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    20 paperbacks to kick off your summer reading.

    Katie Yee

    June 1, 2022, 9:30am

    For some reason, whenever I sit down to make this list of paperbacks coming out this month, Justin Timberlake’s 2006 hit always gets stuck in my head: We’re bringing paperback (yeah).


    Zakiya Dalila Harris, The Other Black Girl

    Zakiya Dalila Harris, The Other Black Girl
    (Atria, June 7)

    The Other Black Girl is about many things—friendship, the humdrum office culture—but its driving pulse is a sharp critique of the publishing industry’s lack of diversity.”

    Akwaeke Emezi, Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir

    Akwaeke Emezi, Dear Senthuran
    (Riverhead, June 7)

    “Emezi’s work reminds us that these diagnoses are limiting boxes, shaped by colonialist, racist and sexist assumptions. Dear Senthuran explodes these human limitations by insisting on the imagination’s power to create worlds.”

    Anthony Veasna So, Afterparties
    (Ecco, June 7)

    “It feels transgressive that Afterparties is so funny, so irreverent, concerning the previous generation’s tragedy … His sentences are brusque and punchy, and there’s an outrageous, slapstick quality to his scenes.”
    –The New Yorker

    beautiful world where are you

    Sally Rooney, Beautiful World, Where Are You
    (Picador, June 7)

    “Their stumbling progress through the minefield of intimacy, related in Rooney’s plain prose and via several exquisitely-rendered sex scenes, has the raw, wincing tenderness of skin under a scab scratched off too soon.”

    Joan Silber_Secrets of Happiness

    Joan Silber, Secrets of Happiness
    (Counterpoint, June 7)

    “…the stories create a world made fully dimensional through changes of perspective—major characters appear and reappear as part of one or another’s experience and testimony … It is a fine thing, subtly done, and truly exhilarating.”
    –The Wall Street Journal

    Chris Offutt, The Killing Hills

    Chris Offutt, The Killing Hills
    (Grove Press, June 7)

    “The curious mix of elegiac prose, violence and quirky humor delivers a vibrant yarn that keeps readers engaged right up until the last uplifting page.”

    Hola Papi, John Paul Brammer

    John Paul Brammer, Hola Papi
    (Simon & Schuster, June 7)

    “Brammer’s voice will be familiar to fans of his column. He is both kind and piercingly funny, often in the same sentence.”
    –The New York Times Book Review

    Omar El Akkad_What Strange Paradise

    Omar El Akkad, What Strange Paradise
    (Vintage, June 7)

    “Nothing I’ve read before has given me such a visceral sense of the grisly predicament confronted by millions of people expelled from their homes by conflict and climate change.”
    –The Washington Post

    a calling for charlie barnes_joshua ferris

    Joshua Ferris, A Calling for Charlie Barnes
    (Little, Brown, June 7)

    “This is a more tender novel than Ferris’s others, but that doesn’t keep it from being murderously funny from start to finish.”
    –The New York Times

    Yan Lianke, Hard Like Water

    Yan Lianke, tr. Carlos Rojas, Hard Like Water
    (Grove Press, June 14)

    Hard Like Water is neither mockery nor satire; it is a sharp, desperately moving analysis of the logic of ideology. Its mashup of literary and political texts poses the uncomfortable and timely question: how did each of us arrive at our certainties?”
    –The Guardian

    Brandon Taylor, Filthy Animals

    Brandon Taylor, Filthy Animals
    (Riverhead, June 21)

    “Filthy Animals makes human contact seem like a thrilling horror story. As such, it speaks to both the anxiety and allure of ‘getting back out there.’”
    –The New York Times Book Review

    Dana Spiotta_Wayward

    Dana Spiotta, Wayward 
    (Vintage, June 21)

    “What a pleasure to encounter not just ideas about the thing, but the thing itself—descriptions that irradiate the pleasure centers of the brain, a protagonist so densely, exuberantly imagined, she feels like a visitation.”
    –The New York Times

    Maurice Carlos Ruffin_The Ones Who Don't Say They Love You

    Maurice Carlos Ruffin, The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You: Stories
    (One World, June 21)

    “A sense of controlled improvisation allows him to lay claim to his city without resorting to either satire or pseudonym. It makes his book achingly truthful and incredibly accessible.”
    –Los Angeles Times

    The Thousand Crimes Of Ming Tsu by Tom Lin

    Tom Lin, The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu
    (Little, Brown, June 21)

    “With dexterous agility, Lin showcases Ming’s multi-faceted identity as a native-born American, a builder of transcontinental railroads, a rebel against racist laws, a killer of injustice—and maybe even a hero who might finally get the girl.”
    –Shelf Awareness

    Rivka Galchen_Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch

    Rivka Galchen, Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch
    (Picador, June 21)

    “The comedy that runs through Everyone Knows is a magical brew of absurdity and brutality. Galchen has a Kafkaesque sense of the way the exercise of authority inflates egos and twists logic.”
    –The Washington Post

    Susan Orlean, On Animals

    Susan Orlean, On Animals
    (Avid Reader Press, June 21)

    “Even though Orlean claims the animals she writes about remain enigmas, she makes us care about their fates. Readers will continue to think about these dogs and donkeys, tigers and lions, chickens and pigeons long after we close the book’s covers. I hope most of them are still well.”
    –The Boston Globe

    Clare Sestanovich_Objects of Desire

    Clare Sestanovich, Objects of Desire
    (Vintage, June 21)

    “A remarkable talent is at work here … Sestanovich has taken on the challenge of narrating lives cluttered with discontinuities, crowded with incomplete causes and effects, and she’s interested in what characters—who can only know so much—tell themselves about what’s going on.”
    –The New York Review of Books

    songs in ursa major

    Emma Brodie, Songs In Ursa Major
    (Vintage, June 28)

    “There’s something about Ursa Major that suggests a mythology, a hero’s journey in which the hero is a woman with immense musical gifts and the music business is a beast to overcome and master.”
    –Los Angeles Times

    Jason Mott_Hell of a Book

    Jason Mott, Hell of a Book
    (Dutton, June 28)

    “Through two interwoven storylines unfolding in a witty, often devastatingly incisive style, Hell of a Book is a journey into the heart of a very particular American experience, one that far too many don’t live to tell.”

    Jenny Diski, Why Didn’t You Just Do What You Were Told?

    Jenny Diski, Why Didn’t You Just Do What You Were Told?
    (Bloomsbury, June 28)

    “Everything in her delicious essays is filtered, unabashedly, through her particularly sharp, uncompromising consciousness.”

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