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    26 new paperbacks on shelves this June!

    Gabrielle Bellot

    May 31, 2023, 4:34am

    June looms ahead, and that means that summer is here—and, with it, a glorious selection of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry newly released in paperback this month. Below, you’ll find a selection of books spanning many themes, some by names you’ll likely know, others daring debuts by new authors, some humorous (intentionally), some horrifying (also intentionally).

    You’ll find intriguing novels, urgent calls to action, historical studies, poignant memoirs, and much more. If you missed these before, or simply wanted the delightful feeling of holding a new paperback in your hand as you enjoy the (hopefully) brighter weather, take a look below, and I hope you’ll find something to add to those endlessly growing reading lists!


    Lapvona - Moshfegh, Ottessa

    Ottessa Moshfegh, Lapvona

    “he edgy novelist’s new book imagines a wholly realistic medieval village rife with plagues and schemes and dastardly characters. She has crafted a trenchant allegory of life in these United States over the past several years, not coincidentally also filled with plagues and schemes and dastardly leaders. Moshfegh makes the same old story new by setting it in the past, wielding her pen like an Arcimboldian brush to sketch in the mechanics of corruption.”
    Los Angeles Times

    Time Is a Mother - Vuong, Ocean

    Ocean Vuong, Time Is a Mother

    “Like Orpheus descending into the underworld, Vuong takes us to the white-hot limits of his grief, writing with visionary fervor about love, agony, and time… Aesthetically ambitious and ferociously original….Here, he breaks open and rebuilds.”

    Jackie & Me - Bayard, Louis

    Louis Bayard, Jackie and Me
    (Algonquin Books)

    “A delight… a poignant, late-summer-afternoon kind of novel… a story perfectly tuned to our ongoing fascination with the Kennedy marriage—and a novel, like Jackie herself, with charm to spare.”
    The Washington Post

    Americanah - Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah (Tenth Anniversary Edition)

    “Adichie is uniquely positioned to compare racial hierarchies in the United States to social striving in her native Nigeria. She does so in this new work with a ruthless honesty about the ugly and beautiful sides of both nations.”
    The Washington Post

    Bittersweet (Oprah's Book Club): How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole - Cain, Susan

    Susan Cain, Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole
    (Crown Publishing Group)

    “Cain handily traverses fields as diverse as neuroscience, popular music, religion, and business management to find instances of the transformation of pain and longing into fulfillment.”
    Publishers Weekly

    We Refuse to Forget: A True Story of Black Creeks, American Identity, and Power - Gayle, Caleb

    Caleb Gayle, We Refuse to Forget: A True Story of Black Creeks, American Identity, and Power

    “An illuminating look at racial dynamics within [the] Creek Nation… Sharp character sketches, incisive history lessons, and Gayle’s autobiographical reflections as a Jamaican American transplant to Oklahoma make this a powerful portrait of how white supremacy ‘divides marginalized groups and pits them against each other.”
    Publishers Weekly

    Thrust - Yuknavitch, Lidia

    Lidia Yuknavitch, Thrust

    “There’s so much that feels deeply present about Yuknavitch’s latest novel: the ever-expanding police state, lower Manhattan under water, and a woman on a mission to rescue other vulnerable women. Yuknavitch’s words are incantations, and Thrust is a triumph.”

    The Watermen: The Birth of American Swimming and One Young Man's Fight to Capture Olympic Gold - Loynd, Michael

    Michael Loynd, The Watermen: The Birth of American Swimming and One Young Man’s Fight to Capture Olympic Gold
    (Ballantine Books)

    “Loynd’s book folds Daniels’ inspirational story into a broader account of Olympics history….Pair this with Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in the Boat (2013), another inspirational narrative-nonfiction history of early Olympic triumphs.”

    Rainbow Rainbow: Stories - Conklin, Lydia

    Lydia Conklin, Rainbow Rainbow

    “What a gorgeous ode to queer life in all its awkward, tragic, hilarious, erotic, and joyful forms! I savored each one of these stories, laughed and gasped aloud, and marveled at their pitch-perfect dialogue and masterful sentences. Lydia Conklin’s debut collection offers one of the strongest new voices in recent memory and one that is certain to belong in the canon of contemporary queer literature.”
    –Melissa Febos

    The Stars at Noon - Johnson, Denis

    Denis Johnson, The Stars at Noon

    “At heart and soul, this a labyrinthine passion play, with the requisite overtones of spiritual torment and betrayal….Johnson`s third novel (after the equally impressive Angels and Fiskadoro) is intensely mystical and poetic; it has the texture and illogic of a nightmare.”
    Chicago Tribune

    The Twilight World - Herzog, Werner

    Werner Herzog, The Twilight World (trans. Michael Hofmann)
    (Penguin Books)

    “[A] potent, vaporous fever dream; a meditation on truth, lie, illusion and time that floats like an aromatic haze through Herzog’s vivid reconstruction of Onoda’s war… Hofmann’s resonant translation conveys the portentous shimmer of Herzog’s voice.”
    The New York Times Book Review

    The Mutual Friend - Bays, Carter

    Carter Bays, The Mutual Friend

    “Carter Bays is best known for the long-running sitcom How I Met Your Mother. His debut novel The Mutual Friend is like a sophisticated literary version, centering on a New York City-based ensemble with plenty to say about the discontents of modern life and the difficulty of connection.”

    Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle - Rosen, Jody

    Jody Rosen, Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle
    (Crown Publishing Group)

    “Excellent… Two Wheels Good takes the form of bricolage, blending meticulous historical research, local reporting from bicycle-dependent locales like Bhutan and Bangladesh and personal memories… The book excels across all of them and, in its curious, mingled character, calls to mind Bill Bryson, John McPhee, Rebecca Solnit—obsessives, for whom the material world and their own infinitesimal presence within it constitute the most natural subject of artistic inquiry.”
    The New York Times Book Review

    Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair - Gervais, June

    June Gervais, Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair

    “From the start, the novel is immersive and wholly alive. Gervais painstakingly renders the fine-grained particularities of the 1980s body-art scene and locates its deeper emotional core… Gina is a touchingly complex, flawed character; her journey from childhood misfit to adult is gratifying to behold… An enjoyable romp brought to life by its lovable, off-kilter protagonist.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    First Time for Everything - Fry, Henry

    Henry Fry, First Time for Everything

    “Fry brings a refreshing voice to the queer coming-of-age novel with characters whose stories don’t revolve around trauma. Instead, everyday experiences are portrayed with drama and delight.”
    The Washington Post

    Solito: A Memoir - Zamora, Javier

    Javier Zamora, Solito
    (Hogarth Press)

    “The magic of this book lies not only in the beguiling voice of young Javier, or the harrowing journey and immense bravery of the migrants, or in the built-in hero’s journey of this narrative. It’s hard to reconcile the fact that this book hasn’t always been with us. How can something so essential and fundamental to the American story not already be part of our canon?”
    San Francisco Chronicle

    Producing Politics: Inside the Exclusive Campaign World Where the Privileged Few Shape Politics for All of Us - Laurison, Daniel

    Daniel Laurison, Producing Politics: Inside the Exclusive Campaign World Where the Privileged Few Shape Politics for All of Us
    (Beacon Press)

    “[An] illuminating insider’s view of American politics… Laurison’s case for how current campaign practices undermine democracy is detailed and persuasive. Readers will learn much from this peek behind the political curtain.”
    Publishers Weekly

    Owlish - Tse, Dorothy

    Dorothy Tse, Owlish (trans. Natascha Bruce)

    “Late capitalist malaise and political turmoil populate Nevers, the glittering, neoliberal city at the heart of Dorothy Tse’s debut novel, Owlish… Natascha Bruce was awarded a PEN/HEIM grant for her sparkling translation of this richly imagined, modern-day fairy tale.”
    Center for the Art of Translation

    The Last White Man - Hamid, Mohsin

    Mohsin Hamid, The Last White Man

    “A fantastical exploration of race and privilege… In an age aflame with strident tweets, Hamid offers swelling remorse and expansive empathy. Such a story could only be written by an author who is entirely candid about his awkward journey along the racial spectrum… It anticipates that sweet day—not forever deferred, surely—when we finally close the casket on the whole horrific construct of racial hierarchies and see each other for what we are.”
    The Washington Post

    Handmade: A Scientist's Search for Meaning Through Making - Ploszajski, Anna

    Anna Ploszajski, Handmade: A Scientist’s Search for Meaning Through Making

    “Scientist Ploszajski leaves the laboratory for the atelier in her charming debut about the science of common materials. With wide-eyed wonder and a sense of humor, she examines the techniques behind the making of brass, paper, plastic, pottery, steel, and sugar, among other goods, and shares her attempts to produce them herself… Ploszajski is a talented science communicator… and the zany accounts of her fieldwork are lots of fun. This pop science adventure delights.”
    Publishers Weekly

    Nuclear Family - Han, Joseph

    Joseph Han, Nuclear Family

    “There are many books out there that fuse serious social and cultural issues with comedy, folkloric elements with contemporary style, accessible prose with intellectual rigor. To do it all in this debut novel so seamlessly is Joseph Han’s gift… This imaginative and propulsive story proves that Han is a literary talent to watch.”

    Asylum: A Memoir & Manifesto - Okporo, Edafe

    Edafe Okporo, Asylum: A Memoir and Manifesto
    (Simon & Schuster)

    “In his insightful memoir, Asylum, the Nigerian refugee and activist Edafe Okporo paints a disturbing picture of exactly how dangerous being gay in Nigeria can be… This book is a passionate call for a more ‘humane system’ for welcoming refugees into a country that prides itself on fighting oppression. America ‘cannot be a beacon of hope,’ Okporo writes, ‘and yet dehumanize people seeking protection at the same time.'”
    The New York Times Book Review

    Has Anyone Seen My Toes? - Buckley, Christopher

    Christopher Buckley, Has Anyone Seen My Toes?
    (Simon & Schuster)

    “Humorist Buckley looks at one man’s increasingly strange behavior during the pandemic… Buckley delights in exploring the intersections of plausible and absurd as they arise in an off-kilter mind that resembles the author’s for all its allusive gymnastics and silliness… This is Buckley at his comic, mischievous best.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    O Say Can You Hear: A Cultural Biography of the Star-Spangled Banner - Clague, Mark

    Mark Clague, O Say Can You Hear: A Cultural Biography of the Star-Spangled Banner

    “A music historian and professor of musicology, Clague finds in America’s national anthem ‘a surprisingly rich archive offering insight into the conflicts and complexities that forged the United States’… Clague provides an informative elucidation of the anthem’s language for 19th-century listeners while conceding that Key—and his listeners—shared an assumption of White supremacy… An engaging cultural history.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    Pretty Baby: A Memoir - Belcher, Chris

    Chris Belcher, Pretty Baby: A Memoir
    (Avid Reader Press)

    “Chris Belcher’s Pretty Baby reminds me why I fell in love with memoirs in the first place. Sentence by knife-sharpened sentence, the personal history she examines makes space for both the ferocity of her past selves and the resonance of who she is now. With wit, seductive candor and a willingness to question the very answers she used to swear by, Belcher doesn’t just hand us her story; she demands that we interrogate ourselves in the process.”
    –Saeed Jones

    Mary Churchill's War: The Wartime Diaries of Churchill's Youngest Daughter - Churchill, Mary

    Mary Churchill, Emma Soames (editor), Erik Larson (foreword), Mary Churchill’s War: The Wartime Diaries of Churchill’s Youngest Daughter
    (Pegasus Books)

    “Mary’s diaries are a remarkably generous gift to posterity. Even though she was only sixteen when she began the diaries, she knew she had a front row seat to some of the most important events in history. This is not a book to devour, but one to relish. The language is fresh and lively, and some of her nuggets of wisdom may be useful even today.”
    Historical Novel Society

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