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When ‘Bad’ is good

This week's theme? Good poolside reads

In the spirit of ordered chaos, Variety Weekend gathered a summer-release hodgepodge. This week’s theme? Good reads. Especially poolside.

The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell

TV scribe Loraine Despres (credits: “Dallas” episode “Who Shot J.R.?”) is now a novelist with a penchant for smart and literary soapiness. The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell (logline: “murder, adultery and regular church attendance”) is now in paperback. Light, absorbing and shot through with meditations on feminism and anti-Semitism in the 1920s Deep South. (Harper)

A Fictional History of the United States (With Huge Chunks Missing)

A collection of 17 authors and cartoonists who take revisionist history to the extreme. Entertaining, escapist and absurd. Edited by T Cooper and Adam Mansbach. (Akashic Books)

The Thing Between Us

Tin House executive editor Lee Montgomery breathes new life into the dysfunctional family memoir with clean, vivid writing laced with a bitter bite. The result is “Ordinary People” meets “One True Thing.” (Free Press)

Tomorrow They Will Kiss

Cuban-born, L.A.-based Eduardo Santiago spins an evocative, funny and tender debut novel that explores the lives of three Cuban women who labor in a New Jersey toy factory. (Back Bay Books)

West of Jesus

Equal parts science, spirituality and sports memoir, journalist Steven Kotler chronicles his global adventures searching for the truth behind a mythic surfing legend. (Bloomsbury)

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