I want to let you in on a little New York secret: The city that never sleeps slacks off during the summer. Some offices have casual Fridays, others shut down at noon. When I worked there in the mid-'90s, my boss would call from the train to the Hamptons every Friday morning. Essentially, he had a three-day weekend — every weekend. Publishing is one of the businesses that slows down: There are fewer books coming out, fewer authors on tour and fewer emails being sent. Friday is a veritable email wasteland. With all that extra time — here at The Times, we don't have an abbreviated work week, after all — I get to read books I'm not reviewing for the paper. At least, that's what I tell myself.
So, "We Only Know So Much" by Elizabeth Crane (HarperPerennial: $14.99, June). It's hard for me to remember exactly when I first came across Elizabeth Crane's writing. She kept a blog, back when keeping a blog took some effort, and she wrote there unguardedly, and with style. I read some of her short stories, and they were sharp — sharp language, sharp observations, sharp humor. Then I got to meet her, and I did the fangirl things of referring to her as Elizabeth Crane, both names, because that was how I'd always thought of her. In fact, she goes by Betsy. Elizabeth Crane — Betsy — has this new novel coming out that tells the story of three dysfunctional generations living under the same roof. Its style is literary, with an edge: The point of view is wicked, the characters prickly, the language not quite quotable here. I can't wait to read past the first chapter.