It’s July 1, which means Book of the Month released their new selections this morning.
I adore Book of the Month and I’m always excited to hear their five selections on the first. It’s been such a fun discovery this spring, and I’ve found several amazing books thanks to them—books I might not have heard of otherwise. And unlike the Book of the Month Club from the old days, I get to choose which book I want, or take a pass for the month if nothing strikes my fancy.
Every month usually brings one or two Big New Books that I’m seeing everywhere, and a few sleepers I probably wouldn’t have heard of otherwise.
Will was nearby when I first glimpsed this month’s selections, and I piqued his curiosity with my loud Oh, of course.
Of course what?
I was thinking of Rich and Pretty, specifically. It’s brand new, it’s a debut, and it’s everywhere. It feels very of-the-moment. It’s about friendship, money, NYC.
I wasn’t surprised to see Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney—author of The Nest—was the judge who chose this selection: the two novels complement each other nicely.
The title is perfect, the cover is terrific. Maybe this is why—we speculated—it’s been chosen as one of the few dozen novels each season that its publisher has decided to throw its weight behind.
Not all titles get equal treatment. Every season, a select few novels—and even fewer debuts—get this kind of support. Why was this one chosen, and how? It’s a fascinating, nerdy question.
I enjoyed this book—although I’m not sure “enjoyed” is the right word, exactly—when I read it back in the spring. I appreciated its nuanced look at a complicated female friendship. I read it quickly; I found it absorbing. But the twenties are bumpy years, and these women’s lives especially so, and it was a little painful to accompany them on their journeys. (It was supposed to be.)
I debated including this in the Summer Reading Guide: I put it in, I took it out, I put it in again. (In the end, I took it out.) I initially called it one of the 13 books everyone will be talking about this summer (because boy, are they ever). Then I took it out before I hit “publish.”
I appreciated this book—and oh, would it ever make a wonderful book club novel—but it was THE book that inspired the original 8-line edit and in the end I didn’t feel comfortable throwing my weight (light as it may be) behind this one.
Another novel that’s everywhere: The Girls. Another debut getting the royal treatment, and this one is certainly scandalous enough to make waves: it’s loosely based on the Manson cult and gruesome murders. I’ve already abandoned it—twice. Ambitious writing, stylized prose, but that 8 line edit concept? I might need to cut 80 pages to make it through this one. (But it’s worth pointing out that some of you will LOVE it.)
The big surprise of the July selections is Sleeping Giants, a book I never, and I mean never, would have picked up on my own. It’s a sci fi novel whose premise is pretty out there and wow, was it fun. Wild premise, interesting structure, great narrative drive. I finished last night and I am still thinking about the epilogue. (Bonus: can you spot the character who sounds exactly like Ray Reddington?)
This isn’t one of the big, big books of the season, but I’ve found I consistently enjoy Liberty Hardy’s picks, and I trusted her and went with it. I’m glad I did.
Reading is supposed to be fun, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t all be smart a moment. I pay attention to how I discover a book—a blog post, my bookstore, a friend’s recommendation, but I don’t often pause to consider the backstory to how it got thrown in my path.
Back to Book of the Month: this is a nice time to sign up because new members will get free sunglasses and a tote to lug all your books around. Click here to get started and use the code SUMMER30 to get those extras and save 30% off your three-month membership. That means you’ll get the first three books for just $10 each.
Not sure what to get? I’ve read all five titles, and I would actually recommend Rich and Pretty, with a whole bunch of caveats. And if you’ve read The One-in-a-Million Boy, Love That Boy makes for a very interesting companion read. (Imagine Quinn, in an alternate reality.)