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Some summer reading off the beaten track

  • Los Angeles Times
  • Published Sunday, June 10, 2012, at 9:58 a.m.

“Art of War: A Graphic Novel” by Kelly Roman and Michael DeWeese (Harper Perennial, 352 pages, $22.99)

For 2,000 years, Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” has dispensed battlefield strategy and tactics. And in Kelly Roman and Michael DeWeese’s graphic novel, Sun Tzu is alive and well, living as a powerful kingpin in a world in which China’s domination is supreme. A soldier named Kelly, released from prison (where he was sent for a friendly-fire incident), wants to know who murdered his brother. The answer, he knows, rests deep within Sun Tzu’s organization. How can he infiltrate it? How else — by using the ancient treatise’s tactics. (July)

“The Book for Dangerous Women: A Guide to Modern Life” by Clare Conville, Liz Hoggard and Sarah-Jane Lovett (Grove Press, 224 pages, $20)

The authors strive to give female readers everything they need, from A to Z, for enjoying a rewarding life. Bits of wisdom are tucked alongside entries on sex and beauty, househusbands and green living. It definitely isn’t a definitive guide; however, its pages of girl talk and advice are wise and funny. (May)

“The McSweeney’s Book of Politics and Musicals,” edited by Chris Monks (Vintage Books, 368 pages, $14.95)

Got your tickets for “Palin! The Musical” yet? Have you read a new version of “Atlas Shrugged” updated for the 2008 implosion of world financial markets? No? The only place you’ll find these — and plenty of others — is in this collection of monologues, diatribes, mock musicals and more written by Ben Greenman. Only McSweeney’s could combine politics and theater in such a strange, amusing way. (June)

“1Q84: 3-Volume Boxed Set” by Haruki Murakami (Vintage Books, 1,184 pages, $29.95)

E-readers might be the traveling book lover’s friend, especially when it comes to Haruki Murakami’s mammoth novel “1Q84,” but Vintage gives us an unexpected version that’s much easier to manage. The novel has been broken down into three discrete volumes — the same packaging when it was first published in Japan — in a hip, transparent slipcase. It’s far easier to handle than other versions — and a much better choice for the beach than any e-reader. Why? Dropping a book in the sand (usually) won’t ruin it. (May)

“Sleeping With the Beast” by Dale Ryan (Breeze Hill Books, 112 pages, $34.95)

Before you let your house go to the dogs, literally, let Dale Ryan show you why this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This is a practical guide — accompanied by adorable photos of the author’s pets — to having a canine-friendly house. Solid, sturdy furniture and library steps for the bed (if your pooch sleeps with you) are just two of many helpful tips. If a house can be toddler-proofed for a small child, why can’t the same be done for our pets? (June)

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