It can be hard to keep up to date with newly published and popular books, and it is even more difficult to choose what to read, that is why we have created a monthly collection of interesting books that have been published during the month of July 2020.
1)The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir, Michele Harper
In her new memoir, emergency room physician Michele Harper explores how the patients she’s treated have helped her come to terms with the traumas of her own past. Reflecting on everything from her turbulent childhood to the abrupt end of her marriage, Harper illustrates the complexities of self-healing and recovery. Throughout, she describes the chaotic nature of her work, which is amplified by the obstacles she must overcome as a Black woman in a profession dominated by white men.
2)A Silenced Voice: The Life of Journalist Kim Wall, Ingrid & Joachim Wall
In 2017, Swedish journalist Kim Wall was working on a story about an inventor in Copenhagen when she mysteriously disappeared. Days later, the 30-year-old’s torso was found on a beach outside of the city. In a powerful memoir, Wall’s parents share how they navigated their grief in the aftermath of their daughter’s horrific death and the investigation and trial that followed. Though their subject matter is unthinkably sad, Ingrid and Joachim Wall focus on Kim and the life she led, sharing stories of her passions and ambitions as a journalist, partner and friend.
3)Blacktop Wasteland, S.A. Cosby
A dedicated father and husband, mechanic Bug Montage has successfully escaped his criminal past. But now his terminally ill mother needs help and the auto shop he owns is in financial distress. He decides to take a job as a getaway driver in a jewellery heist, threatening the life he has built by slipping into one he thought he left behind.
4)Afterland, Lauren Beukes
After a global pandemic has fatally infected most of the world’s population, a mother named Cole is determined to do whatever it takes to protect her 12-year-old son Miles. As one of the few surviving boys, Miles had been housed at a government facility in California, until Cole came to his rescue. Now on the run, the duo must navigate a perilous landscape of fear and uncertainty, in which Cole has to disguise Miles as a girl. Lauren Beuke’s timely and unsettling novel, Afterland, depicts their journey across the country as they attempt to find safety.
5)Empire of Wild, Cherie Dimaline
It’s been almost a year since Joan last saw her husband Victor, who walked out on her after they got into a fight over what to do about her family’s land. In Cherie Dimaline’s latest novel, Joan catches up to him in a Walmart parking lot—but he has no idea who she is. Victor now goes by Reverend Eugene Wolff and he seems much more dangerous than the man she was once married to. Unsure of what to do, Joan leans on her Métis community to help her understand who her husband has become. In doing so, she begins to learn how the traditions of her ancestors might yield some much-needed answers.
6)Must I Go, Yiyun Li *
While residing in a senior living facility, 81-year-old grandmother Lilia Liska is catapulted back in time when she reads her former lover Roland’s published diary entries. She begins marking up the pages with her own recollections of the events Roland described, and reflects on the adult daughter whom she lost to suicide. Like she did in her 2019 novel Where Reasons End, Yiyun Li creates a sensitive, strange and heartbreaking account of maternal love as Lilia processes the losses she’s experienced in her life.
7)Intimations: Six Essays, Zadie Smith
Six essays comprise Zadie Smith’s latest collection, which she wrote during the first few months of lockdown orders. Though a slim book, Intimations captures the uneasiness of our modern moment as Smith reflects on the COVID-19 pandemic and relates it to issues of privilege and inequity. Her urgent voice tackles everything from what becomes important during isolation to the global response to George Floyd’s killing. The author asks questions, both timely and timeless, about how we respond to crisis and suffering.
8)Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir, Natasha Trethewey
When she was 19 years old, Natasha Trethewey suffered a terrible tragedy: her former stepfather murdered her mother. In her anticipated memoir, the former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner contemplates the impact of this searing trauma on her life and artistry and reflects on her mother’s legacy. Trethewey places the event in the context of her upbringing in the South, revealing a youth shaped by domestic abuse and racism. In examining what came before and after the horrific event, Trethewey underscores the power of the love between a mother and daughter.
9)I Hold a Wolf by the Ears: Stories, Laura van den Berg
Laura van den Berg’s latest collection includes 11 new stories, each eerie and dreamlike, anchored by a female protagonist who is slightly disconnected from her reality. One woman impersonates her missing sister at a conference abroad. Another remembers the treatment facility where she lived as a teenager after attempting suicide. Several can’t escape their pasts, a lesson one character in particular learns after running into her brother’s ex-wife while in Mexico City. Van den Berg writes about each woman in her dark and strange voice, interjecting glimpses of biting humor amid revelations of pain and loss
10)Scarlet Odyssey by C.T. Rwizi
Drawing on the stories he heard growing up in Swaziland, debut author C.T. Rwizi has created a culturally rich and compelling new fantasy world in Scarlet Odyssey. Rwizi’s central character Salo defies the expectations placed on him by his tribe in order to nurture his magical instincts in a world where men are warriors and women are mystics. When his village is attacked by an enchantress, Salo finds himself embarking on a quest to become a mystic, with a band of fellow outcasts at his side.
11) Someone Else’s Secret by Julia Spiro
Two women must confront a shared trauma in Julia Spiro’s wrenching Someone Else’s Secret. In 2009, 19-year-old Lindsey and 15-year-old Georgie bond during a summer in Martha’s Vineyard where Lindsey is working as the nanny for Georgie’s family. However, when a shocking event takes place on the beach, their friendship is shattered, leaving them unable to face what happened that night for 10 long years.
12) The Golden Cage by Camilla Läckberg*
At long last, the thriller genre is serving up a novel that truly deserves to be mentioned alongside Gone Girl. Camilla Läckberg’s The Golden Cage is a riveting story of female revenge that centres on Faye, the wife of a billionaire who brings her husband to his knees after she discovers his infidelity.
13) Memoirs and Misinformation by Jim Carrey and Dana Vachon
Memoirs and Misinformation by Jim Carrey and Dana Vachon isn’t your typical celebrity memoir. In fact, it’s not really a memoir at all. Instead, Carrey and Vachon weave a riveting story of celebrity, yearning, and privilege in Hollywood, with just the right amount of wild celebrity appearances from the likes of Taylor Swift and Nicolas Cage to keep readers turning the pages straight through to the surprisingly apocalyptic ending.
14) Well-Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave
Three generations of Indian women struggle to maintain their bonds in Saumya Dave’s Well-Behaved Indian Women. As Simran begins to realise her life isn’t on the path that she wants it to be on, her fragile relationship with her mother Nandini begins to fracture, leaving her grandmother Mimi Kadakia to bridge the gap between them.
15) He Came in With It by Miriam Feldman
In He Came in With It, Miriam Feldman shares how her teenage son’s schizophrenia diagnosis changed her family forever. As she tells not her only her story as a mother to a child living with a mental illness, but also her son’s story, Feldman lays bare the inadequacies of America’s mental healthcare system, explores the ways a diagnosis can lead to stigmatising, and dispels the myth of the perfect family.
16) Paris Is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay*
Paris Is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay is the perfect summer read. At the age of 30, Chelsea Martin decides to redo her gap year roaming through Europe all over again in hopes of getting her life back on track after her mother’s death.
17) The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue
Set in Dublin, Ireland during the flu pandemic of 1918, Room author Emma Donoghue’s The Pull of the Stars tells the story of three women whose lives intersect over the course of three days in a maternity ward. Together, nurse Julia Power, Dr. Kathleen Lynn, and a volunteer named Birdie fight to save lives in the midst of the devastating pandemic.
18) Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Alaya Dawn Johnson’s Trouble the Saints has it all: an alternate history setting, a deadly female assassin, and an epic love story. It’s also a timely story about America’s racial divide as seen through the eyes of a daring woman from Harlem who will do whatever it takes to protect the ones she loves.
19) This Is My America by Kim Johnson
Kim Johnson’s This Is My America is a timely, searing examination of America’s broken justice system. Tracy Beaumont is a 17-year-old girl who is tirelessly fighting to get her innocent father off death row, when her brother is wrongly arrested for murdering a white girl. Now Tracey is determined to not only save her father, but to clear her brother’s name in what could be the most important YA book of the year.
20) “Notes on a Silencing” by Lacy Crawford*
In a beautifully written memoir, Lucy Crawford revisits her own assault when the elite St. Paul school — which she attended decades ago — comes under state investigation for sexual abuse on campus. Crawford discovers evidence of institutional silencing and shadowy powers trying to cover up her own case to this day.
21) “Hamnet” by Maggie O’Farrell*
Step into 15th-century Britain with Maggie O’Farrell’s “Hamnet.” This deeply moving tale of historical fiction follows a young William Shakespeare and the woman he falls in love with, Agnes, as they deal with losing their son Hamnet to the bubonic plague.
22) Antkind: A Novel by Charlie Kaufman
Charlie Kaufman, the Oscar-winning screenwriter behind Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, comes out strong with his fiction debut. Antkind centres on a failed film critic named B. Rosenberg who discovers a three-month-long film that took its reclusive creator 90 years to make. Rosenberg wants to show the film, but there’s one problem: only one frame remains, and he must imagine what came before it. What follows is a deranged, comical nightmare.
23) Want: A Novel
This second novel from the author of Hold Still follows Elizabeth, a New York woman with big aspirations, as her carefully planned life begins to unravel. A reunion with a childhood friend offers a look at what else could have been, but the novel ultimately asks Elizabeth (and all of us) to face the decisions we’ve made and the person they’ve made us.
24) Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers*
Set in the south-east suburbs of London in 1957, we meet our protagonist Jean Swinney – an unlucky in love thirty-something features writer for the local paper. When a young Swiss woman contacts her to claim that her daughter is the result of a virgin birth, their lives slowly become entangled until there’s no way out. A gripping and ideal summer read for fans of Tessa Hadley and Jane Austen.
25) Olive by Emma Gannon
A whip-smart and fresh fiction debut from podcaster/author/writer Emma Gannon. Here, the reader meets early thirty-something protagonist Olive who has just cut ties with her long time love and is doubting her decision. Fertility is at the centre of this book, with Olive grappling with her instinct to be child-free while her three closest friends each portray a different aspect of motherhood: one has fertility issues, the other is newly pregnant and the third had kids young. It’s an easy read but one that will stick with you long after you’ve put it back on your bookshelf.
26) Finders, Keepers by Sabine Durrant*
This summer’s most anticipated thriller, Finders, Keepers is deliciously slow-burning and hard to put down. After Ailsa Tilson moves her family to a new suburb to find a house to renovate, she meets her new neighbour, Verity, who begins to work her way into the Tilson family’s lives.
27) The Hungover Games by Sophie Heawood*
When journalist Sophie Heawood found herself pregnant and single in LA, half a world away from her London home, she decided to return to the UK to raise her daughter. The Hungover Games is Heawood’s wry account of her journey into motherhood when she finds herself pregnant and single with a penchant for partying.
28) Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell
From the award-winning author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks, Utopia Avenue is David Mitchell’s long-awaited new novel – and it doesn’t disappoint. It follows the band of the same name who emerge from London’s psychedelic scene in 1967 and chronicles their brief, blazing glory from Soho Clubs to the stages of America. It’s a true rock’n’roll novel filled with sex, drugs and how idealism faded as the ‘60s came to a close.