Staying Cool with 20 Hot New Reads for July

We’ll keep it short and sweet this time, friends: It is simply too hot to do anything but read in the comfort of air conditioning. Our booksellers are recommending twenty books with which to do just that, so sit back, stay cool, and treat yo shelf with this month’s staff picks!

Recommended by Ann

Horse: A Novel Cover ImageHorse: A Novel

I’m stealing this quote from a bookstore in Geraldine’s hometown of Sydney, but it is so exactly right: “A sweeping story of spirit, obsession and injustice.” Plus it’s beautifully written and meticulously researched. Loved it.

Recommended by Lindsay

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: A novel Cover ImageTomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: A Novel

Yes, this is a book about developing video games. But trust me when I tell you it’s also a book about friendships that persevere over time, and messy love stories, and art. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is destined to become a cult classic.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Gilt Cover ImageGilt

A family-owned luxury jewelry business in NYC tries to stay afloat in modern times. Recovering a famous diamond that may be cursed could be the answer to their problems in business and reconnecting with each other. This is a perfect summer read.

Recommended by Cat

The Women in Black: A Novel Cover ImageThe Women in Black: A Novel

This is an absolute delight of a novel set in a fictional department store in Australia. Featuring four women who work in the store, it goes back and forth between each of them as they work during the holiday rush and deal with their own lives outside of work in ways that frequently overlap. The quick wit and snappy action make this the perfect book to pick up to read over a weekend.

Recommended by Kathy

Two Nights in Lisbon: A Novel Cover ImageTwo Nights in Lisbon: A Novel

When a woman’s husband disappears on a business trip in Lisbon, she leaves no stone unturned to find him. She has no idea what she is up against in her hunt. It’s been called “the thriller of the summer,” and it is. My husband and I both loved it.

Recommended by Heather

Tracy Flick Can't Win: A Novel Cover ImageTracy Flick Can’t Win: A Novel

I desperately needed a book to pull me out of my COVID haze, and Perrotta’s latest gem was the answer. Fast, fun, relatable and engaging, I read the entire book in an afternoon. Tracy can’t win: old white guys and coaches, sexual harassment, money buying power, and “famous people” get in the way of the rules of appropriate behavior. I identified, commiserated, and squirmed right along with her.

Recommended by Sydney

Lapvona: A Novel Cover ImageLapvona: A Novel

Profound and peculiar, Ottessa Moshfegh never disappoints me. Her newest novel (written at the height of the pandemic) follows the medieval people of Lapvona, who are struggling to survive a festering famine. Quirky, grotesque, and very Moshfegh.

Recommended by Ashby

Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting: A Novel Cover ImageIona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting: A Novel

The best part of riding the subway? People watching. Iona and her dog Lulu spend the commute naming the riders. When Smart-But-Sexist-Manspreader chokes on a grape and is saved by a fellow passenger, the walls come down, and people on the train start talking to each other, getting to know each other. They learn about the world and themselves. It is just what I needed to read right now!

Recommended by Hannah

The Measure: A Novel Cover ImageThe Measure: A Novel

I’m not being hyperbolic: this novel has the potential to change your outlook on life. Would you choose to know how long you’ll live? Such is the central question of this stunning debut. Erlick’s elegant prose and vibrant cast of characters bring this unforgettable story to life! The novel’s looming question is brilliantly nuanced, universally relatable, and will linger with you long after you finish the book.

Recommended by Cheryl

The Messy Lives of Book People Cover ImageThe Messy Lives of Book People

A housekeeper for a reclusive famous author is suddenly left with an unfinished manuscript to complete. It is the 20th in a beloved series. The author left instructions that her death is to be kept secret until the novel’s release on a specific day. A secret and a romantic mystery combined with some family drama = an entertaining read.

Recommended by Sarah

Who Is Vera Kelly? (A Vera Kelly Story #1) Cover ImageWho Is Vera Kelly? (A Vera Kelly Story #1)

Vera is a young, queer woman in the 1960s struggling to find her way in the world when her sharp intelligence and technical skills get her noticed by a CIA recruiter. She suddenly finds herself in Argentina at the center of a Cold War conspiracy. This book is a wholly original, fresh take on the classic spy noir novel. If you love Vera as much as I do (and you will), pick up the other two books in the trilogy!

Recommended by Rae Ann

The Hotel Nantucket Cover ImageThe Hotel Nantucket

A newly renovated hotel and its resident ghost take center stage among the eclectic cast of characters in this fun read.

Recommended by Marcia

On Gin Lane Cover ImageOn Gin Lane

1957. The Hamptons. Roland gifts his fiancé, trust fund baby Everleigh (she grew up in the Plaza Hotel in NYC), a hotel of her own. Is this what she *really* wants? It is, right? She decides she’s in for a fun, glamorous Southampton summer. She soon finds out not everything is as it seems and the Hamptons have smoke (literally) and mirrors just the same as everyone else. This is for fans of Elin Hilderbrand!

Recommended by Erin

The Key to Deceit: An Electra McDonnell Novel (Electra McDonnell Series #2) Cover ImageThe Key to Deceit: An Electra McDonnell Novel (Electra McDonnell Series #2)

It’s the second in Weaver’s mystery series set in WWII London about the adventures of Ellie McDonnell, her family of safecrackers and thieves, and their odd couple partnership with the very proper Major Ramsey to uncover a German spy ring. You don’t need to read the first book before breaking into this one–Weaver catches you up nicely–but you’ll want to after you finish. This series is delightful!

Recommended by Ashby

Lore Olympus: Volume Two Cover ImageLore Olympus: Volume Two

A graphic retelling that turns the Persephone story into a modern soap opera IN A GOOD WAY! In Volume 1, Persephone’s roommate Artemis takes her to a party and she meets Hades and sparks fly. Volume 2 follows the sparks as Persephone and Hades navigate their relationship.

Recommended by Ann

All That Moves Us: A Pediatric Neurosurgeon, His Young Patients, and Their Stories of Grace and Resilience Cover ImageAll That Moves Us: A Pediatric Neurosurgeon, His Young Patients, and Their Stories of Grace and Resilience

I’m so proud of my friend Jay, who wrote a fierce, harrowing and ultimately uplifting book about what it’s like to operate on children, and what it’s like to be alive in the world. Shop local. Read local.

Recommended by Chelsea

Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks Cover ImageRogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks

A collection of Keefe’s articles from The New Yorker, Rogues is an intriguing examination of human nature, choices, and consequences. Each piece focuses on a different person, and the subjects are varied and fascinating. If you haven’t read Keefe before, this is an excellent place to start. If you’re a fan, this is not to be missed.

Recommended by Lindsay

Also a Poet: Frank O'Hara, My Father, and Me Cover ImageAlso a Poet: Frank O’Hara, My Father, and Me

I’m not here to tell you how to live your life, but if I were you, I’d pick up Ada Calhoun’s wonderful memoir Also a Poet with a copy of Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems and spend my summer just basking in the world of the New York arts scene during the 60s and 70s.

Recommended by Elyse

Judaism Without Tribalism: A Guide to Being a Blessing to All the Peoples of the Earth Cover ImageJudaism Without Tribalism: A Guide to Being a Blessing to All the Peoples of the Earth

Community-based… creative… fluid… evolving. These are some ways Rami Shapiro describes religion at its best. He steps not outside of, but beside much of traditional Jewish thought with a fresh perspective that brings insight and permission to explore Judaism in a different, more accessible light. An enlightening book for people of all faiths.

Recommended by Patsy

Fly Girl: A Memoir Cover ImageFly Girl: A Memoir

By Ann Hood

Former TWA flight attendant Ann Hood chronicles the golden age of air travel through the changes wrought by deregulation. Her tales of intense training, short nights in many time zones, white-glove service of sometimes difficult passengers in thousands of shared small spaces, administering life-saving measures as a medic, and wild adventures abroad offer a juicy insider’s perspective of the industry.

First Editions Club: July Selection

Horse: A Novel Cover ImageHorse: A Novel

By Geraldine Brooks

Dear friends,

Sometimes picking a book for the First Editions Club is so easy.

First off, Geraldine Brooks is an internationally famous author. Her novel March won the Pulitzer Prize in 2006. The scope of her interests and the beauty of her sentences have put her in a class by herself. The fact that she started her career as a journalist and war correspondent means that she’s also an excellent researcher and, frankly, fearless.

In her new novel, Horse, she tells the story of Lexington, a real-life thoroughbred who was the greatest racer of the nineteenth century, and his groom Jarret, an enslaved man who loved the horse and brought him to greatness. For any other writer, this would be plenty, but for Brooks, the horse and his trainer are a place to start. After the Civil War, Lexington’s legacy moves forward through history, connecting a New York gallery owner and a lost painting in the 1950’s, and then shapes a contemporary relationship between a scientist and an art historian.

This is not only the story of one of the greatest horses who ever ran, it is the story of race in America, and how the past continues to inform and shape our lives.

You have a wonderful book ahead of you.

Ann Patchett


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.