Summer Reading Guide: Sound smart at cocktail parties

Read "Taipei," then bring it up at a dinner party.
Read “Taipei,” then bring it up at a dinner party.

Whether you’re spending your August lazing at the beach or, like the rest of us, trying to find the best space on the couch to fully feel the air conditioner, a book is the perfect accompaniment. We’ve taken the liberty of choosing a few books for the dog days of August – pick one of these to keep you company this month.

For a book to bring up at cocktail parties:

Receiving a lot of buzz this summer is David Gilbert’s “& Sons,” a tale of – you guessed it – a man and his sons. This family saga is set in the Upper East Side, where A.N. Dyer, eulogizing his best friend, becomes concerned with his own legacy. The book follows his three sons in New York, all confronting their own issues during a weeklong reunion. The book was inspired when Gilbert heard his father give a speech, and afterward an old friend told him his confident, reserved dad had been incredibly shy as a teenager.

If you’re feeling nostalgic for the 2012 presidential election, Dan Balz, who previously brought readers “The Battle for America 2008,” will fill that void. The Washington Post chief correspondent’s new book, “Collision 2012,” which is out Aug. 6, tracks Barack Obama’s presidency, including the 2010 midterm elections and his battle with challenger Mitt Romney. The book can also be a primer on what’s next for U.S. politics, judging by its lofty subtitle – “Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America” – including what changing factors like Twitter and Super PACs might mean.

Much-discussed author Tao Lin returns with “Taipei,” which opens with Paul, a Brooklyn writer navigating the city’s literary scenes and soon off on his own book tour, which leads him to the Taiwanese capital. Dipping into themes of purposeless adulthood, drug use and Internet-documented lives, the book is a slice of generational living. Lin called the book his “magnum opus,” and he has acknowledged much was sourced from his own life experiences.

Najla Said, the author of “Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family,” may have the kind of name that college students will immediately recognize — her father, Edward Said, is a regular on syllabi across the country. Her memoir of growing up amid literary luminaries and cultural influences the world over is told in the voice of a self-confessed confused child looking for meaning. Said learns to accept her Arab heritage along with the whirlwind of cultures that passed through her life, but not without struggling, joking and indulging in the ultimate celebration of culture: storytelling. Julia Furlan

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @reporteralison


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.