13 Books to Read in August
From a fast-paced, surprising novel about a Brooklyn mom on the run from the law, to a story collection about the varied lives of young, female Chinese immigrants, to a cookbook that tells you how to make classic American treats like Oreos and Nutter Butters (seriously), here are the books you need to devour in August.
New People, Danzy Senna (Aug. 1)
Maria and Khalil, both mixed-race, are engaged and participating in a documentary about golden-skinned “new people” like them. But as Maria works on her dissertation, she becomes infatuated with a stranger. You’ll gulp Senna’s novel in a single sitting — but then mull it over for days. Order it here.
See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt (Aug. 1)
The infamous Lizzie Borden case of 1892 comes to life once again in Schmidt’s visceral, vivid debut, which reimagines the case — and the age-old question, did she give her father and step-mother those axe-whacks, or didn’t she? Order it here.
Sour Heart, Jenny Zhang (Aug. 1)
Zhang’s debut collection—the first release from Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s imprint at Random House—tells the loosely linked stories of the daughters of Chinese immigrants in New York as they come of age and experience everything from poverty to puberty. Order it here.
The Grip of It, Jac Jemc (Aug. 1)
In this terrifying novel, a young couple, Julie and James, moves into a new house to get a fresh start on their lives. But it’s not long before the house reveals itself for what it is: A haunted, living monstrosity, crumbling in front of them, developing strange stains on the walls that manifest as bruises on Julie’s body, and other frightening happenings. Order it here.
The Talented Ribkins, Ladee Hubbard (Aug. 8)
A 72-year-old man who comes from an African-American family with strange superpowers has a week to pay back money he stole decades ago — and his niece ends up being his unlikely sidekick on the rip-roaring adventure. Order it here.
The Misfortune of Marion Palm, Emily Culliton (Aug. 8)
Marion Palm is a Brooklyn mom who’s been embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the tony private school where she works, splurging on vacations and renovations — not that her dim-bulb husband has noticed. But with the school facing an audit, Marion grabs some hastily bundled cash and strikes out. Order it here.
The Customer Is Always Wrong, Mimi Pond (Aug. 8)
Set in late 1970s Oakland, this comedic graphic novel from Over Easy author Pond follows a waitress named Madge whose career as a comic artist finally starts to take off, as the lives of the customers and co-workers she interacts with every day spiral downward. Order it here.
Life in Code, Ellen Ullman (Aug. 8)
Ullman, a computer programmer since the ’70s, expands on the themes she covered in 1997’s Close to the Machine with pieces about what it was like on the forefront of the tech revolution, being a woman in a male-dominated industry, and how the tech landscape has (and hasn’t) changed. Order it here.
The Party, Elizabeth Day (Aug. 15)
In this psychological page-turner, a deeply buried secret that ties two married couples together comes to a head during one lavish 40th birthday party. Order it here.
BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts, Stella Parks (Aug. 15)
From homemade Oreos and Nutter Butters to rainbow sprinkles and yellow layer cake, Parks’ delightful cookbook is a guide to classic American treats that frankly, we never thought we’d be able to make ourselves. Order it here.
Young Jane Young, Gabrielle Zevin (Aug. 22)
Zevin, best known for The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, returns with a novel about a young political intern who becomes infamous after having an affair with her boss, then detailing it on her blog. She changes her name and moves away to raise her daughter, but when she later decides to run for office, her mistake — immortalized on the internet — catches up with her. Order it here.
The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, Cherise Wolas (Aug. 29)
When Joan Ashby, a writer revered for her dark short stories, gets pregnant, she puts her career on hold to raise her two sons — despite her conviction (and her husband’s) that she’d never have children and always put her work first. Decades later, she finally finishes her brilliant novel and prepares to continue the life she gave up, only to find herself blindsided by a terrible betrayal. Order it here.
My Absolute Darling, Gabriel Tallent (Aug. 29)
One of EW’s favorite books of the year so far, Tallent spins an unputdownable coming-of-age novel about 14-year-old Turtle, who’s being raised in isolation by her volatile father. But when she meets Jacob, the high school boy who becomes her first crush and first friend, she realizes how much more life has to offer and must set off on her own to escape. Stephen King called the debut a “masterpiece.” Order it here.