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The Best New Books of June 2018

The Best New Books of June 2018

Does anyone actually read the introductory paragraph before a monthly book preview? I’m not convinced. You’re just going to scroll down, so why do we waste time writing anything up here? Anyway, June is here, and a lot of great books are hitting the shelves, particularly on Tuesday, June 5. Go ahead. Scroll down.


Sweet and Low
By Nick White
June 5

From Blue Rider Press: “Praised by the Washington Post as ‘Tennessee Williams…transposed to the twenty-first-century South,’ Nick White returns with a stunning short-story collection that tackles issues of masculinity, identity, and place, with a sharp eye for social commentary and a singular handling of character.”


Still Lives
By Maria Hummel
June 5

From Counterpoint Press: “Set against a culture that often fetishizes violence, Still Lives is a page-turning exodus into the art world’s hall of mirrors, and one woman’s journey into the belly of an industry flooded with money and secrets.”


By Lauren Groff
June 5

From Riverhead Books: “In her vigorous and moving new book, Lauren Groff brings her electric storytelling and intelligence to a world in which storms, snakes, and sinkholes lurk at the edge of everyday life, but the greater threats and mysteries are of a human, emotional, and psychological nature. Among those navigating it all are a resourceful pair of abandoned sisters; a lonely boy, grown up; a restless, childless couple, a searching, homeless woman; and an unforgettable, recurring character – a steely and conflicted wife and mother.”


Days of Awe
By A.M. Homes
June 5

From Viking: “With her signature humor and compassion, A.M. Homes exposes the heart of an uneasy America in her new collection – exploring our attachments to each other through characters who aren’t quite who they hoped to become, though there is no one else they can be.”


Tonight I’m Someone Else
By Chelsea Hodson
June 5,

From Henry Holt: “Starting with Hodson’s own work experience, which ranges from the mundane to the bizarre—including modeling and working on a NASA Mars mission— Hodson expands outward, looking at the ways in which the human will submits, whether in the marketplace or in a relationship. Both tender and jarring, this collection is relevant to anyone who’s ever searched for what the self is worth.”


By Porochista Khakpour
June 5

From Harper Perennial: “A powerful, beautifully rendered memoir of chronic illness, misdiagnosis, addiction, and the myth of full recovery.”


Tiny Crimes
Edited by Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto
June 5

From Black Balloon Publishing: “With illustrations by Wesley Allsbrook and flash fiction by Carmen Maria Machado, Benjamin Percy, Amelia Gray, Adam Sternbergh, Yuri Herrera, Julia Elliott, Elizabeth Hand, Brian Evenson, Charles Yu, Laura van den Berg, and more, Tiny Crimes scours the underbelly of modern life to expose the criminal, the illegal, and the depraved.”


North American Stadiums
By Grady Chambers
June 5

From Milkweed Editions: “Winner of the inaugural Max Ritvo Poetry Prize, North American Stadiums is an assured debut collection about grace—the places we search for it, and the disjunction between what we seek and where we arrive.”


The Body Ghost
By Joseph Lease
June 5

From Coffee House Press: “Spare, airy, exacting poems whose quietness is often at an ironic counterpoint to their strident leftist politics. ‘Promise me the rich can’t sleep,’ Joseph Lease begs in The Body Ghost, offering poems as light on the page as nursery rhymes, and as powerful as prayer. Here, verse conjures up the body in pain, the body politic in collapse, and the tensile strength of the filaments that connect us.”


By Rachel Cusk
June 5

From FSG: “Rachel Cusk, the critically acclaimed author of Outline and Transit, completes her pathbreaking trilogy with Kudos. A woman writer visits a Europe in flux, where questions of personal and political identity are rising to the surface and the trauma of change is opening up new possibilities of loss and renewal. Within the rituals of literary culture, Faye finds the human story in disarray amid differing attitudes toward the public enactment of the creative persona, and she begins to identify among the people she meets a tension between truth and representation that causes her to consider questions of acclaim, justice, and the ultimate value of suffering.”


Half Gods
By Akil Kumarasamy
June 5

From FSG: “Passing through countries and generations, Akil Kumarasamy’s Half Gods is a vibrant interlinked collection following the unspooling threads of nationality, religion, and love. Diverging across time, each of these ten stories reveals with prescient clarity how the past reverberates in unexpected ways, with parents, children, and friends acting as unknowing mirrors, reflecting weaknesses, hopes, grief, the human, and the divine.”


There There
By Tommy Orange
June 5

From Knopf: “Fierce, angry, funny, heartbreaking—Tommy Orange’s first novel is a wondrous and shattering portrait of an America few of us have ever seen, and it introduces a brilliant new author at the start of a major career.”


Invitation to a Bonfire
By Adrienne Celt
June 5

From Bloomsbury: “The seductive story of a dangerous love triangle, inspired by the infamous Nabokov marriage, with a spellbinding psychological thriller at its core.”


The Mutual UFO Network
By Lee Martin
June 12

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From Dzanc Books: “In The Mutual UFO Network, Pulitzer Prize finalist and master of the craft Lee Martin presents his first short story collection since his acclaimed debut The Least You Need to Know. With Martin’s signature insight, each story peers into the nooks and crannies of seemingly normal homes, communities, and families. The footprints of a midnight prowler peel back the veneer of a marriage soured by a long-ago affair. A con man selling faked UFO footage loses his wife to the promise of life outside the ordinary. And a troubled man, tormented by his own mind, lies in the street to look at the stars, and in doing so unravels the carefully constructed boundaries between his quiet neighbors.”


Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore
By Elizabeth Rush
June 12

From Milkweed Editions: “Harvey. Maria. Irma. Sandy. Katrina. We live in a time of unprecedented hurricanes and catastrophic weather events, a time when it is increasingly clear that climate change is neither imagined nor distant—and that rising seas are transforming the coastline of the United States in irrevocable ways. In this highly original work of lyrical reportage, Elizabeth Rush guides readers through some of the places where this change has been most dramatic, from the Gulf Coast to Miami, and from New York City to the Bay Area.”


Who Is Vera Kelly?
By Rosalie Knecht
June 12

From Tin House Books: “An exhilarating page turner and perceptive coming-of-age story, Who Is Vera Kelly? introduces an original, wry and whip-smart female spy for the twenty-first century.”


The Completionist
By Siobhan Adcock
June 19

From Simon & Schuster: “In the tradition of The Handmaid’s Tale, The Completionist is speculative fiction at its very best: imaginative and propulsive, revealing our own world in bold and unexpected ways.”


The Great Believers
By Rebecca Makkai
June 19

From Viking: “A dazzling new novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and loss set in 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris, by the acclaimed and award-winning author Rebecca Makkai.”


Stranger on Earth: Poems
By Richard Jones
June 19

From Copper Canyon Press: “In Stranger on Earth, distinguished poet, critic, and editor Richard Jones summonses Proustian detail as he reflects on his childhood, past adventure, married life, and first love. Jones writes with great serenity of soul as he constructs a false autobiography: highlighting travels to London and Paris; the separation, contemplation and reunion with his wife in the Italian countryside; morning tea with his daughter and running with his sons; flights with a pioneering aviator father and conversations with a deaf mother.”


Confessions of the Fox
By Jordy Rosenberg
June 26

From One World: “A love story set in the eighteenth-century London of notorious thieves and queer subcultures, this genre-bending debut tells a profound story of gender, desire, and liberation.”


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