August 2019 Reading List
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My August 2019 reading list books cover ground that I’ve tread before, and that tends to catch my interest when choosing books: sibling and family relationships, historical fiction, women’s essays, and mass shootings.
Really, August reading is looking promising for one reason: Ann Patchett. My favorite author has a new book, and I can’t wait!
I’m risking reading several books this month that may be very similar, so I’ll probably need to space those out so I don’t mix up the characters and stories. I swear this type of confusion wasn’t a problem before I had kids!
How poor our memories have become since having kids has been a topic of discussion with friends recently–it’s nice to know I’m not alone (anyone else relate). It’s timely–I’m hoping for other relatable reflections about this stage of life in Mary Laura Philpott’s book.
Here are my reading plans for the month:
The Books on My August 2019 Reading List
During finals week at a fictional southern university, a gunman opens fire in the library, killing 12 people. Bloomland explores both the origin and the aftermath of the shooting through the eyes of a student, a professor, and the shooter.
This is not the first book I’ve read about school shootings, and perhaps I keep reading them in search of answers. I’m not sure I’ll actually find them here, but the few reviews for this book are raves for its thoughtful, empathetic, and poetic portrayals of grief and disillusionment.
The Dutch House: A Novel
Ann Patchett is a must-read author for me, so I jumped to get an advanced copy of The Dutch House. Set at the end of World War II and told over five decades, this is the story of a brother and sister whose stepmother casts them out of the estate of their childhood. The siblings are thrown back into poverty and depend heavily on one another, until they finally confront the people of their past.
Described as a “dark fairy tale,” I’m not quite sure what to expect, but I’m always ready to read a new book from Patchett.
Summer of ’69
This is Hilderbrand’s first foray into historical fiction, and follows four siblings through the tumultuous summer of 1969. One is pregnant with twins in Boston, another is in the thick of the civil rights movement, another is deployed in Vietnam, and the fourth is a young teen on Nantucket with her mother and grandmother.
I’ve been enjoying books set on islands this summer–particularly Hilderbrand’s, which work well for me on audio. I snagged Summer of ’69 in a “skip the line” checkout from the library. I haven’t seen this type of checkout before, but it means I only have seven days to listen to all 13 hours. Hilderbrand’s books vary a bit for me–some feel like true light reads, while others are a little darker and deeper–and this one feels like it will have surprising depth.
Mrs. Everything: A Novel
Another story of siblings in the 60s, Mrs. Everything follows two sisters, Jo and Bethie (I’m curious if there are Little Women references, with those names), whose childhood roles flip after several traumas. Jo, once a tomboy, becomes a suburban mother, while previously traditional and feminine Bethie jumps into the counterculture.
It’s been years since I read a Jennifer Weiner–I don’t recall her style particularly resonating with me–but I’ve seen some positive reviews of this and the story seems up my alley. It’s also fitting with many of the other sibling books I’m reading this month. I just hope they aren’t too similar!
City of Girls: A Novel
Along with books about siblings, I seem to be reading a number of books set in the mid-twentieth century this month. This one is set in the 1940s theater world of New York and promises all the scandal and glamour of that world that you might imagine. Several trusted readers have loved this one, so I hope I’ll be able to fit it in.
I Miss You When I Blink: Essays
I’ve seen a number of raves about this book of essays from Mary Laura Philpott–mostly from other readers who are at similar mid-life-with-children stages. I’m intrigued by the summary of these essays as examining the idea that “small, recurring personal re-inventions are both normal and necessary,” for everyone, at every stage of life.
What are you reading this month?
Ooo, I didn’t know Patchett had a new book coming out! I still need to read more of her backlist, but what I have read, I’ve really liked. Plus, one of the themes I’m drawn to is resilience in the face of poverty, so this one sounds right up MY alley!
I feel like I’m not brave enough to take on books about school shootings. I have a hard enough time accepting the reality in the news, so I don’t know that I could handle reading about it, too!
I’m anxious to read Ann Patchett’s new book as well and can’t wait to read your review. In just a few weeks, though, I will get to hear her speak!! She’s coming to the Mississippi Book Festival on August 17, and I am beside myself in anticipation of her session. I haven’t checked what time she’s signing that day, but I hope I can have her sign a book for me and get a moment to speak to her. Of course, I’ll most likely stumble all over myself; so there’s that!
That’s amazing, Joy–what a fun thing to look forward to! I hope you get a chance to talk to her. Don’t worry about stumbling all over yourself–you’ve accomplished a lot, too. You should share with her what you’ve been working on 🙂
I really enjoyed Summer of ’69! It definitely felt different than her other novels, but the time period is fascinating and the characters are well-written. I just started City of Girls today!
Oh my gosh, you have some great reading this month! I loved both Mrs. Everything and City of Girls. Plus, the new Ann Patchett- really hoping it’s as great as her other books.
My August started out in such a reading slump I dropped all new releases and went to library backlist- which turned into two Southern grit lit books that were dark enough (but really good) that they snapped me out of my apathy. I just finished an unexpected 5 star novel- The Dearly Beloved. It is fabulous.