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New in July: Nicole Dennis-Benn, Patrick Ryan, Rachel Spangler, Mark A. Jacobson, and Christopher Bram

New in July: Nicole Dennis-Benn, Patrick Ryan, Rachel Spangler, Mark A. Jacobson, and Christopher Bram

Author: Edit Team

July 7, 2016

July is here, bringing with it a slew of new books to enjoy.

This month, Liveright is releasing Here Comes The Sun by author and Lambda Literary Fellow Nicole Dennis-Benn, a novel that maps a family’s struggle to gain independence and freedom in a world where both don’t come easy.

From the publisher:

Capturing the distinct rhythms of Jamaican life and dialect, Nicole Dennis-Benn pens a tender hymn to a world hidden among pristine beaches and the wide expanse of turquoise seas. At an opulent resort in Montego Bay, Margot hustles to send her younger sister, Thandi, to school. Taught as a girl to trade her sexuality for survival, Margot is ruthlessly determined to shield Thandi from the same fate. When plans for a new hotel threaten their village, Margot sees not only an opportunity for her own financial independence but also perhaps a chance to admit a shocking secret: her forbidden love for another woman. As they face the impending destruction of their community, each woman—fighting to balance the burdens she shoulders with the freedom she craves—must confront long-hidden scars. From a much-heralded new writer, Here Comes the Sun offers a dramatic glimpse into a vibrant, passionate world most outsiders see simply as paradise.

9780385341387Author Patrick Ryan’s new short story collection The Dream Life of Astronauts (Dial Press) offers a lyrical exploration of the contemporary American condition:

The Dream Life of Astronauts balances heartbreak with wry humor as its characters try to make sense of the paths they find themselves on. A would-be Miss America auditions for a shady local talent scout over vodka and Sunny D; a NASA engineer begins to wonder if the woman he’s having an affair with is slowly poisoning her husband; a Boy Scout troop leader, recovering from a stroke, tries to protect one of his scouts from being bullied by his own sons; an ex-mobster living in witness protection feuds with the busybody head of his condo board; a grandmother, sentenced to driver’s ed after a traffic accident, surprises herself by falling for her instructor.

Set against landmark moments—the first moon launch, Watergate, the Challenger explosion—these private dramas unfurl in startling ways. The Dream Life of Astronauts ratifies the emergence of an indelible new talent in fiction.

Romance and the culinary arts collide in Rachel Spangler’s new novel Perfect Pairing (Bywater Books):

Hal Orion is an accomplished chef and food truck owner. She loves her life, her longtime sous chef and best friend, and the food she shares with the residents of her beloved city of Buffalo. Her life is exactly how she wants it: no strings, no commitments, and no roots—just great grilled cheese and a whole lot of freedom on the side.

Quinn Banning is an investment banker, and the dividend she seeks is a resurgence of the once-great city of Buffalo. Putting together her next business venture, she recognizes Hal’s talent and charm as necessary assets for success—her good looks don’t hurt, either. But Hal’s transient ways are in direct opposition to the stability Quinn craves. Relying on their shared love of Buffalo, Quinn makes Hal an offer she can’t refuse—a restaurant under her own name, complete creative control, and secure financial backing. It’s every chef’s dream. But Hal utters the one word Quinn can’t stand to hear, “No.”

Will their physical attraction grow cold as they argue over their ideals, or will they find that the most distinctive ingredients often make for the perfect pairing?

This month, Ulysses Press is releasing Sensing Light, a new book from writer and physician Mark A. Jacobson, which provides a riveting look at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, California:

March, 1979, a young street hustler in San Francisco stumbles into an emergency room with lungs so congested he can barely breathe. Seen by a perplexed medical resident, the patient becomes the first of many thousands to die from a yet-to-be named plague. Sensing Lightis a raw, compelling novel that follows the personal and professional lives of the men and women on the front lines of the emerging AIDS epidemic.

This breakout book by Mark A. Jacobson, a leading Bay Area HIV/AIDS physician, follows the lives of three people from vastly different backgrounds, who are thrown together by a shared urgency to find out what is killing so many men in the prime of their lives. Kevin, a gay medical resident from working class Boston, has just moved to San Francisco in search of acceptance of his own sexual identity. Herb, the supervising physician, struggles with his emotional rigidity in the exhausting world of one of the nation’s toughest hospitals. And Gwen, a divorced mother with a teen daughter, looks for a sense of self and security while completing her medical training.

This fast-paced story sheds light on the complex process of discovering the causes of an unknown epidemic, while at the same time revealing the tight personal and professional bonds among doctors working to solve the twentieth century’s most tragic medical mystery.

This month, Graywolf Press is releasing renowned writer Christopher Bram’s The Art of History: Unlocking the Past in Fiction and Nonfiction. The title examines how various authors have grappled with history in their writings:

One has to look no further than the audiences hungry for the narratives served up by Downton Abbey or Wolf Hall to know that the lure of the past is as seductive as ever. But incorporating historical events and figures into a shapely narrative is no simple task. The acclaimed novelist Christopher Bram examines how writers as disparate as Gabriel García Márquez, David McCullough, Toni Morrison, Leo Tolstoy, and many others have employed history in their work.

Unique among the “Art Of” series, The Art of History engages with both fiction and narrative nonfiction to reveal varied strategies of incorporating and dramatizing historical detail. Bram challenges popular notions about historical narratives as he examines both successful and flawed passages to illustrate how authors from different genres treat subjects that loom large in American history, such as slavery and the Civil War. And he delves deep into the reasons why War and Peace endures as a classic of historical fiction. Bram’s keen insight and close reading of a wide array of authors make The Art of History an essential volume for any lover of historical narrative.

As always, if we missed an author or book, or if you have a book coming out next month, please email us.







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Speculative Fiction/Horror





  • Funny Bone by Daniel W. Kelly, Bold Strokes Books

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