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5 new books to read in July

July 1, 2022, 11:00 AM UTC

The first major biography in English of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky; a novel about an all-inclusive luxury-trip-meets-clinical-trial that is too good to be true; and a futuristic thriller about climate change.

Here’s a selection of new books being published this month.

'The Drug Trial' by S.R. Masters
Courtesy of One More Chapter

The Drug Trial by S.R. Masters

Available July 7

A summer thriller with a moral dilemma that feels less existential and more plausible by the year. The premise—an all-inclusive luxury trip abroad that doubles as a clinical study, and all you need to do is take a pill every day and keep a diary—sounds like a laughable spam email, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t people willing to try this, and much to their own detriment considering someone ends up dead, and everyone is a suspect.

'Zelensky: A Biography' by Serhii Rudenko
Courtesy of Polity Press

Zelensky: A Biography by Serhii Rudenko

Available July 18

Originally written in Ukrainian by political analyst Serhii Rudenko, two translators (Michael Naydan and Alla Parminova) worked around the clock to produce an English edition. The book covers Zelensky’s life story until the night of Feb. 24, when the Russian invasion began. Previously an actor and comedian before his landslide victory for the presidency in 2019, then–political novice Zelensky told his supporters: “I will never let you down.” That promise has been put to the test in the most brutal way imaginable in what has become the worst war on European soil since World War II.

Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

The Inheritors: An Intimate Portrait of South Africa’s Racial Reckoning by Eve Fairbanks

Available July 19

Through the life stories of three ordinary South Africans over five decades—including one of the last white South Africans drafted to fight for the apartheid regime—award-winning journalist Eve Fairbanks probes what happens when a country resolves to end white supremacy and how people who once seemingly had assured positions of power for life react to their shifting status.

'The Pink Hotel: A Novel' by Liska Jacobs
Courtesy of MCD

The Pink Hotel: A Novel by Liska Jacobs

Available July 19

If the cover reminds you of the iconic entrance and signage at the Beverly Hills Hotel, that is with good intention. While set at a fictional version of the very pink and palm tree–adorned auberge, what seemingly starts off as a classic tale of Midwesterners coming to Southern California for the first time quickly reveals itself as a dark satire with succinct commentary on the economic and social divide between guests of the luxury residence and the blue-collar employees who work there. And despite what some people like to say, disasters of any kind are not actually great equalizers, as exemplified here when a wildfire puts everyone inside at risk.

'Denial: A Novel' by Jon Raymond
Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Denial: A Novel by Jon Raymond

Available July 26

While described by the publisher as a “futuristic thriller about climate change,” one might question just how futuristic books about climate change are at all. Just turn on the news and there is a segment daily about “unprecedented” bad weather causing death and destruction, and none of that is hyperbole anymore. That said, Denial does go farther down the road with some of the worst-case predictions that are held right now, like Venice completely underwater and unstoppable wildfires up and down the Pacific coast. Unlike in real life, many oil executives and lobbyists are convicted for crimes against the planet—but a few manage to escape incarceration and are now on the run, while a Portland-based journalist gets a tip about one of their whereabouts.

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