Well Read: The 5 Books You Won't Be Able To Put Down This July

Contributing Food Editor By Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor
Liz Moody is a food editor, recipe developer and green smoothie enthusiast. She received her creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody is the author of two cookbooks: Healthier Together and Glow Pops and the host of the Healthier Together podcast.

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Reading is undeniably a key wellness practice—and one that many of us have ignored for far too long. It's proven to build empathy, reduce stress, and even lessen sugar cravings (yes, really!). With that in mind, we're excited to share Well Read, a column that curates the absolute best fiction and narrative nonfiction picks of the month. Here's what you should read this July. (Want more Well Read? You can find our past picks here.)

The Gifted School: A Novel by Bruce Holsinger

Set in a fictional high-income Denver suburb, this novel follows a number of elementary-school children and their achievement-obsessed parents. Like 2014's Big Little Lies, The Gifted School peels back the layers of seemingly perfect people until you can see their tautly stretched, deeply stressed centers. It's both a fun read and a startlingly honest look at the perils and pitfalls of parenting, shining a magnifying glass on what it does to relationships and our senses of selves. The Gifted School: A Novel by Bruce Holsinger (July 2)

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

With glowing praise from Elizabeth Gilbert, this nonfiction look at the sex lives of three real women in America is sure to have people buzzing. Taddeo spent nearly a decade delving into the innermost worlds of Lina, an anxiety-ridden Indiana woman whose marriage has lost its luster; Maggie, a 17-year-old carrying on an affair with her teacher; and Sloane, a successful restaurateur who finds herself having sex with other men because it turns her husband on. As pages turn like a novel, you'll gasp as you remember that these are real people. In these pages, Taddeo has captured some of the most intimate, shame-ridden, and confused parts of our inner selves and laid them bare for questioning. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (July 9)

Say Say Say: A Novel by Lila Savage

Bryn, a retired carpenter, hires Ella, an artist in her late 20s, to help take care of his wife Jill, who sustained brain damage in a car accident. In their house, Ella witnesses a level of love and passion that she's been bereft of in her lackluster day-to-day life. This is a heartbreaking book that meditates on empathy and finding human connection even in the worst of circumstances. While the premise could read as saccharine or tear-jerking, the bracingly honest, unflinching prose elevates this work to the level of an emotional masterpiece. Say Say Say: A Novel by Lila Savage (July 9)

The Nickel Boys: A Novel by Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead's last novel, The Underground Railroad, was a massive sensation, taking home the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. It's a tough act to follow, but Whitehead succeeds with this take on Jim Crow–era Florida. It's a time when one mistake can destroy a young black man's future, and the tension in the book is palpable, as Whitehead navigates true historical facts with winning prose and fast-paced narrative. A must-read meditation on race relations and the systemic powers that work against so many Americans. The Nickel Boys: A Novel by Colson Whitehead (July 16)

Costalegre by Courtney Maum

Heavily inspired by the relationship between heiress Peggy Guggenheim and her daughter, this novel takes place in 1937, on the brink of World War 2. To protect her art collection, the heiress runs away with her teenage daughter to a small Mexican jungle village. The book is told entirely from the daughter's perspective, in notes, poems, and diary entries dashed off as she navigates a strange world filled with artists and dilettantes. This slim coming-of-age story is about the relationship between mothers and daughters and how we become ourselves, and the inability to discern reality from fiction and art will resonate with anyone who remembers being a teenager. Costalegre by Courtney Maum (July 16)

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