May 2024’s Must-Read Book Releases

The best novels, short story collections, and more to add to your reading list.

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Another month, another fresh set of book releases to devour. See NYLON’s monthly reading list, Bookmark, ahead.

Glitch Feminism author Legacy Russell maps out the idea of the meme as it pertains to Black visual culture from 1900 to present day. From historical to modern images of Blackness like the Anita Hill hearings to the Facebook Live video of Lavish “Diamond” Reynolds after police murdered her partner Philando Castile, Russell writes about the profound impact Black people have had on digital culture.

My First Book By Honor Levy — Penguin Press, May 14

Honor Levy has been hailed as a riveting voice of Gen Z for her surreal, electric flash fiction stories that find her characters increasingly enmeshed in a digital age on the edge of collapse. Now, she releases a debut short-story collection full of young people in strange situations.

All Fours By Miranda July — Riverhead Books, May 14

Actor, filmmaker, and aughts literary It Girl Miranda July is releasing her first novel in eight years: an irreverent, erotic story about a semi-famous middle-aged artist who upends her life.

Riot Grrrls girls have long been waiting for Rebel Girl, the memoir from legendary Bikini Kill and Le Tigre front woman Kathleen Hanna. Hanna takes us through her tumultuous childhood and rebellious youth in Olympia, Washington, to starting the Riot Grrrl movement in the ’90s. The musician expands on it all, from her friendship with Kurt Cobain to falling in love with Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock to her battle with Lyme disease.

From the author of Black Light comes a richly psychedelic and smart novel about a young former rocker coping with the dizzying effects of grief after the death of her sister. After a trip to Montana with her best friend, she returns to Dallas and tries to balance her daily routine with reminiscing about her past life and pondering new sexual fantasies.

Very Bad Company By Emma Rosenblum — Flatiron, May 14

Emma Rosenblum, chief content officer of Bustle Digital Group, first brought us the juicy Bad Summer People. Now, she’s releasing Very Bad Company, which follows 10 dysfunctional colleagues brokering a billion-dollar deal over a weekend in paradise that turns murderous.

Perfume & Pain By Anna Dorn — Simon & Schuster, May 21

Few authors are doing it like Anna Dorn, who continues to make readers cackle with her menacing sense of humor. Perfume & Pain is her best yet, a total L.A. freak show that’s as propulsive and addicting as the protagonist Astrid’s pharmaceutical cocktail that she calls a “Patricia Highsmith.”

Exhibit by R.O. Kwan — Riverhead Books, May 21

Jin Han has been told that she’s never to share anything about an old familial curse, lest she risk death and ruin. But she can’t help herself when she meets Lidija, an injured pro ballerina on hiatus from her ballet company for sketchy reasons. R.O. Kwan’s Exhibit is an exhilarating novel about being caught between the desires of the future and the specters of the past.

Fake Piñata By Ashleah Gonzales — Rose Books, May 21

In 2019, paparazzi photos of Kendall Jenner reading Tonight I’m Someone Else by Chelsea Hodson — a recommendation from her modeling agent Ashleah Gonzales — went viral. But beyond Gonzales’ impeccable literature curation for Jenner — which included writers from Melissa Broder to Eve Babitz — she was working on her own poems. Now, her sweet and stinging debut collection of poetry, Fake Piñata, is out this month. “I feel like a fake piñata myself,” she says in NYLON’s Spring/Summer 2024 issue. “When you open the book, you’re cracking open a piñata and finding all of these separate pieces of me that are all very different, but all belong to the same thing.”

Mood Swings By Frankie Barnet — Astra House, May 21

In Frankie Barnet’s clever debut novel, animals have been nixed for the safety of humanity. But things are now stranger than ever as people sell house plants like mad to replace pets and find work cosplaying as dogs. In the midst of it all, Barnet weaves a uniquely modern love story between an Instagram poet and a tech billionaire working on a time machine to go back to when things were normal — whatever that means.