Whether you’re sunning on the beach, sprawled out in the hammock, or lounging in the AC: long summer days offer endless opportunities to crack open a book (and a beer). There is an abundance of exciting new books out this summer, but these seven debuts are at the top of our reading list.
Music for Wartime by Rebecca Makkai
Music for Wartime is acclaimed author Rebecca Makkai’s third book, but her debut short story collection. In these stories, two contestants in a reality show are prompted to fall in love; a minister buries an elephant and contemplates his own faith. For a preview, you can check out Makkai’s stories on This American Life and in Michigan Quarterly Review.
Publication Date: June 23
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
J. Ryan Stradal’s debut novel follows a young woman named Eva as she grows into a renowned chef. Each chapter focuses on a particular dish and character, beginning in the Minnesota where Eva’s father first teaches her an appreciation for food.
Publication date: July 28
The Next Next Level: A Story of Rap, Friendship, and Almost Giving Up by Leon Neyfakh
Slate reporter Leon Neyfakh follows the career of the musician Juiceboxxx in this nonfiction book that is at once a profile of an artist and a meditation on contemporary culture and the nature of art and sacrifice.
Publication date: July 7
The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips
In Helen Phillips’ debut novel, we step into an increasingly surreal world in which a woman is employed to enter numbers into a mysterious database. If that was not enough to pique your interest, Ursula K. Le Guin offers this praise: “Told with the light touch of a Calvino and the warm heart of a Saramago, this brief fable-novel is funny, sad, scary, and beautiful. I love it.”
Publication Date: August 11
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
After Stegner fellow Ottessa Moshfegh’s much-lauded McGlue, we are anxiously awaiting her novel Eileen, out this August from Penguin Press. Eileen is narrated by a young woman who works in a boys prison in the 60s and is involved in a harrowing crime.
Publication Date: August 18
You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman
You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine, the debut novel from up-and-coming author Alexandra Kleeman, offers a thrilling critique of contemporary culture. For a taste of Kleeman’s work, check out her fiction in Guernica, Gulf Coast, BOMB, and Zoetrope.
Publication Date: August 25
The Anglerfish Comedy Troupe: Stories from the Abyss by Colin Fleming
The Anglerfish Comedy Troupe is Colin Fleming’s debut short story collection, out from Dzanc books. These eighteen stories explore the dynamics of failed relationships in worlds of the author’s own making. People living inside a noise machine discuss romance. A small group of musicians plays the background track to a couple’s life. We can’t wait to get our hands on this dark and inventive collection.
Publication Date: August 11
by Sadye Teiser