These lovely books will be out very soon

The book publishing industry tends to mirror the school year. Books still come out during the summer but the flow of new titles diminishes to a mere trickle. When September arrives the new books begin to pile up as fast and thickly as autumn leaves. There’s a lull between Thanksgiving and Christmas then things really start rolling again in January.

With the arrival of spring the new books are popping up like daffodils and by June we’ll have a stack of titles to get us through the summer. Here are some upcoming fiction and non-fiction offerings to watch out for. (I must confess that I have already read advance copies of some of them).

“Extreme Prey” by John Sandford (Putnam, 406 pages, $29). April 26.

John Sandford’s “Prey” series of detective thrillers routinely tops the best seller lists. His latest, “Extreme Prey,” the 26th “Prey” title, has a ripped from the headlines feel. For the first 25 books Sandford’s sleuth, Lucas Davenport, investigated crimes for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. In this one he has a new job working for his friend, the Governor, who is running for President. The campaign in Iowa has been getting rather weird and Lucas has been brought in to try to figure out what is really going on.

“The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln — A Self-Made Man 1809-1849” by Sidney Blumenthal (Simon and Schuster, 526 pages, $35). May 10.

Hundreds of books have been written about Abraham Lincoln. There always seems to be more to be said and known about the man who many historians consider to have been our greatest President. “A Self-Made Man 1809-1849” is the first volume of Sidney Blumenthal’s Lincoln biography “The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln.” Blumenthal, a former senior advisor to President Bill Clinton, examines the forces that shaped Lincoln during his youth.

“The Underdogs — Children, Dogs, and the Power of Unconditional Love” by Melissa Fay Greene (Ecco, 352 pages, $27.99) May 17.

This is the heart warming story of “4 Paws for Ability,” a not-for-profit service dog academy in Xenia. 4 Paws is doing some wonderful things. They have placed almost a thousand dogs so far that they have trained to assist “children with autism, seizure disorder, Down syndrome, attachment disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder,” and other disabilities. The author, a native Daytonian, lives in Atlanta.

“Lost Among the Birds — Accidentally Finding Myself in One Very Big Year” by Neil Hayward (Bloomsbury, 386 pages, $28) June 7.

Neil Hayward was having a mid-life crisis. So what did he do? He went birding. Over the course of one year he got so into doing that he ended up setting what birders refer to as the Big Year record. He spotted and identified an extraordinary 749 species of birds in one year. He details his quest in this memoir.

“The Dead Don’t Bleed” by David Krugler (Pegasus, 320 pages, $25.95) June 15.

The year is 1945. In Washington, D.C. a man has just been found murdered in the street. He was involved with Soviet espionage. “The Dead Don’t Bleed” is an espionage thriller that begins with that murder and ends with a dramatic unexpected twist.

“Underground Airlines” by Ben H. Winters (Mulholland Books, 336 pages, $26). July 5.

Imagine for a moment that the Civil War never happened and the practice of slavery in the United States has not ended. That is the premise of the imaginative alternative history “Underground Airlines.” There are four southern states that still have slavery. A slave catcher, a former slave himself, is in Indianapolis in pursuit of a fugitive slave. This is my sleeper pick of the summer. I loved it.

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Vick Mickunas of Yellow Springs interviews authors every Saturday at 7 a.m. and on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on WYSO-FM (91.3). For more information, visit www.wyso.org/programs/book-nook. Contact him at vick@vickmickunas.

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