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11 of the Best Books to Read in July

Twisty thrillers, very short stories, life advice, and more.

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    'The Trap' by Melanie Raabe

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    'Here Comes the Sun' by Nicole Dennis-Benn

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    'How to Set a Fire and Why' by Jesse Ball

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    'Problems' by Jade Sharma

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    'Hot Milk' by Deborah Levy

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    '99 Stories of God' by Joy Williams​​

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    'How to Be a Person in the World' by Heather Havrilesky

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    'Pond' by Claire-Louise Bennett

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    'Siracusa' by Delia Ephron

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    'Multiple Choice' by Alejandro Zambra

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    'Dark Matter' by Blake Crouch

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  • If you think you know what's going on in this winding psychological thriller, you're probably wrong. Translated from the original German, this Misery-in-reverse story sees successful novelist Linda Conrads lure a man to her house because she thinks he killed her sister. But is she right? (Grand Central Publishing, July 5)

  • Sisters Margot and Thandi want more than what the poorest part of their Jamaican town, River Bank, can offer. Their respective secrets and desires are more than they can handle, and as it all spills out into the open, the forces of history and money shape them as forcefully as they have their hometown. (Liveright, July 5)

  • Literary chameleon Jesse Ball's newest book tells the story of Lucia, a teenaged pyromaniac, who sets not only things but her whole life aflame. (Pantheon, July 5)

  • Dark, funny, relentless—Jade Sharma's novel traces the flatlines of addiction and depression. Its protagonist, Maya, flails her way through the end of a marriage and the resurgence of a heroin habit; the journey is a grimly funny but bracing portrait of a life's sludgy stasis. (Coffee House/Emily Books, July 5)

  • The author of the elusive, powerful novel Swimming Home has another tale of family dysfunction. In the unforgiving heat of southern Spain, wayward anthropologist Sofia Papastergiadis delivers her mother into the hands of an eccentric doctor whom they hope can diagnose the mysterious illness that has taken over her body. (Bloomsbury, July 12)

  • Joy Williams is literature's gentlest surgeon of the soul. She's back with a collection of her signature strange, short, and dark stories. This time they focus on God—at least some possible, "One of Us" versions of the deity. For those who like to probe major existential matters during the summer months. (Tin House, July 12)

  • Many an internet denizen has taken comfort in Heather Havrilesky's paper-cut-sharp, preternaturally prescient "Ask Polly" advice column. Now, a collection of new letters from the modern agony aunt, plus a few old favorites. (Doubleday, July 12)

  • Originally published by a small Irish press, this Woolfian novella will challenge all your ideas of narrative. Dreamlike fragments of a life drift in and out of frame, with startling prose that will make your usual perspective feel like sleepwalking. (Riverhead, July 12)

  • From the beloved author, screenwriter, and journalist, a novel of marriage-manners with a frisson of danger. Two couples take to the Italian town of Siracusa, a trip that threatens to flay open their shaky unions. At the core of the book is a quiet, charismatic child, Snow, who watches, loves, and waits. (Blue Rider Press, July 12)

  • Summer school begins with this playful, changeable text that is made up of literal multiple choice questions and other test formats. Do you understand the question? Do you understand yourself? These are just some of the dilemmas the Chilean author poses in his surprising new book. (Penguin Books, July 19)

  • If you like your fiction to obliterate any preconceptions of the world around you, this sci-fi thriller might be your speed. A man named Jason hears someone say, "Are you happy with your life?" Then he's knocked unconscious. When he wakes up, nothing is the same. (Crown, July 26)