12 New Books for July

This month, we’ve got our eyes on Appleseed by Matt Bell, Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night by Morgan Parker, Fox & I by Catherine Raven, and 9 other titles by writers from the West.

july book picks
Alta
1 ALWAYS CRASHING IN THE SAME CAR: ON ART, CRISIS, AND LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, BY MATTHEW SPECKTOR
always crashing in the same car, matthew specktor
Tin House

Specktor examines the lives of a number of iconic artists in Hollywood to raise complicated questions about creative success and failure. Playful and thought-provoking, Always Crashing in the Same Car makes the case for the centrality of art. Tin House, July 27

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2 APPLESEED, BY MATT BELL
appleseed, matt bell
Custom House

Bell’s ambitious novel tracks three time periods across 1,300 years, following parallel storylines: two brothers planting apple orchards in 18th-century Ohio, a company founder’s attempt to redistribute land after climate disaster, and one man’s quest to rediscover human civilization after being isolated by the next ice age. Custom House, July 13

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3 DEEP HANGING OUT: WANDERINGS AND WONDERMENT IN NATIVE CALIFORNIA, BY MALCOLM MARGOLIN
malcolm margolin, deep hanging out
Heyday

In this collection, drawn from 40 years of immersion in the Indigenous land of California, Heyday publisher emeritus Margolin shares his intimate knowledge with readers. His work presents a passionate allyship that turns its back on crass anthropological recordings for a profound exploration of the cultures and stories of diverse California tribes. Heyday, July 6

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4 FOX & I: AN UNCOMMON FRIENDSHIP, BY CATHERINE RAVEN
fox and i, catherine raven
Spiegel & Grau

This heartwarming memoir tells the story of former park ranger and recent PhD graduate Raven and her friend, a fox. As Raven sits isolated in a self-built cabin in Montana, the fox returns every day at 4:15 to hear her read The Little Prince aloud. As their relationship develops, the fox teaches Raven about loneliness and gratitude and how to exist in the world. Spiegel & Grau, July 6

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5 GIVE MY LOVE TO THE SAVAGES, BY CHRIS STUCK
give my love to the savages, by chris stuck
Amistad

In this collection of stories, Stuck depicts the difficult contradictions of race. The stories explore what it means to be a Black man in an array of circumstances and social positions, across a range of landscapes: in cities and suburbs, on the East Coast and the West, during moments of political upheaval and in the middle of people’s lives. Amistad, July 6

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6 NEW TEETH, BY SIMON RICH
new teeth, simon rich
Little, Brown

Rich’s latest collection of stories is full of brilliant and bizarre narratives. Consider, as examples: two pirates who find themselves clumsily co-parenting a child stowaway, a superhero who must make do with a dull office job, and a two-year-old detective trying to grapple with existential woes. Darkly comic and graciously earnest, New Teeth offers provocative takes on our unpredictable world. Little, Brown, July 27

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7 OTHER PEOPLE'S COMFORT KEEPS ME UP AT NIGHT: POEMS, BY MORGAN PARKER
other people's comfort keeps me up at night, morgan parker
Tin House

Parker’s debut collection, which introduced her as a captivating contemporary Black poet, is back in print, with an introduction by Danez Smith. Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night refuses the distinction between the personal and the political—as well as the false dichotomies of lowbrow, middlebrow, and highbrow—to trace the meaning of grief, love, and belonging. Tin House, July 13

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8 PALM SPRING NOIR, EDITED BY BARBARA DEMARCO-BARRETT
palm spring noir, barbara demarco barrett
Akashic Books

The latest noir anthology from Akashic Books gathers 14 new stories set in the Coachella Valley. Featuring work by Tod Goldberg, Alex Espinoza, and Kelly Shire, the collection offers a more complicated set of takes on the Southern California desert, revealing its hidden, sinister qualities. Akashic Books, July 6

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9 THE SINFUL LIVES OF TROPHY WIVES, BY KRISTIN MILLER
the sinful lives of trophy wives, kristin miller
Ballantine Books

In this novel, Miller follows three women who appear to be in successful and coveted marriages with wealthy men. On closer examination, however, the facades cannot hold: one’s husband expects perfection at all times; another tries to keep her marriage from crumbling; the third may be a money-hungry murderer, more than once divorced. When tragedy strikes, all three find themselves questioning the choices of their lives. Ballantine Books, July 20

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10 TOGETHER WE WILL GO, BY J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI
together we will go, j michael straczynski
Gallery/Scout Press

The cross-country road trip at the center of this novel is unlike any other. The travel companions are strangers, and they’ve all decided to die. As their bus careers toward a San Francisco cliff, we get to know the individual travelers and watch their relationships develop. Together We Will Go suggests that the decisions we make are based on the choices we have. Gallery/Scout Press, July 6

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11 UNTIL PROVEN SAFE: THE HISTORY AND FUTURE OF QUARANTINE, BY GEOFF MANAUGH AND NICOLA TWILLEY
until proven safe, geoff manaugh, nicola twilley
MCD

Despite being released just as the United States begins to reemerge from collective isolation, Manaugh and Twilley’s book was in the works well before COVID-19. Here, they investigate the long history of emergency isolation and its role in safeguarding our future, from the Black Death and Ebola to (hypothetical) extraterrestrial infections. MCD, July 20

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12 THE WONDER TEST, BY MICHELLE RICHMOND
the wonder test,  michelle richmond
Atlantic Monthly Press

After working a traumatic case in New York and losing her husband, FBI agent Lina Connerly returns to her Silicon Valley hometown with her teenage son in tow. They find a community transformed into an elite and cutthroat suburb by an aptitude exam called the Wonder Test. Not only that, but kids begin to disappear and Lina finds herself in danger as she tests the limits of her motherhood, ethics, and strength. Atlantic Monthly Press, July 6

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