10 Books We’re Excited to Read in July 2024

    Beach read season is upon us, so whether you’re by the ocean, or simply cracking open a window to enjoy a warm day, we’re recommending books to beat the heat with.

    Misrecognition, Madison Newbound (July 2)

    Elsa loves to scroll — relatable. After leaving a relationship with a couple, she’s back in her childhood bedroom, directionless and wondering if her problems are boring her therapist. She finally hits something interesting during many days with her laptop — a young actor in a new queer movie she suddenly becomes enamored with — again, relatable (Challengers). After she sees him in the flesh, she begins work at a restaurant he frequents, only to become jealous of his constant date, an androgynous person named Sam. For fans of Patricia Lockwood and Alexandra Tanner, Misrecognition is a tale of internet longing and obsession that leads to self-discovery.

    The Coin, Yasmin Zaher (July 9)

    In Palestinian journalist and writer Yasmin Zaher’s debut novel, an unnamed, glamorous woman living in New York City attempts to rid herself of the grime she has felt since childhood, ever since swallowing a coin during a road trip. This manifests in anxiety and obsessive-compulsive symptoms later in life, including a debilitatingly long (and extensively detailed) cleaning regimen in the morning, before going to her job as a teacher assigning deeply intimate essays about trauma. She enters a scheme selling Birkin bags with a homeless man who flies her to Europe, eventually confronting her desire to remain clean with a marvelous unraveling. The Coin is a steady, hypnotic debut from a major talent, and the narrator’s acerbic voice makes her one of the most interesting characters of the year.

    Anyone’s Ghost, August Thompson (July 9)

    Billed as a ‘dirtbag Call Me By Your Name’ by Kirkus, August Thompson’s debut follows the journeys of Jake and Theron, two boys who meet during one summer in New Hampshire. Theron is immediately attracted to Jake — tall, unafraid to pilfer money from his job for weed — but isn’t sure if he reciprocates the feeling, or even what Theron feels. After years apart where Jake vanishes, he reappears at Theron’s door, now a graduate living in New York City, and the two wait out Hurricane Sandy together. Finally, the two open up to each other about the past years with stunning candor and intimacy, but years later, after Jake is killed by a car crash, Theron has to pick up the pieces of what might be the best relationship he’s known. Moving and darkly funny, Anyone’s Ghost is a nuanced bisexual romance that focuses on the muck of falling in love as much as its joys.

    State of Paradise, Laura van den Berg (July 9)

    Florida is an insane state — after living there for twelve years, it’s basically the only guarantee there. Laura van den Berg is the latest writer to try to examine the state’s mysteries, this time with her new novel State of Paradise, where a ghostwriter to a famous thriller author returns to her family home in the Sunshine State. Her sister is knee-deep in Mind’s Eye, a new virtual reality device, but after a particularly nasty thunderstorm, she (and many other residents of the town) suddenly go missing. She returns, speaking of another dimension, and the ghostwriter must investigate what Mind’s Eye has done to the bridge between reality and fiction.

    Pink Slime, Fernanda Trías; translated by Heather Cleary (July 9)

    Uruguayan novelist Fernanda Trías’ second book to be translated into English, Pink Slime, is a dystopian climate horror show. A hot, muggy red wind has swept the world, leading to periods of mandated indoor time, and a mysterious fog that follows it leads to scabbing and disease. Its narrator, a nanny for an abandoned boy whose wealthy parents have absconded elsewhere, is torn between her ex-husband, in the hospital for a disease, and her mother, who insists on leaving to Brazil, a supposed safe haven. As more and more people leave the city, the narrator has to adapt to her slowly changing new world — where the rules aren’t so clearly written.

    Banal Nightmare, Halle Butler (July 16)

    If Halle Butler’s previous novel, The New Me, was a dreadfully accurate portrayal of working an uninspiring job, her newest, Banal Nightmare, takes it a few years later. Moddie has just broken up with her long-term boyfriend, Nick, and moved back to her Midwestern town of X for a change of pace. But within the first few pages where she attends a party with her past friends, it’s clear her personality is at odds with them; she insinuates their support of child pornography for using Facebook and brings up her recent dildo purchase. Moddie’s voice is instantly recognizable, but as she sinks further into herself after others exclude her and her past life with Nick resurfaces, questioning whether the sudden move was in her best interest. A brilliantly funny dissection of adult life and superficiality, Banal Nightmare is relatable, even if you don’t want it to be.

    The Nude, C. Michelle Lindley (July 23)

    In C. Michelle Lindley’s debut novel, the art historian Elizabeth Clarke travels to a Greek island in order to retrieve a rare sculpture of a nude woman. The artifact is harder than she imagines to track down, and under the sweltering sun, reliance on prescription pills, and debilitating migraines convolutes the journey into a humid, lush summer. Under the guise of her charming translator, she realizes the fate of the statue (and her) are questioned — what’s her role in the history of art, and in the global trade she might not be privileged to?

    The Modern Fairies, Clare Pollard (July 23)

    Poet, novelist and playwright Clare Pollard returns with her first novel after Delphi with The Modern Fairies, a tale set against the decadent background of Versailles, France in 1682. It looks opulent and rich under the rule of Louis XIV, but a dark undercurrent of gossip, sexual desires, and transgression lurks below the surface. Madame Marie d’Aulnoy gathers a group of intellectuals at her home to perform fairy tales, but as a monstrous entity watches, their audacious tales might turn true. Inspired by real events, The Modern Fairies highlights the dangers and desires of storytelling all at once.

    Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow, Damilare Kuku (July 30)

    In Nigerian writer Damilare Kuku’s debut novel after her short story collection, Nearly All the Men in Lagos Are Mad, twenty-year-old Temi has just graduated and has a clear plan for the future: a Brazilian Butt Lift. She confesses this, stoned, during a meeting with the family and her mother asks her how she’ll spend the money her father left her in his will. Even though BBLs are common with the women she knows in her city of Ile-Ife, her family is upset and discourages her from physical perfection. But while they attempt to dissuade her, they reveal secrets about the family, her sister’s temporary absence a while ago, and their own reflections on beauty’s double standard.

    The Most, Jessica Anthony (July 30)

    Jessica Anthony’s slim third novel, The Most, unfolds over a single day where a 1950s housewife decides to use her community pool, and never gets out. Her baffled husband Virgil, tells their boys to fend for themselves as he enjoys a day of golfing, but while he’s gone, Kathleen is going over the intricacies of their marriage — dissonance in former partners, and where they want to settle down. Kathleen’s mental chess game expands as you get a history of the couple as Virgil finally confronts her by the pool later that night, unaware of what she’s been cooking up. Perfect for overthinkers, you can read about The Most’s intense marriage dynamics in under a day.

    Arts in one place.

    All of our content is free, if you would like to subscribe to our newsletter or even make a small donation, click the button below.

    People are Reading