No wind, no bird. The river flames like brass. / On either side, smitten as with a spell / Of silence, brood the fields. In the deep grass, / Edging the dusty roads, lie as they fell / Handfuls of shriveled leaves from tree and bush. ~ “August” by Lizette Woodworth Reese

Shanghai Grand by Taras Grescoe

From the publisher: On the eve of WWII, the foreign-controlled port of Shanghai was the rendezvous for the twentieth century’s most outlandish adventurers, all under the watchful eye of the fabulously wealthy Sir Victor Sassoon.

Emily Hahn was a legendary New Yorker writer who would cover China for nearly fifty years, and play an integral part in opening Asia up to the West. But at the height of the Depression, “Mickey” Hahn, had just arrived in Shanghai nursing a broken heart after a disappointing affair with an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter, convinced she would never love again. After entering Sassoon’s glamorous Cathay Hotel, Hahn is absorbed into the social swirl of the expats drawn to pre-war China, among them Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn, Harold Acton, and the colourful gangster named Morris “Two-Gun” Cohen.

I’ve started this one and it’s fascinating. It’s a time frame and place that I have always been interested in. It’s a massive book with lots of detail so it is a bit slow going but worth it so far.

My thanks to Declan at Picador for the review copy.

Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Picador (August 1, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1250130204
Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.7 inches

Bibliomysteries, edited by Otto Penzler

from the publisher: If you open your dictionary, you will discover that there is no such word as “bibliomystery.” However, most mystery readers know that the word refers to a mystery story that involves the world of books: a bookshop, a rare volume, a library, a collector, or a bookseller.

The stories in this unique collection were commissioned by the Mysterious Bookshop. They were written by some of the mystery genre’s most distinguished authors. Tough guys like Ken Bruen, Reed Farrel Coleman, Loren D. Estleman, and Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins. Bestsellers like Nelson DeMille, Anne Perry, and Jeffery Deaver. Edgar winners such as C. J. Box, Thomas H. Cook, and Laura Lippman.

There’s a great assortment of stories in here. Everyone from Freud to a Mexican kingpin make appearances. As with any collection, I liked some stories more than others, but I found some new authors and ideas. You can never go wrong with an Otto Penzler edition.

My thanks to Iris at Pegasus for the review copy.

Stories of Crime in the World of Books and Bookstores
Edited by Otto Penzler
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Pegasus Books (August 8, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1681774585
ISBN-13: 978-1681774589
Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.7 x 9.3 inches

The Amber Shadows by Lucy Ribchester

from the publisher: Bletchley Park, 1942: As World War II rages on, Honey Deschamps sits at her type-x machine, tediously transcribing decrypted signals from the German Army, doing her part to assist the British war effort. Halfway across the world, Hitler’s armies are marching into Leningrad, leaving a trail of destruction and pillaging the country’s most treasured artworks, including the famous Amber Room—the eighth wonder of the world.

As reports begin filtering into Bletchley Park about the stolen loot, Honey receives a mysterious package, hand-delivered from a man that she has never seen before who claims that he works at the Park as well.

I’ve just started it and I am enjoying it even more than Lucy’s first novel. And I am all about a good Bletchley Park mystery.

My thanks to Iris at Pegasus for the review copy.

Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Pegasus Books (August 8, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1681774488
ISBN-13: 978-1681774480

The Grip of It by Jac Jemc

from the publisher: Touring their prospective suburban home, Julie and James are stopped by a noise. Deep and vibrating, like throat singing. Ancient, husky, and rasping, but underwater. “That’s just the house settling,” the real estate agent assures them with a smile. He is wrong.

The move—prompted by James’s penchant for gambling and his general inability to keep his impulses in check—is quick and seamless; both Julie and James are happy to start afresh. But this house, which sits between a lake and a forest, has its own plans for the unsuspecting couple. As Julie and James try to establish a sense of normalcy, the home and its surrounding terrain become the locus of increasingly strange happenings.

This one just arrived but I’ve been so excited since hearing about it. I love a good haunted house story, and this one reminds me of The Fall of the House of Usher in a way. Can’t wait for a good storm to read this one.

My thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the review copy.

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: FSG Originals (August 1, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0374536910
ISBN-13: 978-0374536916
Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches


The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

from the publisher: What does it mean to be lonely? How do we live, if we’re not intimately engaged with another human being? How do we connect with other people? Does technology draw us closer together or trap us behind screens?

When Olivia Laing moved to New York City in her mid-thirties, she found herself inhabiting loneliness on a daily basis. Increasingly fascinated by this most shameful of experiences, she began to explore the lonely city by way of art. Moving fluidly between works and lives – from Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks to Andy Warhol’s Time Capsules, from Henry Darger’s hoarding to David Wojnarowicz’s AIDS activism – Laing conducts an electric, dazzling investigation into what it means to be alone.

I’ve begun this one and it’s enchanting. Laing has a way of making her personal experiences seem universal. Just reading the book helps one’s mind calm down and wander, and sit with itself.

My thanks to Declan at Picador for the review copy.

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Picador; Reprint edition (June 6, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1250118034
ISBN-13: 978-1250118035
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 22.6 x 207.3 inches

My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood

from the publisher: In the vein of Fiona Barton’s The Widow and Renée Knight’s Disclaimer, a psychological thriller about a war reporter who returns to her childhood home after her mother’s death but becomes convinced that all is not well in the house next door—but is what she’s seeing real or a symptom of the trauma she suffered in Syria?
Kate has spent fifteen years bringing global injustice home: as a decorated war reporter, she’s always in a place of conflict, writing about ordinary people in unimaginable situations. When her mother dies, Kate returns home from Syria for the funeral. But an incident with a young Syrian boy haunts her dreams, and when Kate sees a boy in the garden of the house next door—a house inhabited by an Iraqi refugee who claims her husband is away and she has no children—Kate becomes convinced that something is very wrong.

My thanks to William Morrow for the review copy.

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (July 11, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062661965
ISBN-13: 978-0062661968
Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches

What are you reading in August?

One thought on “BOOKS for August”

  1. Oo, lots of awesome stuff! I have noooo idea what I’m going to be reading in August — I’m in one of those moods where nothing I’m reading seems good, and I just keep getting cranky and tossing them over the side of the bed and trying something else. (Rinse and repeat.)

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