I have SO MANY reading ambitions for August that I’ll never fulfill them all, but I’m excited to dive in and sample a bit of everything! I’m trying to stick to a 5-book TBR system this year so I’ll start there and use this month’s 5 book plan to talk about my reading goals for the month.
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I have been slacking on nonfiction this year, and didn’t do as much racism reading as I’d meant to last month, so I want to make sure I’m still prioritizing reads that’ll help further my education and support Black authors. I did read Coates’s The Water Dancer in July with mixed results, but I have a feeling I’ll get on better with this nonfiction memoir written from a Black man to his son.
- Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This is a previous women’s prize winner that I want to read before the “winner of winners” vote in November. I’ve made zero progress on this list over the summer and have a few winners on hand that I’d like to get through before the vote, so this is a nudge to get me started. It’s a book about “Biafra’s impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria in the 1960s, and the chilling violence that followed.”
- Tender is the Flesh by Augustina Bazterrica, translated by Sarah Moses. This is a Spanish dystopia in which animals have become too dangerous to eat, leading to the selective farming of humans for food. August is Women in Translation month so I want to read a few translated novels by women before it’s over! I have at least 4 unread titles on my shelf and an additional list I’d love to check out at the library, so if all goes well Tender is the Flesh should just be the beginning.
- Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. I’ve seen a wide variety of both positive and negative reviews, and I’m now jumping in to see what the fuss is all about for myself. This is a 2020 Booker Prize nominee about performative allyship when a Black babysitter is accused of kidnapping a white child. I’ve got a library checkout on hand and am starting this one today!
- The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste. Another 2020 Booker nominee, and another library checkout. This one is nearly 500 pages, and is mainly going on this list so I don’t get distracted and neglect to pick it up because of its size. It’s a historical fiction account of Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia in the lead-up to WWII.
I AM going to finish reading my entire 5-book TBR this month, I swear. Maybe. Hopefully. That is the goal, anyway. It will be difficult to balance all of my goals- WIT reading, Booker nominees, my Black-authored summer challenge TBR, previous Women’s Prize winners, keeping up with new releases, and catching up on previous lists I’ve assigned myself and not finished yet. Oh, and I’ve gotten GREAT books from BOTM the last two months that I reeeeeally want to get to soon! (BOTM does in fact seem to be stepping up their game, after concerns discussed in this post! I’ve gotten The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi, Luster by Raven Leilani, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett, Notes on a Silencing by Lucy Crawford, and The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper from them in July and August. I’ve not read a single one yet but I’m dying to read them all. Here’s a link where you can subscribe if you’re interested in the service and have a US mailing address- you’ll get a discount and I’ll get a credit!)
So there’s no way I’m going to get through all of these priorities in one month. I have to just acknowledge that up front. Hopefully I’ve curated my 5-book TBR well enough to check off some books from each category without losing track of any goals- and anything I don’t get to this month, I’ll still be picking up later. I’ll try to focus first on WIT and Booker books because the conversation around those categories is going on now and I want to take part! I’m very eager to read posts featuring WIT and Booker books this month as well.
I am on a book buy ban right now (with a few exceptions because I can’t follow rules apparently), but there are some exciting new releases on my radar that I’d love to see reviews for and pick up myself when I can:
- Luster by Ravel Leilani. Literary fiction in which a twenty-something Black woman tries to find where she fits as an artist and learn how to believe in herself, while also getting tangled up with a man in an open marriage, befriending his wife and adopted daughter. Out Aug 4th
- The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi. Literary fiction set in Nigeria, featuring the death of a man who lived a short and complicated life, focusing on his relationships with family and friends. Out Aug 4th
- Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy. A young woman with a life full of losses and secrets tracks the final migration of a flock of arctic terns as the wilds of the world and the creatures that need them to survive dwindle. Out Aug 4th.
- Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer. The long-awated YA fantasy/romance retelling of Twilight from Edward’s perspective. (I am SO CURIOUS to see how this will be received.) Out Aug 4th
- The New Wilderness by Diane Cook. Dystopian Booker nominee in which a woman and her daughter volunteer to live in the last remaining strip of natural land in an experiment to determine whether humans can coexist peacefully with nature. Out Aug 11th
- Betty by Tiffany McDaniel. (I accidentally jumped the gun with this one last month, but it’s still upcoming so I’m sharing it again!) Betty is part of a mixed-race (Cherokee and white) family with eight children and some deep dark secrets; she lives with poverty and violence, but also has a fierce imagination that provides a means for escape. Out Aug 18th
- Ordinary Hazards by Anna Bruno. I received an ARC from The Library Hotel earlier this year! This contemporary novel follows a woman “grappling with grief, loss, and the burden of inheritance” as it explores how small decisions can have the biggest consequences. Out Aug 18th
- Sisters by Daisy Johnson. After a case of school bullying, two close sisters move with their mother to an isolated new/old home, where the bond between them changes in unexpected ways and is tested by a string of shocking events. Out Aug 25th
- Against the Loveless World by Susan Abulhawa. A woman born to Palestinian refugees becomes a refugee herself when the US invades Iraq; eventually she finds her way to a home in Palestine, where the life she wanted for herself is realized under Israeli occupation. Out Aug 25th
Recognize any titles from your own lists, or see anything new that catches your eye? Let me know in the comments!
The Literary Elephant