charlie Suisman
is crowdfunding now at Indiegogo.
Be part of the Shop Talk project here