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Arts + Culture

8 New Books to Read This July

IOHO, long summer days are best spent reading, and that's exactly why we keep a curated list of upcoming releases at the ready. Here, the 8 new books—from quick YA beach reads to tales of haunting true-life crime—that we can’t wait to get our hands on this July.

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1

How to Fall in Love With Anyone, Mandy Len Catron

In 2015, Mandy Len Catron penned one of the New York Times’ most popular pieces of the year: “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This” (spoiler: it has to do with psychologist Arthur Aron’s 36-question technique). Now, in her follow-up memoir How to Fall in Love With Anyone, she deep dives into universal psychology, biology, history, romantic literature, and her own dating life in an effort to deconstruct the nature of love. Her exploration of intimacy will have you considering what really leads to lasting connections, how you could be unwittingly self-sabotaging your own success, and the implicit dangers of rom-com watching.

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2

The Force, Don Winslow

Detective Sergeant Denny Malone —“the King of Manhattan North”—runs the most elite unit of the NYPD, policing drug kingpins, gangs, and guns in Harlem. But after 18 years of decorated service, what few know is just how unlawful Malone and his companions are. Now, as he’s being investigated by the Feds after stealing millions of dollars of cash and hard drugs in one of the city’s largest heroin busts to date, anti-hero Malone must choose between turning on his partners, his wife and children in Staten Island, his girlfriend in Harlem, or his loyalty to the Job. In his twisted, ominous tale of cop corruption (that’s garnered comparisons to Mystic River, Serpico, and The Wire), acclaimed author Don Winslow (The Cartel), holds a mirror to the modern societal issues that divide America today: violent crime, racial inequality, police-citizen tension, and more.

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3

Small Hours, Jennifer Kitses

In her debut novel, author Jennifer Kitses’ crafts an hour-by-hour, single-day story that follows the disintegrating marriage of suburban couple Tom and Helen. Though the pair moved their twin three-year-olds from Queens to the Hudson River valley with visions of a better life, tight finances, interactions with old flames, and pent up anger have them at their breaking point. What really ups the ante on Kitses’ storytelling is her believability factor: the compounding issues that rage beneath the surface of this seemingly white-picket-fence family are far from fiction.

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4

The Destroyers, Christopher Bollen

Both financially and emotionally broke following the death of his father, Ian Bledsoe escapes to the Greek isle of Patmos in search of successful childhood friend Charlie’s help. At the offset, life on the Aegean island seems every bit agreeable, but not before long, Charlie goes missing and Ian is wrapped up in the mystery, left recalling a game—a strategic tournament of survival dubbed "the destroyers"—that the two played as kids. With a lightening-fast pace and character-driven plot, Bollen’s gripping literary thriller is one that gets to the roots of identity, deception, and power.

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5

See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt

In her haunting debut novel, Aussie author Sarah Schmidt recounts the true-life (still highly-speculated) 1892 axe murders of well-respected Fall River, Massachusetts residents Andrew and Abby Borden. While their tiny community grapples for answers, inconsistent in the alibi she relays to authorities, Lizzie is arrested and charged with the killing of her father and stepmother, leading to the now infamous folk rhyme: “Lizzie Borden took an axe / And gave her mother forty whacks. / When she saw what she had done, / She gave her father forty-one.” Through the lens of older Borden sister Emma, housemaid Bridget, mysterious passerby Benjamin, and Lizzie herself, Schmidt takes us all back to that calamitous day to question who really could have committed the grisly crime.

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6

Would Everybody Please Stop?: Reflections on Life and Other Bad Ideas, Jenny Allen

In humorist Jenny Allen’s Would Everybody Please Stop?—a collection of 35 short essays that are simultaneously earnest and uproarious—readers are treated to musings on the existence of fat-free half-and-half, what it’s like to find yourself single after a 25-year relationship, and how being invited to dinner at a macrobiotic restaurant is a new form of punishment. Mixing profoundly personal essays (she covers her decision to test out wigs following chemotherapy to treat her ovarian cancer) with light-hearted anecdotes (she’s got major beef with memes), Allen sifts through everyday life with a fine-toothed comedic comb.

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7

The Idiot, Elif Batuman

In 1995, email is a brand new, life-changing technology and Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, is a naive, first-year linguistics student at Harvard. Though she exchanges few physical words with Ivan, an older Hungarian mathematics student that she meets in a beginners Russian class, they zip exhilarating—if not cryptic—emails back and forth. As school wraps up for summer, Ivan is off to Budapest and Selin finds herself in the Hungarian countryside teaching ESL, trying desperately to wrap her head around her bewildering first love. In this will-they-won’t-they romance / coming-of-age story, author Elif Bautman will have readers waxing nostalgic on their own cross into adulthood.

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8

Aftercare Instructions, Bonnie Pipkin

Bonnie Pipkin’s debut novel opens on seventeen-year-old Gen (short for Genesis)—a New Jersey high schooler who’s had quite the hard history (her father’s death, inconsolable mother’s grief, and a slew of lost friendships to start). But in her boyfriend Peter, Gen feels as though she’s finally found something stable. That is, until Peter abandons her at a Manhattan Planned Parenthood following the termination of their unwanted pregnancy. The abrupt and unexpected betrayal leaves Gen questioning every facet of her identity, but instead of crumbling, she finds a way to turn anguish into the motivation needed to see a long-forgotten dream through.

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