As of this writing, we are currently hunkered down in an air-conditioned environment, given that the early days of August are a perfect example of why New York Augusts can be, shall we say, dank. Perhaps you’re following our lead; perhaps you’re doing your reading from a front porch, back yard, or beach chair instead. Either way, here are some of our recommendations for August reading. Hopefully, you’ll find something to savor from this list.
Tobias Carroll, Ex-Members
(August 1, Astrophil Press)
Do you like your fiction with a steady diet of 90s punk references? Our managing editor’s second novel traces the rise and fall of a cult hardcore band in 1990s New Jersey — and the people and places that they left in their wake.
Tom Offland, She Gives Us Mushrooms
(August 1, Happy Healthy Normal)
What happens when a mushroom guide’s life takes a turn for the surreal? That’s the question at the heart of Tom Offland’s new novel, about one guide wrangling with a surge in popularity and an abundance of unexpected figures from her past. As befits a book with mushrooms at its center, things get weird.
Mohsin Hamid, The Last White Man
(August 2, Riverhead)
Mohsin Hamid’s writings often blend high concepts with inventive structures, and his latest novel is no exception. The Last White Man focuses on a man who awakens one morning to discover his body has been transformed overnight. How does he address his new status quo, and what happens when more and more people experience the same phenomenon? You’ll have to read this to find the answer.
Gabino Iglesias, The Devil Takes You Home
(August 2, Mulholland Books)
The long-awaited new novel from frequent Vol.1 Brooklyn contributor Gabino Iglesias takes the noir genre into some thoroughly unexpected places. Iglesias’s novel traces the last job an unlikely gun for hire agrees to do, and the increasingly bizarre and harrowing array of events that it sends him down when things don’t go according to plan.
Janice Lee, Separation Anxiety
(August 2, CLASH Books)
We’ve long enjoyed Janice Lee’s prose work, both in terms of essays and in terms of fiction. Separation Anxiety features another aspect of Lee’s work — her poetry. As with much of her writing, this book addresses questions of mortality, trauma, and memory — taking the reader to haunting places along the way.
Lynne Tillman, Mothercare
(August 2, Soft Skull)
Whether writing innovative fiction or incisive nonfiction, Lynne Tillman’s work always feels fresh and insightful. With her new book Mothercare, she turns to her own life and family, addressing her mother’s illness and the period of time when she had to care for her. It’s a book that’s already garnering rave reviews and heated discussion.
Elizabeth Crane, This Story Will Change
(August 9, Counterpoint)
Reading Elizabeth Crane’s work is thoroughly immersive, whether she’s venturing into personal histories or summoning up surreal images and characters. With her latest book, This Story Will Change, she chronicles the unexpected end of her marriage and the changes in her life that followed — making for a memorable and moving read.
Nate Powell, Save It For Later
(August 9, Abrams)
Nate Powell has been involved with some of the most acclaimed political comics of the last few years, including his collaborations with the late John Lewis. For Save It For Later, he juxtaposes his own observations on the changing political discourse in the country with his feelings on being a parent — all making for a resonant, moving portrait of where the personal and political converge.
Jesse Ball, Autoportrait
(August 16, Catapult)
If you’ve read any of the late Édouard Levé’s books — including the one that shares a title with Jesse Ball’s new one — you know how wrenchingly personal and formally innovative they could be. What happens when someone like Ball, an innovator in a very different mode, takes on a project drawing inspiration from Levé? This is the result.
Michael J. Seidlinger, Anybody Home?
(August 16, CLASH Books)
What happens when you deconstruct a home-invasion thriller — and then reassemble it in an even more unsettling form? That’s where Anybody Home? comes into play — a novel that suggests the terrifying literary offspring of Robert Coover and Geoff Manaugh, perhaps. And, like the best horror fiction, it taps into a host of anxieties about betrayal, surveillance, and the threat of violence.
Jen Doll, That’s Debatable
(August 30, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Debate clubs can be the stuff of thoroughly compelling drama — and, in the case of Jen Doll’s new novel, grounds for romance as well. There are plenty of ways in which debate competitions can lead to sparks flying, and we’re eager to see how that manifests itself here. (Can a mock trial-themed romance be far behind?)
Note: all cover art and release dates are subject to change.