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5 Books to Read in August


Barbara the Slut and Other People

By Lauren Holmes

How can you not be intrigued by the title of this debut short story collection? Tales in this hilarious set include a protagonist who sells sex toys instead of finishing a law degree. Holmes’ writing is sassy, funny, and complex.


Fortune Smiles Stories

By Adam Johnson

In this collection of six stories, ordinary people find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. The titlular tale is about two North Korean defectors trying to make their way in Seoul, with one haunted by the woman he left behind.


The Marriage of Opposites

By Alice Hoffman

The prolific author sets her latest novel on an island in the West Indies in the early 19th century. This story of Rachel, a brave woman of conviction, is told with a bit of historical detail and plenty of folklore and legend.


The State We’re In: Maine Stories

By Ann Beattie

The short story collection focuses on vignettes about Jocelyn, a dour teenager living with her aunt and uncle while attending summer school. It’s the kind of reading experience that gives you insight into the people who cross your path every day. 


Flood of Fire

By Amitav Ghosh

This is the final book in Ghosh’s acclaimed trilogy. It’s 1839 and tension between China and British India is growing. War erupts, and a cast of diverse characters have come to claim love, wealth, or their homeland. A thrilling historical novel, ending an epic series.

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