July 2018 Books to Read!

Summer is officially here, and the publishing slate is weighted heavily to books that fit well with a day at the pool. Things slow down about now, as folks take their holidays and prepare for the much busier fall slate. That doesn’t mean there are not several great books to look for this month. Here are a few that caught my attention, including a Young Adult novel that sounds incredibly strange and dark. Please let me know if there are any I’m missing that you’re excited for.

The links to Amazon.com are affiliate links, so if you purchase the book (or any item) by going there from this page, we’ll make a bit of money for the site. Do not feel obligated, of course — we’ll keep going regardless! Release dates are based on the U.S. release date.

July 10

Journey into the Mind’s Eye: Fragments of an Autobiography
by Lesley Blanch
NYRB Classics

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from NYRB Classics:

“My book is not altogether autobiography, nor altogether travel or history either. You will just have to invent a new category,” Lesley Blanch wrote about Journey into the Mind’s Eye, a book that remains as singularly adventurous and intoxicating now as when it first came out in 1968.

Russia seized Lesley Blanch when she was still a child. A mysterious traveler—swathed in Siberian furs, bearing Fabergé eggs and icons as gifts along with Russian fairy tales and fairy tales of Russia—came to visit her parents and left her starry-eyed. Years later the same man returned to sweep her off her feet. Her love affair with the Traveller, as she calls him, transformed her life and fueled an abiding fascination with Russia and Russian culture, one that would lead her to dingy apartments reeking of cabbage soup and piroshki on the outskirts of Paris in the 1960s, and to Siberia and beyond.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation
by Ottessa Moshfegh
Penguin Press

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from Penguin Press:

From one of our boldest, most celebrated new literary voices, a novel about a young woman’s efforts to duck the ills of the world by embarking on an extended hibernation with the help of one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature and the battery of medicines she prescribes.

Our narrator should be happy, shouldn’t she? She’s young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, works an easy job at a hip art gallery, lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there is a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?

My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a powerful answer to that question. Through the story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs designed to heal our heroine from her alienation from this world, Moshfegh shows us how reasonable, even necessary, alienation can be. Both tender and blackly funny, merciless and compassionate, it is a showcase for the gifts of one of our major writers working at the height of her powers.

Clock Dance
by Anne Tyler
Knopf

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from Knopf:

Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life. In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother’s sudden disappearance. In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother but isn’t sure she ever will be. Then, one day, Willa receives a startling phone call from a stranger. Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to look after a young woman she’s never met, her nine-year-old daughter, and their dog, Airplane. This impulsive decision will lead Willa into uncharted territory–surrounded by eccentric neighbors who treat each other like family, she finds solace and fulfillment in unexpected places. A bewitching novel of hope and transformation, Clock Dance gives us Anne Tyler at the height of her powers.


July 17

Ma Bole’s Second Life
by Xiao Hong
translated from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt
Open Letter

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from Open Letter:

Ma Bo’le’s Second Life is a humorous-yet-stark depiction of the despair of ordinary Chinese people confronted with the sudden onslaught of war and Westernization. It follows the eponymous cowardly layabout as he escapes his unhappy family life by going on the run to avoid the coming Japanese invasion. Just a step ahead of the destruction, bumbling his way from one poorly thought out situation to the next, Ma Bo’le’s comic journey mirrors that of China as a whole during this chaotic period of history.

Incredibly well respected during her short, difficult lifetime, Xiao Hong’s final novel is an undiscovered masterpiece, a philosophical comedy in the vein of Bouvard and Pécuchet, finally available to English readers in Howard Goldblatt’s inventive rendering.

The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump
by Michiko Kakutani
Tim Duggan Books

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from Tim Duggan Books:

We live in a time when the very idea of objective truth is mocked and discounted by the occupants of the White House. Discredited conspiracy theories and ideologies have resurfaced, proven science is once more up for debate, and Russian propaganda floods our screens. The wisdom of the crowd has usurped research and expertise, and we are each left clinging to the beliefs that best confirm our biases.

How did truth become an endangered species in contemporary America? This decline began decades ago, and in The Death of Truth, former New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani takes a penetrating look at the cultural forces that contributed to this gathering storm. In social media and literature, television, academia, and politics, Kakutani identifies the trends—originating on both the right and the left—that have combined to elevate subjectivity over factuality, science, and common values. And she returns us to the words of the great critics of authoritarianism, writers like George Orwell and Hannah Arendt, whose work is newly and eerily relevant.

With remarkable erudition and insight, Kakutani offers a provocative diagnosis of our current condition and points toward a new path for our truth-challenged times.


July 24

I Am Still Alive
by Kate Alice Marshall
Viking Books for Young Readers

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from Viking Books for Young Readers:

After:
Jess is alone. Her cabin has burned to the ground. She knows if she doesn’t act fast, the cold will kill her before she has time to worry about food. But she is still alive—for now.

Before:
Jess hadn’t seen her survivalist, off-the-grid dad in over a decade. But after a car crash killed her mother and left her injured, she was forced to move to his cabin in the remote Canadian wilderness. Just as Jess was beginning to get to know him, a secret from his past paid them a visit, leaving her father dead and Jess stranded.

After:
With only her father’s dog for company, Jess must forage and hunt for food, build shelter, and keep herself warm. Some days it feels like the wild is out to destroy her, but she’s stronger than she ever imagined.

Jess will survive. She has to. She knows who killed her father…and she wants revenge.


July 31

I Didn’t Talk
by Beatriz Bracher
translated from the Portuguese by Adam Morris
New Directions

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from New Directions:

The English-language debut of a master stylist: a compassionate but relentless novel about the long, dark harvest of Brazil’s totalitarian rule.

A professor prepares to retire?Gustavo is set to move from São Paulo to the countryside, but it isn’t the urban violence he’s fleeing: what he fears most is the violence of his memory. But as he sorts out his papers, the ghosts arrive in full force. He was arrested in 1970 with his brother-in-law Armando: both were vicariously tortured. He was eventually released; Armando was killed. No one is certain that he didn’t turn traitor: I didn’t talk, he tells himself, yet guilt is his lifelong harvest. I Didn’t Talk pits everyone against the protagonist?especially his own brother. The torture never ends, despite his bones having healed and his teeth having been replaced. And to make matters worse, certain details from his shattered memory don’t quite add up… Beatriz Bracher depicts a life where the temperature is lower, there is no music, and much is out of view. I Didn’t Talk’s pariah’s-eye-view of the forgotten “small” victims powerfully bears witness to their “internal exile.” I didn’t talk, Gustavo tells himself; and as Bracher honors his endless pain, what burns this tour de force so indelibly in the reader’s mind is her intensely controlled voice.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Mookse and the Gripes on Patreon!
By |2018-07-02T16:40:39+00:00July 3rd, 2018|Categories: News|5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Guy Savage July 3, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    I’ve got my eye on the Ottessa Moshfegh. Loved her novel Eileen but didn’t care much for the short story collection sadly.

  2. Guy Savage July 3, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    PS. Read Blanch’s The Wilder Shores of Love which was interesting.

  3. David July 3, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    I didn’t know Moshfegh had a book coming so soon. Thanks for the tip, Trevor. I have just reserved my copy. Guy, I liked Eileen a lot, but I find her shorter work is even better. Did you try her novella McGlue? It’s quite strong as well.

  4. Trevor Berrett July 3, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    I have enjoyed what I’ve read of Journey into the Mind’s Eye, Guy, so I’ll follow up on The Wilder Shores of Love. Thanks!

  5. Guy Savage July 3, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    No I haven’t and I wasn’t too interested to be honest.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.