EExactly what constitutes a beach read has sparked much debate, but perhaps the answer is no more complicated than whether a book is easy to lose. By that definition, the best new books coming in July are ideal for the beach (or the couch). , plane or hammock). Isabel Kaplan’s novel NSFWfor example, is a heady exploration of male-dominated workplaces, and that of Bolu Babalola Honey & Spice will spray your sunglasses. Our women under the sea, by Julia Armfield, is a claustrophobic story centered on the frayed marriage of a queer couple after an underwater expedition goes wrong. These books and many more will transport, entertain and absorb you this summer. Here, the nine best new books to read in July.
Honey & SpiceBolu Babalola (July 5)
Kiki Banjo is a young black woman who runs a college radio show about female empowerment, dating, and relationships — somewhat ironic, as she tends to shy away from romantic attachments herself. After condemning a new student as an on-air playboy, Kiki accidentally – and very publicly – ends up kissing him. To save their reputation, the couple adopts the only obvious course of action: fake a relationship. Expect sizzling chemistry and well-developed characters in this debut novel by Bolu Babalola, a pop culture scholar who once wrote the short story collection. Love in color.
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stock market pointAlice Elliott Dark (July 5)
Agnes and Polly are octogenarians who have been best friends all their lives, although they each made different choices: Agnes is a popular author who never married, while Polly’s identity revolves around to be a wife and a mother. They reunite at Fellowship Point, a retreat in Maine, but the future of this land is now in limbo, and the women disagree on what should happen to it. When a pushy editor urges Agnes to write memoirs, long-buried secrets are uncovered, further testing Agnes and Polly’s friendship. stock market point is long – almost 600 pages – but an extremely captivating and far-reaching work.
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NSFWIsabel Kaplan (July 5)
The Anonymous Narrator in Isabel Kaplan’s Adult Debut – After the YA Novel Hancock Park– recently graduated from Harvard and landed a coveted job at a television network. Readers are immersed in the life of the protagonist as she realizes that her workplace is an example of misogyny and sexual misconduct is rampant. As she considers what to do, she also balances unhealthy relationships with food and with her mother. NSFW is engaging, with plenty to unpack, making it great book club fodder.
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Living Ground NightMorgan Talty (July 5)
Morgan Talty grew up in the Penobscot Indian Nation, a small community in Maine, and it’s where the 12 stories in her first collection are set. Living Ground Night offers a mesmerizing glimpse into the lives of people discovering what it means to survive in the wake of legacy tragedies. There’s pain and addiction in these stories, but there’s also friendship and family, nicely tinged with sadness and humor.
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Our women under the seaJulia Armfield (July 12)
Marine biologist Leah’s submarine recently sank and although she survived, she has changed beyond repair. Leah’s wife, Miri, who was assumed to be a widow, desperately tries to figure out what happened on that ship. As the relationship between the two women deteriorates, Julia Armfield, the author of the collection of short stories slow salt– alternates between two voices: Leah’s, in the form of journal entries she wrote while stranded in the deep, dark sea, and Miri’s, in the present day. Our women under the sea is a haunting and evocative novel that juxtaposes the horrors below the waves with the life and love that exists on land.
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End of Hollywood: Harvey Weinstein and the culture of silenceKen Auletta (July 12)
Two decades ago, and long before the MeToo movement took off in 2017, journalist Ken Auletta wrote a New Yorker profile that revealed some of Harvey Weinstein’s violent and volatile tendencies. In this nearly 500-page biography, Auletta delves even deeper into the Hollywood mogul’s life, examining the forces that allowed him to become a convicted sex offender. Hollywood end—Auletta’s 13th book, after titles like World War 3.0: Microsoft and its enemies– is a difficult but important read.
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Any other familyEleanor Brown (July 12)
Three groups of parents adopted four biological siblings and pledged to keep their children as connected as possible. It’s as complicated as it sounds. In Eleanor Brown’s novel, each of the adoptive mothers face their own insecurities and expectations about parenthood when the group goes on a summer vacation to Aspen. There, the children’s biological mother calls to announce that she is pregnant again, so the parents begin screening applications from potential adopters to determine who will join their makeshift family. Brown, who has previously written The weird sisters and The Light of Parisoffers a character study that digs boundaries and belonging.
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Tall girlMecca Jamilah Sullivan (July 12)
Mecca Jamilah Sullivan’s debut novel transports readers to 1990s Harlem, where Malaya, an obese 8-year-old black girl, yearns for a lot: to be able to eat whatever she wants instead of being dragged to meetings Weight Watchers; to fit into his predominantly white Upper East Side prep school. Being accepted no matter what she looks like. In about ten years, Malaya grew up, while trying to free herself from the constraints of her body.
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Call for a blanket danceOscar Hokeah (July 26)
Each chapter of Oscar Hokeah’s debut novel is told from the perspective of a family member, one of many generations of Aboriginal people whose lives are deeply intertwined. At the center of it all is Ever Geimausaddle, an angry young man with a propensity for violence. Hokeah skillfully recreates the years leading up to and following Ever’s birth, capturing the traumas and complexities that shaped him into who he is and may determine who he becomes.
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