It’s almost August! School is a mere month away, but there’s still some time to squeeze in the last of summer’s big titles. On to the top offerings for this month:
--A few big names have can’t miss titles coming out this month. Ruth Ware is known for updating classic gothic tropes to the twenty-first century, with a healthy dose of tension. Her latest, The Turn of the Key, pays homage to Henry James’s classic Turn of the Screw, leaving a new nanny with two unsettling children in an isolated house that can be remotely controlled by the latest technology. The results may have readers eying their Alexa devices with wariness. Louise Penny has won every prize a mystery writer is eligible for, and somehow her Chief Inspector Gamache series keeps getting better. The fifteenth installment in the series, A Better Man, sees Gamache taking a demotion to appease critics, but he and his faithful team are soon entangled in a case involving a missing daughter that threatens to swamp them literally and figuratively. Perennial bestseller Philippa Gregory makes a detour from her usual tales of royal women with the launch of Tidelands, set among the ordinary people of a remote coastal Sussex village in and against the backdrop of the English Civil War. It begins with Alinor, a gifted herbalist whose decision to aid a fugitive across the treacherous tidelands has major consequences that echo across generations. First in the planned Fairmile series, Tidelands is on shelves late August.
--A few nonfiction titles of note make it onto the August list. National Book Award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi contributes the timely commentary/memoir How to Be an Antiracist; Library Journal has termed it a ‘self-help book for society at large,’ while Kirkus calls it ‘not an easy read, but an essential one.’ It’s on shelves August 13. Alexandra Fuller’s elegant memoirs of growing up in southern Africa has earned her consistent acclaim. Her newest work, Travel Light, Move Fast, considers the legacy of her father, a man who lived a whirlwind of a life, and Fuller’s coming to grips with the grief that followed his unexpected death. A different sort of father’s legacy is explored in Sarah Valentine’s debut memoir, When I Was White. Raised by two white parents in a larger Italian and Irish family, the topic of race was a sensitive one, but Valentine always sensed that her appearance hinted at a different ethnicity. With the discovery at age 27 that she was the daughter of an African-American man, Valentine embarked on a journey of self-discovery that is chronicled in her memoir. Kirkus calls it ‘a valuable contribution to the literature of race and its problematics.’
--It’s another strong month for sci-fi/fantasy readers. At the top of the to-read list is Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Gods of Jade and Shadow, a historical fantasy set mixing the tumult of Mexico’s Roaring Twenties with Mayan mythology. Fine world building, a touch of romance and a heroine’s journey of self-discovery should appeal to readers of Naomi Novik and N. K. Jemisin. R. F. Kuang’s epic fantasy begun in The Poppy War continues with The Dragon Republic; shaman and warrior Rin has won the battle, but at what cost? Library Journal calls the sequel ‘an epic journey of vengeance, friendship, and power wrapped in the folds of gods and monsters.’ For those interested in something closer to home, Rob Hart’s novel The Warehouse offers a chilling picture of near-future dystopia. In a world compromised by climate change, Cloud is the only source for goods and entertainment. Workers live at the company’s warehouses, self-contained worlds that are ruled by algorithms. Within its walls are the founder, dying of cancer; a security guard whose business was subsumed by the might of Cloud; and Zinnia, a spy intent on an unknown task. Kirkus likens The Warehouse to works of Cory Doctorow and Michael Crichton; Library Journal praises it as ‘an enjoyable mystery that is hard to put down.’
Many more titles are on the full list; click on through for all of August’s titles.