Cover Here are the best new books to read this August 2021 (Art: Chesca Gamboa/Tatler Hong Kong)

From stunning debut novels to highly-anticipated follow-up releases, here are the best new books to read this August 2021

We've halfway through the year and if you've missed out on our monthly reading recommendations, it's not too late to pick up a book. This month, a number of stunning debut novels are coming out together with highly-anticipated follow up titles of bestselling authors.

Whether you're looking for a light read out at the beach or on a picnic or something more powerful that packs a punch that you need to absorb at home, we've got it covered. Read on to find out the best new books you should be reading this month.

If you missed it, you can still check out our round-up in June and July.

See also: 9 New Shows And Movies To Watch In August 2021

1 / 9

Radiant Fugitives by Nawaaz Ahmed

Nawaaz Ahmed's debut novel, Radiant Fugitives follows three generations of a Muslim Indian family in the US, during the days of the Obama presidency. This tour de force novel is told from the point of view of Seema's child, at the moment of his birth, seeing the world through his mother's work as a political activist.

Seema has been exiled from her family after she came out as a lesbian, making her fend for herself. Being nine months pregnant, she seeks to reconcile with her family—her sick mother, Nafeesa who is travelling alone from Chennai to California and her religious sister Tahera. Ahmed fuses the words of Wordsworth, Keats and the Quran in his debut novel, delivering a bold new view that looks at the tension in the same family as they navigate a changing political landscape.

Release date: August 3

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2 / 9

All’s Well by Mona Awad

Mona Awad's third novel, All's Well is looking to be a massive hit—just like her first two, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl and Bunny. All's Well is about a theatre professor, Miranda Fitch who sees her life as a walking nightmare. She's been suffering from chronic pain ever since an accident and going through a failed marriage. Despite all this, she's determined to pull off a grand performance of William Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well, in order to keep her job.

But things don't go as smoothly when Miranda meets three strange benefactors who seem to know about Miranda's past and an eerie prediction for her future. All's Well might just be Awad's best piece yet.

Release date: August 3

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3 / 9

Billy Summers by Stephen King

Renowned author Stephen King is back with another novel, Billy Summers. The suspense maestro puts his best foot forward with this new book which centres around Billy Summers, a killer for hire who also happens to be the best in the business. But there's a catch—Billy will get the job done if the target is a truly bad guy. Now, he wants to start fresh and leave the contract killing behind. And one more thing that Billy's good at? Disappearing.

But will everything go according to plan? We'd have to read and find out.

Release date: August 3

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4 / 9

Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson

Ash Davidson is bringing her A-game in her debut novel, Damnation Spring after attending the Iowa Writer's Workshop. This immersive debut piece tells the story of a logging town in the Pacific Northwest. One of the families living there for generations is Rich Gundersen's family. Rich and his wife, Colleen are raising their son near Damnation Grove, an area that Rich's boss, Sanderson Timber Co., plans to make a killing. Damnation and the place beyond it, 24-7 Ridge, is a logger's dream.

Rich's work is far from easy—in fact, his father has been killed on the same job. Looking for a better life for his son after Colleen's many miscarriages, Rich buys 24-7 Ridge as soon as he got the opportunity, spend all his family's savings. But it seems that Collen's miscarriage isn't isolated. The herbicides that the logging company uses were considered harmless for decades. Mudslides happen, salmon vanishes and their marriage is tested, will there be any hope for a better life?

Release date: August 3

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5 / 9

Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

Charlotte McConaghy, the author of bestseller Migrations returns with a promising new novel set in the Scottish Highlands, Once There Were Wolves. The new book revolves around Inti Flynn, who arrives in Scotland with her twin sister Aggie to lead a team of biologists to reintroduce 14 grey wolves into the remote Highlands. Seeking a new start both for the landscape around her and her sister, Inti opens herself up to the possibility of love.

But suddenly a farmer is found dead and Inti knows that the town will likely blame the wolves. She makes the choice to protect them. But the question remains if it's not the wolves then who did it? The clues lead to the man that she's falling for.

Release date: August 3

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6 / 9

Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So

Afterparties is the debut short story collection of Anthony Veasna So, a Cambodian American writer who passed away last December. The writer has been praised for his short stories, described as "crackling, kinetic and darkly comedic" by The New York Times. He drew heavily on his experiences as a child of Cambodian immigrants who fled the country during the Cambodian genocide under the Khmer Rouge.

In Afterparties, Anthony Veasna So channels those same experiences as he chronicles the lives of Cambodian Americans who have chosen to take on a new path for themselves in California all while shouldering the inherited weight of the Khmer Rouge genocide, coming to terms and grappling with race, sexuality, friendship and family. Among the characters are a high school badminton coach and a failing grocery store owner who try to relive their glory days by picking on a rising teen player.

There's also a queer love affair between an older tech entrepreneur and a young teacher who loves Moby Dick. The powerful last story also follows a nine-year-old child as he learns that his mother survived a racist school shooting.

Release date: August 3

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7 / 9

The Husbands by Chandler Baker

Bestselling author, Chandler Baker makes her comeback with The Husbands, a novel that imagines a world where the burden is equally shared among husband and wife—and what it takes to get there. Attorney Nora Spangler is thriving in her career but not so much when it comes to domestic life. She does everything for her husband—packs his lunches, schedules his doctor appointments, orders the holiday cards—but it seems like she's not getting the same effort in return.

When she goes house-hunting in an exclusive suburban neighbourhood, she meets a group of "woman bosses", from an award-winning entrepreneur, a tech CEO, a neurosurgeon among others, she's also surprised to discover that they all have supportive husbands. Nora decides to accept a wrongful death case there and gets entangled with the lives of the women. The Husbands feels like a retelling of Stepfords Wives but with a gender swap twist.

Release date: August 3

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8 / 9

How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao

Katie Zhao's channels her own experience as an Asian American who needed to thrive in a competitive environment for How We Fall Apart, a novel that centres around high-achieving students in an elite prep school. Nancy Luo finds her life turned upside down when her former best friend, Jamie Ruan—a top-ranked junior at Sinclair Prep—goes missing. What's even more shocking is that Nancy and her friends are the prime suspects, at least according to the Proctor, an anonymous person pointing them to the crime via social media.

But the Proctor knows a lot about Nancy and her friends. Desperate to uncover the true killer before the Proctor does more damage, Nancy must make sacrifices, like her full scholarship. Soon, friends start turning on each other and Nancy suspects her friends might be keeping secrets too.

Release date: August 17

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9 / 9

The Love Songs of W.E.D. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, the 2020 National Book Award-nominated poet makes her debut with The Love Songs of W.E.D. Du Bois, which centres around the journey of an American family, from the colonial slave trade all the way to the Civil War up to the current political landscape.

The main character, Ailey Pearl has always understood W.E.D. Du Bois's word to heart. Du Bois, a scholar, once wrote about the problem of race in America. Ailey carries Du Bois' problem on her shoulders—battling for belonging, acceptance, racism, trauma and identity. Looking to come to terms with her own identity, Ailey looks back at her family's past and uncovers the shocking tales of her ancestors in the deep South.

Release date: August 24

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