The Best Books of July 2017: From Svetlana Alexievich to Angela Davis

Every month, Signature combs through the upcoming releases across nonfiction and literary fiction to provide a look at the most exciting titles rounding the bend.

There’s plenty to read this July, whether gripping escapist fiction or hard-hitting, informative nonfiction is more your game in the hot summer months.

For those of you in need of an escape: L.S. Hilton is back with her followup to the bestselling, thrilling, and sexy Maestra (Domina); Janelle Brown’s new novel about the disappearance of Berkeley mother Billie will have you on the edge of your seat (Watch Me Disappear); and expert thriller writer Kathy Reichs tells the story of self-sufficient, tough-talking, damaged Sunnie in Two Nights.

On the flip-side, Sarah Sentilles explores the role of art in the psychology of violence (Draw Your Weapons); Jen Waite recounts the life-altering experience of discovering that the man she married was not who she thought he was (A Beautiful, Terrible Thing); Angela Davis has compiled a timely and essential anthology of thoughts from criminal justice experts on the Black Lives Matter movement (Policing the Black Man); and Rachel Ignotofsky’s whimsical, educational, and empowering drawings make their triumphant return in her followup to Women in Science (Women in Sports).

There’s much more where that came from. Scroll through, and get reading.

  • The cover of the book Draw Your Weapons

    Draw Your Weapons

    In a book that is as much a collection of insights into war, torture, art, and healing as it is a meditation on the world we live in today, Sarah Sentilles dissects the role of art and the visual in the psychology of violence. Draw Your Weapons serves as a guide down a thought-provoking path into some of the darker moments of our modern history.

    Out July 4

  • The cover of the book Queen of Bebop

    Queen of Bebop

    Beginning with a dive back into her New Jersey roots, the life of Sarah Vaughan is treated to a comprehensive and stunning examination in Queen of Bebop by Elaine M. Hayes. Hayes takes us through Vaughan’s childhood, through her early years and on to the successes that landed her a place as an American musical icon, creating the definitive biography of one of the twentieth century’s brightest stars.

    Out July 4

  • The cover of the book The Reason You're Alive

    The Reason You're Alive

    We’ve had our eye on Matthew Quick since his debut novel, The Silver Linings Playbook – adapted into an Oscar-winning movie – landed in 2008. His new novel, The Reason You’re Alive, introduces us to Vietnam Veteran David Granger, whose twenty-first-century civilian life leads him on life-altering journey into his past.

    Out July 4

  • The cover of the book Who Is Rich?

    Who Is Rich?

    A Novel

    Klam’s protagonist Rich Fischer embodies all the discontentment, desire, and bitterness that comes with being middle-aged. Last year, when Rich left his family behind to teach a class on cartooning at an annual week-long summer arts conference, he had an affair with student Amy O’Donnell: a married mother of three. They spent the winter exchanging hot texts and emails. They meet again, and Rich has to make a decision that has the potential to alter the future of not only his marriage, but his career.

    Out July 4

  • The cover of the book A Beautiful, Terrible Thing

    A Beautiful, Terrible Thing

    A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal

    In this emotionally gripping memoir, Jen Waite describes how the man she married turned out to be not at all what he seemed. Jen recounts the unraveling of her five-year romance in great detail, which started after the discovery of a disturbing email. Jen found more betrayal than she could have ever imagined and came to a heart-stopping conclusion: her loving husband, and father of her infant daughter, was a psychopath. Waite recalls each discovery, every twisted lie, and reveals what happens once the dust finally settles on her demolished marriage.

    Out July 11

  • The cover of the book Domina


    Fans of L.S. Hilton’s riveting and sexy Maestra will be scrambling to get their hands on the follow-up, Domina. At the heart of Domina is Judith Rashleigh, who has just opened her own art gallery in Venice and finally feels as though she’s got in her grasp the life she’s always wanted. But death is not far behind that lavish life, and soon she’s on the run again. Stolen paintings and corpses in Ibiza are just the beginning of the drama Judith finds herself in, and she’s scrambling to get out alive.

    Out July 11

  • The cover of the book Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8

    Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8

    A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism

    Naoki Higashida broke barriers as a thirteen year-old when he wrote The Reason I Jump: account of autism from his point of view as a nonverbal Japanese child. Now, Naoki shares his thoughts and experiences as a twenty-four-year old man with severe autism. He explores his constant difficulty with speech, breaks down his thought processes, and looks back on past events that morphed him into the man he is today. After reading this memoir, readers will have a far deeper understanding of autism, and will hopefully see people with disabilities in a better light: as people, not as problems.

    Out July 11

  • The cover of the book Policing the Black Man

    Policing the Black Man

    Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment

    This anthology, edited by Angela Davis, comprises essays from the nation’s top criminal justice experts and legal scholars, all on the topic of the Black Lives Matter movement. They weigh in on the ways in which African American men have been failed by U.S. legal enforcement and criminal justice system, from racial profiling to implicit bias, and the devastating effect it has had on race relations, and the lives of African Americans, in the nation at large.

    Out July 11

  • The cover of the book Reading with Patrick

    Reading with Patrick

    A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship

    Michelle Kuo’s powerful memoir looks back on her time teaching, as a Teach for America volunteer, in the small town of Helena, Arkansas, one of the poorest counties in America. More specifically, it’s the story of her relationship with Patrick Browning, a student who she continues to teach even after he’s been jailed for murder. Kuo’s memoir is a love letter to the power of literature to change lives, even when all hope seems lost.

    Out July 11

  • The cover of the book Two Nights

    Two Nights

    A Novel

    In this thriller, Kathy Reichs introduces a new protagonist: a self-sufficient, tough-talking, damaged heroine named Sunday, or Sunnie for short. As a child, Sunnie barely escaped from a cult that claimed her mother’s life – an event that changed her forever. Sunnie represses her past demons and fuels herself with the built-up internalized anger. She lives a life of isolation, in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But when a girl goes missing after a bomb explosion, Sunnie can’t help but get involved. As the mystery of the missing girl unfolds, Sunnie’s past experiences resurface, and this time, she has nowhere to run.

    Out July 11

  • The cover of the book Watch Me Disappear

    Watch Me Disappear

    A Novel

    The mystery at the center of Janelle Brown’s new novel, Watch Me Disappear, is a missing Berkeley woman – Billie, the mother of teenager Olive and wife of Jonathan. Their family is not perfect – whose is? – but there is love and dedication. When Billie goes missing during a weekend backpacking trip to Desolation Wilderness, Olive and Jonathan are left to figure out what happened –on the trail and beyond.

    Out July 11

  • The cover of the book Beautiful Animals

    Beautiful Animals

    A Novel

    Bangkok-dwelling British writer Lawrence Osborne is back with Beautiful Animals. In this latest novel, Osborne offers another thrilling journey through the unfamiliar, this time landing us on the Greek island of Hydra, where two women out on a hike discover a man in dire need of their help. The story takes a dark turn, however, as the intentions and character of all involved are tested.

    Out July 18

  • The cover of the book The Stars in Our Eyes

    The Stars in Our Eyes

    The Famous, the Infamous, and Why We Care Way Too Much About Them

    In The Stars in Our Eyes, bestselling author Julie Klam examines why we care about celebrities so much, even when we may not really like them. What makes it so we just can’t look away? And in the age of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, what does it really mean to be a celebrity?

    Out July 18

  • The cover of the book Women in Sports

    Women in Sports

    50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win

    From the author of New York Times bestseller Women in Science comes another gorgeously illustrated, inspiring book about trailblazing women reaching new heights in an industry dominated by, and historically seen as belonging to, men. Ignotofsky chronicles the stories of fifty inspiring women in sports, from the 1800s to today.

    Out July 18

  • The cover of the book Confessions of a Cartel Hit Man

    Confessions of a Cartel Hit Man

    We often hear of the brutal world of drug cartels, and are sometimes offered access by way of Hollywood. It’s rare, however, that we get a look inside via firsthand account. In Confessions of a Cartel Hit Man, we are granted that glimpse by Martin Cortona, whose path from a California gang to Mexico’s most vicious drug cartel he recounts in this new memoir.

    Out July 25

  • The cover of the book The Unwomanly Face of War

    The Unwomanly Face of War

    An Oral History of Women in World War II

    From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, this long-anticipated English translation tells the groundbreaking stories of women in World War II across Europe and Russia. After conducting abundant research, Alexievich was able to chronicle the experiences of over a million Soviet women who fought on the front lines, on the home front, and in occupied territories. These nurses, doctors, pilots, tank drivers, and snipers battled alongside men, giving their life to defend this country. But, history seems to have forgotten their sacrifice. Alexievich gives these female heroes the recognition they deserve with these moving stories.