The Best New Books to Read in July 2024

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Even if you can’t escape rising summer temperatures to more comfortable climes, you can at least get lost in a good book. The best new books coming in July include Kevin Barry’s Western romance, Lev Grossman’s reimagining of King Arthur’s legend, and Laura van den Berg’s unsettling new novel set in Florida’s underbelly.

Keep Shark Week going with shark scientist Jasmin Graham’s debut memoir focused on her work with the most misunderstood fish in the sea. Hit the road with Turkish author Ayşegül Savaş’ third novel, about a couple running into unexpected trouble finding a new apartment for their family. And gaze deeply into beauty writer Sable Yong’s thoughtful essay collection on the role of vanity in today’s culture.

Here, the 12 new books you should read in July.

The Cliffs, J. Courtney Sullivan (July 2)

A decade ago, best-selling author J. Courtney Sullivan became obsessed with a purple Victorian mansion she discovered while on vacation in Maine. Now, that unique home is at the center of her haunting new novel, The Cliffs. After losing her mother, getting laid off, and separating from her husband, archivist Jane Flanagan returns to her coastal Maine hometown to discover that the long-abandoned gothic house she was obsessed with as a teen has a new owner. Genevieve, a wealthy outsider, has given the once-dilapidated dwelling a misbegotten makeover that she believes has awakened something sinister. In this provocative ghost story that questions how we right our wrongs of the past, the two must team up to rid the mysterious 19th-century home of its spirits and overcome their own demons.

Buy Now: The Cliffs on Bookshop | Amazon

The Heart in Winter, Kevin Barry (July 9)

The Heart in Winter, Irish author Kevin Barry’s first novel set in America, is a rollicking romance that is as wild as the Old West where it takes place. In 1891 Butte, Mont., a reckless young poet and doper named Tom Rourke falls in love with Polly Gillespie, the new wife of the extremely devout captain of the local copper mine. The twosome ride off on a stolen horse together toward San Francisco, only to be pursued by a posse of mad gunmen hired by Polly’s husband. In order to survive in this rip-roaring love story, the outlaws make choices they may live to regret.

Buy Now: The Heart in Winter on Bookshop | Amazon

State of Paradise, Laura van den Berg (July 9)

In Laura van den Berg’s State of Paradise, a ghostwriter travels to Florida during an unspecified pandemic to look after her aging mother. But when she arrives, the unnamed narrator discovers that it’s her little sister who really needs help. Struggling to process the death of their father, her sibling has become obsessed with a virtual reality headset that allows her to reconnect with the dead. Then she suddenly goes missing, alongside countless other Floridians, leading the protagonist to launch an investigation into the mysterious tech company behind the headsets. What ensues is a page-turning story about the challenges of learning to let go.

Buy Now: State of Paradise on Bookshop | Amazon

The Anthropologists, Ayşegül Savaş (July 9)

Inspired by her 2021 New Yorker short story, “Future Selves,” Ayşegül Savaş’ perceptive new novel, The Anthropologists, follows a nomadic couple as they struggle to find an apartment in an unnamed foreign city. Asya and Manu, a documentarian and nonprofit worker, are looking to finally put down roots together in a place that is all their own and nothing like where they came from. But as they tour each real-estate listing, envisioning what their future could look like, something always seems off, and they can’t quite place why. The idealistic lovers find themselves chafing against society’s idea of adulthood and look to kindred spirits—a reticent bon vivant, a lonely local, and their poetry-loving elderly neighbor—in hopes of figuring out how to live a good life.

Buy Now: The Anthropologists on Bookshop | Amazon

Die Hot With a Vengeance, Sable Yong (July 9)

With her debut essay collection, Die Hot With a Vengeance, Sable Yong looks to understand why vanity is still such a dirty word in a culture so obsessed with beauty. The former Allure editor offers thought-provoking analysis on social media’s impossible beauty standards, the rise of questionable wellness trends, and whether blondes really do have more fun. Going beyond just sharing her insights from working in the industry, she also weaves in stories of her own complicated relationship with self-image as she grew up feeling like an outsider in her mostly white neighborhood. With humor and candor, Die Hot With a Vengeance shows why beauty should be a tool of self-expression, not self-hate.

Buy Now: Die Hot With a Vengeance on Bookshop | Amazon

The Lucky Ones, Zara Chowdhary (July 16)

Zara Chowdhary’s debut memoir, The Lucky Ones, is a moving tale of survival that spans more than two decades of anti-Muslim violence in India. As a teenager in the early 2000s, Chowdhary bore witness to India’s worst communal riots in over 50 years, which turned Hindu and Muslim neighbors against one another. Chowdhary offers a harrowing account of the violence that occurred—and continues to this day—between the two groups, tracing the political, economic, and social repercussions of 80 years of ongoing bloodshed.

Buy Now: The Lucky Ones on Bookshop | Amazon

Sharks Don't Sink: Adventures of a Rogue Shark Scientist, Jasmin Graham (July 16)

Throughout shark scientist Jasmin Graham’s riveting debut memoir, Sharks Don’t Sink, she compares herself to the oft-misunderstood titular fish. Despite being denser than water, sharks manage to float because they just keep swimming. Graham had to do the same in order to move up in the white male-dominated profession of marine biology. She shares stories of growing up fishing with her dad and describes her struggle to find her place in academia as a Black woman and how that led her to start Minorities in Shark Sciences, an organization that provides support and opportunities for those underrepresented in the marine science field. Graham also makes the case for thinking about sharks differently, and urges us all to help protect these vulnerable, prehistoric creatures.

Buy Now: Sharks Don't Sink on Bookshop | Amazon

The Bright Sword, Lev Grossman (July 16)

Best-selling author Lev Grossman, a former TIME critic, is back with a new, sweeping medieval epic that offers a fresh take on the legend of King Arthur. In The Bright Sword, a gifted young knight named Collum arrives in Camelot in the hopes of competing for a spot at the Round Table. Sadly, though, he’s too late; King Arthur died in battle two weeks earlier, and the knights that survived him are more Bad News Bears than Game of Thrones. Still, Collum joins this lovable band of misfits realizing there’s too much at stake, and their fight has just begun. Together, the group becomes Camelot’s only hope of reclaiming Excalibur, reuniting the kingdom, and keeping Arthur’s foes—dastardly half-sister Morgan le Fay, his fallen bride Guinevere, and disgraced hero Lancelot—from reclaiming the crown.

Buy Now: The Bright Sword on Bookshop | Amazon

Liars, Sarah Manguso (July 23)

In essayist and poet Sarah Manguso’s unflinching second novel, a writer named Jane believes she’s found a supportive partner in John, a visual artist who becomes her husband. But after the birth of their first child, she begins to feel swallowed up by John’s ego. When her own career starts to take off, it’s John who pulls away, leaving Jane to take a closer look at their marriage, which, she realizes, may have never been on solid ground. As she examines the pieces of her life, Manguso’s plucky protagonist makes stirring observations about marriage and identity.

Buy Now: Liars on Bookshop | Amazon

Catalina, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio (July 23)

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio’s debut novel follows Catalina Ituralde, a brash undocumented immigrant from Ecuador on the verge of graduating from Harvard. She’s got a stacked resume and pretty good grades, but her immigration status has made her post-grad prospects rather bleak. This is a major problem for Catalina, who takes care of her grandparents on top of everything else. After years of working to infiltrate Harvard’s high society and as commencement looms over her head, she falls for a sanctimonious anthropology student and begins wondering if she’s found a solution to her woes or just another problem. This sardonic, semi-autobiographical novel is sure to delight fans of Elif Batuman’s The Idiot.

Buy Now: Catalina on Bookshop | Amazon

Someone Like Us, Dinaw Mengestu (July 30)

Dinaw Mengestu’s fourth novel, Someone Like Us, is a beguiling meditation on love, loss, and the need to belong. As his marriage unravels, war journalist Mamush returns to the tight-knit Ethiopian community in Washington, D.C. where he grew up to seek solace. But once there, he discovers that Samuel, his larger-than-life father figure, has unexpectedly died. In hopes of better understanding Samuel, Mamush embarks on a cross-country expedition to trace the older man’s immigration journey—only to unearth a shocking secret about his own lineage.

Buy Now: Someone Like Us on Bookshop | Amazon

They Dream in Gold, Mai Sennaar (July 30)

Playwright and filmmaker Mai Sennaar’s debut novel, They Dream in Gold, is a tender romance that spans decades, generations, and continents. It’s love at first sight when Bonnie and Mansour, African immigrants abandoned by their mothers, meet in New York in 1968. The two bond over Mansour’s music, a blend of Senegalese gospel and American jazz, which they each believe has the power to change the world. When Mansour goes missing while on tour in Spain, a pregnant Bonnie must team up with his mother, grandmother, and aunt to solve the mystery of his disappearance. In detailing their plight, Sennaar unveils a story about motherhood, the African diaspora, and the resilience of Black women.

Buy Now: They Dream in Gold on Bookshop | Amazon

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