I don’t know about you, but in my mind, the start of June heralds the start of summer reading. Luckily, the publishing industry has you covered—Tuesday, June 6 is a massive release day. It was tough to choose only six titles to highlight, but I managed. If, somehow, not a one of these catches your eye, check out the list at the bottom of this post for stories about long-haul trucking, being Muslim in America, a world-changing solar eclipse, a gothic story set in South Carolina, and many, many more.
Normally, I don’t rank my Sneak Peek picks, but A Hole in the Wind is at the top of my list this week: David Goodrich is coming to Frederick on June 29 – details here! Concerned by the misinformation about climate change dominating American media and politics, Goodrich—former Director of the United National Global Climate Observing System—rode his bike 4,200 miles from Delaware to Oregon to talk to a diverse array of Americans about how climate affects their lives. A Hole in the Wind documents his experiences and the testimonies of the people he met, from a toddler beauty pageant, a Missouri tornado, fracking in Rust Belt towns, or a mined-out uranium ghost town in Wyoming. Beautiful, direct, and honest, A Hole in the Wind is a refreshing ride through a difficult and controversial topic.
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
The God of Small Things shook the foundations of contemporary classic literature when it debuted in 1997. Twenty years later, Arundhati Roy is back with her second novel. What took so long? “I can’t write it faster or slower than I have; it’s like you’re a sedimentary rock that’s just gathering all these layers, and swimming around. The difference between the fiction and the non-fiction is simply the difference between urgency and eternity,” Roy explained to The Guardian. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness centers on the life of Anjum, a hijra (a woman assigned male at birth granted special status in Indian culture), who finds community with other hijra as a child; re-enters the world at large only to be caught up in terrible violence; and eventually builds a guest house in a graveyard, home to a slew of vivid, bizarre, wonderful characters.
Before I learned about this book, I never knew Adolf Hitler and nine others were charged with high treason after instigating the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich 1923. Instead of quashing his nascent Nazism, the trial catapulted Hitler to fame and paved the way for his rise to power. Historian David King integrated police files, transcripts of the trial, and over 500 documents reclaimed from the Landsberg Prison (where Hitler authored Mein Kampf) in this book. In light of contemporary threats of far-right violence, The Trial of Adolf Hitler is a stark reminder of what happens when the legal system fails and hatred is validated and eventually normalized.
Stephen Florida by Gabe Habash
Stephen Florida opens with the titular character describing his wrestling prowess. When he pins his opponent, he explains matter-of-factly, he hears the snap of bone. It’s his senior year, and every match is fraught with the threat of the future. Obsession, loneliness, love: This is a deeply psychological coming-of-age story like you’ve never experienced. Although its official release is 6/6, there’s no “street smart” date for Stephen Florida, so you can find it at our store now.
On the day Maeve Donnelly kisses the boy of her dreams, she goes for a swim and is attacked by a blacktip shark. Fast-forward 18 years: Maeve is a world-renowned marine biologist, the “shark whisperer.” Confident while facing her fears in the water, life on land is a different story. Maeve returns home to Florida and the Hotel of the Muses, where her grandmother raised her, and finds herself torn between two men: her childhood love, Danny, and her colleague, Nicholas. The Shark Club is the perfect summer read—touching, fun, and funny.
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
From English writer Sarah Perry comes a Victorian gothic about the dissonance between science and superstition when a monster comes calling. Young widow Cora Seaborne travels to Essex in the wake of her husband’s death. In her explorations, she learns about the mythical Essex Serpent and becomes obsessed with (dis)proving its existence. She’s joined in her quest by Will Ransome, the local vicar, whose interest in the Serpent comes from a concern for his parishioners’ salvation. Despite their divergent goals, Cora and Will are drawn to one another. “You can feel the influences of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, and Hilary Mantel channeled by Perry in some sort of Victorian séance,” wrote Charlotte Runcie at the Daily Telegraph. “This is the best new novel I’ve read in years.”
Other new releases:
- American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World by David Baron (science, history)
- The Seeds of Life: From Aristotle to Da Vinci, from Sharks’ Teeth to Frogs’ Pants, the Long and Strange Quest to Discover Where Babies Come From by Edward Dolnick (science, history)
- The Gypsy Moth Summer by Julie Fierro (fiction)
- Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin (gothic fiction)
- The Art of Living: Peace and Freedom in the Here and Now by Thich Nhat Hanh (Buddhist spirituality)
- Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz (mystery, thriller)
- The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami & translated by Allison Markin Powell (fiction)
- He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly (psychological thriller)
- Vacation Guide to the Solar System: Science for the Savvy Space Traveler! by Olivia Koski and Jana Grcevich (science)
- Black Moses by Alain Mabanckou & translated by Helen Stevenson (fiction)
- Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy (fiction)
- How to Be a Muslim: An American Story by Haroon Moghul (memoir)
- The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road by Finn Murphy (memoir)
- We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria by Wendy Pearlman (history)
- The Alice Network by Kate Quinn (historical fiction)
- The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente
- Dare to Be Kind: How Extraordinary Compassion Can Transform Our World by Lizzie Velasquez (self-help, inspirational)