Fireworks aren’t the only thing lighting up our night sky this month—especially if reading at night by the glow of a tableside lamp is as much your thing as it is ours. Along with fun family barbecues and beach bumming with the besties, this month’s reads are sure to keep you Fully Booked.
To submit titles for inclusion in this roundup, email us.
Recommended for: Those interested in learning more about the conflict in Palestine from a book written by an expatriate Israeli historian.
Our reviewer says: “In his latest work, renowned Israeli author and academic Pappe (A History of Modern Palestine) does not mince words, doing Jimmy Carter one better (or worse, depending on one's point of view) by accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, beginning in the 1948 war for independence and continuing through the present.” Read more here.
Recommended for: When you feel like you’ve been circling the drain feeling like an utter failure and need a reminder that despite how bad things get, there is always a chance at self-redemption.
Our reviewer says: “National Book Critics Circle Award winner Quade’s penetrating debut novel (expanded from a story in Night at the Fiestas) tells of a man’s quest for self-acceptance through the metaphor of the five wounds Jesus suffered during crucifixion.” Read more here.
Recommended for: When you’re wondering what would have happened if things had worked out with that one ex even though you’re totally happy with your current significant other...but what if?
Our reviewer says: “In Heller’s captivating debut, a woman’s visit to her family’s summer home on Cape Cod forces her to make a momentous decision.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Those who liked Time Traveler’s Wife but mix in a deadly pandemic (not like we have any experience whatsoever of an event like that).
Our reviewer says: “Lim’s stellar follow-up to 2007’s The Same Woman concerns Polly Nader, who signs an agreement to travel through time from 1981 to 1993 to save her boyfriend.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Males, male presenting people, and anyone wanting to learn more about skincare and beauty routines beyond the “traditional” western masculinity ideal. Pretty boys are pretty great too!
Recommended for: Social media snubbers and syndicates alike who secretly revel in the rise and fall of influencers.
Our reviewer says: “McElroy’s impressive debut novel (after the chapbook Daddy Issues) lands a well-crafted jab at toxic masculinity and attempts to control it.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Immigrants and children of immigrants that feel stifled by the pressures of trying to put on a strong front of being the perfect American citizen and wonder if you’re the only one who feels that façade starting to crumble.
Our reviewer says: “Psychiatrist Dave’s revelatory latest (after Well-Behaved Indian Women) focuses on a Desi family affected by cultural pressures in an Atlanta suburb.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Those with a penchant for heroic historical females, especially that of a clever Black librarian who navigates her high profile, high stakes job without giving away her Black heritage.
Our reviewer says: “Benedict (The Mystery of Mrs. Christie) and Murray (Wrath) deliver a powerful take on the accomplishments of J.P. Morgan’s librarian.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Will-they-won’t-they, relationship-out-of-convenience trope lovers, and those who enjoy speculating on whether their favorite stars are actually secretly hooking-up.
Our reviewer says: “Married couple Clements and Datta use a playful trope to confront weighty issues in their excellent debut, a romance that's as timely as it is heartfelt.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Those of us struggling through our early adult years (or still struggling let’s be real) and are looking to read about someone who is trying to figure their life out too.
Recommended for: Black youth and those interested in using their privilege to uplift and give voice to those who are unfortunately still getting silenced.
Our reviewer says: “Unfolding in the six days following the 1992 acquittal of the police officers who beat Rodney King, Reed’s poetic, layered, and seamlessly intersectional debut depicts the coming-to-consciousness of sheltered Ashley Bennett, one of the few Black students at a wealthy, largely white Los Angeles high school. Read more here.
The book: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf)
Recommended for: Those interested in the history of colonialism and slavery between Ghana and America but told in a way that follows the thread of reproductions that follow a family for generations to come.
Our reviewer says: “Gyasi’s amazing debut offers an unforgettable, page-turning look at the histories of Ghana and America, as the author traces a single bloodline across seven generations, beginning with Ghanaian half-sisters Effia, who is married off to a British colonizer in the 1760s, and Esi, who is captured into the British slave-trading system around the same time.” Read more here.
The book: Hell of a Book by Jason Mott (Dutton)
Recommended for: When the lines between reality and fiction become blurred causing you to face the difficult truths you’ve been trying to ignore... or maybe try to be more understanding to the struggles people are around you are going through.
Our reviewer says: “Mott’s stunning fourth novel (after The Crossing) delves into the complex and fraught African American experience.” Read more here.
Recommended for: Those that straddle the hyphen in their identity (in this case an Iranian-American teenage boy) and who feel like your identity with your culture is never quite enough no matter where you are, whether it be in the place you were raised or the place where your culture lies.
“First-time author Khorram’s coming-of-age novel brings to life the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of a culture steeped in tradition.” Read more here.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly linked the The Audacious Book Club, Roxane Gay’s Book Club to inaccurate domain.