Above: Late summer reading suggestions include Smile A While by Kyle Brooks, aka painter/muralist BlackCatTips.
Here’s a suggested list of books to enjoy while you’re catching those last rays of the summer sun.
Smile A While
Better known by his nom de plume, BlackCatTips, the painter and muralist has created his first book, which includes many of his familiar smiling faces alongside poems about things you can do to smile and be happy. While it looks like a children’s book, Brooks said “Smile A While” is for all ages. The artist was reluctant to release a book, but after friend and marketing whiz Laura Thompson gave him a small Andy Warhol art book along with a business plan to get the book into the world, Brooks spent a year working on the paintings and verses. The book will debut at a reading and signing on Aug. 8 from 10 a.m. to noon at The Grove at Colony Square in Midtown. To order the book and find out about more events, visit blackcattips.com.
None of the Above
Shani Robinson and Anna Simonton
Robinson, one of the teachers caught up in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal, and journalist Simonton explore the racial and economic disparities that brought about the case.
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls
The lives of three sisters are upended when one of them is sent to prison for defrauding the town they live in.
The new director of Poetry at Tech, Kaminsky’s tour-de-force collection of poems weaves a narrative of a town in a war-torn country whose populace goes deaf in protest and resistance against the occupiers.
We Are All Good People Here
Susan Rebecca White
Two life-long friends reconnect when their daughters are endangered by secrets from their mothers’ radical college days.
A thought-provoking retelling of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” in class-obsessed, modern-day Pakistan.
The Favorite Daughter
Patti Callahan Henry
A woman returns to her small South Carolina hometown to care for her father diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and discovers his secret past.
Mary Kay Andrews
A down-on-her luck woman who works for her father, a flamboyant personal injury attorney, stumbles onto a murder in s sleepy beech community.
Never Have I Ever
A boozy book club turns into a nightmarish game of one-upmanship as a newcomer threatens to expose secrets and lies about one member’s past.
The Last Widow
The thriller writer brings back medical examiner Sara Linton and her partner Will Trent are on the case of a missing Centers for Disease Control scientist and the diabolical enemy behind the plot.
A guided tour of the history of barbecue in America including vintage art and recipes.
The Magnetic Girl
Memoirist Jessica Handler and her mother shared an interest in stories of remarkable women, so years ago, when Handler’s mother came across an article about Lulu Hurst, she emailed a copy to her daughter. The article was titled “The Feats of the Magnetic Girl Explained.” That article would inspire Handler’s debut novel, a fictionalized account of Hurst’s days as vaudeville act and how she supposedly used magnetism in her body to lift people seated in parlor chairs or to knock grown men across the stage. Hurst later admitted in her own autobiography that she was a charlatan and her powers were actually tricks and stagecraft.
For her version of Lulu’s story, Handler invented a sick younger brother, who hopes Hurst’s magnetic powers might heal him, and explores her relationship with her parents, who enjoy the benefits of their daughter’s growing celebrity. Handler says she spent about a decade working on the novel and even tried to perform some of Hurst’s “magnetic tests” herself, but never fully mastered them. “The chair thing, I can’t figure,” she said. – Joe Earle