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Tertulia Staff Picks: 10 Books Coming in May That We Can't Wait to Read

Tertulia staff •
Apr 26th, 2024

Every month, we share the books we can't wait to read. This month we've got hotly anticipated second novels from R.O. Kwon and Miranda July, a reissue of classic Mary Oliver poetry collection, a stunning history of Black visual culture and a timely investigation into the deluge of lobbying money in Washington.


All Fours by Miranda July (May 14)

Selected by Laurann Herrington

The polymathic author-artist-actor Miranda July's highly anticipated second novel could be considered one of my favorite microgenres: the "burn it down" books that remind me that you're never too old to upend your entire life and start over again to build a better one. The novel follows a 45-year-old female artist who leaves her husband and children for a cross country road trip only to take an unexpected detour.

Shanghailanders by Juli Min (May 7)

Selected by Emmanuel Hidalgo-Wohlleben

This debut novel by the Korean-American editor of The Shanghai Literary Review, Juli Min, moves backward in time from 2040 to 2014 following a cosmopolitan family and their secrets over a period of immense change in the ever-evolving metropolis of Shanghai. I'm hooked by getting an intimate glimpse into this phenomenal and futuristic city of 25 million people. At a time when the escalation of a US-China conflict feels worryingly likely, I'm reading all that I can to better understand Chinese culture.

Summer on Highland Beach by Sunny Hostin (May 28)

Selected by lliyah Coles

I'm from Maryland, so Highland Beach is something akin to folklore for me. As the oldest Black resort community in America, I'm sure there's bound to be some good drama. Reading this book is a great excuse to start beaching a little early.

Exhibit by R.O. Kwan (May 21)

Selected by Laurann Herrington

The author of the bestselling campus cult novel The Incendiaries finally returns with what promises to be another vividly-rendered existential story of love and loss. The all-consuming budding relationship between two female artists—one a photographer and the other a ballerina—threatens to unravel them at the seams as one reveals a secret, familial curse she was never supposed to tell anyone about.

My First Book by Honor Levy (May 14)

Selected by Romina Raimundo

I'm fully aware of the "generations discourse," and the complaints that social scientists have about the simplistic labels of Gen X, Z, and Alpha. That said, I'm the first to label myself a millennial poster child. The older I get, the more disconnected I feel from kids growing up as digital natives. As soon as I heard about this book of short stories coming from an author touted as "the voice of Gen Z," I was sold.


The Wolves of K Street: The Secret History of How Big Money Took Over Big Government by Brody Mullins and Luke Mullins (May 7)

Selected by Emmanuel Hidalgo-Wohlleben

For better or worse, politics is a passion of mine, and one of the developments in American politics that I spend the most time thinking (and worrying) about is the rise of populism on both the left and the right. This new book investigates one of the root causes: the flood of lobbying money that has poured into D.C. since the 70s. It's a gloomy topic, but I know the book's insights will give me a background for better understanding what we can do to get out of this mess.

Another Word for Love: A Memoir by Carvell Wallace (May 14)

Selected by lliyah Coles

Carvell Wallace is one of the greatest journalists of our generation. He's written a few celebrity profiles that blew me away, including one on Viola Davis and another on Stephen Curry. Now, he's giving us the exclusive on his own life and I'm excited to know the events that led him to this expansive career.

Black Meme: A History of the Images That Make Us by Legacy Russell (May 7)

Selected by lliyah Coles

Nobody does visual culture like Black people. From Emmett Till to Anita Hill to Facebook, Legacy Russell's ambitious curation of viral images makes for a profound tour of the Black meme. Now this is a book that will start conversations around my coffee table for years to come.

First Love: Essays on Friendship by Lilly Dancyger (May 7)

Selected by Lynda Hammes

As you get older, you have fewer built-in excuses to see friends and even more demands from family, which can make it harder to maintain connections with old friends. I miss whiling the day away with friends, and I miss getting into trouble with them even more. I'm drawn to this essay collection about the "first love" of friendships, because when I look back over my life, some of the most magical moments that stand out to me are with my cherished old friends. I look forward to how Dancyger explores this intimate bond.


Dream Work by Mary Oliver (May 28)

Selected by Sam Haecker

This reissue of an American poetry classic sees Mary Oliver channeling her exhilarating best in the follow-up to American Primitive, which won her the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1983. Dream Work touches on relationships, solitude, and our innermost labors of the soul, asking us to accept the truth of our personal worlds, a message that has never rung as true as now.

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