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The Anticipation Almanac: Books


Beach Reads for (Almost) Everyone

If You Spend Your Summers... Read The Reason
Lapping up celebrity tell-alls, then feeling a little dirty about it. Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman, by Patricia Bosworth (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, August 30) The author of the acclaimed Diane Arbus biography on which Fur was loosely based casts a light on the shape-shifting one-woman symbol of polarized America in this smooth, semi-authorized account.
Enjoying Brooklyn emptied of summer homeowners. The Astral, by Kate Christensen (Doubleday, already out) The Pen/Faulkner–winning novelist turns her prose on her neighborhood—Greenpoint—and a middle-aged man on the verge of divorce.
Basking in Nordic winters via crime fiction, but thinking Stieg Larsson is overhyped. The Hypnotist, by Lars Kepler (Sarah Crichton Books, June 21) Maximum intensity, both psychological and physical, is packed into the story of a family ruthlessly slaughtered—possibly by their own teenage son—and the haunted ex-hypnotist who teases out the buried truth.
Catching up on all the long-form journalism you’re usually too busy to look at. Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World, by Robin Wright (Simon & Schuster, July 19) The foreign correspondent and author was, luckily, already researching a book about cultural alternatives to Middle East extremism when the protests erupted, followed by bin Laden’s death.
Reminiscing about those seemingly endless summers of your youth, while also being grateful they’re over. The Inverted Forest, by John Dalton (Scribner, July 19) A summer camp in the Ozarks is suddenly in need of a fresh load of new counselors, who soon find out they’re in for a few dark surprises.

—Boris Kachka

High-Quality Smut …

The avuncular New England novelist Nicholson Baker has been known to work blue—his phone-sex novel, Vox, was, infamously, a gift from Monica Lewinsky to President Clinton. For more than a decade, though, Baker has been keeping his pants on, writing instead about poetry anthologists, World War II, and the plight of old newspapers. But in House of Holes, due out in August, he returns to his roots with his dirtiest work yet: a 200-plus-page tour of a sex-fantasy theme park without a proper plot or central characters. It may be the raunchiest novel ever published by a major American house. Below, a few of the more modest passages.

“What if I said, ‘Be honest, why are you here?’ ”
“I guess I’m here to see women naked.”
… “How much nakedness do you want? Be honest. So few people are able to tell the truth.”
“Let’s see.” Pendle took a deep breath and then poofed it all out. “I think I need 24 horny nude women at the same time.”
“Twenty-four?” said Lila. “I don’t often tell people this, but you know that a man can really only handle one horny nude woman at a time. Maybe two. Even with two, it’s like that trick where you have to circle your head and pat your stomach. Do you want to reconsider? Think.”


Wade woke up in his hotel room and pressed W, for woman, on the Sex Now button of his remote control. Then he dozed off. About ten minutes later, he heard the door open—the woman had a keycard, he supposed. He heard her slip off her slippers and her bathrobe in the dark and get into bed next to him. He could tell from the way she moved in the bed that she was naked.
“Hi. Wow, that was fast,” he said.
“Hello, my name is Koizumi. I’m a sculptor.”


She was amazed. It was like the penis had a telescoping action—the more she taunted and reviled it, the more it kept adding intermediate sections. It was like a subway improvement project.

From House of Holes, by Nicholson Baker. Copyright © 2011 by Nicholson Baker. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc., N.Y.

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