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Continued: Summer books: 5 paperbacks you must read--and then ten more.

  • Article by: LAURIE HERTZEL , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 1, 2014 - 8:06 AM

“Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953,” by Elizabeth Winder. (Harper Perennial, 265 pages, $15.99.)

The summer of 1953 — when the college-age Sylvia Plath was a “guest editor” at Mademoiselle magazine and staying in the ladylike Barbizon Hotel — starts with excitement, red lipstick and a perfect pageboy haircut. Poet Elizabeth Winder gives us a thrilled and optimistic Plath, on the cusp of something big, with only hints of her later darkness.

“Sisterland,” by Curtis Sittenfeld. (Random House, 412 pages, $15.)

“Sisterland” follows twin sisters, both with ESP, one who rejects her powers, the other who embraces them. This captivating novel by the author of “American Wife” is about safety vs. danger, family ties and secrets.

“The Interestings,” by Meg Wolitzer. (Riverhead Books, 538 pages, $17.)

Meg Wolitzer’s engrossing, sweeping novel about success and art follows four friends from their teen years at a precious summer camp to middle age. This highly praised book is funny, insightful and wise.

“The House at Belle Fontaine,” stories by Lily Tuck. (Grove Press, 203 pages, $14.)

Infidelity, friendship, love and tragedy — National Book Award-winner Lily Tuck packs all of life into these 10 exquisitely crafted, economical stories.

“Three Weeks With Lady X,” by Eloisa James. (Avon, 388 pages, $7.99.)

Looking for pure escapism? Make it well-written escapism. Eloisa James is, in her other life, Mary Bly, a professor and Shakespearean scholar; her raunchy romance novels are well-researched and have the period details down perfectly.

“The Colour of Memory,” by Geoff Dyer. (Graywolf Press, 292 pages, $16.)

Back in print, Geoff Dyer’s debut novel is a thinly disguised autobiography about being down and out in London in the 1980s. “I like to write stuff that is only an inch from life,” he says in the new introduction. “But all the art is in that inch.”

“Crazy Rich Asians,” by Kevin Kwan. (Anchor Books, 527 pages, $15.)

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  • MINNEAPOLIS POET HEID ERDRICH is the author of “Original Local” and the Minnesota Book Award- winning “National Monuments.” She recommends “Sacred Wilderness” by Susan Power. “Reading the realist- surrealism of ‘Sacred Wilderness’ will bring you jolts of recognition or thrilling introduction to new places you’ll want to visit, all the while imagining you are there with the fictional and actual friends Susan Power depicts with affection and drama.”

  • Sacred Wilderness by Susan Power Recommended by Heid Erdrich Summer books 2014

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