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Great New Books to Read for July and August

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Maybe now’s the time to escape and get lost in a book or two

The 2020 reality has had many a twists and rocky turns and with the continued ebb and flow of restrictions from COVID-19. Although one could react in many ways, what could be more positive than using this unique and usual time to get lost in the pages of a great book.   One of the benefits of reading is that it is enjoyable, however it can also provide knowledge and, perhaps, some relief from the boredom and stress that many have been feeling during the pandemic.

We’ve curated a selection of eclectic new releases that range from magical realism, coming of age, historical fiction, social psychology, humor and race relations.  Each title has something different and unique to offer the reader, so you’ll be sure to find at least one that fits your interests. 

We have provided some book information from the publisher as well as information on where to purchase and support your local independent bookstores if interested. Happy reading!

Read More: Summer Books to Mark a Most Unusual Adventure and Unexpected Circumstance 

Sex and Vanity 

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Sex and Vanity
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Also Available on Amazon.

The iconic author of the bestselling phenomenon Crazy Rich Asians returns with the glittering tale of a young woman who finds herself torn between two men: the WASPY fianc of her family’s dreams and George Zao, the man she is desperately trying to avoid falling in love with.

On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can’t stand him. She can’t stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can’t stand that he knows more about Casa Malaparte than she does, and she really can’t stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa and they are caught by her snobbish, disapproving cousin Charlotte. Available on Bookshop.org and also on Amazon.

Begin Again 

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Begin Again
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Also Available on Amazon.

We live, according to Eddie S. Glaude Jr., in a moment when the struggles of Black Lives Matter and the attempt to achieve a new America have been challenged by the election of Donald Trump, a president whose victory represents yet another failure of America to face the lies it tells itself about race. From Charlottesville to the policies of child separation at the border, his administration turned its back on the promise of Obama’s presidency and refused to embrace a vision of the country shorn of the insidious belief that white people matter more than others. Available on Bookshop.org and also on Amazon.

Friends and Strangers

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Friends and Strangers
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Also Available on Amazon.

Elisabeth, an accomplished journalist and new mother, is struggling to adjust to life in a small town after nearly twenty years in New York City. Alone in the house with her infant son all day (and awake with him much of the night), she feels uneasy, adrift. She neglects her work, losing untold hours to her Brooklyn moms’ Facebook group, her “influencer” sister’s Instagram feed, and text messages with the best friend she never sees anymore. Enter Sam, a senior at the local women’s college, whom Elisabeth hires to babysit. Sam is struggling to decide between the path she’s always planned on and a romantic entanglement that threatens her ambition. She’s worried about student loan debt and what the future holds. In short order, they grow close. Available on Bookshop.org and also on Amazon.

The Nickel Boys

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The Nickel Boys
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Also Available on Amazon.

In this bravura follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.When Elwood Curtis, a black boy growing up in 1960s Tallahassee, is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, he finds himself trapped in a grotesque chamber of horrors. Elwood’s only salvation is his friendship with fellow “delinquent” Turner, which deepens despite Turner’s conviction that Elwood is hopelessly naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. As life at the Academy becomes ever more perilous, the tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Based on the real story of a reform school that operated for 111 years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers. Available on Bookshop.org and also on Amazon.

Mexican Gothic 

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Mexican Gothic
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Also Available on Amazon.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find–her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom. Available on Bookshop.org and also on Amazon.

My Grandmother’s Hands

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My Grandmother’s Hands
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Also Available on Amazon.

In this groundbreaking book, therapist Resmaa Menakem examines the damage caused by racism in America from the perspective of trauma and body-centered psychology. The body is where our instincts reside and where we fight, flee, or freeze, and it endures the trauma inflicted by the ills that plague society. Menakem argues this destruction will continue until Americans learn to heal the generational anguish of white supremacy, which is deeply embedded in all our bodies. Our collective agony doesn’t just affect African Americans. White Americans suffer their own secondary trauma as well. So do blue Americans—our police. My Grandmother’s Hands is a call to action for all of us to recognize that racism is not only about the head, but about the body, and introduces an alternative view of what we can do to grow beyond our entrenched racialized divide. Available on Bookshop.org and also on Amazon.


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