June preview: 4 books you need to read this month

From Arundhati Roy to Roxane Gay, we take a look at new books hitting the shelves.
Booker Prize-winning author Arundhati Roy's new novel is entitled The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (AFP/Getty Images)

Each month at q, we take a look at the new books we're most excited about. This month, Arundhati Roy's first book in 20 years and new books from Roxane Gay and Sherman Alexie hit the shelves. Scroll down to read more about June's must-read books. 

Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (June 6)

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is only Roy's second novel. Her first, The God of All Small Things won the prestigious Booker Prize two decades ago in 1997. In the intervening 20 years, Roy has produced several works of non-fiction, but this novel intertwines the lives of India's marginalized and voiceless people, fully realizing them as characters, and prioritizes their lives and struggles through vivid prose.

Sherman Alexie, You Don't Have to Say You Love Me (June 13)

Alexie's highly anticipated followup to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, You Don't Have to Say You Love Me is a memoir based on the inherently complex relationship he had with his alcoholic mother. Alexie writes about how his mother's addiction tested familial bonds, and yet she wanted a better life for her son. He makes sense of his experience by unearthing raw memories, and yet, like much of Alexie's writing, the book is punctuated with relatable humour.

Roxane Gay, Hunger (June 6)

Listeners to q will be familiar with Gay, who appeared on the show earlier this year to discuss her latest work of fiction, Difficult Women, a collection of short stories. Hunger, however, is a memoir in which Gay trains her pen directly on herself as a subject. In Hunger, she confronts issues of body image, food and weight in her inimitably honest and vulnerable voice.

S.K. Ali, Saints and Misfits (June 13)

This debut YA novel by Toronto writer S.K. Ali centres around Janna Yusuf, a hijab-wearing, Arab Indian-American teenager whose obsessions with essayist Flannery O'Connor and graphic novels eschew simplistic and narrow-minded stereotypes that might be levelled at her. Ali's novel is equally adept at handling Janna's hand-wringing over relationships and her internal conflict concerning a local hero who is not quite as valiant as he seems.

— Del F. Cowie, q digital staff


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