Hot Summer Books: Hollywood's Top 10 Beach Reads

8:00 AM 7/13/2019

by Seth Abramovitch

From a dishy Kennedy bio to a sci-fi allegory, these are the season's hottest page-turners with entertainment industry appeal.

  • 'Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art'

    Author: Michael Shnayerson

    The May 15 sale of Jeff Koons' stainless steel "Rabbit" for $91.1 million made history as the highest price paid for a work by a living artist. How we got to that sum is the topic of this book by Shnayerson, a longtime Vanity Fair contributor, who traces how a quartet of savvy art dealers — of which Larry Gagosian is the king — created the ever-expanding bubble that is the modern art market. (PublicAffairs, $30)

  • 'Chaos: Charles Manson, The CIA, and The Secret History of the Sixties'

    Author: Tom O'Neill

    Hollywood's most infamous horror is a hot topic once more on its 50th anniversary. As the Manson family readies for its close-up in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, journalist O'Neill traces his 20-year obsession with the case in a new book that throws doubt on much of the accepted narrative laid out by former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi's best-seller Helter Skelter. (Little, Brown and Co., $30)

  • 'Fleishman is in Trouble'

    Author: Taffy Brodesser-Akner

    A first novel from a writer best known for tongue-in-cheek celebrity profiles in the pages of GQ and The New York Times Magazine, it follows a 40-something New York hepatologist and father of two named Toby Fleishman as he navigates the treacherous waters of divorce and dating in the Tinder era. His wife, Rachel, left him and the kids to find herself at a yoga retreat. The narrator is — surprise! — a former GQ writer and female friend of Toby's who halfway through begins to openly wonder why men have it so easy. For lovers — or at least sympathizers — of neurotic coastal elites and the sexual politics that divide them. (Random House, $27)

  • 'The Golden Hour'

    Author: Beatriz Williams

    The new novel from the author of the best-selling The Summer Wives is another transporting tale of historical fiction and romance. Set against a backdrop of World War II espionage, it tells the story of a beautiful magazine reporter sent to the Bahamas to investigate the social scene there. The duke and duchess of Windsor, aka Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, play key roles. (William Morrow, $27)

  • 'The Kennedy Heirs: John, Caroline and the New Generation — A Legacy of Triumph and Tragedy'

    Author: J. Randy Taraborrelli

    The best-selling Kennedy biographer — his After Camelot was the basis for the 2017 miniseries starring Katie Holmes as Jackie O — turns his attentions to the third generation of America's most famous political dynasty. The 624-page tome leaves no stone unturned as it retraces the lives of the Kennedy children, who were raised to avoid the topic of the assassinations of their fathers John (in 1963) and Bobby (in 1968). The book also features new details about the 1999 small plane crash that took the lives of John F. Kennedy Jr. and wife Carolyn Bessette. (St. Martin's Press, $30)

  • 'The Lesson'

    Author: Cadwell Turnbull

    The debut novel from a self-described "speculative writer" tells the story of an alien invasion on the U.S. Virgin Islands (Turnbull's birthplace). The species, called the Ynaa, look exactly like humans but are much stronger and respond to any perceived acts of aggression with wildly disproportionate retaliation. It's allegorical science fiction about colonialism in the vein of Ted Chiang (whose work inspired Arrival) and AMC already has snapped up the rights for a possible series. (Blackstone Publishing, $27)

  • 'The Paper Wasp'

    Author: Lauren Acampora

    It has been lauded as the strangest, most intriguing literary debut of the year. The novel's 28-year-old unreliable narrator, Abby, is an unstable artist who moves from Michigan to Los Angeles to become a personal assistant to her childhood best friend, a starlet on the rise. But Abby's ambitions are greater — and more sinister — than merely picking up dry cleaning. This is no garden-variety stalker story, however, but rather a highly specific portrait of a particularly virulent strain of Hollyweirdness. (Grove Press, $26)

  • 'Three Women'

    Author: Lisa Taddeo

    Sure to be one of the most talked-about books of the summer, this piece of immersive journalism follows the sex lives of three American women over eight years. Maggie is a teen having an affair with her teacher; Lina is a bored housewife trapped in a sexless marriage who enters into an affair with her high school boyfriend; and Sloane is a gorgeous restaurateur who at the encouragement of her voyeur husband has sex with other people as he watches. The point? A snapshot of "what longing in America looks like." (Avid Reader Press, $27)

  • 'The Rationing'

    Author: Charles Wheelan

    Lovers of poison-tipped political satire might want to check out this novel about the bungling of a global health emergency. Set in 2030, it follows a deadly viral outbreak that is treatable with a drug called Dormigen — but after a fire destroys most of the supply, the White House has to decide who gets the remaining doses. The pages are filled with juicy, West Wing-style political infighting and Michael Crichton-esque plausible science run amok. (W.W. Norton & Co., $27)

  • 'The Warehouse'

    Author: Rob Hart

    A tech thriller about the future of retail that's a little too close for comfort: After a series of mass murders at shopping centers all but destroys the traditional shopping model, a monolith called Cloud takes over the economy, fulfilling every need from a series of football field-sized warehouses. Workers live inside its city-sized campuses, while everyone else scrambles to survive in a brick-and-mortar apocalyptic nightmare. If the thought of Amazon fulfillment centers swarming with drones sends a pleasurable chill down your spine, this one's for you. (Crown, $27)

    This story first appeared in the July 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.