7 buzzworthy books to read this July


For lovers of literature, next week’s holiday means a good excuse to duck out of your neighbor’s barbecue and retreat into the air conditioning with a good book. (By all means, though, get a hot dog and a beer first.) If you’ve already gone through your to-be-read pile, don’t despair: July is bringing a bumper crop of great new books. Here are seven upcoming releases you might enjoy in between fireworks displays:

“What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal,” E. Jean Carroll


Advice columnist Carroll’s new book made headlines before its publication, with an excerpt printed in New York magazine in which the author accused President Trump of sexually assaulting her in the mid-1990s. The book details her history with “The Most Hideous Men of My Life” and discusses her trek across the country asking women the titular question.

“Delayed Rays of a Star,” Amanda Lee Koe

The debut novel from Singapore-born author Lee Koe follows three movie legends: German actress and humanitarian Marlene Dietrich, Los Angeles-born actress Anna May Wong and film director and Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl. Author Garth Greenwell called the book “a voraciously intelligent, heartrending novel.”

“Knife,” Jo Nesbo

Norwegian rock musician and thriller author Nesbo is beloved on both sides of the Atlantic for his series of violent crime novels featuring detective Harry Hole. His latest installment finds the troubled Oslo police officer working in the cold case department and keeping an eye on a serial killer who was just released from prison.

“Maggie Brown and Others,” Peter Orner


In a 2011 review for The Times, Jessica Gelt praised short story writer and novelist Orner for his “understated brand of ephemeral fiction and the complex inner lives of his characters.” The new book from Orner, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, contains 44 interlocking stories about people making decisions that could change the trajectories of their lives.

“Beneath the Tamarind Tree: A Story of Courage, Family, and the Lost Schoolgirls of Boko Haram,” Isha Sesay

The 2014 kidnapping of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls by the terrorist group Boko Haram horrified the world and inspired the #BringBackOurGirls movement. Los Angeles journalist Sesay covered the story for CNN, and her new book chronicles the kidnappings and follows three girls who managed to escape their abductors.

“A Prayer for Travelers,” Ruchika Tomar

Stanford University lecturer Tomar, who was raised in the Inland Empire, makes her literary debut with the story of two young women living near the California-Nevada border whose lives are upended by a shocking act of violence. Ben Marcus called the book “a novel haunted by missing persons and lost souls, written in telepathic prose.”

“The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark,” Cecelia Watson


Some people believe that semicolons are just a crutch used by journalists who want to appear smart; that just isn’t true. Historian and philosopher Watson’s new book is a biography of the punctuation mark that’s proved to be one of the most divisive in written language.

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