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Culture / Entertainment

The Best Summer Books — 6 Truly Worthy Picks From Texas’ Independent Book Store Gurus

Don’t Read Beach Trash

BY // 07.05.18

At the height of summer, when many Dallasites have escaped to Mexico or Napa, staff at Interabang Books are stocking shelves with thousands of top fiction, nonfiction, and children’s titles.

The 5,000-square-foot independent boutique, which opened one year ago on Preston and Royal, carries books specially chosen by co-owners Nancy Perot and Lori Feathers (a noted book reviewer who serves on the Board of the National Book Critics Circle); longtime independent bookseller Jeremy Ellis; and Lisa Plummer, the store’s buyer for children and young adults.

Display tables throughout the space are on wheels, easily moved to make way for parties and book signings. Beneath a colorful mural of a book-reading, horse-riding cowboy is a children’s stage, site of weekly story times à la Meg Ryan as You’ve Got Mail’s independent bookstore heroine Kathleen Kelly.

For those still in town, searching for the perfect poolside page-turner to accompany a sizzling afternoon, we talked wordy with a few Interabang bookworms to learn their go-to books for summer — all available at Interabang, natch.

Fiction

The Only Story by Julian Barnes
A beautifully honest and introspective novel about the decade-long love affair between Susan, middle-aged and married, and 19-year-old Paul. The two meet at a tennis club outside of London in the 1960s and soon become inseparable.

Barnes writes with real depth of feeling about the experience of falling in love and its heedless, self-centered sense of excitement. — Lori Feathers, co-owner and adult-book buyer

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Invitation to a Bonfire by Adrienne Celt
A propulsive literary thriller, masterfully constructed and written with an extraordinary, raw urgency that will leave readers breathless.

Inspired by the marriage of Vladimir and Vera Nabokov, Celt explores the love and ambition of two, strong-willed women who compete for the passions and artistic control of a literary icon.

The novel’s characters are original and vividly drawn with all the complexity and contradictions of their emotions and intentions fully realized. — LF

Nonfiction

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
A memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family in Idaho and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far — if there was still a way home. — Tom Blute, events coordinator

Beneath a Ruthless Sun by Gilbert King
A powerful, page-turning story rooted in the fears that rippled through the South as integration began to take hold, sparking a surge of virulent racism that savaged the vulnerable, debased the powerful, and roils our own times still.

Bit by bit, the unspeakable truths behind a conspiracy that shocked a community into silence begin to surface. — Jack Freeman, digital marketing coordinator

Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion by Michelle Dean
These 10 brilliant women — Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler, Janet Malcolm — are united by what Dean calls “sharpness,” the ability to cut to the quick with precision of thought and wit.

This is a passionate portrayal of how they asserted themselves through their writing in a climate where women were treated with extreme condescension by the male-dominated cultural establishment.

Mixing biography, literary criticism, and cultural history, it’s a testament to how anyone who feels powerless can claim the mantle of writer, and, perhaps, change the world. — Kyle Hall, operations manager

Saving Sin City: William Travers Jerome, Stanford White, and the Original Crime of the Century by Mary Cummings
This account of the murder trial of Harry Thaw is a fresh, modern look at a fabled case. The murdered man was Stanford White, the most celebrated architect of the Gilded Age.

Thaw shot him in the head in front of dozens of people — and was found not guilty. It’s been the subject of many books, documentaries, and movies, yet remains a surprising, fascinating story. — KH

Interabang Books, 10720 Preston Road, 214.484.4289.

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