8 Books You Should Read This July

New noir, Dapper Dan's memoir and Colson Whitehead's latest. It's Christmas in July!

best books july
By Jason Diamond / July 2, 2019 5:59 am

In July we go from nice and warm to totally hot. Hot means sitting around more, AC cranked, perhaps with a cocktail at arm’s reach (A Negroni, perhaps?).

The only thing missing in order to complete this portrait of summer? Having one of these books in your hands.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Whitehead gets braver and more ambitious with every book. Now, in his followup to The Underground Railroad, one of our greatest living fiction writers tackles the Jim Crown South. 

Very Nice by Marcy Dermansky

Every few years Marcy Dermansky drops a new book and it’s usually one of the sleeper hits of the year. Her latest novel explores the lives of upscale East Coasters and all their wonderfully addictive-to-read-about problems. 

Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping, and Risking It All with the Greatest Chef in the World by Jeff Gordinier

While it sells itself on its connection to René Redzepi, the owner and chef behind Noma, what’s considered by many to be the best restaurant in the world, it’s more than that. In showing Redzepi’s process and obsessions, Jeff Gordinier also shines a light on a network of chefs who all learn and grow together thanks to the Danish chef. It’s a fascinating look at the people who fuel our food obsessions and the end result is one hell of a ride.

DogTown: The Legend of the Z-Boys by Glen E Friedman and C. R. Stecyk III  

This is sort of the Bible when it comes to the birth of the American skateboarding scene. Friedman and Stecyk captured every iconic moment in abandoned pools and backyard ramps, giving us an enduring monument to the days when skating was a sport of outlaws. 

The Vagabonds: The Story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s Ten-Year Road Trip  by Jeff Guinn

Jeff Guinn effortlessly captures an overlooked moment in time when two of America’s forefathers did something few had dreamed of: they took long road trips together. It sounds so quaint, but Guinn isn’t concerned with the sweet, old-timey kind of storytelling. Instead, he makes sure to point out just how incredibly flawed Ford and Edison truly were without ever betraying the story.

Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem: A Memoir by Dapper Dan

You no doubt have seen pictures of people like Mike Tyson, LL Cool J or Jay Z decked out in duds by this icon who helped create hip-hop fashion with his indelible outfits. His story is just as memorable as theirs, told here in a riveting memoir.

Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

Laura Lippman is in that new class of noir-ish writers who blend in everything from David Lynch to Alfred Hitchcock to create something suspenseful and exciting. While the book shares its name with a Raymond Chandler novel, Lippman gives us something totally her own, and we’re all the better for it.

The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal

Stradal follows up Kitchens of the Great Midwest with this, another book about family and the middle of the country. Read it slowly with a beer or two. Sip, read and enjoy. Pretty simple.