Well, here we are: August. My favourite month, not least because it’s my birthday month. If you want to get me a present, then look no further than the following paragraph!

Wherever you can, if you’re US-based, please use bookshop.org to buy books published in the US — you’ll be supporting independent bookshops, who really need you right now. Besides, that other big online store is “de-prioritising books”, which means that you’ll get them much more slowly. For UK published books, or if you’re anywhere besides the US, Blackwells.com is the way forward. Plus, if you follow my links, whether to Bookshop or Blackwells, you’ll be sending a few affiliate pennies my way, too, which is much appreciated — and is at no extra cost to you.

Come Again-Billboard

Anywayyyy, on with the show!

I take the titles for these monthly posts from a number of sources, including the highlighted books on The Bookseller, my own knowledge of authors to watch, and various lists around the web, and while I can’t claim to have read them all, they definitely seem to have merit — or, at least, buzz. Unless indicated otherwise, descriptions are taken from Goodreads, Amazon, or the publisher’s site.

the wish listThe Wish List, by Sophia Money-Coutts (UK, 6th August, women’s commercial fiction)

Get it here from the UK with worldwide delivery

When Gwendolyn makes Florence write a wish list describing her perfect man, Florence refuses to take it seriously. Finding someone who likes cats, has the sexual athleticism of James Bond and can overlook her ‘counting’ habit? Impossible! Until, later that week, a handsome blond man asks for help in the bookshop… Rory seems to fit the list perfectly. But is he ‘the one’, or simply too good to be true? Florence is about to find out that her criteria for Mr Right aren’t as important as she thought – and that perhaps she’s been looking for love in all the wrong places…

glorious rock bottomGlorious Rock Bottom, by Bryony Gordon (UK, 6th August, memoir)

Get it here from the UK with worldwide delivery

In Glorious Rock Bottom Bryony opens up about a toxic twenty-year relationship with alcohol and drugs and explains exactly why hitting rock bottom – for her, a traumatic event and the abrupt realisation that she was putting herself in danger, time and again – saved her life. Known for her trademark honesty, Bryony re-lives the darkest and most terrifying moments of her addiction, never shying away from the fact that alcoholism robs you of your ability to focus on your family, your work, your health, your children, yourself. And then, a chink of light as the hard work begins – rehab; AA meetings; endless, tedious, painful self-reflection – a rollercoaster ride through self-acceptance, friendship, love and hope, to a joy and pride in staying sober that her younger self could never have imagined.

homecomingHomecoming, by Luan Goldie (UK, 6th August, literary fiction)

Get it here from the UK with worldwide delivery

For years Yvonne has tried to keep her demons buried and focus on moving forward. But her guilt is always with her and weighs heavily on her heart. Kiama has had to grow up without a mother, and while there is so much he remembers about her, there is still plenty he doesn’t know. And there’s only one person who can fill in the gaps. Lewis wants nothing more than to keep Kiama, his son, safe, but the thought of Kiama dredging up the past worries Lewis deeply. And Lewis doesn’t know if he’s ready to let the only woman he’s ever loved back into his life.

When Kiama seeks Yvonne out and asks her to come with him to Kenya, the place that holds the answers to his questions, she knows she can’t refuse. And this one act sets in motion an unravelling of the past that no one is ready for.

we just clickedWe Just Clicked, by Anna Bell (US ebook and audio only, 16th April, UK, 6th August, women’s commercial fiction)

Get it here from the UK with worldwide delivery

Get it here in the US

Izzy Brown has always dreamed of being an Instagram influencer. So when her colleague and fellow Instagrammer Luke suggests they ‘fake date’ to boost their profiles, Izzy says yes – against her better judgment.

But when Izzy runs into Aidan, the mysterious stranger who saved her the day her world fell apart two years ago, major sparks start to fly between them. Izzy’s sure she can have the online success she’s always dreamed of, whilst continuing to fall in love – and heal her heart – in real life. After all, Aidan doesn’t use social media…what could possibly go wrong?

intimationsIntimations, by Zadie Smith (US, 28th July, UK, 6th August, essays)

Get it here from the UK with worldwide delivery

Get it here in the US

‘There will be many books written about the year 2020: historical, analytic, political and comprehensive accounts. This is not any of those – the year isn’t half-way done. What I’ve tried to do is organize some of the feelings and thoughts that events, so far, have provoked in me, in those scraps of time the year itself has allowed. These are above all personal essays: small by definition, short by necessity.’

 

unscripted website header

lidoLido: A dip into outdoor swimming pools: the history, design and people behind them (UK, 6th August, non-fiction) by Christopher Beanland

Get it here from the UK with worldwide delivery

This celebration of outdoor swimming the world over, looks at the history, design and architecture of the lido, and profiles some of the best examples around the world including the Icebergs Pool on Bondi Beach, the restored art deco pool in Saltdean and the pool at the Zollverein coal mines in Essen, Germany. Now 6th August 2020. 

Batsford Ltd, £20.00, 11th June 2020, 9781849945844

shuggie bainShuggie Bain by Douglas Stuary (US, 11th February, UK, 6th August, literary fiction)

*Booker Prize Longlisted*

Get it here from the UK with worldwide delivery

Get it here in the US

It is 1981. Glasgow is dying and good families must grift to survive. Agnes Bain has always expected more from life. She dreams of greater things: a house with its own front door and a life bought and paid for outright (like her perfect, but false, teeth). But Agnes is abandoned by her philandering husband, and soon she and her three children find themselves trapped in a decimated mining town. As she descends deeper into drink, the children try their best to save her, yet one by one they must abandon her to save themselves. It is her son Shuggie who holds out hope the longest.

Shuggie is different. Fastidious and fussy, he shares his mother’s sense of snobbish propriety. The miners’ children pick on him and adults condemn him as no’ right. But Shuggie believes that if he tries his hardest, he can be normal like the other boys and help his mother escape this hopeless place.

eight pieces of silvaEight Pieces of Silva, by Patrice Lawrence (UK, 6th August, young adult)

Get it here from the UK with worldwide delivery

Becks is into girls but didn’t come out because she was never in. She lives with her mum, stepdad and eighteen-year-old Silva, her stepdad’s daughter. Becks and Silva are opposites, but bond over their mutual obsession with K-pop. When Becks’ mum and stepdad go on honeymoon to Japan, Becks and Silva are left alone. Except, Silva disappears. Becks ventures into the forbidden territory of Silva’s room and finds the first of eight clues that help her discover her sister’s secret life. Meanwhile, Silva is on a journey. A journey to make someone love her. He says he doesn’t, but he’s just joking. All she has to do is persuade him otherwise …

diamonds at the lost and foundDiamonds at the Lost and Found, by Sarah Aspinall (UK, 6th August, memoir)

Get it here from the UK with worldwide delivery

Sarah Aspinall grew up in the glittering wake of her irrepressible mother Audrey. Born into poverty in 1930s Liverpool, Audrey had always known that she was destined for better things and was determined to shape that destiny for herself. From the fading seaside glamour of Southport, to New York and Hollywood, to post-war London and the stately homes of the English aristocracy, Audrey stylishly kicked down every door she encountered, on a ceaseless quest for excitement – and for love.

As Sarah grew older, she realised that theirs was a life hung about with mysteries. Why, for instance, had they spent ages living in a godforsaken motel in the Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina? Who was the charming Sabet Sabescue, and what was his hold over Audrey during several months in Cairo? And what on earth happened to the heirlooms that an ancient heiress, Miss Gillette, gave Sarah when they visited her in Palm Springs?

And why, when they returned to Southport was Audrey ostracised by the society she so longed to be part of?

dead to herDead to Her, by Sarah Pinborough (US, 11th February, UK, 6th August, thriller)

Get it here from the UK with worldwide delivery

Get it here in the US

Something old… When Marcie met Jason Maddox, she couldn’t believe her luck. Becoming Jason’s second wife catapulted her into the elite world of high society. But underneath the polite, old money manners, she knows she’ll always be an outsider, and her hard-won life hangs by a thread.

Something new… Then Jason’s widowed boss brings back a new wife from his trip to London. Young, beautiful, reckless – nobody can take their eyes off Keisha. Including Jason.

Something you can never, ever undo… Marcie refuses to be replaced so easily. People would kill for her life of luxury. What will Marcie do to keep it?

finding freedomFinding Freedom, by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand

Get it from the UK with worldwide delivery

Get it in the US

For the very first time, Finding Freedom goes beyond the headlines to reveal unknown details of Harry and Meghan’s life together, dispelling the many rumours and misconceptions that plague the couple on both sides of the pond. As members of the select group of reporters that cover the British Royal Family and their engagements, Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand have witnessed the young couple’s lives as few outsiders can.

With unique access and written with the participation of those closest to the couple, Finding Freedom is an honest, up-close, and disarming portrait of a confident, influential, and forward-thinking couple who are unafraid to break with tradition, determined to create a new path away from the spotlight, and dedicated to building a humanitarian legacy that will make a profound difference in the world.

sistersSisters, by Daisy Johnson (UK, 13th August, US, 25th August, literary fiction)

Get it here from the UK with worldwide delivery

Get it here in the US

Something unspeakable has happened to sisters July and September. Desperate for a fresh start, their mother Sheela moves them across the country to an old family house that has a troubled life of its own. Noises come from behind the walls. Lights flicker of their own accord. Sleep feels impossible, dreams are endless.

In their new, unsettling surroundings, July finds that the fierce bond she’s always had with September – forged with a blood promise when they were children – is beginning to change in ways she cannot understand.

eight detectivesEight Detectives, by Alex Pavesi (UK, 20th August, thriller)

Get it here from the UK with worldwide delivery

Grant McAllister, an author of crime fiction and professor of mathematics, once sat down and worked them all out.

But that was thirty years ago. Now he’s living a life of seclusion on a quiet Mediterranean island – until Julia Hart, a sharp, ambitious editor, knocks on his door. His early work is being republished and together the two of them must revisit those old stories.

An author, hiding from his past, and an editor, probing inside it.

But as she reads the stories, Julia is unsettled to realise that there are parts that don’t make sense. Intricate clues that seem to reference a real murder. One that’s remained unsolved for thirty years . . .

the gin o'clock clubThe Gin O’Clock Club, by Rosie Blake (UK, 20th August, commercial

Get it here from the UK with worldwide delivery

Lottie is always in a hurry, rushing through her days ticking tasks off her to-do lists. Teddy is worried about his granddaughter – and he knows that his late wife, Lily, would have known exactly what to say to make things better. Now that Lily has gone, it’s up to Teddy to talk some sense into Lottie.

With the help of Arjun, Geoffrey and Howard, the elderly reprobates who make up his Gin O’Clock Club, Teddy makes a plan to help Lottie find her way back to the things that really matter – family, friendship and love. But as Lottie balances a high-powered job with her reluctant attendance at whist drives, ballroom dances and bingo, Teddy wonders if she’s really ready to open up her heart to the possibility of true happiness…

summerwaterSummerwater, by Sarah Moss (UK, 20th August, US, 12th January 2021, literary fiction)

Get it here from the UK with worldwide delivery

Pre-order it in the US

On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. The endless rain leaves them with little to do but watch the other residents.

A woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a retired couple reminisce about neighbours long since moved on; a teenage boy braves the dark waters of the loch in his red kayak. Each person is wrapped in their own cares but increasingly alert to the makeshift community around them. One particular family, a mother and daughter without the right clothes or the right manners, starts to draw the attention of the others. Tensions rise and all watch on, unaware of the tragedy that lies ahead as night finally falls.

Fleet Street GirlsThe Fleet Street Girls, by Julie Welch (UK, 20th August, cultural history)

Get it here from the  UK with worldwide delivery

The Fleet Street Girls is the inspiring and evocative story of the female journalists who broke down barriers in the 1970s and 1980s as women moved up the ranks in Fleet Street for the first time.

The Fleet Street Girls is a fascinating story of the hopes and despairs, triumphs and tribulations of a group of women in the glitzy heyday of journalism, where they could be interviewing Elton John one moment and ducking flying bullets or fighting off the sex pests the next. At a time when Fleet Street was the biggest, cosiest all-male club you can imagine, and the interests of half the human race were consigned to ‘The Women’s Page’ in the paper, we follow Julie and her contemporaries through dramas, excitement and sheer fun in their battle to make sure women’s voices were heard.

love in colourLove in Colour, by Bolu Babalola (UK, 20th August, literary short stories)

Get it here from the UK with worldwide delivery

Bolu Babalola takes the most beautiful love stories from history and mythology and rewrites them with incredible new detail and vivacity. Focusing on the magical folktales of West Africa, Babalola also reimagines iconic Greek myths, ancient legends from the Middle East, and stories from countries that no longer exist in our world. Babalola is inspired by tales that truly show the variety and colours of love around the globe.

Taking a step towards decolonising tropes of love, Babalola forms new stories from the wildly beautiful tales that already exist in so many communities and cultures. Moving exhilaratingly across perspectives, continents and genres, from the historic to the vividly current, Love in Colour is a celebration of romance in all of its forms.

featherhoodFeatherhood, by Charlie Gilmour (UK, 27th August, memoir/nature writing)

Get it in the UK with worldwide delivery

This is a story about birds and fathers.

It is a story about repetition across generations and birds that run in the blood; about a terror of repeating the sins of the father and a desire to build a nest of one’s own.

It is a story about change – from wild to tame; from sanity to madness; from life to death to birth; from freedom to captivity and back again, via an insane asylum, a prison and a magpie’s nest.

And ultimately, it is the story of a love affair between a man and a magpie.

how to stay saneHow to Stay Sane in an Age of Division, by Elif Shafak (UK, 27th August, non-fiction)

Get it here from the UK with worldwide delivery

It feels like the world is falling apart. So how do we keep hold of our optimism? How do we nurture the parts of ourselves that hope, trust and believe in something better? And how can we stay sane in this world of division?

In this beautifully written and illuminating polemic, Booker Prize nominee Elif Shafak reflects on our age of pessimism, when emotions guide and misguide our politics, and misinformation and fear are the norm.

More British Books:

British Books Published in the US in 2020