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Six Books to Put on Your Summer Reading List

Cults, immigration, and haunted homes—check out these upcoming titles by local authors.

Books on a raft in a pool
Photo: Colleen Durkin

1 The Readymade Thief

Augustus Rose

The University of Chicago professor makes his debut with the heady tale of Lee Cuddy, a homeless teenage girl enmeshed in a Philadelphia cult that worships the Dadaist painter Marcel Duchamp. August 1, Viking

2 The Wrong Way to Save Your Life

Megan Stielstra

In her second essay collection, Stielstra addresses campus gun laws, a former job leading a CV-writing class, her grungy onetime Logan Square loft, and a catalog of failed romances. It’s Stielstra at her best: wryly funny and brutally honest. August 1, Harper Perennial

3 Lessons on Expulsion

Erika L. Sánchez

“In Chicago, we live in basements—the rattle / of heaters, jaundiced paint,” writes Sánchez in a poem that recounts her parents’ trip across the Mexican border in the trunk of a Cadillac. Though the subjects of her first collection range from the Tepehuán Revolt to narcotrafficking, Sánchez’s poetic lens stays fixed on the immigrant experience. July 11, Graywolf Press

4 The Grip of It

Jac Jemc

In Jemc’s latest, a compulsive gambler and his wife buy a small-town home that ends up haunting them. Alternating between their points of view, Jemc digs into the precariousness of modern marriage. August 1, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

5 A Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Sun

Angela Jackson

The Chatham poet toasts her forebear Gwendolyn Brooks (who would have turned 100 in June) in this biography-cum-hagiography that tracks six decades of Brooks’s life, from her childhood in Bronzeville to her role in the 1960s Black Arts movement. May 30, Beacon Press

6 The Answers

Catherine Lacey

Lacey sets her novel in a dystopian world where a woman takes a job tending to a famous actor’s relationship needs by posing as his “emotional girlfriend.” The plot may sound bizarre, but Lacey’s prose paints a bleak and wholly human picture of modern romance. June 6, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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