'Girl, Woman, Other' and 9 Other Books Everyone is Talking About This July
If you're looking for a new book to add to your reading pile this month, you're not alone. Few things are as enjoyable on a cold winter's night as snuggling up in bed with a brilliant new book. Whatever your literary inclination, there's something here for you, including a much talked about prizewinner, a love letter to the healing power of nature, and a modern classic that's recently resurfaced in the wake of the author's death. Here are the ten books everyone's talking about this July.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo made history in 2019 when it was announced as joint winner of the Booker Prize with Margaret Atwood's The Testaments. The first time in the literary prize's 40-year history that two books won the esteemed award, there was much criticism of the judges' decision to break the rules, with many pointing out that the first black woman ever to win Britain's most prestigious literary award has had to share the acclaim – and the prize money.
A year after its joint win, Girl, Woman, Other is as popular as ever. Vibrant, vivid and packed with energy, it tells stories about modern Britain and womanhood, following the lives and struggles of twelve characters and their tales of families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years. An unputdownable and celebratory read, it's well-deserving of the Booker – and your time.
If you're looking for a profound memoir to sink your teeth into, Untamed by Glennon Doyle is the book for you. Published in March, Untamed was swiftly chosen by Reese Witherspoon for her book club and, in her third memoir, the New York Times best seller explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet the expectations of the world, and start trusting the voice deep within us. A must-read for anyone with an appetite for the inspirational, Untamed will stir and stimulate readers to live life on their own terms.
While first published three years ago, Reni Eddo-Lodge's Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race, has taken the top spot of the UK book charts due to the global protests fighting for Black lives and against white supremacy and injustice. Based on a 2014 blog post that went viral in 2014, Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race is a powerful and poignant book that will leave everyone more aware of the role that race and racism plays in society.
As co-host of the hugely popular podcast, The High Low, and a writer for the likes of Elle and The Sunday Times, it's fair to say that writer and podcaster Pandora Sykes has her finger on the pop-culture pulse. In her debut book Sykes ponders what "doing it right" even looks like, and questions why so many women feel like they're getting it wrong. Exploring everything from fast-fashion to cancel culture, How Do We Know We're Doing it Right is an inspiring collection of essays and a breath of fresh air for anyone who wants to stop worrying about the answers – and start delighting in the questions.
Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction in April, Weather by Jenny Offill is a dazzling and deadpan new novel about hope and despair, fear and comfort as it plays out in these times of environmental and political turbulence. It's a beautifully written, acutely observed tale that is personal and political and poetic and page-turningly good. Add Weather to your July TBR pile if you're in need of some seriously good literary escapism.
In the mood for some armchair travel? A Burning by Megha Majumdar will transport you to faraway lands with her explosive first novel. Set in contemporary India, A Burning is an epic tale that follows the threads of three disparate characters as their lives become knotted together in the aftermath of tragic events. Unputdownable from the very first page, A Burning confronts issues of class, fate, prejudice and corruption with a Dickensian sense of injustice, and asks us to consider what it means to nurture big ambitions in a country hurtling towards political extremism. Timely and taut, it's the perfect book to hunker down with one weekend and devour in a single sitting.
The Vanishing Half is LA-based writer Brit Bennett's second novel, and followed in her debut's footsteps becoming an instant New York Times Best Seller. A mesmerising novel about twin sisters who, while inseparable as children, later choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white, The Vanishing Half is a spellbinding book, rich with literary flair and plot twists aplenty, that will challenge its readers on the corrupting consequences of racism on different communities and individual lives.
This novel touched the hearts all over the world when it was first published almost two decades ago, and has recently resurfaced in the wake of the author's death in June. The Shadow of the Wind by late Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a page-turning exploration of obsession in literature and love, and the places that obsession can lead. It's the first in the The Cemetery of Forgotten Books quartet, so if you can't get enough of it – there's more. It's the perfect book to while away a cold winters evening with, a wild fusion of literary curiosity, labyrinths and libraries.
This is a timely tome, as society the world over begins to contemplate what normal really means, and as many of us reconsider the places in which we seek contentment, well-being and joy. In Phosphorescence, award-winning writer Julia Baird explores how – and where – we retain happiness. A love letter to awe, to wonder, and to the things that sustain you when the world goes dark, Baird looks at how we find, nurture and carry our own inner light.
This is a galvanising and practical book written by two high-achieving women, featuring stories from the leader we all wish we had, Jacinda Arden, the most famous of first ladies, Hillary Clinton, and more. A lively and inspiring collection of lessons in leadership, Gillard and Okonjo-Iweala provide a road map of essential knowledge to inspire, and an action agenda for change. Read Women and Leadership for a serious dose inspiration.