6 New Books To Read This August

Whether you’re spending a week in the garden, or are making it further afield, you’ll want a good book to accompany you. Thankfully, August is serving up a large selection of fascinating fiction and memoirs…

Betty by Tiffany McDaniel

Born in a bathtub in 1954 to a white mother and a Cherokee father, Betty is the sixth of eight siblings. The world they inhabit in the rural town of Breathed, Ohio, is one of poverty and violence –both from outside the family and within. The landscape becomes a kind of refuge for Betty, but when her family's darkest secrets are brought to light, she has no choice but to reckon with the brutal history hiding in the hills, as well as the cruelties and incredible characters she encounters. Despite the hardships she faces, Betty is resilient. Her curiosity about the natural world, her love for her sisters and her father's brilliant stories fire her own imagination, and in the face of everything she witnesses, Betty discovers an escape: she begins to write. She recounts the horrors of her family's past and present with pen and paper and buries them in the dirt – moments that have stung her so deeply she could not tell them, until now.

“Tiffany McDaniel has given us a vivid and haunting portrait of the writer as a young girl. Betty Carpenter survives the brutality of her childhood through her father's stories and his steadfast belief in her own. A novel of tragedy and trouble, poetry and power, not a story you will soon forget.” – Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

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Olive by Emma Gannon

Olive is the first novel from Ctrl Alt Delete and The Multi-Hyphen Method’s Emma Gannon. Olive the protagonist is many things: independent, adrift, anxious, loyal and kind. She knows her own mind – and that it’s okay she’s still figuring it all out, navigating her world without a compass. But life comes with expectations, there are choices to be made and – sometimes – stereotypes to fulfil. So, when her best friends’ lives branch away towards marriage and motherhood, leaving the path they’ve always followed together, she starts to question her choices – because life according to Olive looks a little bit different. Told with great warmth and nostalgia, this is a modern tale about the obstacle course of adulthood, milestone decisions and the ‘taboo’ about choosing not to have children. 
 
“It'll give a voice to countless women.” – Marian Keyes, author of Rachel’s Holiday
 
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Coming Undone by Terri White

To everyone else, journalist Terri White appeared to be living the dream, named one of Folio's Top Women in US Media and accruing further awards for the magazines she was editing. In reality, she was rapidly skidding towards a mental health crisis that would land her in a locked psychiatric ward as her past caught up with her. As well as growing up in a household in poverty, Terri endured sexual and physical abuse at the hands of a number of her mother's partners. Her success defied all expectations, but the greater the disparity between her outer achievements and inner demons, the more she struggled to hold everything together. Coming Undone is Terri's documentation of her unravelling, and her precarious navigation back from a life in pieces. A striking read.
 
“Life-changing.” – Emma Jane Unsworth, author of Animals

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The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-Eun

Yona has been stuck behind a desk for years working as a programming coordinator for Jungle, a travel company specialising in package holidays to destinations ravaged by disaster. When a senior colleague touches her inappropriately, she tries to complain, and in an attempt to bury her allegations, the company make her an attractive proposition: a free ticket for one of their most sought-after trips, to the desert island of Mui. She accepts the offer and travels to the remote island, where the major attraction is a supposedly dramatic sinkhole. When the customers who've paid a premium for the trip begin to get frustrated, Yona realises that the company has dangerous plans to fabricate an environmental catastrophe to make the trip more interesting, but when she tries to raise the alarm, she discovers she has put her own life in danger.
 
“This is an entertaining eco-thriller that sets out to illuminate the way climate change is inextricably bound up with the pressures of global capitalism.” – The Guardian
 
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The Hungover Games by Sophie Heawood

Journalist Sophie Heawood’s specialist subject was celebrities, and her own relationships made their marriages look eternal. But her own life in LA was happy; free of care and consequence. That was, until she came down to earth – with a bump. The Hungover Games is the story of how she staggered from partying in Hollywood to bringing up a baby in Dalston. It’s about what happens when Mr. Right isn’t around so you have a baby with Mr. Wrong, a touring musician who tells you halfway through your pregnancy that he’s met someone else, just after you’ve given up your LA life and moved back to England to attempt some kind of modern family life with him. And it’s about how to invent the concept of the two-person family when you grew up in a traditional nuclear unit of four, and your kid’s friends all have happily married parents too. Unflinchingly honest, emotionally raw, and surprisingly sweet, this memoir explores what happens if you’ve been looking for love your whole life and finally find it where you least expect it.

“Beautiful, wild, painfully honest, hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking.” – Dolly Alderton, author of Everything I Know About Love

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The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel 

From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, this exhilarating novel is set at the glittering intersection of two seemingly disparate events – a massive Ponzi scheme collapse and the mysterious disappearance of a woman from a ship at sea. Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star lodging on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. On the night she meets Jonathan Alkaitis, a hooded figure scrawls a message on the lobby’s glass wall: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” High above Manhattan, a greater crime is committed: Alkaitis is running an international Ponzi scheme, moving imaginary sums of money through clients’ accounts. When the financial empire collapses, it obliterates countless fortunes and devastates lives. Rife with unexpected beauty, The Glass Hotel is a captivating portrait of greed and guilt, love and delusion, ghosts and unintended consequences, and the infinite ways we search for meaning in our lives.

“A lovely, beautifully written and constructed novel that I couldn’t put down, full of memorable, unusual characters… Mandel’s agility with time in this story was a marvel.” – Kristin Hannah, author of The Nightingale

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