Here’s to the Booksellers: 28 New Reads for June

We’re almost halfway through 2022, and as we reflected back on the first half of this year, we realized that our staff has already recommended over two hundred books for adults through these monthly staff picks posts! That’s pretty impressive, if we do say so ourselves. So here’s to our incredible booksellers, who read voraciously, write fantastic recommendations, and stay on the cutting edge of all things literary. Take a look at their latest roundup of amazing picks!

Recommended by Lindsay

Nuclear Family: A Novel Cover ImageNuclear Family: A Novel

This stunning debut from Joseph Han follows a young man who, upon being possessed by the ghost of his grandfather, attempts to cross the Demilitarized Zone in North Korea. What follows is a remarkable—and at turns surprisingly hilarious—story of family, grief, and intergenerational trauma. Nuclear Family is inventive, moving, and wholly original.

Recommended by Karen

This Time Tomorrow: A Novel Cover ImageThis Time Tomorrow: A Novel

A time travel book from Emma Straub. You probably don’t need to know anything else if you are a fan, but if you haven’t read any of Emma’s books, start here. Alice is turning 40 while dealing with a dying father and an unsatisfying romantic relationship. After a long night she passes out and wakes up in her childhood bedroom on her 16th birthday. This is a fresh take in the time travel genre. You won’t want it to end.

Recommended by Sarah

Yerba Buena: A Novel Cover ImageYerba Buena: A Novel

A new Nina LaCour book? Say no more! I devoured this one in two sittings. Vivid and sensory, devastating and poignant, Yerba Buena is a gift to the world of queer literary fiction.

Check out Sarah’s interview with Nina for Musing!

Recommended by Lindsay

Woman of Light: A Novel Cover ImageWoman of Light: A Novel

A book so nice, I had to staff rec it twice! Woman of Light is our June First Editions pick and I can’t wait for y’all to read this gorgeous novel from Kali Fajarado-Anstine. I loved her story collection, Sabrina and Corina, and it’s such a pleasure to see her expand her talents to historical fiction!

Recommended by Rae Ann

The Lost Summers of Newport: A Novel Cover ImageThe Lost Summers of Newport: A Novel

Three women are connected by one mansion, from a music teacher in the Gilded Age to a present-day home renovation TV host. Their stories of love, money, and coverups intertwine in this fascinating book.

Recommended by RJ

Siren Queen Cover ImageSiren Queen

By Nghi Vo

Siren Queen is a fantasy set against the glamorous and dangerous world of old Hollywood. The predatory contracts of the studio system take on fae and infernal aspects, actors become literal and metaphorical stars, and one actress is determined to succeed, even if she must become a monster to do so.

Recommended by Ben

Salka Valka Cover ImageSalka Valka

Set in the tiny frigid town of Oseyri, Laxness charts the harrowing, hardscrabble coming of age of headstrong Salvör. Oscillating between the Salvation Army and fisherman’s union, socialism and capitalism, loss and longing, and populated with a sprawling net of characters and dialogue, this 600+ page novel chronicles the tale of a resilient, self-determined woman with the force of philosophy and poetry.

Recommended by Kathy

The Lioness: A Novel Cover ImageThe Lioness: A Novel

The unusual setting makes this thriller pop – Hollywood stars in the ’60’s on African safari, where the sinister and unexpected happens in each chapter.

Recommended by Jennifer

For the Throne (The Wilderwood #2) Cover ImageFor the Throne (The Wilderwood #2)

Hannah Whitten returns in this dark fantasy sequel to For the Wolf. The world is bigger, and the stakes are even higher. With fallen heroes and villains you will fall in love with, For the Throne has become an immediate favorite on my bookshelf.

Recommended by Sydney

Eat the Rich SC Cover ImageEat the Rich

Very on the nose for our current political climate, Eat the Rich is exactly what it sounds like. Capitalistic cannibalism!

Recommended by Ashby

A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons (A Saffron Everleigh Mystery) Cover ImageA Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons (A Saffron Everleigh Mystery)

Just the title makes you pick this one up! My favorite start to a mystery is when someone is murdered at a dinner party. So British. And that’s what this is…London in 1823. Saffron (SPLENDID character name) has to solve a murder to save her boss, a University College professor so they can leave on an expedition to the Amazon. A debut novel that made me want to read the next one.

Recommended by Sydney

Cult Classic: A Novel Cover ImageCult Classic: A Novel

Blending the line between suspenseful thriller and romantic comedy, Cult Classic follows Lola—37, recently engaged, and definitely does not have cold feet. And yet the universe keeps throwing ex-boyfriend encounters her way. Pick this up if you’re looking for an entertaining, genre-bending read.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Bloomsbury Girls: A Novel Cover ImageBloomsbury Girls: A Novel

This story takes place in Bloomsbury Books, a 100-year-old bookshop in post-WWII London with 51 rules each bookseller must follow. The women of the shop have new ideas and plans for the changing literary landscape around them. Simply delightful.

Recommended by Ben

2 A.M. in Little America Cover Image2 A.M. in Little America

In a near-future when civil catastrophe has rendered millions of Americans refugees, one such migrant, repairman Ron Patterson, tries to make a meaningful life in foreign enclaves. By reversing the nationalities in the headlines, Kalfus crafts a compact story that examines desire, identity, extremism, American culture and dreams. Stylish and razor-sharp insightful, this is an oh-so-timely novel for our generation.

Recommended by Cheryl

The Good Left Undone: A Novel Cover ImageThe Good Left Undone: A Novel

“Tuscans might live in the moment, but the past lives in them ” forecasts the quest Dominica has for her heritage through three generations. The story takes the reader to Italy, Marseille and Scotland. There is tension in wondering what she will find. Setting, character development and a touch of mystery makes this one of Trigiani’s best.

Recommended by Chelsea

Last Call at the Nightingale: A Mystery Cover ImageLast Call at the Nightingale: A Mystery

In 1924 New York, Vivian escapes her dreadful day-to-day by going dancing at the Nightingale, a dance hall that caters to all. But when Vivian discovers a body in the alley behind the Nightingale, the very place she loves so much is threatened. An atmospheric mystery with a cast of delightful characters led by Vivian, this is a promising start to an exciting new series.

Recommended by Rae Ann

The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle: A Novel Cover ImageThe Wedding Dress Sewing Circle: A Novel

A famous fashion designer who lost her home and business in the London Blitz is forced home to village life. She finds unexpected purpose and friendship as she turns her talents to repurposing wedding dresses for the women of England during WWII. This heartwarming story is inspired by true events.

Recommended by Elyse

Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover ImageWho Will Run the Frog Hospital? (Vintage Contemporaries)

Written as recollections of a now middle-aged married woman vacationing in Paris, our central character looks back to her adolescence in small town, upstate New York. Memories of the significant relationships that formed her life – her best girlfriend, her parents, and her adopted sister, are the foundation of this beautifully written novel. It’s short, engaging, and a must read!

Recommended by Ashby

The Woman in the Library: A Novel Cover ImageThe Woman in the Library: A Novel

Booksellers who love mysteries are excited when worlds converge. The murder takes place in the Boston Public Library. Four people are seated at the same table when they hear the scream. The catch? One of the four IS THE MURDERER!

Recommended by Jenness

Metropolis: A Novel Cover ImageMetropolis: A Novel

Metropolis starts with a central mystery – an unnamed victim falls down a self-storage facility elevator shaft – and then bounces deftly through past and present, connecting the stories and lives of six characters somehow linked to the suspicious event. Shapiro expertly weaves together the who, what, why, and how while fully humanizing each player and keeping us engrossed.

Recommended by Hannah

Set on You (The Influencer Series #1) Cover ImageSet on You (The Influencer Series #1)

By Amy Lea

A witty enemies-to-lovers rom-com with the perfect amount of slow burn? A curvy fitness influencer and a Chris Evans inspired firefighter? Sign me up! Lea crafts a top-notch romance while saving space for important conversations about unconditional body acceptance and the toll social media takes.

Recommended by Jenness

The Cherry Robbers Cover ImageThe Cherry Robbers

The haunted saga of the Chapel daughters as recounted by the sister who fought to break the cycle and change her fate. This book bursts with the love and frustration binding sisters and mothers and the challenges of being female in the 1950s (and beyond) – always torn between responsibility, tradition, and the desire for independence. Moody and lovely – for fans of The Virgin Suicides and Margaret Atwood.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Out of the Clear Blue Sky Cover ImageOut of the Clear Blue Sky

A funny novel about a woman who reignites her life when everything comes crashing down around her.

Recommended by Patsy

Happy-Go-Lucky Cover ImageHappy-Go-Lucky

The new collection of essays by one of the world’s funniest authors includes reflections on his final visit to his father, how people respond to death, the fortune of being born American, and the nature of family. More mature, Sedaris again delivers pithy insights on the human condition with a great dose of humor.

You can still get a signing line ticket for our event with David Sedaris on June 13!

Recommended by Sarah

Her Country: How the Women of Country Music Became the Success They Were Never Supposed to Be Cover ImageHer Country: How the Women of Country Music Became the Success They Were Never Supposed to Be

This is an insightful and sorely needed examination of the women of country music. Situating three current artists in the larger context of their genre, Moss highlights the women who came before them, the discriminatory obstacles the industry put in their way, and the progress that still needs to be made at the intersection of gender, race, and sexuality. Her Country should be required reading for every music lover.

Recommended by Ben

The Life and Death of a Minke Whale in the Amazon: Dispatches from the Brazilian Rainforest Cover ImageThe Life and Death of a Minke Whale in the Amazon: Dispatches from the Brazilian Rainforest

By Fábio ZukerEzra Fitz (Translator)

Close-up and empathetic, these essays jump from Venezuelan migrants living under a bridge, to the tension between Indigenous healing and Western medicine, to the fight to save an enormous whale washed up deep in the Amazon rainforest. Zuker’s storytelling and reporting ranges through colonization, deforestation, politics, and ultimately the relationships of people to the land and communities around them.

Watch our virtual event with Fábio Zuker and Ezra Fitz from last month!

Recommended by Patsy

Mother Noise: A Memoir Cover ImageMother Noise: A Memoir

How to recount her past life of addiction to her child prompts Cindy House’s graphic narrative memoir. This collection of essays and drawings is a poignant study on reconciling with her past self and coming to terms with the anxiety of motherhood. I love this fresh voice and the way she tells her story honestly, yet not wallowing in her past hard life.

Recommended by Madeline

The Lay of the Land: A Self-Taught Photographer's Journey to Find Faith, Love, and Happiness Cover ImageThe Lay of the Land: A Self-Taught Photographer’s Journey to Find Faith, Love, and Happiness

By Joe Greer

A deeply moving work about the author’s life and rise to online stardom, coupled with gorgeous photography. My favorite part is his trust in Christ throughout the hardest, darkest moments, along with his confession of genuine faith. Perfect for non-fiction readers and coffee table book lovers!

First Editions Club: June Selection

Woman of Light: A Novel Cover ImageWoman of Light: A Novel

Dear friends,

Look, I know I’m not supposed to play favorites with our First Edition picks, but this time I really can’t help it: Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s Woman of Light is my favorite pick of 2022. I’ve been a fan of Kali’s writing since her story collection Sabrina & Corina came out in 2019. Turns out I wasn’t the only one—that year, Kali was a finalist for the National Book Award, the PEN/Bingham Prize, The Story Prize, and was the winner of an American Book Award. Can you see why I’ve been waiting with bated breath for her debut novel since then?

Woman of Light is worth the wait. I get that the term “transportive” is overused in blurbs, but I don’t know how else to describe this gorgeous work of historical fiction. Woman of Light follows five generations of the Lopez family from the nineteenth century into the 1930s, spanning across the Western territories of America. In beautiful, decadent prose, Kali shows us everything from traveling circus acts and fortune tellers, to turn of the century Denver nightlife, house parties and wedding festivities.

This novel is a love letter to the American West that was left out of the classic cowboy films, to the Indigenous and Chicano communities who have lived there for centuries. I adored every word.

Yours in reading,

Lindsay Lynch

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.