Share 11 of the Hottest Books New in Paperback This July

11 of the Hottest Books New in Paperback This July

Alice Martin is a PhD candidate in English Literature at Rutgers University, where she obsesses over nineteenth-century women writers, the history of the publishing industry, and writing practices. She’s also a regular contributor to Shelf Awareness and a freelance writer and editor. Her writing has appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, Appalachian Heritage, and Sixfold among other publications. You can find her talking about books, food, and basketball (in that order) on Twitter @AliceJeanMartin.

Take a peek at these eleven blockbuster books, new in paperback this July. Multigenerational sagas, provocative narrative nonfiction, and razor-sharp suspense all feature on this list, making July a perfect month to step outside your comfort zone and try reading something new. Whether your pick is a surreal descent into the psyche or a historically bound tale based on true stories, all these books come with the promise of startlingly original prose, unforgettably unique characters, and thought-provoking plots. Which one will you try first? 


The Need
by Helen Phillips

In this unsettling novel that pulls readers down a surreal rabbit hole, mother and paleobotanist Molly is unraveling. With her husband gone and her work taking an uneasy turn, she is scrambling just to keep daily life for her and her children together. But when an uncanny stranger appears in her living room with answers to her most terrifying questions, Molly will be pushed to the brink of her sanity in order to confront her greatest fears. 

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The Need
Helen Phillips

***LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD IN FICTION***

“An extraordinary and dazzlingly original work from one of our most gifted and interesting writers” (Emily St. John Mandel, author of The Glass Hotel). The Need, which finds a mother of two young children grappling with the dualities of motherhood after confronting a masked intruder in her home, is “like nothing you’ve ever read before…in a good way” (People).

When Molly, home alone with her two young children, hears footsteps in the living room, she tries to convince herself it’s the sleep deprivation. She’s been hearing things these days. Startling at loud noises. Imagining the worst-case scenario. It’s what mothers do, she knows.

But then the footsteps come again, and she catches a glimpse of movement.

Suddenly Molly finds herself face-to-face with an intruder who knows far too much about her and her family. As she attempts to protect those she loves most, Molly must also acknowledge her own frailty. Molly slips down an existential rabbit hole where she must confront the dualities of motherhood: the ecstasy and the dread; the languor and the ferocity; the banality and the transcendence as the book hurtles toward a mind-bending conclusion.

In The Need, Helen Phillips has created a subversive, speculative thriller that comes to life through blazing, arresting prose and gorgeous, haunting imagery. “Brilliant” (Entertainment Weekly), “grotesque and lovely” (The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice), and “wildly captivating” (O, The Oprah Magazine), The Need is a glorious celebration of the bizarre and beautiful nature of our everyday lives and “showcases an extraordinary writer at her electrifying best” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

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Three Women
by Lisa Taddeo

Lina, Maggie, and Sloane are three women who have rich internal lives filled with different wants, desires, and fears. When they take stock of their external lives, however, the relationships they have and the roles they play do not align with the needs and desires they have built themselves around. In this engrossing, conversation-starting piece of narrative nonfiction, Taddeo probes the depths of what is left unspoken and unrequited in our contemporary culture. 

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Three Women
Lisa Taddeo

The instant #1 New York Times bestseller and one of the most talked-about books of the year, Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women is “the most in-depth look at the female sex drive that’s been published in decades” (New York) and a “groundbreaking...breathtaking…staggeringly intimate” (Entertainment Weekly) look at the sex lives of three real American women—based on nearly a decade of reporting.

Hailed as “a dazzling achievement” (Los Angeles Times) and “riveting page-turner that explores desire, heartbreak, and infatuation in all its messy, complicated nuance” (The Washington Post), Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women has captivated readers, booksellers, and critics—and topped bestseller lists—worldwide.

Declared “the best book of the year” by Elizabeth Gilbert and “a breathtaking and important book” by Cheryl Strayed, Three Women has won praise everywhere from Columbia Journalism Review (“deeply reported, elegantly written, almost uncomfortably intimate”) to Refinery29 (“the hype for Three Women is real; in fact, it’s insufficient”), from Esquire (“a heartbreaking, gripping, astonishing masterpiece”) to Time (“Three Women is a battle cry…For anyone who thinks they know what women want, this book is an alarm, and its volume is turned all the way up.”) In the words of The New Statesman, “This is an unusual, startling, and gripping debut. It feels to me like the kind of bold, timely, once-in-a-generation book that every house should have a copy of, and probably will before too long.”

In suburban Indiana we meet Lina, the homemaker and mother of two whose marriage, after a decade, has lost its passion. Starved for affection, Lina battles daily panic attacks and, after reconnecting with an old flame through social media, embarks on an affair that quickly becomes all-consuming. In North Dakota we meet Maggie, the seventeen-year-old high school student who allegedly has a clandestine physical relationship with her handsome, married English teacher; the ensuing criminal trial will turn their quiet community upside down. Finally, in the northeast we meet Sloane, the successful, refined restaurant owner whose husband enjoys watching her have sex with other men and women.

Based on years of immersive reporting and told with astonishing frankness and immediacy, Three Women is both a feat of journalism and a triumph of storytelling, brimming with nuance and empathy. “A work of deep observation, long conversations, and a kind of journalistic alchemy” (Kate Tuttle, NPR), Three Women introduces us to three unforgettable women—and one remarkable writer—whose experiences remind us that we are not alone.

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The Dearly Beloved
by Cara Wall

In this powerful debut novel, two couples—Charles and Lily, and James and Nan—come together in their attempts to shepherd the Third Presbyterian Church in Greenwich Village through a difficult time in 1963. While a friendship between Charles and James is just as unlikely as their individual relationships with their wives once seemed, the couples orbit each other through the decades, painting a generous and wise portrait of love, commitment, and faith. 

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The Dearly Beloved
Cara Wall

“This gentle, gorgeously written book may be one of my favorites ever.” —Jenna Bush Hager (A Today show “Read with Jenna” Book Club Selection!)

This “moving portrait of love and friendship set against a backdrop of social change” (The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice) traces two married couples whose lives become entangled when the husbands become copastors at a famed New York city congregation in the 1960s.

Charles and Lily, James and Nan. They meet in Greenwich Village in 1963 when Charles and James are jointly hired to steward the historic Third Presbyterian Church through turbulent times. Their personal differences however, threaten to tear them apart.

Charles is destined to succeed his father as an esteemed professor of history at Harvard, until an unorthodox lecture about faith leads him to ministry. How then, can he fall in love with Lily—fiercely intellectual, elegantly stern—after she tells him with certainty that she will never believe in God? And yet, how can he not?

James, the youngest son in a hardscrabble Chicago family, spent much of his youth angry at his alcoholic father and avoiding his anxious mother. Nan grew up in Mississippi, the devout and beloved daughter of a minister and a debutante. James’s escape from his desperate circumstances leads him to Nan and, despite his skepticism of hope in all its forms, her gentle, constant faith changes the course of his life.

In The Dearly Beloved, Cara wall reminds us of “the power of the novel in its simplest, richest form: bearing intimate witness to human beings grappling with their faith and falling in love,” (Entertainment Weekly, A-) as we follow these two couples through decades of love and friendship, jealousy and understanding, forgiveness and commitment. Against the backdrop of turbulent changes facing the city and the church’s congregation, Wall offers a poignant meditation on faith and reason, marriage and children, and the ways we find meaning in our lives. The Dearly Beloved is a gorgeous, wise, and provocative novel that is destined to become a classic.

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MENTIONED IN:

11 of the Hottest Books New in Paperback This July

By Alice Martin | July 20, 2020

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How We Fight for Our Lives
by Saeed Jones

Award-winning poet Saeed Jones’s memoir is a fraught and deeply felt coming-of-age story told through a series of vignettes. From growing up as a Black gay man in the South through the tumultuous journey of finding his place in the world, Jones delivers a series of lyrical and powerful meditations on what it means to be ourselves in a world full of other people, and what we must sacrifice along the way. 

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How We Fight for Our Lives
Saeed Jones

WINNER OF THE 2019 KIRKUS PRIZE IN NONFICTION

WINNER OF THE 2020 STONEWALL BOOK AWARD-ISRAEL FISHMAN NONFICTION AWARD

ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES’S 100 NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2019

One of the best books of the year as selected by The Washington Post; NPR; Time; The New Yorker; O, The Oprah Magazine; Harper’s Bazaar; Elle; Kirkus Reviews; Publishers Weekly; BuzzFeed; Goodreads; School Library Journal; and many more.

“A moving, bracingly honest memoir that reads like fevered poetry.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Jones’s voice and sensibility are so distinct that he turns one of the oldest of literary genres inside out and upside down.” —NPR’S Fresh Air

“People don’t just happen,” writes Saeed Jones. “We sacrifice former versions of ourselves. We sacrifice the people who dared to raise us. The ‘I’ it seems doesn’t exist until we are able to say, ‘I am no longer yours.’”

Haunted and haunting, How We Fight for Our Lives is a stunning coming-of-age memoir. Jones tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence—into tumultuous relationships with his family, into passing flings with lovers, friends, and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another—and to one another—as we fight to become ourselves.

An award-winning poet, Jones has developed a style that’s as beautiful as it is powerful—a voice that’s by turns a river, a blues, and a nightscape set ablaze. How We Fight for Our Lives is a one-of-a-kind memoir and a book that cements Saeed Jones as an essential writer for our time.

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The Doll Factory
by Elizabeth Macneal

Perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Sarah Waters, THE DOLL FACTORY takes readers back to the squalor and grandeur of nineteenth-century London. After a chance encounter at the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, aspiring artist Iris and eccentric collector Silas will be forever bound. While Iris hardly remembers their meeting, Silas cannot forget it and his obsession only grows and darkens with time. This slow burn, atmospheric thriller is sure to haunt and enchant its readers.  

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The Doll Factory
Elizabeth Macneal

The #1 international bestseller and The New York Times Editor’s Choice

“As lush as the novels of Kate Morton and Diane Setterfield, as exciting as The Alienist and Iain Pears’ An Instance of the Fingerpost, this exquisite literary thriller will intrigue book clubs and rivet fans of historical fiction.” —A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

“A lush, evocative Gothic.” —The New York Times Book Review

This terrifically exciting novel will jolt, thrill, and bewitch readers.” —Booklist, starred review

Obsession is an art.

In this “sharp, scary, gorgeously evocative tale of love, art, and obsession” (Paula Hawkins, bestselling author of The Girl on the Train), a beautiful young woman aspires to be an artist, while a man’s dark obsession may destroy her world forever.

Obsession is an art.

In 1850s London, the Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and, among the crowd watching the dazzling spectacle, two people meet by happenstance. For Iris, an arrestingly attractive aspiring artist, it is a brief and forgettable moment. But for Silas, a curiosity collector enchanted by all things strange and beautiful, the meeting marks a new beginning.

When Iris is asked to model for Pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly, her world begins to expand beyond her wildest dreams—but she has no idea that evil is waiting in the shadows. Silas has only thought of one thing since that chance meeting, and his obsession is darkening by the day.

“A lush, evocative Gothic” (The New York Times Book Review) that is “a perfect blend of froth and substance” (The Washington Post), The Doll Factory will haunt you long after you finish it and is perfect for fans of The Alienist, Drood, and Fingersmith.

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The Women of the Copper Country
by Mary Doria Russell

It’s 1913 and twenty-five-year-old Annie Clements is tired. She’s tired of seeing the men in her hometown of Calumet, Michigan, killed in copper mines, tired of watching working-class women labor in the homes of the landowning elite, and tired of feeling powerless. She embarks on a journey to stand up for herself and the people of Calumet in a political battle that may cost her more than she bargained for, but will also earn her the moniker of “America’s Joan of Arc.” 

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The Women of the Copper Country
Mary Doria Russell

From the bestselling and award-winning author of The Sparrow comes “historical fiction that feels uncomfortably relevant today” (Kirkus Reviews) about “America’s Joan of Arc”—the courageous woman who started a rebellion by leading a strike against the largest copper mining company in the world.

In July 1913, twenty-five-year-old Annie Clements has seen enough of the world to know that it’s unfair. She’s spent her whole life in the mining town of Calumet, Michigan, where men risk their lives for meager salaries—and have barely enough to put food on the table for their families. The women labor in the houses of the elite, and send their husbands and sons deep underground each day, dreading the fateful call of the company man telling them their loved ones aren’t coming home. So, when Annie decides to stand up for the entire town of Calumet, nearly everyone believes she may have taken on more than she is prepared to handle.

Yet as Annie struggles to improve the future of her town, her husband becomes increasingly frustrated with her growing independence. She faces the threat of prison while also discovering a forbidden love. On her fierce quest for justice, Annie will see just how much she is willing to sacrifice for the families of Calumet.

From one of the most versatile writers in contemporary fiction, this novel is an authentic and moving historical portrait of the lives of the crucial men and women of the early labor movement “with an important message that will resonate with contemporary readers” (Booklist).

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Whisper Network
by Chandler Baker

In this fiercely topical New York Times bestseller, four women will take a stand before their notorious boss, Ames, can be promoted as their legal office’s CEO. Each has had different experiences with Ames, but his reputation—particularly with women in the office—precedes him. As they speak up, however, a series of events are set into motion that will threaten their relationships, their privacy, and their lives. 

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Whisper Network
Chandler Baker

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MENTIONED IN:

11 of the Hottest Books New in Paperback This July

By Alice Martin | July 20, 2020

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Speaking of Summer
by Kalisha Buckhanon

The last time anyone ever saw Autumn Spencer’s twin sister, Summer, was when she walked out onto the roof of their Harlem brownstone one snowy evening. While Autumn is convinced her disappearance was caused by foul play, the police don’t bother looking into the story of a missing young Black woman. Autumn delves into the stories of other missing Black women from her neighborhood in her search for her sister, fighting to confront the truth behind unseen violence and unacknowledged vulnerability. 

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Speaking of Summer
Kalisha Buckhanon

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11 of the Hottest Books New in Paperback This July

By Alice Martin | July 20, 2020

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Well-Behaved Indian Women
by Saumya Dave

In this warm, multigenerational debut, three women will confront the ways in which they have let one another down in order to move forward together. Simran, who is beginning to doubt her chosen partner and profession, is at odds with her seemingly perfect mother, Nandini. Meanwhile, an unexpected offer has left Nandini questioning the life she has led for years. Mimi, Nandini’s mother, watches over them both, determined to bring the family together while harboring her own dark secrets from the past. 

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Well-Behaved Indian Women
Saumya Dave

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11 of the Hottest Books New in Paperback This July

By Alice Martin | July 20, 2020

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Chances Are...
by Richard Russo

For three college friends, nothing has ever been the same since one fateful Memorial Day in 1971. Years later, when the men are in their sixties, they reconvene at the site of the event to catch up on the divergent paths their lives have taken. But as their stories unfold, the past will inevitably come back for a reckoning. By the Pulitzer Prizewinning novelist Richard Russo, CHANCES ARE is both an absorbing thriller and a thoughtful retrospective on life. 

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Chances Are...
Richard Russo

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11 of the Hottest Books New in Paperback This July

By Alice Martin | July 20, 2020

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Night Boat to Tangier
by Kevin Barry

In a grimy ferry terminal in Algeciras, two old Irishmen are waiting. Maurice and Charlie have been bound together for years by their lucrative drug-running business and now they wait for a boat bearing Maurice’s estranged daughter, Dilly. Through their nocturnal conversation, years of betrayals come to light as the two men bear witness to their own haunted pasts. Dark and unexpectedly beautiful, NIGHT BOAT TO TANGIER is a dreamlike exploration of the patterns of damage that dictate even the most extraordinary lives. 

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Night Boat to Tangier
Kevin Barry

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MENTIONED IN:

11 of the Hottest Books New in Paperback This July

By Alice Martin | July 20, 2020

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