Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay (Harper Perennial, August 5th): Damn, but Gay can write a powerful essay. The collection here ranges from why it's ok to be a feminist and like the color pink to all of the ways that Gay disliked The Help (book and movie) to why women still have to fight for reproductive freedom... and so much more. Stay tuned for a full review of this (I've already read it, can you tell?) one.
The Magician's Land, by Lev Grossman (Viking, August 5th): Grossman's book should really need no introduction, but in case you aren't familiar with his last two books, The Magician's Land is the culmination of the Magicians trilogy (The Magicians and The Magician King). This one I've also read, and it was a joy to go back to Grossman's magical world and revisit so many characters from the last book. Stay tuned for a full review... but keep in mind The Magician's Land will be best appreciated by those who have read the first two volumes in the trilogy.
Five and Twenty Fives, by Michael Pitre (Bloomsbury USA, August 19th): I've only read the first few pages of this novel and already I know it will be awesome, in the literal sense of the word. The publisher bills it as a novel about war and its aftermath (specifically, the Iraq War), and after Redeployment earlier this year, I'm looking forward to more in a similar space.
Sweetness #9, by Stephan Eirek Clark (Little, Brown, August 19th): In a world of GMO battles, organic hoaxes, and new fad diets by the day, it seems impossible not to be drawn into a novel about a scientist who discovers a new sweetener--only to discover, along with, a multitude of dangerous side-effects.
The Science Delusion: Asking the Big Questions in a Culture of Easy Answers, by Curtis White (Melville House, August 5th): Leave it to Melville House to have something as in-my-wheelhouse as The Science Delusion looks to be. I'm drawn to books about our society, our culture, and our brains--especially when said books look at how the three interact.
What We See When We Read, by Peter Mendelsund (Vintage, August 5th): Again, merging two of my favorite topics: books and how our brains work. In this case, how we visually and mentally process images from what we read. HOW COULD I NOT LOVE THIS?
When the World Was Young, by Elizabeth Gaffney (Random House, August 5th): I was initially drawn to this because the publisher compared it to The Secret Life of Bees and Rules of Civility, both of which I loved (LOVED). I'm always a little skeptical of publisher comparisons and setting expectations reasonably, but the description--that of a coming-of-age story set in New York City during and after World War II--sounds like it will be up my alley.
The Story Hours, by Thrity Umrigar (Harper, August 19th): Umrigar's sixth novel (I've never read her earlier works) centers on a suicidal immigrant woman, isolated from her family, her country, her culture--and the woman's therapist, who is herself struggling with the temptation of an affair. The character development here--especially of Lakshmi, the immigrant woman--is superb, and I was taken in by Lakshmi's history and Umrigar's crisp portrayal of the difficulties of immigration, adapting to a new culture, and finding one's place in the world.