Simon & Schuster’s literary line-up for May is a winner. Here are the best books to read and savor. You’ll even learn a few things!
The Broken Road (May 2, $19.99), the first book in a much-anticipated new trilogy by beloved storyteller Richard Paul Evans, is an engrossing, contemplative story of redemption and grace and the power of second chances. It is an epic journey you won’t soon forget. Chicago celebrity Charles James can’t shake the nightmare that wakes him each night. He sees himself walking down a long, broken highway the sides of which are lit in flames. Where is he going? Why is he walking? What is the wailing he hears around him? By day, he wonders why he’s so haunted and unhappy when he has all he ever wanted-fame, fans and fortune and the lavish lifestyle it affords him. Coming from a childhood of poverty and pain, this is what he’s dreamed of. But now, at the pinnacle of his career, he’s started to wonder if he’s wanted the wrong things. Then a twist of fate changes everything. Charles is granted something very remarkable: a second chance. The question is: What will he do with it?
A timely and relevant look into America’s Doomsday preparedness, Garrett M. Graff’s Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself—While the Rest of Us Die (May 2, $28) tracks the evolution of the government’s plan for surviving a catastrophic attack on U.S. soil. The book provides the eye-opening truth about the multibillion-dollar Continuity of Government (COG) program. Used only once—on September 11th, 2001—this complex Doomsday machine still exists but remains out of sight: It shadows Presidents wherever they travel, tracks the whereabouts of congressional leaders hour by hour, and is ready to be unveiled at America’s darkest hour. Calling upon, for the first time, thousands of pages of recently declassified plans and White House documents, Raven Rock—which takes its name from the Pentagon’s sprawling secret 650-acre bunker complex in the Pennsylvania mountains—is equal parts a presidential, military, and cultural history.
At 27, Lauren Marks had everything she wanted in life: She was pursuing a PhD, she was an actress, a director, a voracious reader, had a dedicated boyfriend and a loving family, and was an extensive traveler. One night, while traveling in Scotland, Lauren suffered a sudden brain aneurysm. Although she was lucky to be alive, Lauren was left unable to write, speak or read. Her identity before the aneurysm now seemed to be crafted around a language she could no longer access, because of a diagnosis she couldn’t understand. A Stitch of Time: The Year a Brain Injury Changed My Language and Life (May 2, $26) is Lauren’s gripping account of her recovery from the injury and her life with aphasia. Although an uncommon term, aphasia affects 1 in every 250 people, making it more common than Parkinson’s or M.S. Lauren’s loss of language is told through stories of her life before, during, and after aphasia, using the journals she actually kept while in recovery.
Dr. Rock Positano, an internationally renowned foot specialist in New York City, was introduced to Joe DiMaggio by the dean of New York sports writers, Bill Gallo, in 1990. During the time Dr. Positano successfully treated the Yankee Clipper, a friendship slowly developed. The stories and experiences he shared with Rock Positano comprise Dinners with DiMaggio: Memories of an American Hero (May 9, $26), an intimate portrait of one of the great stars of baseball and one of the icons of the twentieth century.
Similar to Saving Private Ryan in the way it reminds us of the strength of family in moments of unspeakable uncertainty, the difference with The Jersey Boys (May 9, $28) is that this story is true. A WWII saga like no other, the tome tells the story of Bill and Benny Mott—both Navy men—who embark on a complex rescue mission to save their youngest brother after he finds himself a POW in the Pacific.
What makes it even more remarkable is that Sally Mott Freeman is the daughter of one of the brothers, which adds a whole separate layer of intrigue and purpose to this important book.
Acclaimed journalists Tom Oliphant and Curtis Wilkie provide a behind-the-scenes, revelatory account of John F. Kennedy’s wily campaign to the White House with The Road to Camelot: Inside JFK’s Five-Year Campaign (May 9, $28). The most comprehensive account based on a depth of personal reporting, interviews and archives, the book reveals him as a tough, shrewd political strategist who kept his eye on the prize. JFK and his young warriors invented modern presidential politics. They turned over accepted wisdom that his Catholicism was a barrier to winning an election and plotted a successful course to that constituency. They twisted arms and they charmed. This is one of the great campaign stories of all time, appropriate for today’s political climate and the 100th anniversary of JFK’s birth.
From James Dodson comes a funny and nostalgic journey of self and sport in which the author completes his golfing “bucket list.” Dodson recently rediscovered a list titled “Things to Do in Golf” that he’d written when he was 13 years old. Realizing he had yet to complete the list, Dodson (now in his 60s) expanded the list into a golfing “bucket list” of the people and places he had yet to meet and see in the golf world. From rounds with John Updike to intimate conversations with Arnold Palmer to scoring a memorable 13 on a hole at St. Andrews, The Range Bucket List (May 9, $25) is an exhilarating armchair adventure.
Many people recognize Sidney Blumenthal’s name as a journalist and political advisor, but what you may not know is he has been formidably building a major contribution to Lincoln scholarship that focuses on Lincoln’s political life. With Wrestling With His Angel: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. II, 1849-1856 (May 16, $35), Blumenthal vividly and insightfully describes the most decisive period of Lincoln’s political life—after losing re-election to the House of Representatives, Lincoln is exiled back to Illinois to practice law, where he helps create the Republican Party.
From Andrew Pyper, the internationally bestselling author of The Demonologist, comes a radical reimagining of literature’s most haunting protagonists, their most sinister traits found in one terrifying man. Straight from the canon of horror fictions like Frankenstein, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Dracula, the monster featured in The Only Child (Maay 23, $25) tells Dr. Lily Dominick three things: That he is more than 200 years old, that he personally provided the inspiration for those three horror classics, and that he is her father. Fusing the page-turning tension of a first-rate thriller with a provocative take on where thrillers come from, The Only Child will keep you up until its last unforgettable revelation.