May’s Best New Books offer a wide array of motivation

May’s Best New Books offer a wide array of motivation

In Reading Lists - Best New Books by Dana Hamilton

May’s Best New Books offer a wide array of motivation

If you’re looking for a dose of inspiration, May’s Best New Books have you covered. Enjoy a wide array of motivating reads like a memoir from the COO of Nintendo sharing his rise to success, a DREAMer-turned-Marvel superhero on living the “American Dream,” and a motivational guide from one of Peloton’s most famous instructors. There are also entertaining novels just in time for summer reading like John Waters’ latest funhouse mirror of a novel as well as rom-coms and YA titles. Whatever you’re into, this month’s picks are full of stories that will enrich, enlighten, and entertain.

Love Marriage by Monica Ali 

Set in 2016 with Brexit at the forefront, Love Marriage is the story of a medical student’s picture-perfect interfaith engagement unraveling. As Joe and Yasmin’s worlds collide, family secrets bubble up among a cast of complicated characters that practically leap off the page. Exploring difficult topics like sexism, racism, and inequality in healthcare, it’s no wonder this thoughtful, multi-layered read is currently being adapted into a movie by BBC.

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Liarmouth by John Waters

If you’re curious to know what the famous filmmaker is up to in his mid-seventies, Liarmouth proves that Waters has still got it. This hilarious story of a sleazy con artist scamming everyone she knows is raunchy and wacky, but who would expect anything less from Waters? Buckle up for another fun ride from the king of camp. 

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Disrupting the Game by Reggie Fils-Aimé

This debut memoir from the former president and COO of Nintendo of America provides an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek at life at the video game giant. He documents his early days growing up in a Bronx tenement and his professional success at Proctor & Gamble, VH1, and, later, the most famous gaming company in the world. Readers can take away many important business and leadership lessons from the daring career decisions Fils-Aimé makes along the way.

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The Power of Conflict by Jon Taffer

A guide to taking advantage of friction from bestselling author of Don’t Bullsh*t Yourself and star of the hit TV show “Bar Rescue.” Taffer’s easy-to-follow tips on how to navigate difficult conversations and diffuse tension show how conflict can be an adaptive tool to change minds and strengthen relationships.

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Fierce Love by Sonya Curry

The mother of two NBA champions — Steph and Seth Curry — offers an inside look into the Curry family and how she raised her children to do what’s right in the face of adversity. From an early life living in poverty and being harassed by the KKK to leading her sons to athletic greatness, Curry credits her children’s success to their shared faith. With a wry sense of humor, she shares a heartfelt story of resilience, familial love, and, of course, basketball.

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As attorney and community leader Jawando traces his life trajectory in his debut memoir, it becomes a tribute to all the Black male mentors — including President Barack Obama — who helped shape him into who he is today. Unflinchingly addressing the challenges and emotional pain of growing up Black in America, this tender story demonstrates the profound influence of our chosen family.

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Speak by Tunde Oyeneyin

You don't have to be a Peloton owner to appreciate SPEAK. Oyeneyin, popular Peloton instructor, breaks down the acronym — which stands for Surrender, Power, Empathy, Authenticity and Knowledge — by devoting a chapter to each, while doing what she’s known for: encouraging folks to become their best selves. If you struggle with trusting your instincts or embracing your power, let Oyeneyin’s words of wisdom steer you toward a healthier, happier path.

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I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

Set in small-town Alabama, McQuiston’s (One Last Stop, Red, White, & Royal Blue) first YA novel is a lively high school mystery with diverse representation. Popular, pretty Shara Wheeler kisses L.A. transplant Chloe Green, and then disappears. Chloe and classmates Smith and Rory (who Shara also kissed) follow mysterious notes left by Shara, determined to find her before graduation. This fun story of intrigue explores heavier topics like bigotry and identity. 

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Monique, a Baptist preacher’s daughter brought up under oppressive values, loses her longtime boyfriend after she discovers she can’t physically have sex due to vaginismus. Monique’s journey evolves from a quest to win him back into one of self-love, acceptance, and empowerment. Goffney (Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry) writes a novel that’s sweet while powerful, confronting toxic masculinity and shame culture with grace and confidence. 

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Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado

Tirado defies genres with Burn Down, Rise Up, a compelling blend of YA speculative fiction, horror, and magical realism that calls attention to very real issues of racism and “missing white woman” syndrome. People are going missing from the Bronx, but as the victims are mostly people of color, no one seems to care — until 16-year-old Raquel is determined to find the truth. But her search soon reveals that this is no ordinary crime, and a sinister urban legend is at play.

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Siren Queen by Nghi Vo

In the golden age of cinema, a young Chinese American woman will do anything in her pursuit of fame, even some sinister magic. If you love the glamour of Old Hollywood, strong queer protagonists, and a seamless blend of the real and the surreal, Vo’s newest release is a show-stopper.

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Want to learn about crypto but don’t know where to start? In The Truth About Crypto, Edelman breaks everything down in a clear, understandable way so that learning the ins and outs of this new investment strategy is fun to read.

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Hometown Victory by Keanon Lowe and Justin Spizman

After losing a friend to opioid addiction, NFL coach Lowe heads home to work at his local high school. Hometown Victory is the incredible story of how he turns the football team with a 23-0 record into champions, and also stops a high school shooting. This inspiring read is all about the power of connection, community, and mentorship. 

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Plays Well with Others uses science to bust the four biggest relationship myths — “don’t judge a book by its cover,” “love conquers all,” “a friend in need is a friend indeed,” and “no man is an island.” Through case studies and exhaustive research, Barker exposes the truths about humans’ perception skills being far worse than we think, and shares key strategies for overcoming this fault to improve the quality of our relationships.

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In his newest release, Fukuyama, Stanford University political scientist, points out the uncomfortable similarities between the far left and far right in order to advocate for more moderation and diversity. At its core, Liberalism and Its Discontents asks how we as a society can agree on an objective reality in this increasingly divisive time, and delivers excellent food for thought.

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Essential Labor by Angela Garbes

Journalist Garbes combines memoir and cultural analysis to provide a pointed look at the struggles of caregivers in America. The transition from deeply vulnerable personal reflection to social criticism makes for an interesting and engaging story structure, and Garbes’ passion for the subject shines through on every page. A refreshing look at the social constructs of motherhood, as well as the current social movements that are changing how it's viewed and valued in America.

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High Spirits by Camille Gomera-Tavarez

High Spirits is a collection of short stories connecting the Belén family across generations and locales, from their roots in the Dominican Republic and beyond. Intimate and immersive, the book explores themes that any family can relate to, including lingering patriarchy. After this remarkable debut we have much to look forward to from new literary voice Gomera-Tavarez.

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Café Con Lychee by Emery Lee

Teens Theo and Gabi have a lot in common: Their parents own similar businesses, and both boys feel the weight of familial obligation. Despite their similarities, they’ve never gotten along. But when a rival business forces them to work together to save their futures, new feelings begin to emerge. Lee (Meet Cute Diary) offers a delightful enemies-to-lovers tale with plenty of tenderness and wit.

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Zachary Ying feels caught between worlds: He’s a boy of Chinese origin living in a mostly white American city, giving him little opportunity to explore his roots. But when Zach discovers he has special powers and a magical destiny, he must embark on a quest through China to close the portal to another realm. Zhao builds excitement with historical fantasy and action-packed sequences reminiscent of video games, while also exploring vital themes of identity and cultural heritage. 

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One of the buzziest Marvel stars shows how following his “immigrant dream” led to big screen success. Liu’s real-life hero story — full of his Twitter account’s signature wit and humor — offers hope to anyone struggling with their identity and delivers all the feels. 

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My Life by CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment)

A timely, deeply intimate collection of essays that capture a wide variety of Asian American coming-of-age experiences. Compiled amid the anti-Asian violence that began in 2020, contributors include MTV News correspondent SuChin Pak, poet G Yamazawa, and former Reddit CEO Ellen K. Pao. 

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Golden by Justin Zorn and Leigh Marz

From Florence Nightingale's recognition of noisy hospitals causing stress in recovering soldiers to a WHO study correlating noise pollution with lessened lifespan, it turns out that silence truly is golden when it comes to our health. Zorn and Marz’s powerful tips to cultivate more moments of silence in daily life make this book worth spending some quiet time with.

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Reyes’ touching story of coming into one’s own follows Yamilet “Yami” Flores, a Mexican American teenager recently enrolled in a predominantly white Catholic school. Still reeling from being outed by her ex-best friend, Yami is determined to keep her sexuality a secret from her new peers — and her mother. But her resolve wavers after meeting Bo, a pretty, smart, and openly gay classmate. “The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School” teaches us how to embrace our truth and celebrate our identities.

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The last thing Feyi expected after losing the love of her life five years ago was a flirtatious encounter with a stranger who understands her grief. And then falling in love with the stranger’s father? Definitely not in her plans, either. Emezi’s exploration of love, loss, and moving on is as beautifully written as it is divisive, and sure to provide some lively book club conversation.

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Miss Memory Lane by Colton Haynes

The star of “Teen Wolf” and “Arrow” bares all in his gripping memoir about addiction, body image, LGBTQ+ issues, and the dark side of Hollywood. Raw and hard to read at times, Hayne’s rocky road to health offers hope to anyone who’s dealt with mental illness or experienced childhood abuse. A moving portrait of confronting personal demons.

Start Listening may 31

Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez

After her father is gravely injured during a suspicious accident in the dragon arena, flamenco dancer Zarela Zalvidar must take his place as Dragonador and head of their estate, La Giralda. Only the famed Arturo Díaz de Montserrat can properly train Zarela, and she won’t be deterred by his refusal. An enticing blend of romance, fantasy, and folklore, Together We Burn offers a beautiful story of determination and vulnerability with vivid world-building based on medieval Spain. 

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A Little Bit Country by Brian D. Kennedy

Emmett is openly gay and dreams of being a country star, while Luke hates country music and isn’t ready to come out. The only thing the two have in common is working at Wanda World, a country-themed amusement park, yet their attraction is instantaneous. Before long, they uncover a secret about Luke’s grandmother that puts their newly kindled romance to the test. Kennedy’s debut is a little bit mystery, a little bit romance, and a whole lot of heart. 

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Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle

LaDelle’s high school romance is far from fluff; it’s unafraid to discuss tough issues like assault, debilitating illness, and the inner burdens we all bear. Prince, a 17-year-old radio DJ who offers love advice without the experience to back it up, is smitten with Dani, a fledgling writer with big dreams of college and career. He has three dates to make her fall in love with him — and change their lives forever.

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Just by Looking at Him by Ryan O’Connell

Elliott, a television writer with cerebral palsy, tackles internalized homophobia, ableism, and self-destruction — despite claiming to know better — in this scathingly funny novel. O’Connell’s fans will enjoy the memorable one-liners and raw vulnerability often seen in his popular Netflix series “Special.”

Start Listening JUN 7
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About the Author: Dana Hamilton

Dana is a Los Angeles-based writer who loves everything about books, especially the publishing process! Before she became a journalist with outlets like New York Magazine, VICE, and Fodor's Travel, she helped authors bring their stories to life as an editor at HarperCollins and Hachette. In her free time, she loves to cook (and her New York Times Cooking subscription), listen to comedy podcasts while stuck in LA traffic, and do yoga.
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