13 New Books for July

This month, we’ve got our eyes on Self-Portrait with Ghost, O, and 11 other titles by writers of the West.

july book releases
Alta
1 THE BOYS, BY KATIE HAFNER
the boys, katie hafner
Spiegel & Grau

In Hafner’s novel, a woman named Barb brings two boys home to foster as a way of growing closer to her husband, Ethan. Yet when the pandemic hits, Ethan becomes preoccupied with the boys’ happiness. With their marriage deteriorating, he takes the boys on a trip to Italy, where he realizes that the only way to save his relationship is by sharing a vulnerable childhood secret. Spiegel & Grau, July 26

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2 DIRTBAG, MASSACHUSETTS: A CONFESSIONAL, BY ISAAC FITZGERALD
dirtbag, massachusetts, a confessional, isaac fitzgerald
Bloomsbury Publishing

In this collection of linked essays, Fitzgerald shares the tragic, complex, and at times darkly comic events that have shaped his life’s trajectory. Whether grappling with self-esteem or smuggling medical resources into Burma, the author is seeking a way to love himself through the act of loving others. Bloomsbury Publishing, July 19

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3 DOCTORS AND DISTILLERS: THE REMARKABLE MEDICINAL HISTORY OF BEER, WINE, SPIRITS, AND COCKTAILS, BY CAMPER ENGLISH
doctors and distillers, the remarkable medicinal history of beer, wine, spirits, and cocktails, camper english
Penguin Books

Was the gin and tonic really created as a treatment for scurvy and malaria? Certainly, booze and medicine have closely linked histories, from nutrition and disease prevention to the origin of germ theory, as English investigates in this fascinating history. The book also features cocktail recipes for those who prefer a spirit with their history lessons. Penguin Books, July 19

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4 FIRE SEASON, BY LEYNA KROW
fire season, leyna krow
Viking

Set during the 1889 fire in Spokane Falls, Krow’s novel features three misfits consumed by love and greed as their city goes up in flames. Depressed bank manager Barton Heydale cons his customers. Fire investigator Quake Auchenbaucher attempts to manipulate the citizens of Spokane Falls and ends up in over his head. And Roslyn Beck, gifted with premonition, must juggle the lovesick egos of both men in this modern western. Viking, July 12

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5 GROUPIES, BY SARAH PRISCUS
groupies, sarah priscus
William Morrow & Company

After her mother dies, college dropout Faun Novak moves to Los Angeles and reunites with her friend Josie, who is now dating the front man of a popular band. Armed with her Polaroid, Novak begins documenting the rock ’n’ roll scene of 1970s California and quickly gets swept away in its undercurrents. Priscus’s novel evokes the period in all its possibility and desperation. William Morrow & Company, July 12

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6 THE HAUNTING OF HAJJI HOTAK AND OTHER STORIES, BY JAMIL JAN KOCHAI
the haunting of hajji hotak and other stories, jamil jan kocha
Viking

Family, war, and ghosts are at the center of Kochai’s collection of stories, which portrays both the American Afghan diaspora and life in modern Afghanistan. In some of the work here, characters are entrenched in military occupation and protest, while in others, generational connections to war bleed into everyday life, as in one piece about a violent video game. Viking, July 19

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7 HOLLYWOOD ENDING: HARVEY WEINSTEIN AND THE CULTURE OF SILENCE, BY KEN AULETTA
hollywood ending, harvey weinstein and the culture of silence, ken aulett
Penguin Press

Auletta was the first reporter to expose Harvey Weinstein as manipulative and even violent. Yet Auletta always believed there were darker secrets about Weinstein to be revealed. After the producer was convicted for sex crimes, Auletta set out to uncover the entire story, charting Weinstein’s path from creative powerhouse to power-drunk predator. Penguin Press, July 12

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8 HOW TO READ NOW, BY ELAINE CASTILLO
how to read now, elaine castillo
Viking

Critiquing the prevailing discourse about reading as a social benefit and eschewing single-minded celebration, the essays in Castillo’s provocative collection reach deeper to address what we can gain from a more complicated, challenging approach to reading. Viking, July 26

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9 THE MAN WHO COULD MOVE CLOUDS: A MEMOIR, BY INGRID ROJAS CONTRERAS
the man who could move clouds, ingrid rojas contreras
Doubleday Books

In this spellbinding memoir, Contreras weaves family lore and personal narrative into a powerful collective portrait. At the center of the book is the story of her grandfather, a community healer in Colombia who passed his gifts to Contreras’s mother. She, in turn, takes the author on a healing journey to discover a history and lineage following a traumatic accident. Doubleday Books, July 12

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10 O, BY ZEINA HASHEM BECK
o, zeina hashem beck
Penguin Books

Lebanese poet Beck’s third full-length poetry collection is curious and energetic, drifting between the physical and the spiritual and experimenting with the nuances and disconnects of language, specifically English and Arabic. A newcomer to California, her contemplations of home and memory are set in Lebanon and Dubai. Penguin Books, July 5

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11 THE PINK HOTEL, BY LISKA JACOBS
pink hotel, liska jacobs
MCD

In Jacobs’s third novel, a glamorous Hollywood hotel becomes a ticking time bomb when wildfires spread across Los Angeles, confining the staff and their wealthy clientele. As disaster looms and power outages roll through the city, divisions between these two constituencies grow more pronounced, with newly married Keith and Kit Collins—not exactly guests, but not yet on the hotel’s payroll—caught in the middle. MCD, July 19

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12 ROAD TO NOWHERE: WHAT SILICON VALLEY GETS WRONG ABOUT THE FUTURE OF TRANSPORTATION, BY PARIS MARX
road to nowhere, what silicon valley gets wrong about the future of transportation, paris marx
Verso Books

Marx examines our current thinking about the future of urban environments, exposing the catastrophic mistakes that arise from a profit-driven approach. They argue for the benefits of utilizing public space and considering the poor and marginalized in our transportation infrastructure as our cities change. Verso Books, July 5

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13 SELF-PORTRAIT WITH GHOST, BY MENG JIN
self portrait with ghost, meng jin
Mariner Books

Jin’s brilliant collection is composed of 10 stories (similar in theme, but varied in genre) that move between San Francisco and China. Throughout, Jin explores movement and growth, excavating the processes of building and losing relationships and connections both with oneself and others. Mariner Books, July 5

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