11 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in June
From a funny and poignant memoir about being a late bloomer to a history of how the medical field has been failing women for ages, here are 11 new books we can’t wait to read this month.
1. Thanks for Waiting: The Joy (& Weirdness) of Being a Late Bloomer by Doree Shafrir
Novelist and podcast host Doree Shafrir was an intern at twenty-nine and met her husband on Tinder in her late thirties. After a long fertility struggle, she became a first-time mom at forty-one, joining Mommy & Me classes where most of the other moms were at least ten years younger. In her debut memoir, Shafrir explores the enormous pressures we feel, especially as women, to hit particular milestones at certain times and how we can redefine what it means to be a late bloomer.
2. The Year of Our Love by Caterina Bonvicini
Tale as old as time: Wealthy girl meets poor boy and the two forge a friendship that crosses class lines. Meet Olivia and Valerio, who grow up together in an opulent villa in Bologna. Olivia is the heir to a large industrial fortune, while Valerio is the son of their gardener and maid. They eventually take different paths: Olivia travels the world looking for herself, while Valerio devotes himself to a prestigious career that doesn't satisfy him, but they continue to meet again and again at crossroads in life.
3. Unwell Women: Misdiagnosis and Myth in a Man-Made World by Elinor Cleghorn
From the earliest medical ideas about women's illnesses, hormones and diseases, medicine has continuously failed women by treating their bodies as alien and other—often to perilous effect. Packed with character studies and case histories of women who have suffered, challenged and rewritten medical orthodoxy—and the men who controlled their fate—Cleghorn’s revolutionary examination of the relationship between women, illness and medicine is both a fascinating look at history and a rallying call for long overdue change.
4. Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell
Scroll through your Netflix queue, Twitter account or New York Times app and you’re likely to see something about cults, whether sinister (like NXIVM) or seemingly harmless (like SoulCycle). Montell’s (Wordslut) latest is an examination of what makes “cults” so intriguing and frightening. What makes us binge Manson documentaries by the dozen? Why do we fall down rabbit holes researching suburban moms gone QAnon? Montell maintains that it’s not only because we're looking for a satisfying explanation for what causes people to join—and stay in—extreme groups, but because we secretly want to know if it could happen to us...
5. With Teeth by Kristen Arnett
Sammie is afraid of her son, Samson, who resists her every attempt to bond with him. Uncertain about how she feels about motherhood, she tries her best while growing increasingly resentful of Monika, her confident but absent wife. As Samson grows from feral toddler to surly teenager, Sammie's life begins to deteriorate into a mess of unruly behavior, and her struggle to create a picture-perfect queer family unravels.
6. The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
In this thrilling debut, Nella is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. That is, until Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers and the two bond immediately. Things change, though, when Hazel becomes an office darling, and Nella is left in the dust. Then notes start to appear on Nella's desk—"LEAVE WAGNER. NOW”—and she soon realizes that there's a lot more at stake than just her career.
7. Dream Girl by Laura Lippman
You know Misery? This is kind of like that, by which we mean supremely creepy. Injured in a freak fall, novelist Gerry Andersen is confined to a hospital bed and dependent on two women he barely knows: his young assistant, and a dull night nurse. Then late one night, he gets a mysterious phone call from a woman claiming to be Aubrey, the alluring title character from his most successful novel. But there is no real Aubrey. Isolated from the world, drowsy from medication, Gerry slips between reality and a dreamlike state in which he is haunted by his own past and the very real possibility of a visit from this “Aubrey” character.
8. She Memes Well: Essays by Quinta Brunson
You might recognize comedian Quinta Brunson from her really funny tweets or her often viral BuzzFeed videos. Her debut essay collection covers her weird road to Internet notoriety. She discusses what it was like to go from flat broke to “halfway recognizable,” and her experience rising up the ranks in a predominantly white industry.
9. Bewilderness: A Novel by Karen Tucker
Irene is a lonely 19-year-old in rural North Carolina, who works long nights at the local pool hall. One night, her magnetic coworker Luce invites her on a ride through the mountains to take revenge on a particularly creepy customer. Though their unexpected adventure marks the beginning of a dazzling friendship, it also seduces both girls into the mysterious world of pills and the endless hustles needed to fund the next high.
10. The Ugly Cry: A Memoir by Danielle Henderson
Danielle Henderson was abandoned at ten years old by her mother, leaving her to be raised by grandparents who thought their child-rearing days were long gone. She grew up Black and weird in a mostly white neighborhood in upstate New York, eventually becoming a tall, awkward teenager who wore black eyeliner as lipstick and was struggling with the aftermath of her mother's choices. Her memoir is about growing up feeling constantly out of place and redefining what it means to be a family.
11. The 2000s Made Me Gay: Essays on Pop Culture by Grace Perry
June is Pride Month, and while it’s easy for young people today to look around and see queer role models pretty much everywhere, that hasn’t always been the case. As a teenager, writer Grace Perry had to search for queerness in the (largely straight) teen cultural phenomena the aughts had to offer: Gossip Girl, Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl," country-era Taylor Swift, and more. Her new collection of essays is a hilarious and nostalgic trip through 2000s media, interweaving cultural criticism and personal narrative to examine how a very straight decade forged a very queer woman.