HOT OFF THE PRESSES \ The best books of Summer 2009


“And The There’s This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture” by By Bill Wasik (Viking): A snapshot of our information age’s frenzied metamorphosis.

“The Angel’s Game” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Doubleday): The author of “The Shadow of the Wind” describes a diabolical deal between a young writer and his mysterious client.

“A Bright and Guilty Place: Murder, Corruption, and L.A.’s Scandalous Coming of Age” by Richard Rayner (Random House): The City of Angels’ un-angelic, corrupt past, as experienced by a prosecutor and a crime scene investigator.

“Conquest of the Useless: Reflections From the Making of ‘Fitzcarraldo’ ” by Werner Herzog (HarperCollins): The filmmaker’s diaries of the struggles behind the making of his 1982 epic of a would-be rubber baron.

“Erased A Novel” by Jim Krusoe (Tin House): What should you do when you receive a postcard from your dead mother?

“Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City” by Greg Grandin (Metropolitan): Henry Ford’s purchase of a vast plantation in the Amazon led to an experiment (unsuccessful) in exporting America to other lands.

“Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, a Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese” by Brad Kessler (Scribner): How the author fled life in New York City for a farmhouse on a mountain.

“I Am Not Sidney Poitier” by Percival Everett (Graywolf): Orphaned, wealthy and with an unfortunate name, a black boy known as Not Sidney Poitier throws social hierarchies into chaos.

“In the Kitchen” by Monica Ali (Scribner): A body in his basement leads a famous chef into an unsettling world of femmes fatales and secret crimes.

“Larry’s Kidney: Being the True Story of How I Found Myself in China With My Black Sheep Cousin and His Mail-Order Bride, Skirting the Law to Get Him a Transplant — and Save His Life” by Daniel Asa Rose (William Morrow): The subtitle says it all.

“Let the Great World Spin” by Colum McCann (Random House): A portrait of New York City in the transitional 1970s as a cast of characters copes with loss, political upheaval and change.

“One Ring Circus: Dispatches From the World of Boxing” by Katherine Dunn (Schaffner Press): An anthology of the pugilist’s art and its many players: the stars, the amateurs, the trainers, even the cut men.

“Operation Bite Back: Rod Coronado’s War to Save American Wilderness” by Dean Kuipers (Bloomsbury USA): A look at how an eco-radical’s use of a scorched-earth policy against fur farmers led to the rise of the Animal Liberation Front.

“The Scarecrow” by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown): Los Angeles Times reporter Jack McEvoy’s been laid off but is trying to meet one more deadline — and catch a killer — before his exit.

“Shanghai Girls” by Lisa See (Random House): Sisters leave Shanghai to forge new lives in 1930s Los Angeles.

“The Signal” by Ron Carlson (Viking): An estranged couple’s wilderness trek results in harrowing encounters with strangers, secret missions and some unexpected hope.

“The Story Sisters” by Alice Hoffman (Shaye Areheart Books): The struggles of three sisters from Long Island after one of them retreats from life’s sorrows to live in a fairy tale world all her own.

“The Strain” by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (William Morrow): Vampires have been biding their time on Earth, hiding and quietly feeding: Now, they want to take over.

“Strangers” by Anita Brookner (Random House): A London retiree is surprised to find his bachelorhood unsettled by the attention of three women.

“This Wicked World” by Richard Lange (Little, Brown): A former Marine who’s done prison time (he had good reasons) looks into an immigrant’s death and finds sinister depths beneath Los Angeles.

“Trouble” by Kate Christensen (Doubleday): A coming-of-middle-age novel of three friends — a trust-funder, a therapist and a rock star — and their struggles with relationships, rendered with the author’s acerbic wit.