ItThe best books can help you enjoy August, which is the final delicious remnants of summer. Mika’s Real LifeThis book is full of relatability, humor, and a touch of romance that will satisfy anyone looking for the perfect beach read. Walking Gentry Home, An Atlas for the UnknownPlease see the following: Afterlives all ground readers in the specificity of history—a Black matriarchal family tree, China during and after the Cultural Revolution, and East Africa amidst German colonization—fixing us in pockets of time. The folk magic of WitchesIt is a wonderful distraction to the end of the season.
This list contains the most important books that you need to be reading in August.
The Last White Man, Mohsin Hamid (Aug. 2)
Anders, a young white man, wakes up one morning to find that he has turned “a deep and undeniable brown.” At first, he shares the discovery only with Oona, his old friend turned new lover, but soon the whole town starts to transition. Both Anders’ and Oona’s parents struggle with the seemingly inevitable change, but once the titular last white man—Anders’ father—dies, people begin to forget that whiteness ever existed. Author Mohsin Hamid told Oprah Daily that all of his characters experience the loss of whiteness in different ways, and a “profound destabilization” emerges. “There is a basic human desire to be led away from destabilization,” Hamid said. “But also a vital need to take an imaginary journey through it.”
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Mika’s Real LifeEmiko Jean (Aug.
Mika Suzuki doesn’t have her life together. The 35-year-old just lost her latest dead-end job, her last relationship went up in flames, and she isn’t getting along with her parents. Enter Penny Calvin. This is Mika’s adopted daughter 16 years ago. Mika desperately wants to impress Penny, so she makes a series of precarious lies about an art gallery and her boyfriend. Mika must unravel the web to find out if she can reunite with Penny, a curious and headstrong woman, and how she will do it.
Purchase Now: Mika’s Real Life Bookshop | Amazon
Walking Gentry Home, Alora Young (Aug. 2)
Alora Young is a former Youth PoetLaureate of Southern United States. She has just 19 years old and written a poetic debut book in verse. It traces her maternal family’s history from time to now. She starts with Amy, the first of her foremothers to arrive in Tennessee; next is Gentry, Young’s great-grandmother who was driven into marriage at 14; and finally, there is Young’s own mother, a teenage beauty queen. “The only way to tell this story is through poetry,” Young writes, “because Black girlhood is eternally laced with rhythm, from the Negro hymns Amy Coleman whispered as she bore her enslaver’s child to the rhythm of the gospel my mother sang at fifteen when she was hailed a child prodigy.”
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An Atlas for the Unknown, Belinda Huijuan Tang (Aug. 9)
In Belinda Huijuan Tang’s engrossing debut novel, we meet Tang Yitian, who emigrated from China to the U.S. two decades ago to pursue his graduate studies. Yitian rushes to return his home in rural China after his mother calls him with frantic news that her estranged father is missing. He meets Tian Hanwen who is a former love and childhood friend, sharing his passion for learning. As the pair embarks on a quest to find out what happened to Yitian’s father, Yitian must also contend with familial strain, his sense of identity, and the meaning of home.
Purchase Now: An Atlas for the Unknown Bookshop | Amazon
I’m Glad My Mom Died, Jennette McCurdy (Aug. 9)
Jennette McCurdy was six years old when she had her first audition as an actor. For fifteen years her mother put restrictions on her diet, criticised her physical appearance and kept track of her emails, income, diaries and showers. The mother is now the iCarly star has written a darkly funny memoir about the fraught relationship, reflecting on her late mother’s behaviors with empathy and insight. McCurdy is a tale of healing, having overcome alcohol and bulimia. She also quit acting and has been through therapy.
Purchase Now: I’m Glad My Mom Died Bookshop | Amazon
Elizabeth Finch, Julian Barnes (Aug. 16)
Neil is enthralled by Professor Elizabeth Finch, the teacher of “Culture and Civilization,” a class not for college students but for adults of all ages. It’s no ordinary course, nor is Finch an ordinary professor; author Julian Barnes writes her as singular and vivid, reserved yet commanding. Neil, a history teacher, forms a close friendship with Finch.
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An Novel about WitchesBrenda Lopez. Translation by Heather Cleary (Aug. 16).
Zoe, an American journalist, has exhausted herself from endless assignments regarding rape and female genital mutilation. However, Zoe agrees that she will investigate Paloma. Paloma is a murder victim of a traditional healer (or curandera), from San Felipe. In San Felipe, Zoe meets Feliciana, another curandera, who also happens to be Paloma’s cousin. Through Feliciana, Zoe begins to unearth the story of the cousins’ struggle to establish themselves as curanderas in a patriarchal family.
Purchase Now: Witches Bookshop | Amazon
Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America’s Overdose CrisisBeth Macy, August 16
Beth Macy, an acclaimed author Dopesick, follows up her 2018 book with another deeply reported account of the dark forces at play behind America’s opioid crisis—this time focusing on the ordinary people fighting back against them. Although addiction rates have risen dramatically since the outbreak of the pandemic in the US, harm reductionists activists and frontline workers are working to combat stigmatization, and towards real, lasting change.
Purchase Now: Raising Lazarus Bookshop | Amazon
Afterlives, Abdulrazak Gurnah (Aug. 23)
Abdulrazak Gurnah, winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature, weaves the stories of three East Africans—Ilyas, Afiya, and Hamza—into a rich, detailed tapestry. When he was just a child, Ilyas was abducted by the German colonial Army. After finding his sister Afiya at home, he returns to Germany to rejoin the schutztruppe. They are a group composed of African mercenaries serving the German empire. Hamza had also joined the Germans as a mercenary, but quickly realizes his mistake, and returns home from war to meet—and fall for—Afiya. This story combines three distinct stories to examine the violence of European colonialism.
Purchase Now: Afterlives Bookshop | Amazon
Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution, R.F. Kuang (Aug. 23)
It Poppy War author R.F. Kuang’s latest, a work of dark academia, she chronicles the rise of a Chinese orphan studying at Babel, Oxford University’s prestigious (and fictional) Royal Institute of Translation. At the suggestion of Richard Lovell (an Oxford sinologist), Robin Swift was given his new name. That’s not the only strange occurrence at the institute. Robin begins to see that Babel could also be a way for Robin to leave his home.
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Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta, James Hannaham (Aug. 30)
The Fourth of July looks a lot different for Carlotta this year—after two decades in prison, where she transitioned and faced abuse from fellow inmates and correctional officers alike, she’s finally out and ready to go home. The bold, bratty, and delightfully funny protagonist is trying to make peace with Fort Greene, Brooklyn, she had left. Hannaham’s novel has drawn comparisons to UlyssesWith its unique style and ability to capture snapshots.
Purchase Now: Don’t Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta Bookshop | Amazon
Carrie Soto Is Back, Taylor Jenkins Reid (Aug. 30)
In Taylor Jenkins Reid’s latest novel, retired tennis legend Carrie Soto aims to make a triumphant return to the sport she once changed forever, winning 20 Grand Slam singles titles and earning the media nickname “the Battle Axe” for her brutal playing style and icy demeanor. A new contender has come along to threaten her record, so Carrie, now 37, returns to the court—alongside her father and lifelong coach, Javier—to defend her record and her legacy.
Purchase Now: Carrie Soto Is Back Bookshop | Amazon
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