10 Books We’re Excited to Read in May 2024

    As the summer approaches, beach reads are more necessary than ever. We’re recommending haunting short story collections, whipsmart satires, and deeply original ideas as the heat rises along with time for leisure.

    Early Sobrieties, Michael Deagler (May 7)

    26-year-old Dennis Monk has just gotten his life together before moving in with his parents in the middle of a Philadelphia summer. He’s six months sober, but before he can congratulate himself, his family kicks him out of the house, saying he needs to support himself and be on his own. Crashing from sofa to bed, hooking up with new women and those from a decade ago, Monk meets a rambunctious cast of characters in this interlocked story collection that exercises humor and stakes generously. Michael Deagler’s debut is intricate, clever, and real as can be in its portrayal of intense human emotion. 

    Ghostroots, ‘Pemi Aguda (May 7)

    In her spectacular and often haunting collection, ‘Pemi Aguda reimagines Lagos, Nigeria’s everyday rhythms with a supernatural essence, much like Bora Chung or Mariana Enríquez’ uncanny voices. The surreal and bizarre swirl around diseases, mothers and children with melodic prose, uncovering the annals of the human condition in Aguda’s arresting debut.

    How It Works Out, Myriam Lacroix (May 7)

    In other universes, Myriam and Allison, the protagonists of How It Works Out, are CEOs of carbon-producing air vents, famous self-help writers, baby stealers, flesh eaters or mantises. Thankfully, we aren’t limited to just one, as Lacroix’s autofictional-ish debut novel sees the couple in any number of configurations down the line, all deliriously silly and sharply written. A bold debut, hilarious and thoughtful in equal measure, unafraid to make fun of itself while never toppling with its absurdity.

    All Fours, Miranda July (May 14)

    Performance artist Miranda July’s second novel after the gripping The First Bad Man is All Fours, where an artist decides to leave her family and drive from Los Angeles to New York in a bout of creative reinvention. The artist, slyly optimistic and hilarious, charts an absurd and entertaining new course for herself and for fiction.

    Shanghailanders, Juli Min (May 14)

    Juli Min’s ambitious debut novel begins in 2040 and works its way back to 2014, uncovering layers of family secrets and actions throughout. In 2040, businessman Leo Yang drops his daughters Yumi and Yoko off at the airport, thinking nothing is awry, but the past reveals their shared secrets and how a family transforms through time. Speculative and original, Shanghailanders is a portrait of modern dynamics unlike any familial saga before.

    My First Book, Honor Levy (May 14)

    Honor Levy’s dizzying, terminally online stories have found homes at Tyrant Books and The New Yorker before her debut collection, My First Book, arrives this May. The zingy stories, filled with poetic lines unafraid to offend or shock, go around corners of the internet and modern life ferociously for a young writer — it’s sure to not leave your head anytime soon. 

    Trust and Safety, Laura Blackett and Eve Gleichman (May 21)

    The writing duo Laura Blackett and Eve Gleichman, authors of the absurdly funny corporate satire The Very Nice Box, return with Trust and Safety, where a normal-seeming couple meets their queer analog and falls into their spell. Newlyweds Rosie and Jordan are disenchanted with New York City, and strive to move upstate to a historic and beautiful house, but all falls through and they have to stay in a decidedly less charming apartment a ways away. There, they meet an earthy duo that has everything Rosie wants in life, relationship stability included. Jordan isn’t convinced, but Rosie’s fallen for their ‘gay agenda,’ and it might take some work to pull her back.

    Mood Swings, Frankie Barnet (May 21)

    I recognize how insane I sound when describing the plot of Mood Swings, Frankie Barnet’s delightful debut novel, to friends. A billionaire, remorseful after killing the world’s animals due to their unruly uprising, invents a time machine to go back and introduce solar panels to the Industrial Revolution, so global warming won’t be exacerbated in the future. But a storyline so wacky still includes deeply human characters like Jenlena and Daphne, two roommates that call to mind Hannah and Marnie from Girls, Jordan, a canceled boyfriend, Moon Cicero, his ex who joined a pretentious cult, and Roderick Maeve, the aforementioned billionaire. Ridiculously funny and as smart as satires come, Mood Swings is a pitch-perfect Instagram novel attuned for the modern age.

    In Tongues, Thomas Grattan (May 21)

    Gordon moves from the Midwest to New York City in the early 2000s as a queer pilgrimage, only to make rent walking the affluent dogs of the city. When wandering one day, he stumbles upon Philip and Nicola, gallery owners that he quickly becomes intertwined with as he transforms into employee, lover, muse. Gordon begins to unspin the secrets he’s been kept from, traveling later to Europe and Mexico City in this witty, sharp sophomore novel from Thomas Grattan. 

    The Safekeep, Yael Van Der Wouden (May 28)

    In this swirling, atmospheric debut from Yael Van De Wouden, the Dutch province of Overijssel is reeling from the war. It’s 1961, and Isabel is living a quiet life until her brother introduces his new girlfriend, Eva, to stay for a bit. Newly obsessed, Isabel is attuned to the ways that Eva is different from her — loud and unself-aware. She spins further into infatuation and paranoia until she goes too deep, from a talented and upcoming writer.

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