Nine books to look forward to this July
‘THIS IS YOUR MIND ON PLANTS,’ BY MICHAEL POLLAN
Everyone’s favorite omnivore is back, but just because the word “plants” is in the title doesn’t mean Pollan is discussing vegetarianism. He’s interested in plants as stimulants, calmatives and hallucinogens, and he takes on caffeine, opium and mescaline. Does he take them himself? You’ll have to read to find out.
‘FOX AND I: AN UNCOMMON FRIENDSHIP,’ BY CATHERINE RAVEN
Raven’s gorgeous account of her bond with a fox while living in a remote cabin will open readers’ eyes to the ways humans connect to the natural world and vice versa. You’ll hear a lot about how she read out loud to the fox, but even more entrancing is the way the fox responded. If there’s one book you pick up this summer, make it this one.
‘THE START-UP WIFE,’ BY TAHMIMA ANAM (JULY 13)
When Asha and Cyrus open their Utopia incubator, it’s based on an algorithm Asha wrote that provides an online spiritual rush on demand. But the bliss Asha felt when she gave up her Ph.D. studies and reconnected with Cyrus, her high school crush, may not outlast his ambitions — or the “bro culture” and racism that sustain many a tech business these days.
‘THE THERAPIST,’ BY B.A. PARIS (JULY 13)
This summer, as you silently fume about the pool in your friend’s neighborhood, pick up Paris’ ragefilled and thrill-stuffed novel about a posh London gated community that’s a hotbed of secrets and lies. Alice and Leo’s new house, they discover, was recently the scene of a therapist’s murder.
During the heat of July, thrillers distract us while books about the natural world enthrall us. Readers will also find the year’s most superb graphic essay, a feminist comic novel about the tech world and a harrowing memoir of teenage mistreatment. Remember, now that many social distancing restrictions have lifted, your local independent bookstore may be open again for in-person browsing.
‘SEEK YOU: A JOURNEY THROUGH AMERICAN LONELINESS,’ BY KRISTEN RADTKE (JULY 13)
We slowly emerge from a long pandemic, and writer-illustrator Radtke (“Imagine Wanting Only This”) sees us, all of us, in our various forms of isolation. This stunning book is less a memoir than a long graphic essay, more a meditation and less a solution. How we disconnect may help us understand how to ultimately connect.
‘THE COMFORT OF MONSTERS,’ BY WILLA C. RICHARDS (JULY 13)
The details of Jeffrey Dahmer’s murder spree transfixed a terrified nation. But this novel takes a more personal look at how the serial killer altered a family: Thirty years after Dee McBride disappeared in Milwaukee in the summer of 1991, her sister and dying mother hire a psychic to help them find the truth.
‘INTIMACIES,’ BY KATIE KITAMURA (JULY 20)
In her unforgettable 2017 “A Separation,” Kitamura took her protagonist to the edge of an island in the Mediterranean; in her new and equally unforgettable novel, she places an interpreter in the middle of The Hague. This woman is also embroiled in many dramas, personal and professional, forcing her to choose a path and an identity.
‘WHAT IS A DOG?,’ BY CHLOE SHAW (JULY 13)
Shaw, mourning the death of a beloved canine companion, looks to the dogs of her past to understand how they added to her life. Her section on “being the dog” in relationships is unlike anything you’ve read about our four-legged friends.
‘STOLEN,’ BY ELIZABETH GILPIN (JULY 20)
When undiagnosed depression led 15-year-old Gilpin to impulsive behavior, her parents sent her to a behavioral modification program. Abducted from her bed in the middle of the night and sent to the woods to fend for herself, Gilpin shows how not to deal with mental illness; in surviving such treatment, she also shows how strong a mentally ill person can be.