We may not be experiencing the summer we dreamed of, but books can be a solace during the dark times. There are so many incredible titles on my reading list this month and I know you’ll love them as much as me. If I buy one more book I’ll be able to open my own library.
I’ve gathered up the list of books I’m most excited for this July and I know you’ll adore these stories just as much as me. Here are my top reads for July.
The Shelf by Helly Acton
Everyone in Amy's life seems to be getting married (or so Instagram tells her), and she feels like she's falling behind. So, when her boyfriend surprises her with a dream holiday to a mystery destination, she thinks this is it – he's going to finally pop the Big Question. But the dream turns into a nightmare when she finds herself on the set of a Big Brother-style reality television show, The Shelf.
Along with five other women, Amy is dumped live on TV and must compete in a series of humiliating and obnoxious tasks in the hope of being crowned 'The Keeper'. Will Amy's time on the show make her realise there are worse things in life than being left on the shelf?
See No Stranger by Valarie Kaur
Kaur takes readers through her own riveting journey—as a brown girl growing up in California farmland finding her place in the world; as a young adult galvanized by the murders of Sikhs after 9/11; as a law student fighting injustices in American prisons and on Guantánamo Bay; as an activist working with communities recovering from xenophobic attacks; and as a woman trying to heal from her own experiences with police violence and sexual assault.
Drawing from the wisdom of sages, scientists, and activists, Kaur reclaims love as an active, public, and revolutionary force that creates new possibilities for ourselves, our communities, and our world. See No Stranger helps us imagine new ways of being with each other—and with ourselves—so that together we can begin to build the world we want to see.
Older and Wider by Jenny Eclair
Jenny Eclair, who, with her trademark humour, shares her experience of menopause-what can be a difficult time for many women, from the emotional side of life – missing the woman you were, the empty nest, mood swings – to the health aspects of the menopause, starring the hot flush and also periods (lack of), weight problems, insomnia and other issues. Upbeat and honest, Jenny shares her new-found hobbies, the joy of pets and how to make the best of the different but still-fabulous you.
How Do We Know We’re Doing It Right? by Pandora Sykes (July 16)
Modern life is full of choices. But how do we know what our best life looks like? And what if we get it wrong? How Do We Know We’re Doing It Right? explores the questions, anxieties and agendas that consume our lives. Pandora Sykes interrogates the stories we've been sold and the ones we tell ourselves – from happiness to wellness; womanhood to consumerism – in ways that are both surprising and reassuring.
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.
When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?
Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?
Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri
From women's solidarity and friendship to forgotten African scholars and the dubious provenance of Kim Kardashian's braids, the scope of black hairstyling ranges from pop culture to cosmology, from prehistoric times to the (afro)futuristic. Uncovering sophisticated indigenous mathematical systems in black hairstyles, alongside styles that served as secret intelligence networks leading enslaved Africans to freedom, Don't Touch My Hair proves that far from being only hair, black hairstyling culture can be understood as an allegory for black oppression and, ultimately, liberation.
The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter
A young woman is brutally attacked and left for dead. The police investigate but the trail goes cold. Until a chance assignment takes GBI investigator Will Trent to the state penitentiary, and to a prisoner who says he recognizes the MO. The attack looks identical to the one he was accused of eight years earlier. The prisoner has always insisted that he was innocent, and now he’s sure he has proof. The killer is still out there.
As Will digs into both crimes it becomes clear that he must solve the original case in order to reach the truth. Yet nearly a decade has passed—time for memories to fade, witnesses to vanish, evidence to disappear. And now he needs medical examiner Sara Linton to help him hunt down a ruthless murderer. But when the past and present collide, everything Will values is at stake…
Love In, Love Out by Dr. Malie Coyne
Love In, Love Out helps parents to step back and learn to understand the anxiety that an increasing number of children experience at one time or another.
In her book, Clinical Psychologist, National University of Ireland Lecturer, A Lust for Life Mental Health Advisor and mother of two, Dr Malie Coyne sets out to help parents to help their anxious children. Drawing from key psychological theories (attachment theory, cognitive behavioural therapy and compassion-focused therapy), and real-life case studies, Coyne translates her knowledge and experience into practical advice for busy families and stressed-out parents.
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is “as good as anyone.” Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is a high school senior about to start classes at a local college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides “physical, intellectual and moral training” so the delinquent boys in their charge can become “honorable and honest men."
In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors. Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold onto Dr. King’s ringing assertion “Throw us in jail and we will still love you.” His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble.
The tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision with repercussions that will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys’ fates will be determined by what they endured at the Nickel Academy.
Olive by Emma Gannon (July 23)
Olive is many things, and it’s ok that she’s still figuring it all out, navigating her world without a compass. But life comes with expectations, there are choices to be made, boxes to tick and – sometimes – stereotypes to fulfil. And when her best friends’ lives start to branch away towards marriage and motherhood, leaving the path they’ve always followed together, Olive starts to question her choices – because life according to Olive looks a little bit different.
Moving, memorable and a mirror for every woman at a crossroads, Olive has a little bit of all of us. Told with great warmth and nostalgia, this is a modern tale about the obstacle course of adulthood, milestone decisions and the ‘taboo’ about choosing not to have children.
The Women Who Ran Away by Sheila O Flanagan (July 16)
Two women form an unlikely friendship as they face up to shocking truths about the men they've loved – and start to make their own decisions about what to do next. Keyes Deira is setting out on the holiday she'd planned with her long-term partner Gavin… only she's on her own. Gavin will not be amused when he finds out she's 'borrowed' his car, but since their brutal break-up Deira's not been acting rationally. Maybe a drive through beautiful France will help her see things differently.
Grace has been sent on a journey by her late husband, Ken. She doesn't really want to be on it but she's following his instructions as always. She can only hope that the trip will help her to forgive him. And then – finally – she'll be able to let him go. Thrown together by chance, Deira and Grace are soon motoring down the French highways, sharing intriguing stories of their pasts, as they each consider the future…
12. Unfiltered by Sophie White
When Ali Jones faked a pregnancy to gain more Instagram followers, it should have made her a pariah on the insta-scene but it turns out that her followers love a bit of drama and now she's more popular than ever. So when Amy Donoghue, social media manager extraordinaire steps in to rehabilitate her image, Ali realises she may have to wade once more into the grubby insta-hole. With her ex, Sam, still ignoring her and her mother Mini having a mild grief-induced psychotic break (her scheme for scattering Miles' ashes seems not only bonkers but borderline illegal), Ali's got little else to cling on to but #sponcon and #ootds.
Meanwhile Shelly is trying to settle into her new life as a mum-of-two while being held hostage by her mysterious insta-stalker whose sole objective is to keep Shelly on Instagram. But with her fellow Mummy Influencer friends @HolisticHazel immersed in creating WYND festival (her answer to the Goop Summit) and @PollysFewBits being as non-descript as ever, Shelly must get to the bottom of it herself.
When Ali starts attending Catfishers Anonymous as a part of Amy's plan for Image Rehab, she discovers some information that may just help Shelly.