As we enter August, the holiday feeling is well and truly here.
If you’re not part of the set decamping to Cornwall as soon as possible, plonk yourself in your nearest local park and escape with a good book instead.
This month, there’s plenty of fresh novels to get stuck into - from Zadie Smith’s hyper relevant essays to Daisy Johnson’s new twisty thriller and Irish poet Elaine Feeney’s striking debut.
Read on to see what to pick up from your local bookstore this month.
Summer by Ali Smith
Ali Smith’s highly anticipated finale to her seasonal quartet is here and, with its arrival, we also get the first great coronavirus novel. As with its predecessors, it's grounded in current events, set to the backdrop of Australia’s bushfires, global warming, inklings of Covid hysteria and even George Floyd’s death. Summer neatly ties the events of Smith’s previous novels together and offers a hopeful outlook for the future.
The Fleet Street Girls: The Women who Broke Down the Doors of the Gentlemen’s Club by Julie Welch
Up until the 70s, journalism was largely a man’s game. In 1973, Julie Welch became Fleet Street's first female football reporter and, in her new book, Welch charts the steps that led to that moment and spotlights other trail-blazing women in the media.
Luster by Raven Leilani
Touted by Queenie author Candice Carty-Williams as ‘remarkable’ and ‘the most delicious novel she’s ever read’, Raven Leilani’s sparkling debut follows Edie, a 20-something artist in a dead-end job. Suddenly, she finds herself unemployed and falling into someone else’s open marriage - it’s darkly comic and razor sharp.
Intimations by Zadie Smith
Written during the height of lockdown, Zadie Smith’s new book of essays may be short (just 82 pages), but her thoughtful and whip-smart observations capture what it’s been like to live through the past few months. Across the six essays, she discusses everything from the death of George Floyd to Donald Trump and even Dominic Cummings-gate.
As You Were by Elaine Feeney
As You Were is Irish poet Elaine Feeney’s first foray into fiction, and the resulting novel is one of 2020’s best debuts. It follows Sinéad Hynes, a young property developer with a terrifying secret - it’s both tragic and full of wry humour.
Final Cut by SJ Watson
From the author of Before I Go To Sleep, Final Cut is a seaside noir set in the north of England where filmmaker Alex discovers a town’s dark secret. Each page is more suspenseful than the last.
Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh
For anyone currently waiting with bated breath for the new season of The Handmaid’s Tale, Booker longlisted author Sophie Mackintosh’s new novel is a feminist dystopia to quench your thirst. With motherhood and free will at the centre, women face a ‘lottery’ on the day of their first bleed - a white ticket means children, a blue ticket means freedom and explores what happens if you’re given the wrong one.
The Wish List by Sophia Money-Coutts
With her third novel in as many years, Standard columnist Sophia Money-Coutts cements her stance as the new Queen of rom-coms. The perfect holiday read (or just for when you need a pick-me-up), The Wish List is as pacey, laugh-out-loud funny and as heart-warming as its predecessors. Our new heroine Florence works in a book shop in Chelsea and discovers she’s been looking for love in all the wrong places.
The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi
As the title suggests, The Death of Vivek Oji is a story of loss and transcendence. Set in a town in southeastern Nigeria, one family grapples with the death of their son that they soon realise they hardly knew.
Sisters by Daisy Johnson
In 2016, Daisy Johnson at 27 became the youngest-ever author shortlisted for the Booker Prize for her novel Everything Under. Her new novel Sisters is pacey, haunting and deeply suspenseful and sees sisters July and September moved across the country by their mother into an old family home with a life of its own.