The 10 Books You Should Be Reading This August
Brush up on your history — or take a thrilling trip to L.A.
What are you thinking about reading as the summer heads into its home stretch? Our recommendations for the month of August cover a lot of ground — from candid memoirs to wide-ranging histories that make unexpected connections. These 10 books include a fictional trip back in time to mid-century Hollywood and a thoughtful look at urban infrastructure. Whether you’re looking for thrills or knowledge, this list should have something for you.
Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner, Heat 2 (August 9)
Decades after making a generationally-defining crime drama, director Michael Mann returned to the world of his film Heat with a sequel novel. His collaborator on Heat 2 is the Edgar Award-winning author Meg Gardiner, and the two have come up with a book that’s received plenty of praise for combining Mann’s immersive sense of place and Gardiner’s skills at literary suspense.
Nona Willis Aronowitz, Bad Sex: Truth, Pleasure, and an Unfinished Revolution (August 9)
As a writer, and editor and a chronicler of modern life, Nona Willis Aronowitz has charted a distinctive space for herself and her work. With her new book Bad Sex, she explored her own life and family history and delved into the past to create a comprehensive work about what sexual freedom can mean and the contradictions that complicate it.
Michael K. Williams with Joe Sternfeld, Scenes From My Life: A Memoir (August 23)
When actor Michael K. Williams died last year, he left behind an impressive array of work in which he played some of the most indelible roles of the last few years. This posthumous memoir offers a deeper look into his upbringing, his work as an actor and dancer, as well as the origins of his activism. It’s a candid look at an artist who left this world too early.
Anthony Marra, Mercury Pictures Presents (August 2)
The mid-20th century heyday of the Hollywood studio system has inspired a number of works of fiction that have used it as a backdrop. That’s also the case for Anthony Marra’s new novel, about a woman working at a studio during the early days of World War II, at a point when the world was on the verge of seismic changes — and some of her own family secrets threaten to come into the light.
Jamie Fahey, Futsal: The Indoor Game That Is Revolutionizing World Soccer (August 2)
Futsal has an intriguing place in relationship to soccer, the sport of which it’s something of a variant. That doesn’t mean that the two are completely separate, however — countless soccer greats have attributed futsal to their development as players. In Jamie Fahey’s new book, he explores the connections between the two and futsal’s growth in its own right.
Casey Parks, Diary of a Misfit: A Memoir and a Mystery (August 30)
What does it mean to revisit the past and unearth the secrets of a stranger? It’s an ethical question that many a reporter and podcaster has had to wrangle with over the years. Casey Parks’s new book Diary of a Misfit follows Parks’s own reckoning with her family and her search to piece together the life of a former neighbor of her grandmother’s. The result makes for a haunting narrative of identity, family and place.
Virgil Abloh, Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech (August 9)
There’s a retrospective exhibition of the wide-ranging works of Virgil Abloh currently touring the country. (Right now, it’s at the Brooklyn Museum.) Given the breadth of creative disciplines Abloh worked in, it’s not surprising that this volume, produced in conjunction with the show, is around 500 pages long — a comprehensive look at an essential creative figure.
Steven W. Thrasher, The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide (August 2)
The last few years have proven to be a harrowing education in how different infectious diseases can spread through human populations. Steven W. Thrasher’s The Viral Underclass explores the histories of several pandemics and documents the ways that they intersect with society and class. The result is an important and thought-provoking work of nonfiction.
Lucy Sante, Nineteen Reservoirs: On Their Creation and the Promise of Water for New York City (August 9)
Lucy Sante is an essential guide into the underreported history of cities around the world. For her new book, Nineteen Reservoirs, she explores something that you might not have thought about prior to now: at what cost did New York City get its supply of fresh water? It’s a fascinating look at the effect this process had on the Hudson River Valley and the communities based there, then and now.
Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, A Question of Standing: The History of the CIA (August 25)
To explore the history of an intelligence agency can result in a fresh vantage point on a nation’s history. Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones is the author of several books about espionage and intelligence, and in this new book he traces the history of the CIA since its founding at the end of World War II. It’s a gripping account of the agency’s shifting place in American society.
This article was featured in the InsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.
Suggested for you