Features

The Best New Books of August 2019

A list of over a dozen forthcoming books.

Summer’s almost over, but the list of great books coming out this season continues to grow! Here are our favorite new books hitting shelves this August.

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion
By Jia Tolentino
Random House
August 6, 2019

“Jia Tolentino is a peerless voice of her generation, tackling the conflicts, contradictions, and sea changes that define us and our time. Now, in this dazzling collection of nine entirely original essays, written with a rare combination of give and sharpness, wit and fearlessness, she delves into the forces that warp our vision, demonstrating an unparalleled stylistic potency and critical dexterity.”

The Remainder
By Alia Trabucco Zerán
Coffee House Press
August 6, 2019

“Felipe and Iquela, two young friends in modern day Santiago, live in the legacy of Chile’s dictatorship. Felipe prowls the streets counting dead bodies real and imagined, aspiring to a perfect number that might offer closure. Iquela and Paloma, an old acquaintance from Iquela’s childhood, search for a way to reconcile their fragile lives with their parents’ violent militant past. The body of Paloma’s mother gets lost in transit, sending the three on a pisco-fueled journey up the cordillera as they confront the pain that stretches across generations.”

The Women of the Copper Country
By Mary Doria Russell
Atria
August 6, 2019

“In July 1913, twenty-five-year-old Annie Clements had seen enough of the world to know that it was unfair. She’s spent her whole life in the copper-mining town of Calumet, Michigan where men risk their lives for meager salaries—and had barely enough to put food on the table and clothes on their backs. The women labor in the houses of the elite, and send their husbands and sons deep underground each day, dreading the fateful call of the company man telling them their loved ones aren’t coming home. When Annie decides to stand up for herself, and the entire town of Calumet, nearly everyone believes she may have taken on more than she is prepared to handle.”

How to Be an Antiracist
By Ibram X. Kendi
One World
August 13, 2019

“Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. In How to be an Antiracist, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.”

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
By Olga Tokarczuk, Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
Riverhead
August 13, 2019

“In a remote Polish village, Janina devotes the dark winter days to studying astrology, translating the poetry of William Blake, and taking care of the summer homes of wealthy Warsaw residents. Her reputation as a crank
and a recluse is amplified by her not-so-secret preference for the company of animals over humans. Then a neighbor, Big Foot, turns up dead. Soon other bodies are discovered, in increasingly strange circumstances. As
suspicions mount, Janina inserts herself into the investigation, certain that she knows whodunit.”

The Memory Police
By Yōko Ogawa
Pantheon
August 13, 2019

“On an unnamed island off an unnamed coast, things are disappearing. First, animals and flowers. Then objects–ribbons, bells, photographs. Then, body parts. Most of the island’s inhabitants fail to notice these changes, while those few imbued with the power to recall the lost objects live in fear of the mysterious “memory police,” who are committed to ensuring that the disappeared remain forgotten. When a young novelist realizes that more than her career is in danger, she hides her editor beneath her floorboards, and together, as fear and loss close in around them, they cling to literature as the last way of preserving the past. Part allegory, part literary thriller, The Memory Police is a stunning new work from one of the most exciting contemporary authors writing in any language.”

gods with a little g
By Tupelo Hassman
Farrar, Straus and Girouxgods
August 13, 2019

“So cut off from the rest of the world that even the internet is blocked (never mind traffic in and out), Rosary, California, is run by evangelicals but was named by Catholics. It’s a town on very formal relations with its neighbors, one that boasts an oil refinery as well as a fairly sizable population of teenagers.”

Inland
By Téa Obreht
Random House
August 13, 2019

“In the lawless, drought-ridden lands of the Arizona Territory in 1893, two extraordinary lives unfold. Nora is an unflinching frontierswoman awaiting the return of the men in her life—her husband, who has gone in search of water for the parched household, and her elder sons, who have vanished after an explosive argument. Nora is biding her time with her youngest son, who is convinced that a mysterious beast is stalking the land around their home.”

Hard Mouth
By Amanda Goldblatt
Counterpoint
August 13, 2019

“An adventure novel upended by grief and propelled by the aberrant charm of its narrator, Hard Mouth explores what it takes to both existentially and literally survive. For ten years, Denny’s father has battled cancer. The drawn-out loss has forged Denny into a dazed, antisocial young woman. On the clock, she works as a lab tech, readying fruit flies for experimentation. In her spare time, only her parents, an aggressively kind best friend, and her blowhard imaginary pal Gene―who she knows isn’t real―ornament her stale days in the DC suburbs.”

I Heart Oklahoma!
By Roy Scranton
Soho Press
August 13, 2019

“Suzie’s seen it all, but now she’s looking for something she lost: a sense of the future. So when the chance comes to work with a maverick video artist on his road movie about Donald Trump’s America, she’s pretty sure it’s a bad idea but she signs up anyway, hoping for an outside shot at starting over.”

An American Sunrise: Poems
By Joy Harjo
W. W. Norton & Company
August 13, 2019

“In the early 1800s, the Mvskoke people were forcibly removed from their original lands east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory, which is now part of Oklahoma. Two hundred years later, Joy Harjo returns to her family’s lands and opens a dialogue with history. In An American Sunrise, Harjo finds blessings in the abundance of her homeland and confronts the site where her people, and other indigenous families, essentially disappeared. From her memory of her mother’s death, to her beginnings in the native rights movement, to the fresh road with her beloved, Harjo’s personal life intertwines with tribal histories to create a space for renewed beginnings. Her poems sing of beauty and survival, illuminating a spirituality that connects her to her ancestors and thrums with the quiet anger of living in the ruins of injustice.”

This American Autopsy: Poems
By José Antonio Rodríguez
University of Oklahoma Press
August 15, 2019

“In this powerful collection of free-verse poetry, immigrant, poet, and memoirist José Antonio Rodríguez encapsulates the experiences of an artist and citizen caught between two worlds. At once deeply personal and thematically expansive, these works offer a bracing look at the darker impulses of contemporary America.”

Machine
By Susan Steinberg
Graywolf Press
August 20, 2019

Machine revolves around a group of teenagers―both locals and wealthy out-of-towners―during a single summer at the shore. Steinberg captures the pressures and demands of this world in a voice that effortlessly slides from collective to singular, as one girl recounts a night on which another girl drowned.”

Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver
By Jill Heinerth
Ecco
August 20, 2019

“More people have died exploring underwater caves than climbing Mount Everest, and we know more about deep space than we do about the depths of our oceans. Into the Planet blends science, adventure, and memoir to bring readers face-to-face with the terror and beauty of earth’s remaining unknowns and the extremes of human capability.”

Doxology
By Nell Zink
Ecco
August 27, 2019

“Pam, Daniel, and Joe might be the worst punk band on the Lower East Side. Struggling to scrape together enough cash and musical talent to make it, they are waylaid by surprising arrivals—a daughter for Pam and Daniel, a solo hit single for Joe. As the ’90s wane, the three friends share in one another’s successes, working together to elevate Joe’s superstardom and raise baby Flora.”

Everything Inside: Stories
Edwidge Danticat
Knopf
August 27, 2019

“In these eight powerful, emotionally absorbing stories, a romance unexpectedly sparks between two wounded friends; a marriage ends for what seem like noble reasons, but with irreparable consequences; a young woman holds on to an impossible dream even as she fights for her survival; two lovers reunite after unimaginable tragedy, both for their country and in their lives; a baby’s christening brings three generations of a family to a precarious dance between old and new; a man falls to his death in slow motion, reliving the defining moments of the life he is about to lose.”

2 comments on “The Best New Books of August 2019

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