Book Article

Book Report

24 of the hottest books for summer 2005. From ''Harry Potter'' to ''Freaks & Geeks,'' hardcover and paperbacks, here's what beachgoers will be carrying this season

HARDCOVERS

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE
J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, $29.99, July)
If the sixth installment of Rowling's series — due July 16 in a record-setting 10.8-million first printing — is not the best-selling book of the summer, it will be an upset on par with...sorry, but why waste time even thinking of an analogy? It's not gonna happen.

SPECIMEN DAYS
Michael Cunningham (FSG, $24, June)
This follow-up to The Hours is composed of three strange and interconnected tales, each with three similar characters, as well as the spirit of American bard Walt Whitman.

UNTIL I FIND YOU
John Irving (Random House, $27.95, July)
His A Prayer for Owen Meany (let's all agree) is probably the best popular novel of our time, and now John Irving returns with an almost 800-page biggie, a bildungsroman featuring a hero with a cad dad and an Irvingian fixation on older women.

THE WONDER SPOT
Melissa Bank (Viking, $24.95, May)
Six years after her hit debut, The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Bank returns with another book — and like her first, it's built around one looking-for-love woman.

THE UNDOMESTIC GODDESS
Sophie Kinsella (Dial, $23, July)
The Shopaholic creator's new novel follows a workaholic lawyer who flees the rat race to the country, where, in a screwball twist, she ends up taking a job as a housekeeper, and sort of liking it.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Cormac McCarthy (Knopf, $24.95, August)
All the Pretty Horses author McCarthy, in his first novel since he finished his Border Trilogy seven years ago, abandons his usual cowboy theme for a present-day novel about a guy hunting antelope near the Rio Grande who stumbles onto dead bodies, a heroin stash, and millions in cold cash.

PLAYGROUND
Jennifer Saginor (HarperEntertainment, $24.95, June)

MY FRIEND LEONARD
James Frey (Riverhead, $24.95, June)
On the memoir front, we recommend his and hers: Playground is about growing up in and around the Playboy Mansion (Saginor's dad was Hef's Dr. Feelgood), while Frey continues his amazing life story where his addiction tale, A Million Little Pieces, left off in 2003.

THE TWINS OF TRIBECA
Rachel Pine (Miramax Books, $23.95, June)
A former Miramax publicist attempts a Devil Wears Prada-style fictional punking on the Weinstein brothers — although, strangely, the publisher is Miramax Books!

IN THE SHADOW OF THE LAW
Kermit Roosevelt (FSG, $24, June)
Roosevelt, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, debuts with a legal novel set around one of the mightiest law firms on K Street in D.C. A big attraction is the book's young, smart cast of go-getting lawyers — sort of sounds like Grey's Anatomy meets John Grisham.

A LONG WAY DOWN
Nick Hornby (Riverhead, $24.95, June)
The About a Boy author opens his new novel on a rooftop, where four people who each want to kill themselves end up forming one of the wackiest support groups you've ever seen.

LUNAR PARK
Bret Easton Ellis (Knopf, $25, August)
In Lunar Park, a character named Bret Easton Ellis behaves badly — snorting coke with somebody named Jay McInerney, for example — but that funny little phrase, ''A Novel,'' promises it's all just made-up.

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