Heading into the heart of summer in Charleston, South Carolina, where I live, sometimes it’s too hot for anything except hunkering down in the air conditioning with a good book. Here are seven to check out this July, with quotes from our reviews.

The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich
“The Nobel laureate writes about ‘the wrong kind of war’: oral confessions from Russian women intimately involved with fighting for the motherland….Essential reading full of remarkable emotional wealth.”

Roots, Radicals and Rockers by Billy Bragg
“Superb account, by British folk-punker Bragg, of the politically aware, working-class skiffle craze of the 1950s.”

Eric_liveslyNight Class by Victor P. Corona
“An engaging, if unlikely, memoir of a scholar by day, club hopper by night….A spry memoir of New York nightlife, the bouncer-at-the-gate demimonde of loud discos and flowing drink and drug.”

The Hidden Machinery by Margot Livesey
“From the noted creative writing teacher and novelist, a smart, unpretentious guide to ‘writing the life, shaping the novel.’…Would-be writers will find this both useful and inspiring, while general readers can simply enjoy Livesey’s keen insights and engaging prose.”

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Woolly by Ben Mezrich
“A tale of the resurrection of the woolly mammoth and how ‘biology and genetics [have] gone from passive observation to active creation.’…There’s a lot of science here, but on the whole, Mezrich does a good job of making it accessible.”

Vanishing New York by Jeremiah Moss
“The Big Apple is morphing into a class-war amusement park for the very rich. Thus this irate argument for remaking it into a city for the rest of us….Maddening if you’re not mega-wealthy, and a vigorous, righteously indignant book that would do Jane Jacobs proud.”

Everything All at Once by Bill Nye
“Bow-tied nerd superhero Nye serves up a tasty combination of memoir and manifesto….Just the vade mecum for the smart teenager in the family and eminently pleasing reading for grown-up nerds as well.”

Eric Liebetrau is the nonfiction and managing editor.