'PW' makes some suggestions for summer readingSummer's here. Or there. Or on its way. And that means summer books, because there's always more time to read when the weather warms up. On the beach. On the lawn. In the park. The roof? Find your sweet spot and try some of our favorites.
AX: A Collection of Alternative Manga, Vol. 1 Edited by Sean Michael Wilson (Top Shelf)This fascinating 400-page anthology collects work by more than 33 artists published in Japan's acclaimed bimonthly magazine of alternative manga and shows there's a lot more to manga than magical school girls and robots. More like American indie comics than mainstream manga, these works are edgy, wildly imaginative, and just plain weird, and open a whole new window on Japanese comics. —Calvin Reid
Dark Harbor: The War for the New York Waterfront Nathan Ward (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)Following the footsteps of New York Sun reporter Mike Johnson, Ward beautifully evokes the glory days of newspapers as they covered the seedy and deadly mob-run New York City waterfront of the 1930s and '40s, where graft was the norm and dead bodies turned up monthly. -Mark RotellaCity Dog, Country FrogMo Willems, illus. by Jon J Muth (Disney-Hyperion)In this pitch-perfect picture book collaboration, Willems and Muth follow two animal friends throughout an entire year, with the arc of their friendship paralleling the changing seasons. An understated yet wonderfully evocative rumination on friendship and loss, highlighted by Muth's glorious watercolors. —Diane RobackSuper Sad
True Love Story Gary Shteyngart (Random)The latest whirlwind satire from Shteyngart is a grim, knockout vision of the near future, in which an aging New York hipster struggles to win love and eternal life, celebrates the small pleasures of living (like his smelly book collection and hip Staten Island friends), and learns just how far those in power will go to break the back of an unruly underclass. Enormously funny and frighteningly closeto-home. —Marc Schultz
Subway Christoph Niemann (Greenwillow)Niemann puts aside the agony of service cuts and track work to revel in the joys of the New York City subway system, territory he's also covered in his Abstract City blog for the New York Times. His exuberant picture book is full of details that will ring true for commuters of any age—the first breeze of an approaching train, the “world-class view” on a Q trip over the Manhattan Bridge, or the fact that rats on the tracks can be both disgusting and entertaining. —John A. Sellers
The King's Best Highway Eric Jaffe (Scribner)If you've ever lived near or driven on U.S. Route 1 (aka the Boston Post Road), you will be enthralled by Jaffe's (no relation) account of American history through the lens of this landmark highway. From its origins as a Native American trail through its near replacement by 19th-century railroads to the rise of the interstate system (I-95, anyone?), the Post Road has registered signal changes in American life, and its story is told engagingly. —Sonia Jaffe Robbins