best books to read in August 2022

best books to read in August 2022

How did we arrive in August so soon? Last time I looked it was March and I was about to go on holiday. We’re well into the second half of the year now.

There are plenty of books out this month – here are just 10 that have caught my eye – and I hope you enjoy them.

Next month, new books by a host of big name authors will start appearing as publishers and bookshops gear up for the always crucial Christmas season.

The Booklist is a weekly newsletter for book lovers from books editor Jason Steger. Get it delivered every Friday.


NimblefootRobert Drewe

Hamish Hamilton, $32.99, August 2

He was 10 years old, just over 1.2 meters tall and weighed about 25 kilograms. And he was Australia’s first international sporting champion. Johnny Day was a master at pedestrianism, the sport of competitive long-distance walking that was popular in the 19th century. Day won a huge amount of money and then turned to horses, winning the Melbourne Cup when he was 14 on a horse called – what else could it be? – Nimblefoot. And then? That’s what we’ll find out in the latest novel by Robert Drewe, author of Our Sunshine, Whipbird and many others.


The Last Days of Roger Federer and Other EndingsGeoff Dyer

Canongate, $39.99, August 16

On the cover, British poet laureate Simon Armitage describes Geoff Dyer as a “clever clogs but he’s one of us”. His latest book – he hasn’t written a novel for eight years – is a series of musings, essays and recollections on “things coming to an end, artists’ last works, time running out” written “while life as we know it came to an end”. It is full of Dyer’s characteristic erudition, wit and style. Oh, there’s also a bit about the man he calls Roger “always and only Roger”.


Salt and SkinEliza Henry-Jones

Ultimo, $32.99, August 3

A mother and her two children come to live on one of those Scottish islands that is full of myth and mystery. Luda is a photojournalist who immediately gets herself offside with the locals after she takes a picture of a tragic accident. Gradually she becomes intrigued by the stories of women executed as witches on the island, while her children, Darcy and Min, find unusual friendships, notably with Theo, the foundling washed up on the islands as a child. It’s an intriguing and unusual novel.


So You Want To Live Younger Longer?Dr. Norman Swan

Hatchet, $34.99, July 27

Don’t we all want to live longer, if we’re in reasonable shape that is? The amiable host of the ABC’s Health Report and Coronacast podcast has got plenty to say on the subject and does so in his characteristic gentle, informed and accessible fashion. The idea of ​​the book is to give you the information that counts and to determine you from the quacks and horse medicines that seem to be everywhere. This is the follow-up to Swan’s So You Think You Know What’s Good For You?


The WhitewashSiang Lu

UQP, $32.99, August 2

You won’t have heard of Brood Empire, but it was a big-budget blockbuster spy film targeting “Western markets and starring, for the first time, an Asian man in the lead role”. Okay, it wasn’t really, but it’s the focal point of Siang Lu’s delicious satire of the film industry and its racism, dressed up as an oral history of the project. Lu brings in everyone involved, including star JK Jr, his girlfriend Angela Mu, Lebron Chew, editor of Click Bae, and Baby Bao, maker of Enter the Hoya Celata, starring Bruce Leigh, a chubby London-born accountant. It’s a blast.


August in KabulAndrew Quilty

MUP, $34.99, August 2

The Australian photojournalist, who won a Gold Walkley for his confronting picture of the aftermath of a US airstrike in 2016, first went to Afghanistan in 2013 and stayed until the Taliban returned to power with undue haste last year. This book is an on-the-ground account of the final days of the American-backed government, the rapid exodus of American forces and the chaos and bloodshed that ensued. It’s a time that the Western powers involved in Afghanistan can hardly look on with pride, one that left the people of the country living under a radical theocracy.


Provocations: New and Selected WritingJeff Sparrow

NewSouth, $32.99, August 1

As a political writer of the left, Jeff Sparrow says he “is forced to argue each point almost from first principles, like a mountaineer hacking steps into a summit”. Over the years, as demonstrated in this collection of essays, he’s hacked a lot of steps with tremendous diversity. His subjects range from consideration of falcons nesting in central Melbourne to mash-ups of classic literature to a new and blistering piece on “blackbirding” in Queensland. Sparrow’s is a powerful voice.


Motherlands: In Search of Our Inherited CitiesAmaryllis Gacioppo

Bloomsbury, $29.99, August 2

Amaryllis Gacioppo’s book is about the idea of ​​home: homes that have been left, the experience of migration and the changes wrought on a psyche in the process. In a sense this is a family history as Gacioppo returns to the cities where her mother, grandmother and great grandmother lived. Perhaps, too, the book is a sort of psychogeography, possibly a travel memoir. However it’s defined, its use of pictures, memories and family stories makes for an absorbing creation.


FaithlessAlice Nelson

Vintage, $32.99

Alice Nelson’s last novel, The Children’s House, was described by our reviewer “as a meditation on the ways in which our lives are made richer by those we let in … a beautiful work”. Here, Cressida lets in an older professor of literature and writer of stories, Max, whom she meets at her mother’s home in India. Max is perhaps loosely inspired by WG “Max” Sebald, but the novel is not about him. Rather, it is about the “complicated geometry” Max creates in Cressida’s life and the lives of others.


Life CeremonySayaka Murata

Granta, $34.99, August 2

You may not know Sayaka Murata, but millions do. She’s the author of Convenience Store Woman, the 10th of her novels, but the first to be translated from Japanese into English, and one that has sold millions. The stories in Life Ceremony are written in her crystal prose and feature decidedly odd encounters or scenarios. In A Clean Marriage, for example, Mr and Mrs Takahashi have “a completely sexless and sex-free marriage, but somewhat inconveniently we both wanted children”. There is a solution, sort of.

The Booklist is a weekly newsletter for book lovers from books editor Jason Steger. Get it delivered every Friday.

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