July: A Month in Books
Now that summer is (technically) in full swing we’ve compiled a list of this month’s best book and film releases for your reading and viewing pleasure.
Big New Book Releases
H(A)PPY by Nicola Barker, 20 July
H(A)PPY imagines a perfect world in which everything is known, where there can be no doubt, hatred, poverty or greed. A world without sickness, without death, without God and without fear. Is this a world you could be happy in? H(A)PPY is a post-post apocalyptic Alice in Wonderland and the latest novel from the Man-Booker shortlisted, Nicola Barker.
The Unwomanly Face of War, Svetlana Alexievich, 25 July
The Unwomanly Face of War is a compilation of stories which document the experiences of Soviet women involved in WW2. Alexievich travelled thousands of miles to interview hundreds of women and uncovered a different side of the war, previously unheard. Alexievich originally finished the book in 1983, but it went unpublished until 1985 as it didn’t fit with the state sanctioned version of the war.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith, 6 July
From the award-winning British author of White Teeth and On Beauty comes this dazzlingly energetic and deeply human story. Showing how friendship, music and stubborn roots can shape human beings it also demonstrates how we can survive these things. Moving from northwest London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.
Tin Man by Sarah Winman, 27 July
The new novel from Sarah Winman, author of the international bestsellers When God Was a Rabbit and A Year of Marvellous Ways, traces the development of the relationship between childhood friends, Ellis and Michael, whose lives are dramatically altered when Annie enters their world.
Sleeping in the Ground by Peter Robinson, 13 July
In the latest instalment of the DCI Banks series from Peter Robinson a horrific mass murder at a wedding in a Yorkshire Dales church brings about a huge manhunt and causes the eponymous Banks to delve deeper into the psychological intricacies of the event itself.
Madame Zero by Sarah Hall, 6 July
Sarah Hall’s latest collection of stories reveal the writer at the peak of her powers. Blurring the natural and the urban, the mundane and surreal and the human and animal these stories are filled with the mythic symbolism of wilderness and wasteland. Featuring Hall’s signature lyrical prose the collection is full of disturbing and erotic imagery and is marked by a fascination with the intimacy of nature as well as the nature of intimacy.
Lady Macbeth, William Oldroyd, Friday 21 July
This may not be what you are expecting. The first feature film from director William Oldroyd, Lady Macbeth traces the development of Katherine, a young woman trapped in a loveless marriage to an older man, as she attempts to assert her autonomy in a repressive environment. Based on Nikolai Leskov’s novel, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, the film has been widely praised by critics since its initial showing at the Toronto International Film Festival last year.
Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan, Friday 21 July
This one is kind of a big deal. Following the success of his gloriously complex sci-fi thriller, Interstellar, Chris Nolan’s latest project is based on the allied evacuation from Dunkirk during WW2. Nolan has reunited with Inception stars Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy who play an RAF fighter pilot and a disillusioned soldier, respectively. Mark Rylance and Sir Kenneth Branagh add further gold to the acting pot, and as if that wasn’t enough, the film will also mark the acting debut of Harry Styles (sure to bring teenager attendance up significantly).
Spider-Man: Homecoming, Jon Watts, Friday 7 July
It seems we are experiencing a golden age of superhero cinema and Marvel’s latest instalment of the resurrected Spider-Man franchise follows on from the brief look audiences got of the character in Captain America: Civil War. British actor, Tom Holland, plays the hero with Robert Downey Jr. returning as mentor, Tony Stark. Interestingly, three years after his performance as a disillusioned actor famous for playing an iconic superhero in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman, Michael Keaton takes a turn as the obligatory superhero baddie, the Vulture.
War for the Planet of the Apes, Matt Reeves, 14 July
Combining big budget action with an engaging and morally complex narrative War for the Planet of the Apes is the third chapter in the recently resurrected film adaptions of Pierre Boulle’s novel. Andy Serkis returns as Caesar, the leader of the apes with Woody Harrelson playing the colonel of the army intent on eradicating them. This is the final instalment in the critically acclaimed trilogy, and if reviews are anything to go by is a fitting end to the franchise.
A Date for Your Calendar
July 18 will mark the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death.