12 Books We’re Excited to Read in June 2024

    It’s now the time to hang out on the porch with a beverage of choice and enjoy a book in the sun, so we’re recommending 12 new ones for June, including Iranian and Brazilian satires, returns of great novelists, and uncanny short story collections.

    Godwin, Joseph O’Neill (June 4)

    Author of Netherland Joseph O’Neill returns with Godwin, another international adventure centering a hapless but good-natured man, roaming wherever life will take him. Mark Wolfe’s England-based half-brother Geoff, a soccer scout, clues him in on a young African athlete known only as “Godwin” that he says could be the next Lionel Messi. Narrated by Mark and his coworker, Lakesha, the two men travel to search for Godwin in this original novel that touches on capitalism, family, pipe dreams and calls to mind the atrocious history of transatlantic travel.

    Role Play, Clara Drummond (June 4)

    The third novel and first to be translated into English by Brazilian satirist Clara Drummond, Role Play’s narrator is a wealthy gallery curator in Rio de Janeiro about to undergo a class awakening. Vivian is sharp, unflinching with her ideas about Brazilian elites, art, women, and social inequality — she’s a misogynist, but fine with gays, who she sees as equals. After she’s privy to a bout of police violence, Vivian must examine the world and see if it actually was built for someone like her.

    Tehrangeles, Porochista Khakpour (June 11)

    In this ultra-observant novel from memoirist and writer Porochista Khakpour, the extra-wealthy Milani family is preparing to reveal their story in their new reality television show, equal parts Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Vanderpump Rules. As the production looms closer and the pandemic approaches, however, the four Iranian daughters fears the things they conceal will be brought to the surface: Haylee, a fitness expert, falls into a MAGA anti-vax rabbit hole, Mina leaks her older sister’s homophobic tweets, and Roxanna thinks back to the lie she told everyone that she was Italian, not Persian. In compulsively readable sections examining fame, identity, and family dynamics, the Milani family’s chapter is as exuberant as it is entertaining.

    Sillyboy, Peter Vack (June 11)

    Transgressive and punchy, the newest title from alt-lit publisher Cash 4 Gold books is author and actor Peter Vack’s Sillyboy, a doomed tale of a “meme-lord edgeboy and his tattoo artist girlfriend.” Sillyboy is new to Los Angeles with his nickname tattooed on his stomach, a rising starlet with a complicated relationship with his ex-girlfriend. Surrounded amongst the self-titled geniuses of LA, he wants to skip ahead to the future where his Wikipedia page will be cluttered with his life’s achievements, but lazes with his current girlfriend, smoking weed and scrolling through Instagram. Brazen and hilariously funny, Sillyboy is one to read in a day or two, if you can stand to recognize yourself within its complicated cast.

    The Sisters K, Maureen Sun (June 11)

    In a modern retelling of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Maureen Sun assembles three sisters before their estranged father’s deathbed. Despite his lifetime of abuse, he has one more task for them to determine who will get his fortune. Minah, a lawyer who dreams of motherhood, Sarah, an academic, and Esther, the youngest, all vie for his attention — and funds — with their increasingly desperate attempts at connection to him, but each other. The Sisters K is propulsive, emotional, and deeply clear-eyed, a debut that excites and provokes.

    Mouth, Puloma Ghosh (June 11)

    In the opening story of Puloma Ghosh’s debut collection, an ice skater whose mother is apart of the mysterious Bureau that collects teenage boys when they come of age for a secret war comes to the fact that her competitor is a vampire, and, though she doesn’t suck her blood directly, becomes infatuated with her corpse-like state, pale and laid out on the ice. The rest of the stories in Mouth investigate the bizarre and uncanny creaks of reality to give rise to the unconventional and unmentionable in this captivating collection.

    Traveling: On the Path of Joni Mitchell, Ann Powers (June 11)

    Lifelong journalist Ann Powers (NPR, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times) chronicles the life of superstar folk artist Joni Mitchell in a book that’s as memoir as it is investigation, history, and love letter to music. Unwilling to shy away from her past, controversies, and mistakes, Powers charts Joni’s history through her extensive, twenty-album catalog of songs detailing her relationships to other singers, herself, women, and the Canadian landscape where she grew up. If you’re looking for the definitive background of an artsy legend, or a reason to deep-dive into Joni’s warm and powerful discography, Traveling is the book to start.

    Any Person Is the Only Self: Essays, Eliza Gabbert (June 11)

    In another collection from essayist and poet Eliza Gabbert, Any Person Is the Only Self swerves from topics like writing, memory, journaling, reading, asking the question of where are true self lies, so spread out. Across 16 pieces of writing Gabbert examines ourselves with a shocking intimacy and a keen eye — versatile, witty, and easily recommendable. 

    You Are the Snake, Juliet Escoria (June 18)

    In a four-part collection of stories from the Juliet the Maniac author, You Are the Snake expounds upon Juliet Escoria’s original and charming voice. Examining girlhood, desire, and yearning, Escoria’s stories are jolts of electricity that call to mind Mary Gaitskill, Elle Nash, or Julia Armfield, often pulling you in in just a few quick moments. One opening sentence: “I killed a cat before I left.” She’s one to be talking about.

    Parade, Rachel Cusk (June 18)

    Rachel Cusk (the Outline trilogy, Second Place) has long impressed with her work of liminal, often cerebral books about art and life. She returns with Parade, a novel aiming to upend what fiction can do, centering the artist G, who begins to paint upside down one day. His paintings of his wife — lopsided, ugly — become hugely successful. Meanwhile, another painter, G, leaves home to begin her own artistic journey, producing work her future husband doesn’t agree with. Cusk, ever the experimenter, toys with storytelling once again to create one of her most compelling works yet.

    Hey, Zoey, Sarah Crossan (June 25)

    Sarah Crossan has dazzled for years with her young adult books of verse, but for her second adult novel, Hey, Zoey, she turns to short vignettes to tell the story of a relationship divided due to an AI sex doll. Dolores is shocked when she discovers the doll, Zoey, in her husband’s garage, and reassesses her relationship with him. After talking with Zoey extensively though, asking her about the weather and poison, Dolores starts to remember events of her own life she’s repressed. Like her previous adult novel Here Is the Beehive, Hey, Zoey is an emotional, often dark tale about the desires that lurk just beneath our surface. Destined to linger in your mind long after the ending, Crossan proves herself to be a master of compelling storytelling and cutting emotions we’re all too embarrassed to admit we have.

    Honey, Isabel Banta (June 25)

    Essential reading for anyone still hooked on Y2K nostalgia, Honey is the story of up-and-coming superstar Amber Young as she navigates a stratospheric rise to fame. After a life changing call that asks her to move to Los Angeles to join the girl group Cloud9, she quickly realizes that the touring life isn’t all that it makes out to be. Reflecting on the dark underbelly of stars like Britney Spears, Honey sees Amber under the guise of men who can shape her career and make her go from naive teen to oversexualized, hated star.

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