Half a year of reading done! And some more of our favorites yet to come. Here is what we are looking forward to releasing in July. Are any of these on your to-read list?
1. The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing & Coming Out by William Dameron
Do you know me?, the email began, sparking tremors of fear that turned into a full quake of panic when William Dameron discovered that his selfie had been stolen by strangers. On social networks and dating sites, his image and identity—a forty-year-old straight white male—had been used to hook countless women into believing in lies of love and romance. Was it all an ironic cosmic joke? Almost a decade prior, William himself had been living a lie that had lasted for more than twenty years. His secret? He was a gay man, a fact he hid from his wife and two daughters for almost as long as he had hidden it from himself.
In this emotional and unflinchingly honest memoir of coming out of the closet late in life, owning up to the past, and facing the future, William Dameron confronts steroid addiction, the shame and homophobia of his childhood, the sledgehammer of secrets that slowly tore his marriage apart, and his love for a gay father of three that would once again challenge the boundaries of trust. At the true heart of The Lie is a universal story about turning self-doubt into self-acceptance and about pain, anger, and the long journey of both seeking and giving forgiveness.
2. Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope. In the tradition of The Stand and Station Eleven comes a gripping saga that weaves an epic tapestry of humanity into an astonishing tale of survival.
Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and are sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.
For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.
3. In Oceans Deep: Courage, Innovation, and Adventure Beneath the Waves by Bill Streever
In an age of unprecedented exploration and innovation, our oceans remain largely unknown, and endlessly fascinating: full of mystery, danger, beauty, and inspiration. Bill Streever-a longtime deep-sea diver himself-has masterfully woven together the science and history of Earth’s last remaining frontier: the sea.
In Oceans Deep celebrates the daring pioneers who tested the limits of what the human body can endure under water: . free divers able to reach 300 feet on a single breath; engineers and scientists who uncovered the secrets of decompression; teenagers who built their own diving gear from discarded boilers and garden hoses in the 1930s; saturation divers who lived under water for weeks at a time in the 1960s; and the trailblazing men who voluntarily breathed experimental gases at pressures sufficient to trigger insanity.
Tracing both the little-known history and exciting future of how we travel and study the depths, Streever’s captivating journey includes seventeenth-century leather-hulled submarines, their nuclear-powered descendants, a workshop where luxury submersibles are built for billionaire clients, and robots capable of roving unsupervised between continents, revolutionizing access to the ocean.
In this far-flung trip to the wild, night-dark place of shipwrecks, trapped submariners, oil wells, innovative technologies, and people willing to risk their lives while challenging the deep, we discover all the adventures our seas have to offer-and why they are in such dire need of conservation.
4. Eight Years to the Moon: The History of the Apollo Missions by Nancy Atkinson
Space journalist and insider Nancy Atkinson weaves together the riveting story of NASA’s mission to complete “the greatest adventure on which humankind ever embarked.”
This incredible account is a keepsake celebrating some of the most important and dramatic events in modern history. Told through over 60 personal interviews and oral histories, as well as personal photographs, this tribute to the men and women who made the Apollo 11 mission a reality chronicles the highs and lows that accompanied the race to the Moon: the devastating flash fire that killed the crew of Apollo 1; the awe of those who saw their years-in-the-making contributions to space exploration blast off from Cape Canaveral; the knuckle-biting descent of Apollo 11 to the lunar surface; a near-catastrophic event on the crew’s flight home; the infectious excitement and jubilation across the world after the astronauts returned safely to Earth.
These little-known stories of the dedicated engineers, mathematicians and scientists in the 1960s reveal the “hows” of the Apollo missions and bring to life the wonder and excitement of humanity’s first steps on the Moon.
5. The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar
A stunning story about the Women Airforce Service Pilots, whose courage during World War II turned ordinary women into extraordinary heroes
1941. Audrey Coltrane has always wanted to fly. It’s why she implored her father to teach her at the little airfield back home in Texas. It’s why she signed up to train military pilots in Hawaii when the war in Europe began. And it’s why she insists she is not interested in any dream-derailing romantic involvements, even with the disarming Lieutenant James Hart, who fast becomes a friend as treasured as the women she flies with. Then one fateful day, she gets caught in the air over Pearl Harbor just as the bombs begin to fall, and suddenly, nowhere feels safe.
To make everything she’s lost count for something, Audrey joins the Women Airforce Service Pilots program. The bonds she forms with her fellow pilots reignite a spark of hope in the face war, and—especially when James goes missing in action—give Audrey the strength to cross the front lines and fight for everything she holds dear.
Shining a light on a little-known piece of history, The Flight Girls is a sweeping portrayal of women’s fearlessness in the face of adversity, and the power of friendship to make us soar.
6. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
It thrills us and torments us. It controls our thoughts, destroys our lives, and it’s all we live for. Yet we almost never speak of it. And as a buried force in our lives, desire remains largely unexplored—until now. Over the past eight years, journalist Lisa Taddeo has driven across the country six times to embed herself with ordinary women from different regions and backgrounds. The result, Three Women, is the deepest nonfiction portrait of desire ever written and one of the most anticipated books of the year.
We begin in suburban Indiana with Lina, a homemaker and mother of two whose marriage, after a decade, has lost its passion. She passes her days cooking and cleaning for a man who refuses to kiss her on the mouth, protesting that “the sensation offends” him. To Lina’s horror, even her marriage counselor says her husband’s position is valid. Starved for affection, Lina battles daily panic attacks. When she reconnects with an old flame through social media, she embarks on an affair that quickly becomes all-consuming.
In North Dakota we meet Maggie, a seventeen-year-old high school student who finds a confidant in her handsome, married English teacher. By Maggie’s account, supportive nightly texts and phone calls evolve into a clandestine physical relationship, and he promises that they’ll skip school on her eighteenth birthday and make love all day. Instead, he breaks up with her on the morning he turns thirty. A few years later, Maggie has no degree, no career, and no dreams to live for. When she learns that this man has been named North Dakota’s Teacher of the Year, she steps forward with her story, turning their quiet community upside down.
Finally, in an exclusive enclave of the Northeast, we meet Sloane—a gorgeous, successful, and refined restaurant owner—who is happily married to a man who likes to watch her have sex with other men and women. He picks out partners for her alone or for a threesome, and she ensures that everyone’s needs are satisfied. For years, Sloane has been asking herself where her husband’s desire ends and hers begins. One day, they invite a new man into their bed—but he brings a secret with him that will finally force Sloane to confront the uneven power dynamics that fuel their lifestyle.
Based on years of immersive reporting, and told with astonishing frankness and immediacy, Three Women is a groundbreaking portrait of erotic longing in today’s America, exposing the fragility, complexity, and inequality of female desire with unprecedented depth and emotional power. It is both a feat of journalism and a triumph of storytelling, brimming with nuance and empathy, that introduces us to three unforgettable women—and one remarkable writer— whose experiences remind us that we are not alone.
7. The Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele
After a global economic collapse and failure of the electrical grid, amid escalating chaos, Carson, a high school teacher of history who sees history bearing out its lessons all around him, heads west on foot toward Beatrix, a woman he met and fell hard for during a chance visit to his school. Working his way along a cross-country railroad line, he encounters lost souls, clever opportunists, and those who believe they’ll be delivered from hardship if they can find their way to the evangelical preacher Jonathan Blue, who is broadcasting on all the airwaves countrywide. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Beatrix and her neighbors turn to one another for food, water, and solace, and begin to construct the kind of cooperative community that suggests the end could, in fact, be a promising beginning.
But between Beatrix and Carson lie 3,000 miles. With no internet or phone or postal service, can they find their way back to each other, and what will be left of their world when they do? The answers may lie with fifteen-year-old Rosie Santos, who travels reluctantly with her grandmother to Jonathan Blue, finding her voice and making choices that could ultimately decide the fate of the cross-country lovers.
The Lightest Object in the Universe is a story about reliance and adaptation, a testament to the power of community and a chronicle of moving on after catastrophic loss, illustrating that even in the worst of times, our best traits, borne of necessity, can begin to emerge.
8. Four Friends: Promising Lives Cut Short by William D. Cohan
A powerful portrait of the lives of four boarding school graduates who died too young, John F. Kennedy, Jr. among them, by their fellow Andover classmate, New York Times bestselling author William D. Cohan.
In his masterful pieces for Vanity Fair and in his bestselling books, William D. Cohan has proven to be one of the most meticulous and intrepid journalists covering the world of Wall Street and high finance. In his utterly original new book, Four Friends, he brings all of his brilliant reportorial skills to a subject much closer to home: four friends of his who died young. All four attended Andover, the most elite of American boarding schools, before spinning out into very different orbits. Indelibly, using copious interviews from wives, girlfriends, colleagues, and friends, Cohan brings these men to life on the page.
Jack Berman, the child of impoverished Holocaust survivors, uses his unlikely Andover pedigree to achieve the American dream, only to be cut down in an unimaginable act of violence. Will Daniel, Harry Truman’s grandson and the son of the managing editor of The New York Times, does everything possible to escape the burdens of a family legacy he’s ultimately trapped by. Harry Bull builds the life of a careful, successful Chicago lawyer and heir to his family’s fortune…before taking an inexplicable and devastating risk on a beautiful summer day. And the life and death of John F. Kennedy, Jr.–a story we think we know–is told here with surprising new details that cast it in an entirely different light.
Four Friends is an immersive, wide-ranging, tragic, and ultimately inspiring account of promising lives cut short, written with compassion, honesty, and insight. It not only captures the fragility of life but also its poignant, magisterial, and pivotal moments.
9. If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais
In a squatter camp on the outskirts of Johannesburg, seventeen-year-old Zodwa lives in desperate poverty, under the shadowy threat of a civil war and a growing AIDS epidemic. Eight months pregnant, Zodwa carefully guards secrets that jeopardize her life.
Across the country, wealthy socialite Ruth appears to have everything her heart desires, but it’s what she can’t have that leads to her breakdown. Meanwhile, in Zaire, a disgraced former nun, Delilah, grapples with a past that refuses to stay buried. When these personal crises send both middle-aged women back to their rural hometown to lick their wounds, the discovery of an abandoned newborn baby upends everything, challenging their lifelong beliefs about race, motherhood, and the power of the past.
As the mystery surrounding the infant grows, the complicated lives of Zodwa, Ruth, and Delilah become inextricably linked. What follows is a mesmerizing look at family and identity that asks: How far will the human heart go to protect itself and the ones it loves?
10. Raised in Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction by Chuck Klosterman
Microdoses of the straight dope, stories so true they had to be wrapped in fiction for our own protection, from the best-selling author of But What if We’re Wrong?
A man flying first class discovers a puma in the lavatory. A new coach of a small-town Oklahoma high school football team installs an offense comprised of only one, very special, play. A man explains to the police why he told the employee of his local bodega that his colleague looked like the lead singer of Depeche Mode, a statement that may or may not have led in some way to a violent crime. A college professor discusses with his friend his difficulties with the new generation of students. An obscure power pop band wrestles with its new-found fame when its song “Blizzard of Summer” becomes an anthem for white supremacists. A couple considers getting a medical procedure that will transfer the pain of childbirth from the woman to her husband. A woman interviews a hit man about killing her husband but is shocked by the method he proposes. A man is recruited to join a secret government research team investigating why coin flips are no longer exactly 50/50. A man sees a whale struck by lightning, and knows that everything about his life has to change. A lawyer grapples with the unintended side effects of a veterinarian’s rabies vaccination.
Fair warning: Raised in Captivity does not slot into a smooth preexisting groove. If Saul Steinberg and Italo Calvino had adopted a child from a Romanian orphanage and raised him on Gary Larsen and Thomas Bernhard, he would still be nothing like Chuck Klosterman. They might be good company, though. Funny, wise and weird in equal measure, Raised in Captivity bids fair to be one of the most original and exciting story collections in recent memory, a fever graph of our deepest unvoiced hopes, fears and preoccupations. Ceaselessly inventive, hostile to corniness in all its forms, and mean only to the things that really deserve it, it marks a cosmic leap forward for one of our most consistently interesting writers.
11. Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and glamourous wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb take the reader on an evocative sun-drenched journey along the Côte d’Azur in this page-turning novel of passion, fate, and second-chances.
Movie stars and paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, wants only to escape from the flash-bulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelters Miss Kelly in her boutique, fending off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy.
James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie—like Princess Grace—must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.
12. Professor Renoir’s Collection of Oddities, Curiosities, and Delights by Randall Platt
In this vivid, entertaining, and authentic historical novel set in the world of a traveling carnival in 1896, two fourteen-year-old girls—one a giant and the other a dwarf—start out as enemies but soon come to depend on one another to escape the clutches of an evil carnie owner who wants to kill and stuff their beloved animals. For fans of The One and Only Ivan and Water for Elephants.
The year is 1896, and Fern “Babe” Killingsworth is fourteen years old, six-foot-nine inches, and weighs 342 lbs. When her father sells her for a hundred dollars to Professor Phillipe Renoir, Babe has nothing to lose. She’s hoping she’ll find something worthwhile working alongside the other “freaks” in Professor Renoir’s Collection of Oddities, Curiosities, and Delights.
When Babe meets Carlotta, the tiny performer seems like nothing more than a spoiled diva. “I’m a dwarf, not a midget!” says the diminutive dancer—but soon the two are partners in crime, eventually disgusted by the conditions and treatment they experience in carnie life, and especially afraid of Renoir’s threats to kill and stuff their beloved animal companions, an elephant, a chimp, and a bear. When the two girls get good news in a letter, they run away from Renoir and find themselves in a much better situation at the home of Carlotta’s aunt—but will it be the last stop for Babe?
13. Home for Erring and Outcast Girls by Julie Kibler
In turn-of-the-20th century Texas, the Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls is an unprecedented beacon of hope for young women consigned to the dangerous poverty of the streets by birth, circumstance, or personal tragedy. Built in 1903 on the dusty outskirts of Arlington, a remote dot between Dallas and Fort Worth’s red-light districts, the progressive home bucks public opinion by offering faith, training, and rehabilitation to prostitutes, addicts, unwed mothers, and “ruined” girls without forcibly separating mothers from children. When Lizzie Bates and Mattie McBride meet there–one sick and abused, but desperately clinging to her young daughter, the other jilted by the beau who fathered her ailing son–they form a friendship that will see them through unbearable loss, heartbreak, difficult choices, and ultimately, diverging paths.
A century later, Cate Sutton, a reclusive university librarian, uncovers the hidden histories of the two troubled women as she stumbles upon the cemetery on the home’s former grounds and begins to comb through its archives in her library. Pulled by an indescribable connection, what Cate discovers about their stories leads her to confront her own heartbreaking past, and to reclaim the life she thought she’d let go forever. With great pathos and powerful emotional resonance, Home for Erring and Outcast Girls explores the dark roads that lead us to ruin, and the paths we take to return to ourselves.
All book excerpts have been picked up from Goodreads