This month brings with a host of bold nonfiction, including books in which talented writers shine a light on the creative works that have impressed them over the years, incisive memoirs, and a new collection of writing on race in America. There’s also plenty of innovative fiction due out this month, along with a few works that defy easy description. What follows is a look at several of the books for which we’re excited that are due out in the month of August.
Landmarks, Robert Macfarlane
(August 2, Penguin)
Robert Macfarlane is one of a handful of writers working today who can translate the natural world into gripping, stunning prose. His latest book examines the way that landscapes and language overlap, with explorations of writers whose work has influenced him and vanishing words that echo aspects of geography.
Land of Enchantment, Leigh Stein
(August 2, Plume)
Leigh Stein has already established herself as deftly talented at both fiction and prose, and her work with Binders has provided an invaluable service to the literary community. This month brings with it her memoir, focusing on a harrowing period of her life, when she lived in New Mexico (the state’s motto is the source of the book’s title).
The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, Jesmyn Ward, editor
(August 2, Scribner)
An anthology taking its cue from an essential book by James Baldwin and featuring the likes of Emily Raboteau, Kiese Laymon, Wendy S. Walters, Mitchell S. Jackson, and Daniel José Older? That’s an absolutely powerhouse lineup right there.
Flyboy 2: The Greg Tate Reader, Greg Tate
(August 5, Duke University Press)
Feel like reading an abundance of smart writing on culture? Greg Tate has been doing exactly that for several decades, beginning with his time at the Village Voice in the 1980s. This volume collects highlights from his extensive body of work, and promises to abound with insightful observations on a plethora of topics.
Known and Strange Things, Teju Cole
(August 9, Random House)
Between this book and Landmarks, get ready for your to-read lists to increase exponentially. If you’ve read his nonfiction for the likes of the New York Times Magazine or The New Inquiry, you know that Teju Cole’s range as a writer is wide-ranging indeed. Here, he talks about society, art, politics, and literature–a fascinating guided tour of his areas of interest.
White Nights in Split Town City, Annie DeWitt
(August 9, Tyrant Books)
Annie DeWitt’s eagerly-anticipated first novel focuses on a young woman’s coming of age amidst familial strife and the everyday routines of the rural town in which she lives. She’s also one of the only writers we can think of who can claim both Marguerite Duras and Kenny Rogers as influences.
Another Brooklyn, Jacqueline Woodson
(August 9, Amistad Press)
Two years ago, Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming won a host of literary prizes, including the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Now, she’s returned with her first novel in 20 years written for adult readers, a coming-of-age story set in Brooklyn in the 1970s.
Transitory, Tobias Carroll
(August 15, Civil Coping Mechanisms)
You ever heard of this Tobias Carroll guy? I hear he has pretty good taste in fiction. In fact, we’d reason that his taste in fiction is so top notch that we be he is really damn good at writing it. So good that we really think you should pick up this collection.
Uproot: Travels in 21st-Century Music and Digital Culture, Jace Clayton
(August 16, FSG Originals)
Jace Clayton has made challenging, experimental music as DJ Rupture and has written about music and culture for the likes of n+1 and The Pitchfork Review. This book of nonfiction takes a global look at how creative work crosses boundaries and borders, all told from Clayton’s singular perspective.
The Selfishness of Others: An Essay on the Fear of Narcissism, Kristin Dombek
(August 16, FSG Originals)
We’re always up for a foray into the unexpected, and Kristin Dombek’s new work–a book-length essay exploring the shifting role of narcissism in our society–looks to be exactly that.
The Obelisk Gate, N. K. Jemisin
(August 16, Orbit)
The Obelisk Gate follows up N. K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, which blended scenes of apocalyptic imagery, surreal power struggles, and a fractured society with an impressively bold structural approach. We’re eager to see where she’s taking this story, and how she’ll do so as she goes.
Falter Kingdom, Michael J. Seidlinger
(August 23, Unnamed Press)
Michael J. Seidlinger’s first YA novel deals with topics familiar to many: obsessions with things we find online, interpersonal entanglements, and infamy. But it also throws in one that’s a bit more out there: specifically, demonic possession. How that concept blends with the media saturation of the moment leads to a genuinely haunting conclusion.
Slow Days, Fast Company: The Word, The Flesh, and L.A., Eve Babitz; introduction by Matthew Specktor
(August 30, NYRB Classics)
In a recent piece for Tin House, Matthew Specktor said that Eve Babitz’s Slow Days, Fast Company “might serve to explicate LA better than any other book I’ve ever read.” Add comparisons to Joan Didion and Renata Adler, and we’re very eager to check this one out when it’s released later this month.
The Subsidiary, Matías Celedón; translated by Samuel Rutter
(August 30, Melville House)
Equal parts workplace satire and storytelling experiment, Matías Celedón’s novel is told entirely through dispatches constructed on office stamps, and tells the story of order breaking down within a massive workplace. The result is a deeply unsettling work told in an innovative manner.
My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor, Keith Morris with Jim Ruland
(August 30, Da Capo Press)
We’re always up for a good punk memoir; that this one comes from Keith Morris, of Circle Jerks, Black Flag, and OFF!, is enticing indeed. Icing on the cake is his collaborator, the formidable Jim Ruland.