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The Best New Books of July 2019

Including novels, poetry, and nonfiction.

Thank goodness for summer. Longer days and warmer weather mean more time for vacation–and for books! So many great books are hitting shelves this month. Here’s a list of some of our favorites coming out in July. Happy reading!

Gettysburg
By Kevin Morris
Grove Press
July 2, 2019

“With a compulsively readable narrative that offers a satirical portrait of Hollywood—the deal-making, the politics, the pitches—Gettysburg is an intelligent and powerful book about contemporary America.”

We Went to the Woods
By Caite Dolan-Leach
Random House
July 2, 2019

“Certain that society is on the verge of economic and environmental collapse, five disillusioned twenty-somethings make a bold decision: they gather in upstate New York to transform an abandoned farm, once the site of a turn-of-the-century socialist commune, into an idyllic self-sustaining compound called The Homestead.”

Big Cabin
By Ron Padgett
Coffee House Press
July 2, 2019

“Written over one season in a Vermont cabin, these poems act as a reflecting pool, casting back mortality, consciousness, and time in new, crystal-clear light. The chatter of the chickadee, the smell of new-sawn pine, the fog on the pond—Padgett uses daily minutiae to consider what it means to exist in the world.”

The Government Lake
James Tate
Ecco
July 2, 2019

“James Tate’s work, filled with unexpected turns and deadpan exaggeration, “fanciful and grave, mundane and transcendent,” (New York Times) has been among the most defining and significant of our time. In his last collection before his death in 2015, Tate’s dark yet whimsical humor, his emotional acuity, and his keen ear for the absurd are on full display in prose poems that finely constructed and lyrical, surrealistic and provocative.”

Jacob’s Ladder
By Ludmila Ulitskaya; Translated by Polly Gannon
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
July 9, 2019

“One of Russia’s most renowned literary figures and a Man Booker International Prize nominee, Ludmila Ulitskaya presents what may be her final novel. Jacob’s Ladder is a family saga spanning a century of recent Russian history—and represents the summation of the author’s career, which has been devoted to sharing the absurd and tragic tales of twentieth-century life in her nation.”

The Need
By Helen Phillips
Simon & Schuster
July 9, 2019

“In The Need, Helen Phillips has created a subversive, speculative thriller that comes to life through blazing, arresting prose and gorgeous, haunting imagery. Helen Phillips has been anointed as one of the most exciting fiction writers working today, and The Needis a glorious celebration of the bizarre and beautiful nature of our everyday lives.”

The Wind That Lays Waste
By Selva Almada
Graywolf Press
July 9, 2019

“As a long day passes, curiosity and intrigue transform into an unexpected intimacy between four people: one man who believes deeply in God, morality, and his own righteousness, and another whose life experiences have only entrenched his moral relativism and mild apathy; a quietly earnest and idealistic mechanic’s assistant, and a restless, skeptical preacher’s daughter. As tensions between these characters ebb and flow, beliefs are questioned and allegiances are tested, until finally the growing storm breaks over the plains.”

Beirut Hellfire Society
By Rawi Hage
W. W. Norton
July 16, 2019

“On a ravaged street overlooking a cemetery in Beirut’s Christian enclave, we meet an eccentric young man named Pavlov, the son of a local undertaker. When his father meets a sudden and untimely death, Pavlov is approached by a colorful member of the mysterious Hellfire Society—an anti-religious sect that, among many rebellious and often salacious activities, arranges secret burial for outcasts who have been denied last rites because of their religion or sexuality.”

The Nickel Boys
By Colson Whitehead
Doubleday
July 16, 2019

“As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is “as good as anyone.” Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future.”

The Redemption of Time: A Three-Body Problem Novel
By Baoshu; Translated by Ken Liu
Tor Books
July 16, 2019

“Set in the universe of the New York Times bestselling Three-Body Problem trilogy, The Redemption of Time continues Cixin Liu’s multi-award-winning science fiction saga. This original story by Baoshu―published with Liu’s support―envisions the aftermath of the conflict between humanity and the extraterrestrial Trisolarans.”

Body Leaping Backward: Memoir of a Delinquent Girlhood
By Maureen Stanton
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
July 16, 2019

“For Maureen Stanton’s proper Catholic mother, the town’s maximum security prison was a way to keep her seven children in line (“If you don’t behave, I’ll put you in Walpole Prison!”). But as the 1970s brought upheaval to America, and the lines between good and bad blurred, Stanton’s once-solid family lost its way. A promising young girl with a smart mouth, Stanton turns watchful as her parents separate and her now-single mother descends into shoplifting, then grand larceny, anything to keep a toehold in the middle class for her children. No longer scared by threats of Walpole Prison, Stanton too slips into delinquency—vandalism, breaking and entering—all while nearly erasing herself through addiction to angel dust, a homemade form of PCP that swept through her hometown in the wake of Nixon’s “total war” on drugs.”

Speaking of Summer
By Kalisha Buckhanon
Counterpoint Press
July 30, 2019

“On a cold December evening, Autumn Spencer’s twin sister, Summer, walks to the roof of their shared Harlem brownstone and is never seen again. The door to the roof is locked, and the snow holds only one set of footprints. Faced with authorities indifferent to another missing Black woman, Autumn must pursue the search for her sister all on her own.”

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