BY: EM PERPER

Hi, folks! I hope you’re staying hydrated in the midst of this atrocious heat wave. If you can bear to leave your air conditioning behind for a quick trek to the bookstore, you’ll find these books in-store on July 25.

Laura Shapiro, best known for her biography of Julia Child, now presents What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories. The six women on the menu are Dorothy Wordsworth (brother to William and renowned poet in her own right), Eva Braun (yes, Hitler’s mistress), former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Gurley Brown (founder of Cosmopolitan magazine), Barbara Pym (English writer of “social comedies”), and Rosa Lewis (hotel owner and chef). They hail from different walks of life and different times, but each of these women had a distinctly powerful relationship with food. “‘It’s never just food’ is Shapiro’s mantra as she sifts through letters, journals, manuscript drafts, and of course scads of recipes,” explained author Megan Marshall. What She Ate is a delicious blend of culinary history and biography, sure to satisfy the foodie and the history buff. (Viking/Penguin Putnam, $27)

When The Followers opens, Judith has been visiting her mother, Stephanie, in prison for the past eight years. Stephanie’s incarceration is the result of her involvement with the charismatic Nathaniel and his religious cult. Stephanie was a single mother when she and Judith encountered Nathaniel for the first time, and his self-assuredness and promise of community and safety drew them in. While Stephanie dedicated her life to the cult, teenage Judith’s reservations about Nathaniel’s teachings threatened to tear them apart. Rebecca Wait has written a tender, suspenseful page-turner examining what makes and breaks a family. (Europa/Penguin, $17)

The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II by Nobel recipient Svetlana Alexievich is finally available in English. Originally published in Russian in the mid-1980s, Alexievich’s book describes the industriousness of more than a million Soviet women who served during World War II, their efforts largely forgotten by contemporary society. The author visited more than a hundred towns to interview and research these women—doctors and nurses, pilots, snipers, tank drivers, and many more among them. In doing so, she elevates the oral history to an art form:

“Why, having stood up for and held their own place in a once absolutely male world, have women not stood up for their history? Their words and feelings? They did not believe themselves. A whole world is hidden from us. Their war remains unknown . . . I want to write the history of that war. A women’s history.” (Random House, $30)

Other new releases:

  • My Name Is Leon by Kit De Waal (fiction)
  • An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power by Al Gore (science)
  • The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees: The Ash in Human Culture and History by Robert Penn (nature)
  • Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen (romance)
  • The Lying Game by Ruth Ware (psychological thriller)