books

The 9 books everyone will be reading in August.

August is a lovely month for curling up on the couch with a good book. 

I've got a lineup this month that will transport you out of your own living room and across Australia - and around the world - in search of plot twists and much needed answers. 

Start by heading to America to uncover the truth behind a literary scandal, before learning how to grieve and stand on your own two feet in Melbourne, before finally solving a brutal murder in a sleepy, insular neighbourhood. 

Oh, and I've got just the book for you if you're searching for a little hope and a warm hug right now. 

Here are the nine books everyone will be reading in August: 

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

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The Plot is the new thriller from Jean Hanff Korelitz, the best-selling author of You Should Have Known, the book the hit mini-series The Undoing was based on. 

This fast-paced thriller follows the story of Jacob Finch Bonner, a once promising young novelist who is now teaching a third-rate MFA program and struggling to survive. 

When Jacob hears that one of his most arrogant students has died, he decides to steal the plot of his book. 

The book is an instant bestseller, but just as Jacob is enjoying the fruits of his success, he receives an email that reads: You are a thief. 

Read it if you like: Literary scandals, The Undoing, threats from beyond the grave, and plots within plots within plots. 

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The Mother Wound by Amani Haydar

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Amani Haydar suffered the unimaginable when she lost her mother in a brutal act of domestic violence perpetrated by her father. Five months pregnant at the time, her own perception of how she wanted to mother (and how she had been mothered) was shaped by this devastating murder. 

Writing with grace and beauty, Amani has drawn from this a story of female resilience and the role of motherhood in the home and in the world. In The Mother Wound, she uses her own strength to help other survivors find their voices.

Read it if you like: Stories of resilience, A Mother's Story by Rosie Batty, and learning about familial and cultural context and the impact of intergenerational trauma.

Small Joys of Real Life by Allee Richards

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Two weeks after Eva meets Pat, he tells her: "You can't live your life saying you'll get around to doing something you know will make you happy. You just have to do it." 

Soon Pat is dead, Eva is pregnant, and she has to make a choice. 

The Small Joys of Real Life is an unpredictable and poignant read about grief and navigating life in your late 20s. 

Read it if you like: Small joys, anything by Marian Keyes, coming of age stories, and having a good cry. 

When Things Are Alive They Hum by Hannah Bent

Image: Ultimo Press/Mamamia.  

Since their mother died when they were just children, Marlowe and Harper have shared a bond deeper than most sisters. 

Harper lives with Up Syndrome and believes she and Marlowe are connected by an invisible thread, a hum that connects all things. 

At 25, Marlowe is living a new life overseas when she hears that Harper's heart is failing. She rushes to her childhood home in Hong Kong to be by Harper's side and soon has to ask herself the question - what lengths would you go to save your sister? 

Read it if you like: Your sister, anything by Trent Dalton, having a good cry, and My Sister's Keeper

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Nothing But My Body by Tilly Lawless

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Nothing But My Body is a journey through the mind of a young, queer sex worker in Australia, as she navigates breakups and infatuation over the course of a year. 

Set during the cataclysmic bushfire season of 2019 and into the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, sex work is the constant backdrop of the story as it moves between Sydney, Berlin, Orange and Bellingen.

Tilly Lawless' debut novel is both a rejection of romantic love and a celebration of the body. 

Read it if you like: The Girlfriend Experience, personal essays, and coming of age stories. 

The Comfort Book by Matt Haig

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At 24, author Matt Haig wanted to end his own life. 

On a September day in Ibiza, the now international bestselling author walked to a cliff intending to jump off. He stopped one step from the edge. 

Reasons to Stay Alive, his account of his journey out of depression and into not only surviving - but thriving, would become bestseller 16 years later. 

His latest release - The Comfort Book - is for anyone looking for hope or a path to a more meaningful life. 

It’s a collection of notes, lists, and stories written over a span of several years that originally served as gentle reminders to Haig’s future self that things are not always as dark as they may seem.

Read it if you like: A warm hug, an underdog, The Midnight Library, and reading about people's experiences of hitting rock bottom and climbing all the way up again.

She Is Haunted by Paige Clark 

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She Is Haunted is a collection of 18 short stories by Chinese/Australian/American writer Paige Clark. 

The stunning debut offers insight into transnational Asian identity, intergenerational grief and trauma, mother-daughter relationships, the ups and downs of female friendship, and the love of a good dog. 

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Read it if you like: Finding out people's darkest and saddest secrets, short stories with big impact, and being haunted by characters long after you've put the book down. 

Dissolve by Nikki Gemmell

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Dissolve is both the story of one woman finding her voice and a room of one's own and every woman finding space in their own lives to be themselves. 

Written by Nikki Gemmell, the bestselling author of The Bride Stripped Bare, Dissolve is a reflection on love and female creativity in a man's world and what happens when it all collides. 

Read it if you like: Clementine Ford's Fight Like A Girl, Your Own Kind of Girl by Clare Bowditch, and fighting for your own place in the world. 

Such A Quiet Place by Megan Miranda

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Such A Quiet Place is a fast-paced thriller for fans of Liane Moriarty and Sally Hepworth. 

Hollow’s Edge used to be a quiet place. But then came the murder of Brandon and Fiona Truett. Eighteen months later, one of their own, Ruby Fletcher, was convicted of the crime. 

Now Ruby's conviction has been overturned, and she's returned to Hollow's Edge and the house she once shared with her sister, Harper. 

Read it if you like: Insular neighbourhoods, fast-paced thrillers, Big Little Lies, and lots of plot twists. 

Keryn Donnelly is Mamamia's Pop Culture Editor. For more of her TV, film and book recommendations and to see photos of her dog, follow her on Instagram

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