Hamptons Summer Reading: Beach Houses, Beatles and More

Sun, sand and searingly good books make for a perfect day in the Hamptons—and our friends at Books & Books in Westhampton Beach have five hot recommendations you won’t want to miss. A dysfunctional family at a summer beach house. An American spy finding thrills and chills in Istanbul. Photographer Harry Benson sharing intimate moments with The Beatles.

Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon

From the acclaimed, bestselling author of Stardust, The Good German and Los Alamos comes a gripping tale of an American undercover agent in 1945 Istanbul who descends into the murky cat-and-mouse world of compromise and betrayal that will come to define the entire post-war era. Rich with atmosphere and period detail, Joseph Kanon’s latest novel flawlessly blends fact and fiction into a haunting thriller about the dawn of the Cold War, once again proving why Kanon has been hailed as the “heir apparent to Graham Greene” by The Boston Globe. Kanon will be joining Books & Books at the Westhampton Free Library on July 21—stop by to hear him speak and have your copy signed!


Harry Benson: The Beatles by Harry Benson

This stunning book is a new release from esteemed art publisher Taschen, and is a collector’s edition of 1,764 numbered copies signed by the photographer. Harry Benson was warmly welcomed into The Beatles’ inner sanctum, resulting in some of the most intimate photographs ever taken of the band, then on the cusp of world domination. In Paris, he took the famous photograph of the Fab Four having a pillow fight at the George V Hotel; he shot their groundbreaking first visit to the United States, the full impact of New York hysteria, their famous appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, their surprising encounter with Cassius Clay; as well as on the set of A Hard Day’s Night. Benson’s luminous black-and-white photographs show them composing, performing, encountering their fans, relaxing, and engaging with each other, while trying to cope with their increasingly isolating fame. In addition to hundreds of photographs, many previously unseen, there is an introductory essay by Benson as well as quotes and newspaper clippings from the period. A wonderful gift to yourself or to the Beatles-obsessed loved ones in your life!


The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize, this novel is so compelling that it begs to be read in a single setting. The Sense of an Ending has the psychological and emotional depth and sophistication of Henry James at his best, and is a stunning new chapter in Julian Barnes’s oeuvre. This intense novel follows Tony Webster, a middle-aged man, as he contends with a past he never thought much about—until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance: one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Presented with a mysterious legacy, Tony is forced to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world. The New Yorker calls The Sense of an Ending “elegant, playful, and remarkable.”

A Blaze of Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Shiloh by Jeff Shaara

In the first novel of a spellbinding new trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Jeff Shaara returns to the Civil War terrain he knows best. A Blaze of Glory takes us to the action-packed Western Theater for a vivid re-creation of one of the war’s bloodiest and most iconic engagements—the Battle of Shiloh. With stunning you-are-there immediacy, Shaara takes us inside the maelstrom of Shiloh as no novelist has before. Drawing on meticulous research, he dramatizes the key actions and decisions of the commanders on both sides: Johnston, Grant, Sherman, Beauregard, and the illustrious Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest. Fantastic summer reading from one of our finest historical novelists!

Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan

A Time Book of the Year, J. Courtney Sullivan’s second novel delves into the secrets and simmering emotions of one dysfunctional family over the course of a single summer month. Gathering at their beach house, three generations of women must contend with the past, present, and future all at once. With sizzling dialogue, Maine brilliantly uses humor to examine the truths of the heart in New England and far beyond. Perfect Hamptons summer reading!

Check out these and more great summer reading picks at Books & Books, 130 Main Street in Westhampton Beach. Call 631-998-3260 or visit online at booksandbookswhb.com.

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