August 2019 Books to Read!

August, to me, is a reading month. I try to make every month a reading month, but August just seems to lend itself to reading. Is there any month that, when it comes around, you feel more like reading? Anyway, here are some books I’m excited about that are being published this month. Let me know what you’re looking forward to!

The links to Amazon.com are affiliate links, so if you purchase the book (or any item) by going there from this page, we’ll make a bit of money for the site. Do not feel obligated, of course — we’ll keep going regardless! Release dates are based on the U.S. release date.

August 6

Berta Isla
by Javier Marías
translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa
Knopf

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from Knopf:

When Berta Isla was a schoolgirl, she decided she would marry Tomás Nevinson — the dashing half-Spanish, half-English boy in her class with an extraordinary gift for languages. But when Tomás returns to Madrid from his studies at Oxford, he is a changed man. Unbeknownst to her, he has been approached by an agent from the British intelligence services, and he has unwittingly set in motion events that will derail forever the life they had planned. With peerless insight into the most shadowed corners of the human soul, Marías plunges the reader into the growing chasm between Berta and Tomás and the decisions that irreversibly change the course of the couple’s fate. Berta Isla is a novel of love and truth, fear and secrecy, buried identities, and the destinies we bring upon ourselves.

Valerie: or, The Faculty of Dreams
by Sara Stridsberg
translated from the Swedish by Deborah Bragan-Turner
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from Farrar, Straus and Giroux:

In April 1988, Valerie Solanas?the writer, radical feminist, author of the SCUM Manifesto and would-be assassin of Andy Warhol?was discovered dead at fifty-two in her hotel room, in a grimy corner of San Francisco, alone, penniless, and surrounded by the typed pages of her last writings.

In Valerie, a nameless narrator revisits the room where Solanas died, the courtroom where she was tried and convicted of attempting to murder Andy Warhol, the Georgia wastelands where she spent her childhood and was repeatedly raped by her father and beaten by her alcoholic grandfather, and the mental hospitals where she was shut away.

A leading feminist in Sweden and one of the most acclaimed writers in Scandinavia, Sara Stridsberg here blurs the boundaries between history and fiction, self-making and storytelling, madness and art, love and tragedy. Through imagined conversations and monologues, reminiscences and rantings, she reconstructs this most intriguing and enigmatic of women, reaching back in time to amplify her voice and bring her powerful, heartbreaking story into new light.

The Remainder
by Alia Trabucco Zerán
translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes
Coffee House Press

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from Coffee House Press:

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.

August 13

Heaven’s Breath: A Natural History of the Wind
by Lyall Watson
NYRB Classics

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from NYRB Classics:

Wind is everywhere and nowhere. Wind is the circulatory system of the earth, and its nervous system, too. Energy and information flow through it. It brings warmth and water, enriches and strips away the soil, aerates the globe. Wind shapes the lives of animals, humans among them. Trade follows the path of the wind, as empire also does. Wind made the difference in wars between the Greeks and Persians, the Mongols and the Japanese. Wind helped to destroy the Spanish Armada. And wind is no less determining of our inner lives: the föhn, mistral, sirocco, Santa Ana, and other “ill winds” of the world are correlated with disease, suicide, and even murder.

Heaven’s Breath is an encyclopedic and enchanting book that opens dazzling new perspectives on history, nature, and humanity.

The Memory Police
by Yoko Ogawa
translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder
Pantheon

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from Pantheon:

On an unnamed island off an unnamed coast, objects are disappearing: first hats, then ribbons, birds, roses—until things become much more serious. Most of the island’s inhabitants are oblivious to these changes, while those few imbued with the power to recall the lost objects live in fear of the draconian Memory Police, who are committed to ensuring that what has disappeared remains forgotten.

When a young woman who is struggling to maintain her career as a novelist discovers that her editor is in danger from the Memory Police, she concocts a plan to hide him beneath her floorboards. As fear and loss close in around them, they cling to her wiring as the last way of preserving the past.

A surreal, provocative fable about the power of memory and the trauma of loss, The Memory Police is a stunning new work from one of the most exciting contemporary authors writing in any language.

Inland
by Téa Obreht
Random House

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from Random House:

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.

Meanwhile, Lurie is a former outlaw and a man haunted by ghosts. He sees lost souls who want something from him, and he finds reprieve from their longing in an unexpected relationship that inspires a momentous expedition across the West. The way in which Lurie’s death-defying trek at last intersects with Nora’s plight is the surprise and suspense of this brilliant novel.

Mythical, lyrical, and sweeping in scope, Inland is grounded in true but little-known history. It showcases all of Téa Obreht’s talents as a writer, as she subverts and reimagines the myths of the American West, making them entirely—and unforgettably—her own.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
by Olga Tokarczuk
translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
Riverhead

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from Riverhead:

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. If only anyone would pay her mind . . .

A deeply satisfying thriller cum fairy tale, Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead is a provocative exploration of the murky borderland between sanity and madness, justice and tradition, autonomy and fate. Whom do we deem sane? it asks. Who is worthy of a voice?

August 20

The Translator’s Bride
by Jo?o Reis
translated from the Portuguese by the author
Open Letter

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from Open Letter:

At the start of The Translator’s Bride, the Translator’s bride has left him. But if he can only find a way to buy a small house, maybe he can win her back . . . These are the obsessive thoughts that pervade the Translator’s mind as he walks around an unnamed city in 1920, trying to figure out how to put his life back together. His employers aren’t paying him, he’s trying to survive a woman’s unwanted advances, and he’s trying to make the best of his desperate living conditions. All while he struggles with his own mind and angry and psychotic ideas, filled with longing and melancholy. Darkly funny, filled with acidic observations and told with a frenetic pace, The Translator’s Bride is an incredible ride—whether you’re a translator or not!

August 27

Nada
by Jean-Patrick Manchette
translated from the French by Donald Nicholson-Smith
NYRB Classics

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from NYRB Classics:

The thrill of 1968 is long over, and the heavy fog of the 1970s has settled in. In Paris, however, the Nada gang—or groupuscule—still retains a militant attachment to its revolutionary dreams. Bringing together an anarchist orphaned by the Spanish Civil War, a Communist veteran of the French resistance, a frustrated high-school teacher of philosophy, a timid office worker, a terminal alcoholic, and one uncompromising young woman with a house in the country, Nada sets out to kidnap the American ambassador and issue a call to arms.

What could possibly go wrong?

Everything Inside: Stories
by Edwidge Danticat
Knopf

Buy from Amazon.com here.

Here is the blurb from Knopf:

Rich with hard-won wisdom and humanity, set in locales from Miami and Port-au-Prince to a small unnamed country in the Caribbean and beyond, Everything Inside is at once wide in scope and intimate, as it explores the forces that pull us together, or drive us apart, sometimes in the same searing instant.

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.

This is the indelible work of a keen observer of the human heart–a master at her best.

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