Books

From Michiko Kakutani to Anne Tyler: The Best Books of July 2018

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

This month marks the return of quite a few authors we’ve been itching to hear from again: Michiko Kakutani is publishing her first book since stepping down as The New York Times chief book reviewer (The Death of Truth); Pulitzer Prize-winning Anne Tyler is releasing a new novel (Clock Dance); and Suzanne Rindell, author of The Three-Martini Lunch, is back with another work of historical fiction (Eagle & Crane). Check out the full list of our staff’s favorite books out this month to reunite with old favorites, discover something new, and revel in summer.

  • The cover of the book The Billionaire Raj

    The Billionaire Raj

    A Journey Through India's New Gilded Age

    Although India is the world’s largest democracy with an economy that is expanding faster than China’s, its society is radically unequal. Nearly sixty percent of the country’s wealth is owned by its top one percent, and half the population lives in the slums of megacities like Mumbai. In The Billionaire Raj, James Crabtree seeks to introduce readers to the one percent of people in India who are in control of sixty percent of the country’s wealth. He dramatizes a country on the cusp of radical change.

    Out July 7

     
  • The cover of the book Eagle & Crane

    Eagle & Crane

    Louis Thorn and Haruto “Harry” Yamada, aka Eagle and Crane, are young daredevil flyers in Earl Shaw’s Circus in Depression-era California. The two men have a complicated relationship due to the fact that Thorn’s family believes the Japanese stole land from them, and Louis and Harry love the same woman, Shaw’s stepdaughter. One of Shaw’s planes crashes during Pearl Harbor and Harry and his father are found dead inside it; local authorities deem that they must have escaped from a Japanese internment camp. But to a lone FBI agent on the case, things just don’t add up. This captivating historical mystery explores one of the worst eras in America and grapples with race, family, and love in troubling times.

    Out July 7

     
  • The cover of the book Clock Dance

    Clock Dance

    A novel

    Anne Tyler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Spool of Blue Thread, returns with a moving, epic story covering one woman’s life. Readers follow Willa Drake from her days as a schoolgirl in 1967 to her old age in 2017, as she yearns to be a grandmother but is coming to terms with the fact that she may never be. But a phone call takes her Baltimore, where she looks after a young woman (a stranger to her), her daughter, and their dog Airplane. Willa’s life is burst open in its final act.

    Out July 10

     
  • The cover of the book My Year of Rest and Relaxation

    My Year of Rest and Relaxation

    Ottessa Moshfegh is a powerful new writer who is becoming the voice of our age. In this book, she creates a complex narrator – a thin, pretty, extremely wealthy young woman who, despite all her privilege, is unhappy. Due to her displeasure, the narrator decides to enlist the help of a less-than-qualified psychiatrist who prescribes her a truly mad combination of drugs. This story encompasses a year of her life on those drugs, which leads to a deep (and hilarious) exploration of the human mind.

    Out July 10

     
  • The cover of the book The Poisoned City

    The Poisoned City

    In April 2014, the citizens of Flint, Michigan unknowingly began drinking water contaminated with lead, and other toxins, out of their own faucets. After eighteen months of concern and complaints from the people of Flint about the rancid smell and taste of their drinking water, those in power were ready to face the mortal errors they’d made all those months ago. By that time, twelve people had died, and the health of the children of Flint had been irreparably damaged. The Poisoned City chronicles the crisis of Flint, from the people who caused it to the people who suffered it.

    Out July 10

     
  • The cover of the book The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela

    The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela

    Published on the centenary of his birth, this collection comprises two hundred and fifty-five of the letters that Nelson Mandela wrote to his wife Winnie, his five children, unyielding prison authorities, fellow activists, and government officials over the course of the twenty-seven years that he spent incarcerated. The collection is organized chronologically and divided into four parts, in tandem with the four prisons in which he was held over the course of his sentence.

    Out July 10

     
  • The cover of the book A Terrible Country

    A Terrible Country

    A Novel

    This compulsive read is told from the point of view of Andrei Kaplan, a Russian-born man living in New York. When Andrei’s older brother tells him to come back to Russia to help take care of his ill grandmother, he packs up his things and heads to Moscow for a year. As he tries to re-learn his “home” country under Putin, Andrei becomes involved with a group of leftists, and he is forced to come to terms with the Russian society he was born into and the American one he has enjoyed since he was a kid.

    Out July 10

     
  • The cover of the book Crux

    Crux

    A Cross-Border Memoir

    In this cross-border memoir, Jean Guerrero attempts to understand her father, a charismatic enigma throughout her childhood. Talented, larger-than-life, and a genius at fixing and creating things, Marco Antonio got lost in his obsessions, shirking his responsibilities as a father and feeling to Asia, Europe, then back to Mexico, and succumbing to drugs and alcohol along the way. Jean always wanted to understand him, and as an adult and a journalist, she felt that she finally could. Crux is the story of what happened when she set out after him, seeking to understand the truths behind her father’s behavior, and unearthing stories of her family going all the way back to her great-great-grandmother in order to do so. She takes risks that edge dangerously close to those her father is known to take, and must confront not only her father, but also herself, if she is to truly understand him and their relationship.

    Out July 17

     
  • The cover of the book The Death of Truth

    The Death of Truth

    Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump

    In this book, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Michiko Kakutani analyzes how our current White House administration, social media, and television channels have contributed to the demise of objective truth. Michiko argues that to survive in an age during which conspiracy theories and ideologies have resurfaced, proven science is up for debate, and Russian propaganda floods our screens, we must direct ourselves on a new path towards reason and expertise.

    Out July 17

     
  • The cover of the book I Can't Date Jesus

    I Can't Date Jesus

    One of the most anticipated books of Summer 2018, Michael Arceneaux’s personal essay collection spans topics such as LGBTQ rights, Blackness in today’s America, and the struggle of being outspoken in a world that wants everyone to quiet down. With uncanny humor and wit, Michael shares his invaluable life experiences with love, sex, family, and race as a gay, creative, sensitive Black man trying to live out his dreams.

    Out July 24

     
  • The cover of the book Ghosted

    Ghosted

    A Novel

    Who doesn’t enjoy a good modern love story brimming with secrets? Rosie Walsh’s Ghosted centers on Sarah and Eddie, two people who fall in love with each other the moment they meet. They experience seven perfect days together, ensuring Sarah that he’s the one for her. But when Eddie leaves for a pre-planned vacation, she doesn’t hear from him again. Sarah can’t just forget about him – she believes there’s a reason for his disappearance, and she’s ready to go to great lengths to find out what it is.

    Out July 24

     
  • The cover of the book The Immeasurable World

    The Immeasurable World

    Journeys in Desert Places

    Readers of Geoff Dyer will find a home in William Atkins’s The Immeasurable World, which takes readers to eight deserts and five continents: the Empty Quarter of Oman, the Gobi Desert and Taklamakan deserts of northwest China, the Great Victoria Desert of Australia, the man-made desert of the Aral Sea in Kazkahstan, the Black Rock and Sonoran Deserts of the American Southwest, and Egypt’s Eastern Desert. Atkins expertly weaves together history, observation, reportage, and the personal (he embarked on this trip in the first place because of his restlessness) to wonderful effect.

    Out July 24

     
  • The cover of the book Inappropriation

    Inappropriation

    A wildly daring coming-of-age story, Inappropriation is bound to shock readers in the best way possible. It centers on fifteen-year-old Ziggy Klein who, due to alienation at her school, falls into the arms of her grade’s most radical feminists. Soon after, Ziggy begins to embrace her always-present dark, sexual fantasies and sets off on a journey of self-discovery that takes her from the Sydney drag scene to the most hidden places of the Internet. Hilarious yet profound, this debut is literary satire at its best.

    Out July 24

     
  • The cover of the book Fruit of the Drunken Tree

    Fruit of the Drunken Tree

    A Novel

    A new diverse voice in the literary world, Ingrid Rojas Contreras tells a mesmerizing tale in this debut. Set in Colombia at the height Pablo Escobar’s violent reign and inspired by Ingrid’s own life, this book is told through the alternating perspectives of Chula, a wealthy seven-year-old girl who’s just beginning to realize the world around her, and Petrona, a poverty-stricken young maid working for Chula’s family.  The two coming-of-age stories are very different, but linked in a way that’s absolutely breathtaking. Not to mention that the cover of this book is extraordinary, which is a bonus in and of itself.

     
  • The cover of the book The Incendiaries

    The Incendiaries

    A Novel

    Young Korean American Phoebe Lin spends her days at the prestigious Edwards University ridden with guilt over her mother’s recent death, for which she blames herself. She is drawn to a “religious group” (really an extremist cult) founded by alumni John Leal. John has ties to North Korea, and to Phoebe’s family, and she is drawn in even as the group bombs several buildings in the name of faith, resulting in the deaths of five people. When Phoebe disappears, classmate Will Kendall (suffering from his unrequited love of Phoebe) tries to track her down and understand if and how she could’ve been involved in such carnage.