Joy Williams! Rust Belt writers! Phillip Lopate! 25 new books out today.


July 2, 2024, 4:26am

July has arrived, and, for American readers, this means that the Fourth of July is just around the corner. Amidst the fireworks and grilled delights (and at-times-questionable displays of patriotism), the holiday can be an unexpectedly good opportunity to catch up on some reading, and what better bookish companion for a holiday than something new? If you’re on the lookout for some new reading material, well, you’re in some luck, as I have twenty-five new books to recommend checking out below in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

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You’ll see Christian Gullette’s poetry collection Coachella Elegy (technically out yesterday), which won the 2023 Trio Award. There are exciting debut novels and fiction from established writers, including Fernanda Trías’ dystopian Pink Slime, Samuel Kọláwọlé’s transnational novel The Road to the Salt Sea, Joy Williams’ experimental collection Concerning the Future of Lost Souls, Donyae Coles’ Pan’s-Labyrinth-esque Midnight Rooms, and much more.

In nonfiction, you’ll find the celebrated essayist Phillip Lopate’s thoughts on cinema; an anthology of writing from the Rust Belt; Marin Kosut’s exploration of what it takes to make art in New Yorka roving history by Nile Green of the extraordinary Orientalist tales and fabrications told by Ikbal and Idries Shah, which (for better or worse) influenced Western views of the East; a madcap memoir of making maple syrup and (yes) bromance; and more.

There’s a lot to choose from, and, as ever, I recommend indulgence (in books and hot dogs alike, though the latter may negatively affect you much sooner). Read deeply, and, for those who celebrate it, and early Happy Fourth of July to you!

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Pink Slime - Trías, Fernanda

Fernanda Trías, Pink Slime (trans. Heather Cleary)
(Scribner)

“Like a faintly distorting mirror, Pink Slime reflects back to us the image of a dying world. In this country, abandoned by God and government, the only consolation is the compassion and silent heroism of a few human beings. With her meticulous prose and the painful lucidity characteristic of her work, Fernanda Trías immerses us in a dystopia that expands around us like a poisonous perfume.”
–Guadalupe Nettel

The Road to the Salt Sea - Kolawole, Samuel

Samuel Kọláwọlé, The Road to the Salt Sea
(Amistad Press)

The Road to the Salt Sea is a stirring odyssey through the global migration crisis, from Nigeria to distant shores, where dreams collide with a brutal reality. Able God is a luminous and complex character who you will not soon forget.”
–Jai Chakrabarti

Misrecognition - Newbound, Madison

Madison Newbound, Misrecognition
(Simon & Schuster)

“Numbed by heartbreak, lost in a peculiarly American loneness, the protagonist of Madison Newbound’s haunting novel brings new understandings of identity and sex to old experiences of melancholy and obsession. I’ve never read anything that captures so vividly the distinct texture of desire, at once feverish and vacant, engendered by the infinite scroll of online life. Misrecognition is a brave and blazingly smart debut.”
–Garth Greenwell

Best of the Rust Belt - Trubek, Anne

Anne Trubek (editor), Best of the Rust Belt
 (Belt Publishing)

“I am not from the Rust Belt, but this wonderful collection makes me feel as if I am—or should want to be. The power of America is in its places, and these Rust Belt writers have made the culture, the personalities, and the vividness of a place memorable to readers from any point on the globe.”
–James Fallows

The Untold Story of Books: A Writer's History of Publishing - Castleman, Michael

Michael Castleman, The Untold Story of Books: A Writer’s History of Publishing
(Unnamed Press)

“Fascinating, incredibly informative, and humorous, a must read for every writer….I came away with a new understanding of publishing, the present state of the industry, and the gritty realities that writers have always faced—and still do….While The Untold Story dissolves delusions of grandeur for most authors, Castleman helps us accept without shame the reality that we should keep our day jobs knowing we’re writing and publishing for the pleasure of the process.”
–Jane Sloven

Empire's Son, Empire's Orphan: The Fantastical Lives of Ikbal and Idries Shah - Green, Nile

Nile Green, Empire’s Son, Empire’s Orphan: The Fantastical Lives of Ikbal and Idries Shah
(Norton)

“In this dual biography of the father and son shapeshifters Ikbal and Idries Shah, Nile Green has given us a funhouse mirror of Great Britain’s alter ego as its empire unraveled. Green chronicles the Shahs’ ever-multiplying monikers, mythical backstories, prolific spinning of tales of derring-do, royal lineage, and esoteric mysticism with unflappable flair….In an age when identities aspire to be fixed…and borders are locked shut, the Shahs perfected the art of trespass.”
–Deborah Baker

Coachella Elegy - Gullette, Christian

Christian Gullette, Coachella Elegy
(Trio House Press)

“There is something spare and trance-like in Christian Gullette’s mesmerizing Coachella Elegy….The poems’ structures, often unfolding in lean couplets or tercets, carry some of the compressive energy, exactness of detail, and coolness of haiku, or David Hockney swimming pools. The subjects are raw….The landscape’s diminishing wildness in a tremulous, post-AIDS California. I admire Coachella Elegy’s refinement, its nuanced approach to deep emotion. I feel the tremors in my bones.”
–Diane Seuss

Concerning the Future of Souls - Williams, Joy

Joy Williams, Concerning the Future of Souls
(Tin House)

“Williams follows up Ninety-Nine Stories of God with another resonant collection of 99 vignettes, this time centered on themes of environmental destruction and mortality. The entries—none longer than two pages and some as short as a single word—showcase Williams’s sly wit….As with the previous volume, these pieces riddle the reader’s mind with their exquisite enigmas. Williams continues to astonish.”
Publishers Weekly

The God of the Woods - Moore, Liz

Liz Moore, The God of the Woods
(Riverhead)

“A brilliant, riveting fox trap of a novel—an epic mystery, a family saga and a survival guide. Liz Moore shows us how easy it is for any of us to get lost in the woods, and what to do if you want to be found. I loved this book.”
–Miranda Cowley Heller

Midnight Rooms - Coles, Donyae

Donyae Coles, Midnight Rooms
(Amistad Press)

“An immersive horror fairy tale marrying Crimson Peak to Pan’s Labyrinth upon strange foundations. You’re never really safe here, with Midnight Rooms wondrously defying expectations and refusing obedience. Donyae Coles leads us into a house of sinister magic, full of corners for peeking around, but careful—these walls have claws. A feverish, labyrinthine debut.”
–Hailey Piper

My Affair with Art House Cinema: Essays and Reviews - Lopate, Phillip

Phillip Lopate, My Affair with Art House Cinema: Essays and Reviews
(Columbia University Press)

“Phillip Lopate is a convivial movie date, and his film essays have the poetry—and punch—of legendary sports reporters. For him, though, cinephilia is less a sport than a faith. Lopate’s My Affair with Art House Cinema spans the last quarter-century of work by the likes of Chantal Akerman and Ingmar Bergman to Francois Truffaut and Frederick Wiseman. As he writes about the rhythms, themes, and framing of the movies he loves, his passion is contagious.”
–Carrie Rickey

Art Monster: On the Impossibility of New York - Kosut, Marin

Marin Kosut, Art Monster: On the Impossibility of New York
(Columbia University Press)

Art Monster is both an ode to and an interrogation of New York—amid the city’s history, ambition, and impossibilities, what kinds of art can survive and flourish? Marin Kosut’s pursuit of this answer is not to be missed—this is an important book for anyone making art right now.”
–Chelsea Hodson

How to Be a Citizen: Learning to Be Civil Without the State - Skach, C. L.

C. L. Skach, How to Be a Citizen: Learning to Be Civil Without the State
(Basic Books)

“From a search for laws that can provide the basis for a good society, Cindy Skach leads us to reexamine the virtues of a good citizen, one whom people can respect and value as a member of their community. To make a better world, she urges, we should teach our children first how to build better communities.”
–Roger Myerson

Evenings and Weekends - McKenna, Oisín

Oisín McKenna, Evenings and Weekends
(Mariner)

“This vivid realist novel adroitly maneuvers a sprawling interlocking cast around the hipster haunts of north and east London….His electric, broadbrush vignettes of urban life recall Kae Tempest’s novel The Bricks That Built the Houses and Vivian Gornick’s memoirs. For even as it utters a howl of rage at broken, late-capitalist Britain, Evenings and Weekends is a love letter to the city….A tender portrait of contemporary queer London.”
The Guardian

The World After Alice - Green, Lauren Aliza

Lauren Aliza Green, The World After Alice
(Viking)

“In The World After Alice, Lauren Aliza Green lays bare the mysteries of grief, growth, and love in the wake of unthinkable loss. Green writes with a poet’s ear and an impressionist’s eye, and the result is a wise, elegiac novel that is impossible to put down even after turning the last gorgeous page.”
–Bret Anthony Johnston

The Lion Women of Tehran - Kamali, Marjan

Marjan Kamali, The Lion Women of Tehran
(Gallery Books)

“Kamali’s storytelling is both evocative and hauntingly beautiful, creating a vivid portrayal of the characters’ lives and the cultural tapestry of Tehran…[The novel] is a sweeping exploration of the enduring influence of early connections, the resilience of the human spirit, and the transformative power of love and courage in the face of political upheaval. This novel is a testament to Kamali’s storytelling prowess and her ability to create a deeply moving and thought-provoking narrative.”
–Jean Kwok

Catherine De' Medici: The Life and Times of the Serpent Queen - Hollingsworth, Mary

Mary Hollingsworth, Catherine de’ Medici: The Life and Times of the Serpent Queen
(Pegasus Books)

“Powerful women were a striking feature of 16th-century Europe, and this evocative biography paints a vivid portrait of a prime example….The author skillfully keeps track of a huge cast of characters as she describes Catherine’s odyssey. With diversions into her generous patronage of the arts and architecture, Hollingsworth concentrates on dynastic politics and France’s gruesome religious war. A widely vilified queen receives a well-researched, mostly admiring biography.”
Kirkus Reviews

Deep Water: The World in the Ocean - Bradley, James

James Bradley, Deep Water: The World in the Ocean
(HarperOne)

Deep Water is a major achievement; a vast fathoming of the pasts, presents and futures of the world’s oceans and seas. Bradley’s skills both as novelist and essayist converge here to create this wise, compassionate and urgent book, characterized throughout by a clarity of prose and a bracing moral gaze that searches water, self and reader.”
–Robert Macfarlane

The Secret History of Sharks: The Rise of the Ocean's Most Fearsome Predators - Long, John

John Long, The Secret History of Sharks: The Rise of the Ocean’s Most Fearsome Predators
(Ballantine Books)

“In this magnificent book, the eminent paleontologist John Long tells the true story of sharks and their evolutionary legacy spanning hundreds of millions of years. Rich with scientific detail and enlivened with stories…this book is the work of a master scientist and storyteller. It will make you see sharks in a new way: not as blood-thirsty monsters that we should fear, but as nature’s ultimate survivors that can teach us about evolution and environmental change.”
–Steve Brusatte

The Caricaturist - Lock, Norman

Norman Lock, The Caricaturist
(Bellevue Literary Press)

“Though it opens in 1897, Lock’s new novel feels very relevant in 2024. The narrator, Oliver Fischer, is…studying art, to the frustration of his wealthy, bigoted father, who urges him to take up a career in banking instead….Painter Thomas Eakins—one of Oliver’s instructors—instructs him to read Stephen Crane’s article ‘An Experiment in Misery,’ an account of living hand to mouth….Oliver’s life begins to draw closer to Crane’s, with the two men eventually crossing paths….A resonant story of art, rebellion, and politics.”
Kirkus Reviews

Briefly Very Beautiful - Dineen, Roz

Roz Dineen, Briefly Very Beautiful
(Overlook Press)

Briefly Very Beautiful left me breathless. It is a stunning, poetic, impelling story of love and survival, which I could not stop reading. It is an incredible novel, and the fact it is a debut by Roz Dineen makes it ever more brilliant.”
–Jodie Whittaker

The Entire Sky - Wilkins, Joe

Joe Wilkins, The Entire Sky
(Little Brown)

“Joe Wilkins’s The Entire Sky exposes with strength and poetry the unjust pain of toxic masculinity and the profound damage it wages on children. In these pages a different potential for manhood is turned over and examined, one that allows for gentleness, healing, acceptance, grace. Wilkins gives an exquisite depth to the Montana landscape and to his characters—this is a textured, bloody, and breathtaking book.”
–Sharma Shields

The Sugar Rush: A Memoir of Wild Dreams, Budding Bromance, and Making Maple Syrup - Gregg, Peter

Peter Gregg, The Sugar Rush: A Memoir of Wild Dreams, Budding Bromance, and Making Maple Syrup
(Pegasus Books)

The Sugar Rush takes us on a sweet and rollicking ride through the world of the sugarmakers, those brave souls who endure the harsh New England winters to bring us the amber goodness we pour on our pancakes. But The Sugar Rush is much more than a story about the intricate process of making 100% pure maple syrup. It’s about finding one’s passion, purpose and place in life….[A] thoroughly enjoyable memoir.”
–Craig Carlson

Private Revolutions: Four Women Face China's New Social Order - Yang, Yuan

Yuan Yang, Private Revolutions: Four Women Face China’s New Social Order
(Viking)

“Yang offers a fresh interpretation of the ongoing nature of China’s many upheavals, the actual effects of its oft-discussed policies, the cost of its meteoric economic growth, and the role a new generation of women is poised to play. [Private Revolutions is] a highly revealing, human-centered cultural inquiry.”
Kirkus Reviews

The Same Bright Stars - Joella, Ethan

Ethan Joella, The Same Bright Stars
(Scribner)

“I recognized and rooted for all the wonderful small-town characters in this moving story about a man at a crossroads in his life. Ethan Joella skillfully explores how grief shapes us, and he captures those perfect moments of human connection we all crave.”
–Tracey Lange



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