July’s another great month for British books making it across the ocean to American bookshelves! Keep your eyes peeled for these at your local bookshops and libraries.
Stubborn Archivist by Yara Rodrigues Fowler (Mariner Books, July 16, 2019)
If you like your books raw and a little experimental,à la Chemistry or Dept of Speculation, Stubborn Archivist is likely a good pick for you. In this novel, a young woman from South London grows up between two cultures, frequently returning to visit Brazil and learning to connect with her other home there and what it means for her to be both British and Brazilian.
Book Riot’s own Nicole Froio loves this book and has called it “proof #OwnVoices is necessary”. Here’s what she said about it:
“An #OwnVoices triumph…A daring debut novel, when the narrative is a mix of stunning prose and poetry…We need more novels like this, novels that tell stories that haven’t been told before. What is interesting about Stubborn Archivist is that it feels completely new, even though these stories have been told by word-of-mouth through generations of immigrant women. We need more novels that make people like me feel deeply seen as an immigrant, a Brazilian woman, and a daughter.”
Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe (Little, Brown and Company, July 23, 2019)
I’ve loved Nina Stibbe since I read her debut book, Love, Nina, a memoir in letters from her time nannying among the literary classes in London in the 1980s—which, by the way, is perfect for summer reading. Nina Stibbe is funny and lovely and a joy to follow on Twitter. Her second novel, Man at the Helm, was fiction about Lizzie Vogel trying to find a new husband for her mother—and we’ve followed Lizzie through her life as a teenager in 1970s Leicestershire since. In Reasons to be Cheerful, she goes to work for an eccentric dental surgeon and gets her first boyfriend, though he probably wouldn’t call himself that.
A Half-Baked Idea by Olivia Potts (Penguin audio and ebook, July 25, 2019)
This promises to be an intriguing, thoughtful food memoir—an H is for Hawk, but with food instead of birds. Olivia Potts was a hard-working lawyer, dating a man with preternatural cooking abilities, when her mother passed away. In the months that followed her loss, she found herself cooking and baking—and it brought her so much comfort that she ditched the lawyer life and enrolled at the renowned London culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu.
Dolly Alderton of the wildly popular news and pop culture podcast The High Low (a favourite of mine!) has called A Half-Baked Idea “an utterly beautiful, moving, bittersweet book on love and loss”.