10 Books to Read in August

Round out your summer reading with a biography of Olympian Jim Thorpe and a supernatural mystery set in 1925 on D.C.'s 'Black Broadway.'
Eliott Reyna Kct 7cirbew Unsplash

Photo by Eliot Reyna on Unsplash

And just like that, the end of summer is upon us. Whether you’re making one last getaway or staying inside and dreaming of fall, August’s new books have something for everyone. And many of these titles have local connections!

The following information is provided courtesy of the Arlington Public Library.


Monsters We DefyThe Monsters We Defy

By Leslye Penelope

The year is 1925 and typist Clara Johnson can commune with spirits, but she owes one a favor. When the spirit known as “The Empress” cashes in, Clara must steal a ring from a powerful opera singer. To help with the heist, she turns to a group of friends that includes a jazz musician, a pickpocket, a circus performer and a war vet who can wipe memories. Immersed in D.C.’s Black Broadway, the group must face a growing dark danger as they explore Fairy Balls and literary salons. Author Leslye Penelope shines in weaving African folklore with D.C. history in this engaging mystery. // Available Aug. 9. Library catalog link here.

The Last HousewifeThe Last Housewife

By Ashley Winstead

Shay is a housewife in suburban Texas when her past catches up to her—via a true-crime podcast hosted by her childhood friend, Jamie. The death of Shay’s college friend Laurel has been ruled a suicide, but the details are eerily similar to Clem’s death several years ago, back when Laurel, Shay, Clem and Rachel were in college together and in the dark thrall of Rachel’s charismatic father. Soon, Jamie and Shay are tracking clues in Laurel’s passing, but everything they uncover threatens to send Shay back to her brainwashed past. A dark and grim psychological thriller. // Available Aug. 16. Library catalog link here.


By Sarah MacLean

In Victorian London, The Hells Belles bring justice to the men of high society. If anyone notices Adelaide Frampton at all, it’s just as a wallflower at the edge of the ballroom—but that’s where she gathers evidence for her use as the Matchbreaker, saving women from unwanted marriages. The Duke of Clayborn notices her quick fingers and wonders what else she’s hiding. When the Duke’s younger brother runs away to elope, Adelaide and the Duke are both close behind, intent on saving the day in their own ways as they handle carriage accidents, fights, only one bed, and their growing attraction to each other. // Available Aug. 23. Library catalog link here.

My Government Means To Kill MeMy Government Means to Kills Me

By Rasheed Newson

In 1985, 17-year-old Earl “Trey” Singleton leaves his wealthy parents in Indianapolis in lands in New York City. He becomes active in the gay rights community, volunteering at an AIDS hospice and serving as a founding member of ACT UP. He also deals with racist landlords and the challenge of being one of the few Black faces at FDA protests. Though Trey’s character is fictional, he interacts with several real-life figures in this memoir-style novel, including Bayard Rustin, Fred Trump and Larry Kramer.  A fast-moving and riveting examination of what it means to build a life in the middle of a deadly epidemic. // Available Aug. 23. Library catalog link here.


Looking UpLooking Up: The True Adventures of a Storm-Chasing Weather Nerd

By Matthew Cappucci

As a young boy, Matthew Cappucci spent his First Communion money on a camcorder so he could record thunderstorms. With support from his parents and other mentors, he presented a paper at the American Meteorological Society at 15 and created his own weather-science major in college, all while continuing to chase storms. Local readers know him best as the on-air meteorologist on FOX5DC, WAMU 88.5 FM, and as part of the Capital Weather Gang. His story offers an engaging mix of memoir, science and weather enthusiasm. // Available Aug. 2. Library catalog link here.

A Waiter In ParisA Waiter in Paris: Adventures in the Dark Heart of the City

By Edward Chisholm

In 2011, author Edward Chisholm followed his girlfriend from London to Paris and found work at an upscale restaurant, despite his lack of experience. He was quickly thrust into a world of hierarchical and competitive working conditions, with many unsettling parallels to French society at large. Not just a chronicle of mistreatment by supervisors and customers, Chisholm’s story delves into the lives of his coworkers, exposing the poverty, grit and back-breaking labor behind-the scenes that makes Paris glitter. // Available Aug. 9. Library catalog link here.

Path Lit By LightningPath Lit by Lightning: The Life of Jim Thorpe

By David Maraniss

Many know the outlines of Jim Thorpe’s career—from his experience playing football at the Carlisle School under the legendary coach Pop Warner, to being stripped of his Olympic medals in track and field because he had spent time playing minor league baseball. (The medals were restored only a few weeks ago in July of 2022.) In this, Thorpe’s most comprehensive biography yet, Maraniss finds the man inside the myth with extraordinary attention to detail and a fascinating exploration of the nuances of a complicated life. // Available Aug. 9. Library catalog link here.

The MamasThe Mamas: What I Learned about Kids, Class, and Race from Moms Not Like Me

By Helena Andrews-Dyer

After the birth of her first child, Helena Andrews-Dyer joined a mother’s group in D.C.’s gentrified Bloomingdale neighborhood and was surprised to discover she was one of the only Black women there. Though some differences were quickly apparent, she found a comfortable place in the group. That is, until George Floyd was murdered, and the group’s only response to systemic racism was simply to share a reading list. Offshoots formed, including a group just for Black mothers. Andrews-Dyer examines modern motherhood and the contours of community with sharp and honest commentary. // Available Aug. 23. Library catalog link here.

Middle Grade


By Cecilia C Pérez

Adelita Ramírez has never known her biological father. Her mother will not discuss him, but Adelita goes searching for answers when her stepfather asks to formally adopt her. As a huge Lucha libre fan, Adelita is excited to discover that her biological father is a member of the Bravo family of famous luchadores. While the extended Bravo family welcomes Adelita with open arms, her biological father remains distant, focused on mounting his comeback. This heartfelt and layered story explores the meaning of family. // Available Aug. 16. Library catalog link here.


Dead FliDead Flip

By Sara Farizan

After Sam disappeared five years ago, his best friends, Cori and Maz, had a falling out. Now in high school, Cori is popular, but is hiding her obsession with horror and her sexuality. Maz, co-captain of the cross-country team and one of the only non-White students at their school, struggles with his drinking. The two haven’t spoken in years. But then Sam returns, and he’s the same age he was when he left. Something is definitely off in this fast-paced horror novel that explores coming-of-age issues, as well as an evil pinball machine. // Available Aug. 30. Library catalog link here.

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