Pack them for that last-minute weekend getaway.
‘My Absolute Darling’ by Gabriel Tallent
Every once in awhile there comes along a fictional character—Jane Eyre, Kunta Kinte, Jude St. Francis—whose plight and determination to overcome subsumes the reader so completely, we actually feel ourselves missing him or her after the final page. Turtle, the adolescent protagonist of Gabriel Tallent’s debut novel, is that and so much more. For her unconventional wisdom and indomitable inner strength, and for Tallent’s descriptive dexterity, which makes everything from Turtle’s physical anguish to the smells and sensations of the lush California wilderness around her leap off the page—this is one of the most important books you’ll pick up this decade.
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent, $18, amazon.com on August 29.
‘Lights On, Rats Out’ by Cree Lefavour
The most insidious enemies we humans are ever made to confront are none other than those that attack us from within our own psyches. In her memoir of battling mental illness, Cree LeFavour uses the force of her blisteringly stark, mesmerizingly self-aware prose to not only unearth her own demons, but also equip the reader with the language to articulate our own as well.
Lights On, Rats Out by Cree Lefavour, $17, amazon.com on August 1.
‘Sour Heart’ by Jenny Zhang
The inaugural title published under Lenny, the imprint founded by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, collects seven witty and poignant stories for today’s New York women. What the aggregate narratives ultimately reveal about both this category of people and the wider population, though, is that even more so than what we have in common, it is our singularity and diversity that defines us.
Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang, $16, amazon.com on August 1.
‘Wild Things’ by Bruce Handy
From Cat in the Hat to C.S. Lewis, Maurice Sendak to Goodnight Moon, books that have been classically canonized as “children’s literature” can in fact profoundly affect adult readers more than we think. In writing that blends personal reflection with authoritative literary analysis, Handy makes a powerful case for reading that picture book even after your child has fallen asleep.
Wild Things by Bruce Handy, $18, amazon.com on August 15.
‘Mrs. Fletcher’ by Tom Perrotta
The title character of Tom Perrotta’s latest novel seems at first just like any other suburban, divorced mother confronting an empty nest upon sending her only son off to college. However, as she looks deeper into the eye of her profound solitude, her search for greater engagement with the world leads her down a path of unexpected revelations, passions, and personal connections. The cast of hyper-realistic and fine-tuned characters together paint a portrait of modern life that accounts for the complications—and not just conveniences—afforded by advances from the digital to the sociocultural.
Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta, $18, amazon.com on August 1.
‘New People’ by Danzy Senna
Two young, light-skinned, mixed-race Brooklynites embarking on their lives together encounter essential questions of identity—racial and otherwise—in Danzy Senna’s third novel. Set in the Rodney King-era ‘90s, New People is as mesmerizingly fast-paced as it is deeply reflective of monumental truths that resonate perhaps even more powerfully two decades in the future.
New People by Danzy Senna, $18, amazon.com on August 1.
‘Caca Dolce’ by Chelsea Martin
The unapologetically brazen and lovably frank author of Everything Was Fine Until Whatever breaks into the essay form while maintaining her signature prose style that seems natural and off-the-cuff but belies a labyrinth of subtlety and contemplation underneath. This collection of personal reminiscences—at turns shocking and yet surprisingly relatable—reveal as many seminal, universal truths about the complexities of coming of age in the digital era as they do the deep contemplations of a truly unique and gifted writer and young woman.
Caca Dolce by Chelsea Martin, $17, amazon.com on August 22.