Happy June! It’s officially the summer months now, which brings me more joy than just about anything else in my life. The weather is warm, the trees are green, and I have been going for long walks every day to soak in the sun rays. There’s also a ton of great books coming out this month! I’ve compiled the 8 that I’m anticipating the most here for you to read, listed in order of publication date.
Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting (June 7th)
by Clare Pooley
This book has the potential to be terrible or really freaking good, and I haven’t decided which it is going to be yet. I love books that focus on the characters, but the premise of these characters doesn’t sound remarkably unique. It feels a bit like Anxious People, but I really loved that book and so I’m excited to give that one a try. My hope is that the strangers will have compelling enough narratives to hook me.
Goodreads Summary: Nobody ever talks to strangers on the train. It’s a rule. But what would happen if they did? From the New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of The Authenticity Project, a heartwarming novel about unexpected friendships and the joy of connecting.
Every day Iona, a larger-than-life magazine advice columnist, travels the ten stops from Hampton Court to Waterloo Station by train, accompanied by her dog, Lulu. Every day she sees the same people, whom she knows only by nickname: Impossibly-Pretty-Constant-Reader and Terribly-Lonely-Teenager. Of course, they never speak. Seasoned commuters never do.
Then one morning, the man she calls Smart-But-Sexist-Manspreader chokes on a grape right in front of her. He’d have died were it not for the timely intervention of Sanjay, a nurse, who gives him the Heimlich maneuver.
This single event starts a chain reaction, and an eclectic group of people with almost nothing in common except their commute discover that a chance encounter can blossom into much more. It turns out that talking to strangers can teach you about the world around you–and even more about yourself.
Cult Classic (June 7th)
by Sloane Crosley
It’s a joke amongst my friends that we want to join a cult. There’s something fun about talking about giving up all of our worldly possessions and fleeing to a commune where all we will be asked to do is farm and… i don’t know… probably other weird things, but that’s less fun to discuss. If you haven’t already figured it out by now, Cult Classic is a fictional novel about a cult, and I am excited to delve into the world which Sloane Crosley creates.
Goodreads Summary: One night in New York City’s Chinatown, a woman is at a work reunion dinner with former colleagues when she excuses herself to buy a pack of cigarettes. On her way back, she runs into a former boyfriend. And then another. And . . . another. Nothing is quite what it seems as the city becomes awash with ghosts of heartbreaks past.
What would normally pass for coincidence becomes something far stranger as the recently engaged Lola must contend not only with the viability of her current relationship but the fact that both her best friend and her former boss, a magazine editor turned mystical guru, might have an unhealthy investment in the outcome. Memories of the past swirl and converge in ways both comic and eerie, as Lola is forced to decide if she will surrender herself to the conspiring of one very contemporary cult.
Hilariously insightful and delightfully suspenseful, Cult Classic is an original: a masterfully crafted tale of love, memory, morality, and mind control, as well as a fresh foray into the philosophy of romance. Is it possible to have a happy ending in an age when the past is ever at your fingertips and sanity is for sale? With her gimlet eye, Sloane Crosley spins a wry literary fantasy that is equal parts page-turner and poignant portrayal of alienation.
Not Good for Maidens (June 14th)
by Tori Bovalino
This is a YA Fantasy/Horror book that looks INCREDIBLE. I honestly feel like fantasy is a genre where reading a YA book is truly a whole different experience than reading an adult book; it’s as if the genres do not even align, and as a result, it’s one of the few genres where I read a significant amount of YA. This is a retelling of “Goblin Market” by Christina Rossetti, which I have not read, but I am debating reading this one first.
Goodreads Summary: Salem’s Lot meets The Darkest Part of the Forest in this horror-fantasy retelling of Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market.”
Lou never believed in superstitions or magic–until her teenage aunt Neela is kidnapped to the goblin market.
The market is a place Lou has only read about–twisted streets, offerings of sweet fruits and incredible jewels. Everything–from the food and wares, to the goblins themselves–is a haunting temptation for any human who manages to find their way in.
Determined to save Neela, Lou learns songs and spells and tricks that will help her navigate this dangerous world and slip past a goblin’s defenses–but she only has three days to find Neela before the market disappears and her aunt becomes one of them forever.
If she isn’t careful, the market might just end up claiming her too.
The Divorce Colony (June 14th)
by April White
I love reading about what it was like to live in the 19th and 20th centuries, because I think too often we romanticize that time period in a way that just doesn’t make sense if we are anything other than a cis straight white man. This book delves into the reality of being a woman in the 19th century who was married to a man she quite simply did not want to be married to anymore. It sounds incredibly interesting and well researched and I can’t wait to give it a read.
Goodreads Summary: From a historian and senior editor at Atlas Obscura, a fascinating account of the daring nineteenth-century women who moved to South Dakota to divorce their husbands and start living on their own terms. For a woman traveling without her husband in the late nineteenth century, there was only one reason to take the train all the way to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, one sure to garner disapproval from fellow passengers. On the American frontier, the new state offered a tempting freedom often difficult to obtain elsewhere: divorce.
With the laxest divorce laws in the country, five railroad lines, and the finest hotel for hundreds of miles, the small city became the unexpected headquarters for unhappy spouses—infamous around the world as The Divorce Colony. These society divorcees put Sioux Falls at the center of a heated national debate over the future of American marriage. As clashes mounted in the country’s gossip columns, church halls, courtrooms and even the White House, the women caught in the crosshairs in Sioux Falls geared up for a fight they didn’t go looking for, a fight that was the only path to their freedom.
In The Divorce Colony, writer and historian April White unveils the incredible social, political, and personal dramas that unfolded in Sioux Falls and reverberated around the country through the stories of four very different women: Maggie De Stuers, a descendent of the influential New York Astors whose divorce captivated the world; Mary Nevins Blaine, a daughter-in-law to a presidential hopeful with a vendetta against her meddling mother-in-law; Blanche Molineux, an aspiring actress escaping a husband she believed to be a murderer; and Flora Bigelow Dodge, a vivacious woman determined, against all odds, to obtain a “dignified” divorce.
Entertaining, enlightening, and utterly feminist, The Divorce Colony is a rich, deeply researched tapestry of social history and human drama that reads like a novel. Amidst salacious newspaper headlines, juicy court documents, and high-profile cameos from the era’s most well-known players, this story lays bare the journey of the turn-of-the-century socialites who took their lives into their own hands and reshaped the country’s attitudes about marriage and divorce.
The House Across the Lake (June 21st)
by Riley Sager
Riley Sager is one of my favorite, if not my absolute favorite, psychological thriller author of all time. He is just so incredibly gifted at creating a plot line that challenges me and yet also leaves enough clues for the payoff to be worth the read. I cannot wait for this book to come out, and I will be placing it on preorder at the library soon.
Goodreads Summary: It looks like a familiar story: A woman reeling from a great loss with too much time on her hands and too much booze in her glass watches her neighbors, sees things she shouldn’t see, and starts to suspect the worst. But looks can be deceiving. . . .
Casey Fletcher, a recently widowed actress trying to escape a streak of bad press, has retreated to her family’s lake house in Vermont. Armed with a pair of binoculars and several bottles of liquor, she passes the time watching Tom and Katherine Royce, the glamorous couple living in the house across the lake.
Everything about the Royces seems perfect. Their marriage. Their house. The bucolic lake it sits beside. But when Katherine suddenly vanishes, Casey becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her. In the process, she discovers the darker truths lurking just beneath the surface of the Royces’ picture-perfect marriage. Truths no suspicious voyeur could begin to imagine–even with a few drinks under her belt.
Like Casey, you’ll think you know where this story is headed.
Because once you open the door to obsession, you never know what you might find on the other side.
Vera Kelly: Lost and Found (June 21st)
by Rosalie Knecht
I received a copy of this book, and now I am worried that I’m not going to be able to read it before it comes out. Apparently (I didn’t realize this) Vera Kelly is a series, but I believe the books can be read out of order. I’m very much looking forward to reading this one!
Goodreads Summary: It’s spring 1971 and Vera Kelly and her girlfriend, Max, leave their cozy Brooklyn apartment for an emergency visit to Max’s estranged family in Los Angeles. Max’s parents are divorcing—her father is already engaged to a much younger woman and under the sway of an occultist charlatan; her mother has left their estate in a hurry with no indication of return. Max, who hasn’t seen her family since they threw her out at the age of twenty-one, prepares for the trip with equal parts dread and anger.
Upon arriving, Vera is shocked by the size and extravagance of the Comstock estate—the sprawling, manicured landscape; expansive and ornate buildings; and garages full of luxury cars reveal a privileged upbringing that, up until this point, Max had only hinted at—while Max attempts to navigate her father, who is hostile and controlling, and the occultist, St. James, who is charming but appears to be siphoning family money. Tensions boil over at dinner when Max threatens to alert her mother—and her mother’s lawyers—to St. James and her father’s plans using marital assets. The next morning, when Vera wakes up, Max is gone.
In Vera Kelly Lost and Found, Rosalie Knecht gives Vera her highest-stake case yet, as Vera quickly puts her private detective skills to good use and tracks a trail of breadcrumbs across southern California to find her missing girlfriend. She travels first to a film set in Santa Ynez and, ultimately, to a most unlikely destination where Vera has to decide how much she is willing to commit to save the woman she loves.
X (June 28th)
by Davey Davis
I mentioned earlier this month that dystopia is making a comeback, and X is just another example of this phenomena. This is a dystopian novel about a country where the undesirable citizens are being forcibly deported. The description says that it focuses on the character’s “inner psyches”, which are always my favorite type of book, so I cannot wait to read this one when it comes out.
Goodreads Summary: The world is ending, and down-and-out sadist Lee spends their days working for a big corporation and their nights wandering the streets of Brooklyn listening to true crime podcasts. But everything changes when Lee is dragged to a warehouse party by their best friend, where they find themself in the clutches of the seductive and bloodthirsty X. When Lee seeks her out again, she’s nowhere to be found.
Amid the steady constriction of civil rights and the purging of migrants and refugees, the U.S. government has recently begun encouraging the semi-voluntary “exporting” of undesirable citizens—the radicalized, the dissident, and the ungovernable. Word has it that X may be among those leaving. If Lee doesn’t track her down soon, she may be gone forever.
Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality (June 28th)
by Julia Shaw
I received an e-ARC of this book from Netgalley, and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. My review will come out sometime later this month, but I am already over halfway through and I know it’s going to get a rave review. Shaw explores the science and history of bisexuality in an extraordinarily approachable way. It almost feels like you’re reading a blog post, but instead it’s insanely well researched and traditionally published. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about bisexuality, or queer history in general.
Goodreads Summary: A provocative, eye-opening, and original book on the science of sexuality beyond gender from an internationally bestselling pop-psychologist Despite all the welcome changes that have happened in our culture and laws over the past few decades in regards to sexuality, the subject remains one of the most influential but least understood aspects of our lives. For psychologist and bestselling author Julia Shaw, this is both professional and personal—Shaw studies the science of sexuality and she herself is proudly and vocally bisexual.
It’s an admission, she writes, that usually causes people’s pupils to dilate, their cheeks to flush, and their questions to start flowing. Ask people to name famous bisexual actors, politicians, writers, or scientists, and they draw a blank. Despite statistics that show bisexuality is more common than homosexuality, bisexuality is often invisible.
In BI: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality, Shaw probes the science and culture of attraction beyond the binary. From the invention of heterosexuality to the history of the Kinsey scale, as well as asylum seekers trying to defend their bisexuality in a court of law, there is so much more to explore than most have ever realized. Drawing on her own original research—and her own experiences—this is a personal and scientific manifesto; it’s an exploration of the complexities of the human sexual experience and a declaration of love and respect for the nonconformists among us.