Books

The Best Books to Read in August 2018

Five standout new releases (and one old favorite) to savor during the last month of summer.
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This month, dive into a thrilling tale of intrigue, get to know an unforgettable mother-daughter duo, rev up your coffee-table reading, and revisit a classic that's celebrating its centenary.

The Novel: Red, White, Blue

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This smart and stylish thriller from T&C contributor Lea Carpenter follows a young woman who, in the aftermath of her father’s untimely death, discovers that he wasn’t exactly who she believed him to be. It’s an extraordinary twister of a novel that offers not only our favorite parts of spy stories (no surprise, considering Carpenter also wrote this month’s big-screen action flick Mile 22) but the kind of literary weight that’s sure to keep people buzzing long after beach season is over.

The Debut: Smothered

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Autumn Chiklis’s first book offers a humorous tale of the struggles that come after graduating summa cum laude. Smothered tells the story of Elouise Hansen, a Columbia grad who moves back in with her folks after finishing school, but before she’s figured out what might come next. And while some parents might balk at the return of a seemingly well-adjusted spawn, Hansen’s mom—the impossible to ignore (or forget) Shelly—can’t imagine her offspring anywhere else. Get ready to laugh out loud at a strained, comical mother-daughter duo with smart, inventive, and very modern storytelling devices.

The Memoir: All Happy Families

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At her mother’s insistence, Jeanne McCulloch’s father quit drinking before his daughter’s wedding. But when withdrawal causes a massive stroke, leaving him in a coma as his daughter walks down the aisle, what should have been a joyful weekend turns into a life-altering nightmare. This memoir, by a former managing editor of The Paris Review, is a poignant tableau of two families bound by etiquette and tradition—and of repercussions that last for decades.

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The Page-Turner: The Eye

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As the director of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Ajaccio, Corsica, art historian Philippe Costamagna has carved a niche as an authority on 16th century Italian paintings. Often called upon to authenticate or attribute unknown works, he has seen it all, from surprise discoveries to high-stakes let downs. Lifting the veil on the shadowy world of art insiders, Costamagna delivers an entertaining reflection on the dealers, devotees, and decision makers who define the art market.

The Coffee Table Book: Hot Wheels

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When Mario Andretti talks about cars, we listen. So, the fact that the legendary driver wrote the introduction to Paul Biedrzycki’s new tome about the world’s best-selling toy caught our eye but also left us wondering: How much is there to know about Hot Wheels? Turns out, plenty. In the 50 years since they were introduced, the toys have become not only a worldwide phenomenon but also a coveted collectible—and a subject that makes for a very interesting read.

The Classic: My Ántonia

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Nineteenth-century pastoral America comes to life in this celebrated novel by Willa Cather, which is celebrating its centenary. The third book in what is known as the author’s prairie trilogy, My Ántonia is considered Cather’s masterpiece. The novel, which was published in 1918, follows the life of a young immigrant, Ántonia Shimerda, through the eyes of Jim Burden, her more privileged neighbor who escapes Midwestern life to become a New York lawyer. 

*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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