Well, it’s August. As you might expect, we have some recommended books for you this month. They don’t have a lot in common; if we were to choose a theme, we might point to an abundance of notable short story collections in this month’s recommendations, but again, these are a relatively wide-ranging bunch. But that also seems like par for the course right now: you might want to read something thought-provoking or you might want to read something escapist. Either way, we have you covered.
Andrea Bartz, We Were Never Here
(Aug. 3, Ballantine Books)
Over the course of her works to date, Andrea Bartz’s fiction abounds with tension, secrets, and betrayals. We Were Never Here, about the friendship between two women and the murder that drives a wedge between them, is another gripping addition to her bibliography — and an edge-of-your-seat summer read.
Brian Evenson, The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell
(Aug. 3, Coffee House Press)
Few writers can blend the cerebral and the visceral the way Brian Evenson does. His latest collection offers readers another heady dose of ominous situations and threats both existential and physical. It also finds Evenson expanding his range, taking structural risks and pushing onward into more and more surreal scenarios.
Halimah Marcus (editor), Horse Girls: Recovering, Aspiring, and Devoted Riders Redefine the Iconic Bond
(Aug. 3, Harper Perennial)
The bond between humans and horses has been the source of a host of memorable writing over the years. In a new anthology, editor Halimah Marcus brings together an impressive lineup of writers, including T Kira Madden and Carmen Maria Machado, to offer their own takes on this timeless connection.
LaTanya McQueen, When the Reckoning Comes
(Aug. 3, Harper Perennial)
When estranged friends reconnect at a wedding in a Southern town, the occasion turns out to be fraught in numerous ways. Some of that comes from the interpersonal tension, some from the location of the wedding itself, and some from the ghosts both literal and metaphorical roaming the landscape. Looking for a resonant, disquieting read this month? When the Reckoning Comes has you covered.
Anthony Veasna So, Afterparties
(Aug. 3, Ecco)
Afterparties, the posthumous collection from Anthony Veasna So, offers readers scenes from disparate aspects of Cambodian-American life. Along the way, So’s stories cover a host of national and personal history, finding unexpected reveries and revelations as they reach an unlikely outcome.
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, Savage Tongues
(Aug. 3, Mariner Books)
In Savage Tongues, the new novel by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, the past bears with it a harrowing capacity to disrupt lives. This applies to both the recent past and the complex history of the Middle East. It follows one woman’s reckoning with her own past, and the larger context that suffuses the history she’s tried to leave behind.
Alaa Al Aswany, The Republic of False Truths; translated by S. R. Fellowes
(Aug. 10, Alfred A. Knopf)
Set against the backdrop of the Egyptian revolution of 2011, Alaa Al Aswany’s novel The Republic of False Truths offers readers a wide-ranging array of perspectives on a nation in the midst of change. The result is a novel that offers a human-scale vision of history — and a gripping look at the conflicts that can alter a nation.
Melissa Broder, Superdoom: Selected Poems
(Aug. 10, Tin House)
If you’ve been a fan of Melissa Broder’s acclaimed novels and wanted to delve into her poetry, or have sought a concise look at her work in verse, might we suggest Superdoom? It collects a host of her poetry from her first four collections, along with a new introduction that offers insight and a new perspective on the work within.
Zen Cho, Spirits Abroad
(Aug. 10, Small Beer Press)
Zen Cho’s work to date has won and been nominated for a host of awards, a testament to Cho’s range as a writer and her skill at navigating a host of styles and tones. Her new collection Spirits Abroad brings together 19 of her short stories, including one Hugo Award winner; the result is an impressive summary of what she’s capable of.
DaShaun L. Harrison, Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-Fatness as Anti-Blackness
(Aug. 10, North Atlantic Books)
Where do issues of race, the body, and weight converge? In their new book Belly of the Beast, DaShaun L. Harrison offers an incisive and thought-provoking look at that very location, providing a challenge to many assumptions that some readers may have had. Add a foreword by Kiese Laymon to the mix and you have the makings of a vital work of nonfiction.
Patrick Nathan, Image Control: Art, Fascism, and the Right to Resist
(Aug. 17, Counterpoint)
What do the way we look at art and the way we view social media have in common? And what are the larger political implications of this gaze? Patrick Nathan’s Image Control offers readers a provocative and ominous message — that some of the conditions under which we do this viewing can point us in the direction of fascism.
Deborah Levy, Real Estate: A Living Autobiography
(Aug. 24, Bloomsbury)
Whether she’s writing fiction or nonfiction, Deborah Levy’s work pushes boundaries and takes readers to unexpected places. Her new book, subtitled “A Living Autobiography,” offers a distinct perspective on her own life and the role of objects in it. If it’s anything like her previous forays into nonfiction, it may well make readers rethink many of their expectations.
Note: all cover artwork and release dates are subject to change.