Books to Look Out For Out for in July 2024: Part One

July’s publishing schedules are stuffed full of summer reading for those seeking beach reads and the like. There are several that might fit that category in this Cover image for Same As it Ever Was by Claire Lombardofirst batch, beginning with one I’m very keen to read.

I loved Claire Lombardo’s wonderfully entertaining The Most Fun We Ever Had so am looking forward to Same As it Ever Was about a long, happy marriage suddenly destabilized. Julia’s teenage daughter is off to college emptying the nest, her son Ben has been behaving erratically, then she bumps into an old, once dear friend she’s not seen for two decades who makes a shocking announcement, all of which sends her into a tailspin. ‘Following Julia over the course of a few tumultuous months, bookended by a birthday party and a wedding, and examining the fifty-plus years before, Same as It Ever Was examines the complete and complicated trajectory of one woman’s life and asks what it takes to make – and to not break – a family’ says the blurb, promisingly.Cover image for The Divorce by Moa Herngren

Acclaimed Swedish writer Moa Herngren’s The Divorce explores the end of another long marriage from both points of view. When Bea discovers that Niklas has forgotten to book their ferry tickets to her beloved Gotland, she lets out a tirade of complaint prompting him to walk out of the apartment, not for the first time. By the following summer both their lives have changed in ways neither could have expected. Herngren tells the couple’s story in three parts beginning with Bea before switching to Niklas then bringing them together in the final section which works well. I found myself taking sides fairly quickly which I hadn’t expected, hoping for a more balanced view of the split, but I enjoyed Herngren’s novel and would be happy to read another by her.

Cover image for Long Isalnd Compromise bt Taffy Brodesser-AknerTaffy Brodesser-Akner’s Long Island Compromise begins with the kidnapping of a wealthy businessman in 1982, returned to his family after a ransom is paid. Forty years later, the trauma of that event comes back to haunt Carl when his mother dies, and long buried memories resurface. ‘Long Island Compromise spans generations, winding through decades of history all the way through to the wild present, dealing along the way with all the mainstays of American Jewish life. And through it all, it addresses timeless questions about wealth, trauma, and the American soul’ according to the blurb. I enjoyed the much-hyped Fleishman is in Trouble, although not quite as much as I’d expected but certainly enough to give this one a try.

I’m not entirely sure about Rosie Price’s The Orange Room. I quite enjoyed her debut, What Red Was, but the blurb’s Cover image for The Orange Room by Rosie Pricemention of an art theme is what’s swung it for me. Home from art school, Rhianne is working in a hotel kitchen hoping to restore her confidence which has taken a bashing in London. Her parents have their eye on her but haven’t bargained on Callum, to whom she’s dangerously attracted. ‘The Orange Room is about what happens when we are too afraid to see the people we love clearly, and too afraid to be seen. It’s the story of a tenacious young woman who – through her art, her courage, her determination – finds her way back to herself’ says the rather woolly blurb. Worth a try, I think.

Cover image for The Material by Camille BordasI admit to being swayed by the George Saunders puff included in the blurb for Camille Bordas’s The Material set in a Chicago stand-up comedy school where staff and students all wrestle with the kind of problems that offer grist for the comedy mill. A visit from the controversial Manny Rheinhardt could either be just what’s needed to lick them into shape or a disaster. ‘Set over the course of a single day, and shifting exquisitely between several points of view, The Material examines life through the eyes of a band of outsiders bound together by the need to laugh, and the desire to make others laugh even harder’ according to the blurb which sounds quite cheering.

That’s it for July’s first batch of new fiction. As ever, a click on a title will take you to a more detailed synopsis for any that take you fancy. Part two soon when I’m back from my travels which will be starting this afternoon…

33 thoughts on “Books to Look Out For Out for in July 2024: Part One”

  1. Ooh, I really like the sound of the Bordas! Will be skipping the Lombardo and Price as I didn’t get on with their debuts (will Price’s next book be Yellow something, though??). Very tentatively interested in the Brodesser-Akner. I enjoyed Fleishman more than I thought I would.

  2. The Material sounds pretty good (if potentially slyly brutal—I always find comedians in groups vaguely sinister, and the title makes me think there’s more going on here than innocent entertainment!) Also actually quite interested in The Orange Room, mostly because of the protagonist’s temp job in a hotel kitchen; I like books that go behind the scenes at work, although it’s possible (even likely) that Price focuses on the dodgy relationship instead…

    1. That does seem to be her shtick although I’m with you on hotel kitchen job idea. I think there may be some desperation amongst the comedians if the blurb’s to be believed.

  3. I’m looking forward to Taffy B. Akner’s new novel. Her first one was quite funny at the beginning of the novel. I’m hoping her humor is there for book #2. Couldn’t we all use a bit of humor right now? I have not read Lombardo yet … though she seems to write long … but it might be all right if she can keep it going … Enjoy your reads.

  4. Working in a hotel kitchen? Yes, please. Well, not actually, I mean. Only on-the-page! My restaurant work experience was limited; the way I feel about other people’s food remnants on plates is much like some people say they could never work in a hospital cuz they can’t stand the sight of blood.

    1. Definitely happy for a vicarious rather than actual experience with that! Hard work in the hospitality world from my observation and not much reward, either.

  5. Long Island Compromise certain piques my interest and in to an extent also The Material–though I’m not much of a fan of stand up comedy and certainly had no idea there were such things as stand-up comedy schools!

  6. Some good sounding summer reads there. The Divorce sounds well told, especially if the reader starts taking sides. I hope you have been enjoying your travels.

  7. I’m feeling quite grumpy about having so very many books on my ‘must read’ horizon so I’m looking for reasons to exclude any and all of these. In fact I’m going to shelve your whole review till I feel less grumpy!

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