Go Forth and Read: 19 New Books for July

Here in Nashville, it’s hot, and the uncertainty in the air is thick as the humidity these days. But if it’s escape you seek — into a good twisty story, a historical refresh or something else entirely — our booksellers are back with a brand-new batch of hand-picked recommendations! Read on to find your next read, from fiction to poetry, essays to romance and beyond. Oh, and if you haven’t already, say hello to our summer intern, Sparky’s friend Gus!

Recommended by Becca

The Vanishing Half: A Novel Cover ImageThe Vanishing Half: A Novel

The lives of twin sisters take very different paths. Their children meet years later, and secrets are revealed. This book is already a New York Times bestseller, and HBO won the rights to the story at auction with a seven-figure deal!

Recommended by Heather

Don't Turn Around: A Novel Cover ImageDon’t Turn Around: A Novel

In a world where the line between fact and opinion is blurred and everyone gets to be judge, Barry takes us on a chilling ride through right and rights. Her pacing is brilliant. her characters believable, and the outcomes hit awfully close to home. I couldn’t put it down!

Recommended by Chelsea

Take a Hint, Dani Brown: A Novel (The Brown Sisters #2) Cover ImageTake a Hint, Dani Brown: A Novel (The Brown Sisters #2)

I will devour anything Talia Hibbert writes. This time, she returns to the Brown family with Chloe’s sister, Dani. She’s a driven, prickly, academically obsessed career woman. When brooding (but secret teddy bear) security guard Zafir rescues her in a fire drill, the world is taken with #DrRugBae. They agree to continue the faux-mance for appearances’ sake, but both catch unexpected feelings. I loved every second of this, and I look forward to Hibbert’s next one.

Recommended by Erin

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre Cover ImageDevolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre

It’s not every day I’ll say I enjoyed sci-fi horror with more than its fair share of gore, but that’s only because I’ve never read any. I didn’t read Brooks’ World War Z (or see the movie), because I’m not a zombie person. Replace zombies with Bigfoot, though, and you’ve got a terrifying survival story that was exactly the book I didn’t know I wanted.

Recommended by Becca

Home Before Dark: A Novel Cover ImageHome Before Dark: A Novel

In the wake of her father’s death, Maggie Holt receives a surprise inheritance: her father’s remaining fortune from his bestselling account of their family’s 20-day stay in a “haunted mansion,” and (unexpectedly) the mansion itself. Ignoring her parents’ efforts to keep her away from Baneberry Hall, Maggie discovers that her father’s made-up ghost story is much more real and much more horrifying than she is prepared to handle. For fans of The Haunting of Hill House and The Amityville Horror.

Recommended by Kathy

Friends and Strangers: A novel Cover ImageFriends and Strangers

A lonely new mother adjusting to small-town life meets a college senior who becomes her best friend, as well as her nanny. Eventually the true differences in the women’s lives become apparent and lead to life-changing decisions for both. A story that will leave you thinking about boundaries, privilege, and power dynamics in relationships, I found this such a relevant and thoughtful book, like all Sullivan’s novels.

Recommended by Sissy

The Stone Girl: A Novel Cover ImageThe Stone Girl: A Novel

If you liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, you’ll love this thriller. There’s less romantic interest and more friendship, but plenty of brain power, kicking ass, and survival. While a few scenes take place in Paris, the majority of the action is set in the Adirondacks. Sexual assault has fractured all the main characters, and they are dead-set on justice.

Recommended by Sissy

Survivor Song: A Novel Cover ImageSurvivor Song: A Novel

I happen to find comfort in pandemic novels, even during a real-life pandemic. Tremblay’s writing is smooth as glass. I felt intimately connected to his characters, best friends from college. One is a doctor, the other is a pregnant woman who desperately needs to get to a hospital. All the action takes place during one day — and I found myself forgetting to breathe as the stakes got higher and higher.

Recommended by Ben

Things You Would Know if You Grew Up Around Here Cover ImageThings You Would Know if You Grew Up Around Here

During the Texas Hill Country’s calamitous Memorial Day floods of 2015, uncannily empathetic Boyd must traverse the torn landscape in search of Isaac, her closest friend. Drenched with magical realism, the world grows wild, time unspools, secrets emerge from the earth. In the wake of the storm, Boyd, Isaac, their families, and strangers will all be changed, but in what ways? This is a truly immersive and electric debut.

Recommended by Rae Ann

The Boyfriend Project Cover ImageThe Boyfriend Project

When a confrontation with her boyfriend and his two other “girlfriends” goes viral online, Samiah and her new friends swear off relationships to focus on themselves. Strong female friendships and an office romance make this funny book a must-read for fans of Jasmine Guillory.

Read our interview with Farrah Rochon here!

Recommended by Rae Ann

A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby (Rogues and Remarkable Women #1) Cover ImageA Duke, the Lady, and a Baby (Rogues and Remarkable Women #1)

Funny and smart with incredible historical details. This first book in a new Regency romance series is a multi-layered novel about family, second chances, and women standing together and standing up for themselves.

Read our interview with Vanessa Riley here!

Recommended by Karen

Heroes: The Greek Myths Reimagined (Stephen Fry's Greek Myths #2) Cover ImageHeroes: The Greek Myths Reimagined

Last year I recommended Fry’s Mythos, which was a retelling of the stories of the Greek gods. Here his witty and informative storytelling turns to the human heroes in Greek mythology. This book is gorgeously illustrated, but I would recommend using it as a companion to the Libro.fm audiobook read by Fry. So entertaining all the way around.

Recommended by Jordan

This Is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope Cover ImageThis Is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope

Iconic writer and poet Shayla Lawson has blessed us with this collection of personal essays, poems, and observations about what being a Black woman in America means in a variety of contexts. Both enlightening and entertaining, this book sheds light on the ways black women and girls have influenced culture while being underappreciated and shortchanged.

Recommended by Sissy

Notes on a Silencing: A Memoir Cover ImageNotes on a Silencing: A Memoir

Notes on a Silencing is the Educated of 2020. The painful reminder of how long women must wait for justice (if they get it) is hammered home in this riveting memoir of sexual abuse. Her descriptions of the wealthy boarding school set the scene, but her personal revelations about feelings of deserving punishment and not deserving a voice are what bring the story to life. Many women will see themselves in young Lacy.

Recommended by Ben

Desert Notebooks: A Road Map for the End of Time Cover ImageDesert Notebooks: A Road Map for the End of Time

Intelligent and wide-ranging, this book brims with mythologies, climate science, and philosophical musings, all shot through with Ehrenreich’s personal experiences in the American Southwest. A paean to the desert, as well as a spirited exploration of time, writing, culture, memory, and progress, he ponders how others have seen this singular world, and how we should live within our present political and geological moment.

Recommended by Andy

Why We Drive: Toward a Philosophy of the Open Road Cover ImageWhy We Drive: Toward a Philosophy of the Open Road (Hardcover)

Matthew Crawford, author of Shop Class as Soulcraft, shares his love of driving and his fears of the future in Why We Drive. The philosopher-mechanic writes of the freedom that driving provides and argues that in our quest for safety we have lost the skills and freedom that the open road offers. From rebuilding a 1972 Volkswagen to exploring automotive subcultures across the country Crawford challenges us to examine the impact of technology on contemporary lives and what we lose as drivers become merely passengers.

Recommended by Steve

A Fish Growing Lungs: Essays Cover ImageA Fish Growing Lungs: Essays

A collection of linked essays about living with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder — which is eventually discovered to be a misdiagnosis — A Fish Growing Lungs is a calm, thoughtful, disarming look at mental health that touches on addiction, love, identity, family, friendship and, yes, heavy metal music, along the way.

Recommended by Ben

The Clearing: Poems Cover ImageThe Clearing: Poems

In this stunning debut collection, the verbs are vivid; the metaphors imagistic; the topics ranging through small town secrets, parenthood and childhood, physical love, violence and tragedy. These bold poems are imbued with the grittiness of landscape, biology, geology, and anchored by the recurring motif of searching below the surface for things like fossils and rot, yes, but also veins of gold and memories.

Recommended by Ben

Anyone's Son Cover ImageAnyone’s Son

Decades of life are distilled here, from a conflicted childhood on a farm in central Texas, to hard-fought middle-aged peace in the deserts of New Mexico. At its core is the desperate yearning for an erotic, intimate connection with another man. From crickets and constellations, to cowboys and cold beers, and finally to canyons and contentment, David’s longing and honesty burst from these precise narrative poems.

In-person book club is on hold for the moment.

First Editions Club: July Selection

Inheritors Cover ImageInheritors

From the O. Henry Prize-winning author comes a heartbreakingly beautiful and brutal exploration of lives fragmented by the Pacific side of World War II.

Spanning more than 150 years, and set in multiple locations in colonial and postcolonial Asia and the United States, Inheritors paints a kaleidoscopic portrait of its characters as they grapple with the legacies of loss, imperialism, and war. Written from myriad perspectives and in a wide range of styles, each of these interconnected stories is designed to speak to the others, contesting assumptions and illuminating the complicated ways we experience, interpret, and pass on our personal and shared histories.

A retired doctor, for example, is forced to confront the horrific moral consequences of his wartime actions. An elderly woman subjects herself to an interview, gradually revealing a fifty-year old murder and its shattering aftermath. And in the last days of a doomed war, a prodigal son who enlisted against his parents’ wishes survives the American invasion of his island outpost, only to be asked for a sacrifice more daunting than any he imagined. Serizawa’s characters walk the line between the devastating realities of war and the banal needs of everyday life as they struggle to reconcile their experiences with the changing world.

A breathtaking meditation on suppressed histories and the relationship between history, memory, and storytelling, Inheritors stands in the company of Lisa Ko, Viet Thanh Nguyen and Min Jin Lee.

More about our First Editions Club: Every member receives a first edition of the selected book of the month, signed by the author. Books are carefully chosen by our staff of readers, and our picks have gone on to earn major recognition including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Plus, there’s no membership fee or premium charge for these books. Build a treasured library of signed first editions and always have something great to read! Makes a FABULOUS gift, too.