It’s been a tough fire summer this year in southern Idaho, as many a hazy day will attest. We thought we’d put a positive spin on the situation and pull together a few good books to read while you stay indoors, babying your lungs. All of these books have “smoke” in the title: hopefully, some good will come of it! (And thanks to the fire crews out there battling!)
Black Powder, White Smoke – Loren D. Estleman
- Freed slave Honey Boutrille and white bandit Twice Emmerson learn that Western justice is not exactly black and white when they cross the line and go on a crime spree.
Blue Smoke and Murder – Elizabeth Lowell
- Protecting a river guide with ties to the art world, private information collector and reluctant bodyguard Zach Balfour realizes his charge is in more danger than previously known, a situation that pits them against the ruthless multi-million-dollar Western art circuit.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor
- Seventeen-year-old Karou, a lovely, enigmatic art student in a Prague boarding school, carries a sketchbook of hideous, frightening monsters–the chimaerae who form the only family she has ever known.
River of Smoke – Amitav Ghosh
- Amid a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal, three vessels, and the diverse occupants within, converge on Canton’s Fanqui-Town, or Foreign Enclave, which is a powder keg awaiting a spark to ignite the Opium Wars.
Ruby in the Smoke – Philip Pullman
- In nineteenth-century London, sixteen-year-old Sally Lockhart, a recent orphan, becomes involved in a deadly search for a mysterious ruby.
Smoke in Mirrors – Jayne Ann Krentz
- Meredith Spooner, Leonora’s best friend embezzles millions from a college endowment fund and sends Leonora the safe-deposit box key just before she dies. The safe-deposit box also contains a book about Mirror House, the site of Meredith’s last scam and newspaper stories about a thirty-year-old murder that occurred there, unsolved to this day.
Smoke Room – Earl W. Emerson
- Hailed as a hero in a fire rescue, firefighter Jason Gun is relieved when two colleagues cover up for his arriving late, until they expect him to reciprocate when they commit a theft that leads to the death of Jason’s battalion chief.
Spectres in the Smoke – Tony Broadbent
- In the austere post-World War II Britain of 1948, Jethro, the cat burglar, is once again called in to undertake a mission for MI5 as he attempts to prevent a secret plot to bring down Britain’s new Labour government.
Tree of Smoke – Denis Johnson
- The lives of Skip Sands, a spy-in-training engaged in psychological operations against the Vietcong, and brothers Bill and James Houston, young men who drift out of the Arizona desert into a war, intertwine in a novel of America during the Vietnam War.
Where There’s Smoke – Sandra Brown
- When Dr. Lara Mallory arrives in Eden Pass, the locals blame her for her lover’s suicide, and she finds that she may have a future with her lover’s younger brother.
- Leerhsen draws from contemporary articles, histories, and interviews to pull readers into a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the building of the Speedway and the first race. (Excepted from Library Journal review).
Human Smoke: The Beginnings of WWII, the End of Civilization – Nicholson Baker
- A study of the decades leading up to World War II profiles the world leaders, politicians, business people, and others whose personal politics and ideologies provided an inevitable barrier to the peace process and whose actions led to the outbreak of war.
A Life in Smoke – Julia Hansen
- Recounts the author’s seven-day effort to quit smoking, during which she chained herself to a radiator and explored her complex relationship with cigarettes as well as her past struggles with family members, men, and her own insecurities.
- Documents the work by outsider physicist Jim Carter and how his achievements can inform both mainstream scientists and everyday people about what science is and how it works.
Smoke and Steel – Carl Sandburg
- Anthology of poems by the acclaimed American poet.
Smoke and Spice: Cooking with Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue – Cheryl Alters Jamison
- Over 300 recipes devoted to smoke-cooked barbecue.
- The story of the World War II conscientious objectors who volunteered for Civilian Public Service as U.S. Forest Service smoke jumpers is told in this history that reveals a little-known dimension of American pacifism.
Smoke of the Gods: A Social History of Tobacco – Eric Burns
- The history of the plant that changed the course of North America.
- A look at the expansion of the white man, from the perspective of the various Native American tribes living in the Northwest.
- An epidemiologist identifies some 300,000 annual deaths in the U.S. and Europe due to pollution, making revelations about historical and smog-related mass casualties, and calling for major public changes.
Annotations are courtesy of NoveList Plus, unless indicated otherwise.