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Can you hear that, dear friends? It’s the chirping of birds singing to the sound of spring. That’s right, we’re in the final month of winter and things are looking up. There’s a promise of sun (yay) and maybe even being able to dry all your washing (double yay), so to get you through the last stretch of wintery darkness, Litty Committee has a gorgeous collection of August new releases to keep ya going.

On August 30, we’ve got a new book from the queen of #BookTok herself (we’re looking at you Taylor Jenkins-Reid) dubbed Carrie Soto Is Back, which is about a retired tennis champ returning to the spotlight. Then on August 9, there’s Isaac and the Egg by Bobby Palmer, a sad, mad and silly little book about a man navigating grief with the help of an egg(?).

Now onto the books.

Best fiction books to read this month

Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins-Reid

Litty Committee: Get Yrself Out Of A Gloomy Winter Reading Slump With These Shiny August Reads
Randomhouse UK

About this book:

You could argue Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of the reigning queens of #BookTok, with an army of diehard fans from her books The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones & The Six. Now she’s ready to make a splash by exploring the ballin’ world of tennis through a retired athlete who wants to relive her glory days. Game, set and match.

By the time Carrie retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Slam titles. And if you ask her, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father as her coach.

But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning, British player named Nicki Chan. At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if her body doesn’t move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to.

Release date: August 30

Where to buy: Amazon ($16) | Booktopia ($22.95) | Big W ($16) | QBD ($22.99) 

Salt and Skin by Eliza Henry-Jones

Litty Committee: Get Yrself Out Of A Gloomy Winter Reading Slump With These Shiny August Reads
Ultimo Press

About this book:

Mystery? Check. Remote Scottish island? Check? Complex and powerful explorations of trauma? Check. Witch trials? Check. You’ve just found your new winter read.

Grief-stricken and on the verge of a breakdown, Luda Managan and her two teenaged children try to make a home for themselves on a collection of harsh and haunted Scottish islands. 

 Luda, a photographer, is mesmerised by the extraordinary magic of the islands and soon finds herself condemned by the local community after publishing images documenting the death of a local child. Alienated, Luda turns her attention to the records from the 17th century island witch-hunts and the fragmented life stories of the executed women.

Min, restless and strong, tries to fill up the space in their family left by her father. She soon finds comfort in the depths of the icy North Sea and in an unlikely friendship with the elderly and irreverent local ‘witch’. The only thing that beautiful and gifted Darcy cares about is getting marks high enough for entry into university – one very, very far away from his mother. Until he meets the wild foundling, Theo. 

Release date: August 3

Where to buy: Amazon ($26.25) | Booktopia ($26.25) | eBay ($35.48) | QBD ($32.99)

Twenty Six Letters by Charlotte Nash

Litty Committee: Get Yrself Out Of A Gloomy Winter Reading Slump With These Shiny August Reads
Allen & Unwin

About this book:

Oof, maybe crack out the tissues for this one. Twenty-Six Letters centres on Wilhelmina Mann, a woman who receives a bundle of letters from her mum which were written just before she died.

Wil’s life is thrown into a new kind of turmoil as she discovers the mother she lost. And while the letters begin as tales of growing up, they soon become a great love story, almost as great as the bond between mother and daughter. Caught in old, unexpected emotions and unresolved hurts, Wil risks everything to journey back to the tiny English village in which her mother grew up, searching for answers in another set of letters she is meant to find there.

But secrets are kept for a reason. Will she find the last letters? And will she want to know what they contain?

Release date: August 2

Where to buy: Amazon ($32.99) | Booktopia ($26.25) | QBD ($32.99)

Isaac and the Egg by Bobby Palmer

New book releases: Isaac and the Egg
Headline Review

About this book:

This book is mad, sad and outright one of the wildest stories you’ll ever read. On one page you’ll be reading it in puzzlement and on the next, you’ll be weeping into its pages. Although it might take you a while to get fully into this book, we promise its ending is 100% worth it. Perfect for fans of Matt Haig‘s The Midnight Library.

Isaac stands alone on a bridge and screams. Something screams back. And that, like everything which follows, is unforgettable.

This is a book about a lot of things – grief, hope, friendship, love. It’s also about what you’d do if you stumbled into the woods at dawn, found something extraordinary there, and decided to take it home.

Release date: August 9

Where to buy: Amazon ($25.07) | Booktopia ($26.25) | QBD ($32.99)

Best historic fiction books to read this month

A Jewish Girl In Paris by Melanie Levensohn

Litty Committee: Get Yrself Out Of A Gloomy Winter Reading Slump With These Shiny August Reads
Pan MacMillan Australia

About this book:

This novel spans history, from Paris in the 1940s to Montreal in the 1980s all the way the Washington D.C.’s Holocaust Memorial Museum in the present. It follows friends Jacobina and Béatrice as they try to find out more about Jacobina’s family history and the secrets that come with it.

Paris, 1940: The City of Lights under German occupation. Christian, son of a bank director, falls in love with Jewish girl Judith. The young couple secretly plan to flee, but suddenly Judith disappears. Christian begins a frantic search.

Montreal, 1982: Shortly before his death, Lica Grunberg confesses to his daughter, Jacobina, that she has an older half-sister, Judith. Lica escaped the Nazis but lost all contact with his first-born daughter. Jacobina must promise her father to find the sister she never knew. But the search languishes for twenty-five years, until Jacobina is spurred on by her much-younger friend Béatrice, a French diplomat experiencing a painful midlife crisis.

At the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., they meet Grégoire. Not only does he make Béatrice’s head turn, he also finds clues to Judith’s whereabouts. Soon the two women discover a dark family secret that will change their lives forever.

Release date: August 9

Where to buy: Amazon ($34.99) | Booktopia ($27.75) | QBD ($34.99)

Best crime books to read this month

The Unbelieved by Vikki Petraitis 

Litty Committee: Get Yrself Out Of A Gloomy Winter Reading Slump With These Shiny August Reads
Allen & Unwin

About this book:

CONTENT WARNING: This book discusses sexual assault and rape.

This crime novel follows Senior Detective Antigone Pollard, who moves from Melbourne to her home town Deception Bay to escape her guilt about a case gone wrong. But the women of Deception Bay – including Antigone – are being targeted in a series of violent sexual crimes.

A month into Antigone’s new life, she is targeted by a would-be rapist at the pub, and realises why there have been no convictions following a spate of similar sexual attacks in the surrounding district. The male witnesses in the pub back her attacker and even her boss doesn’t believe her.

Hers is the first reported case in Deception Bay, but soon there are more. As Antigone searches for answers, she encounters a wall of silence in the town built of secrets and denial and fear. The women of Deception Bay are scared and the law is not on their side. The nightmare has followed her home.

Release date: August 2

Where to buy: Amazon ($22.99) | Booktopia ($24.75) | QBD ($22.99)

Best non-fiction books to read this month

Nowhere to Hide by Tom Boyd 

Litty Committee: Get Yrself Out Of A Gloomy Winter Reading Slump With These Shiny August Reads
Allen & Unwin

About this book:

This powerful memoir by ex-footy player Tom Boyd explores the immense pressures of professional football and, in particular, his experience with mental illness. It’s incredibly important for stories like Boyd’s to be shared, and this book is both brave and revealing.

As the 2013 AFL number one draft pick, Tom Boyd was marked as a future superstar in his sport. Fame and money were guaranteed, all the more so when he returned home to Melbourne to join the Western Bulldogs on a record-breaking $7 million contract.

But success as a footballer came at a cost Tom wasn’t prepared to pay. Even being part of the Bulldogs’ famous drought-breaking Premiership win in 2016, when Tom arguably played the greatest game of his career, could not fundamentally change the chronic mental health issues he was experiencing.

Tom decided to make one of the bravest calls of his life and walk away from the team he loved, from his hugely lucrative contract, from celebrity and adulation.

This book is a compelling account of what it’s really like to live in the world of elite football — with all its highs and lows. It’s also an honest, clear-eyed memoir of mental illness — how it crept into Tom’s life and how he overcame it. 

Release date: August 2

Where to buy: Amazon ($32.99) | Booktopia ($26.25) | QBD ($26.99)

Best YA books to read this month

Relentless by AViVA 

Litty Committee: Get Yrself Out Of A Gloomy Winter Reading Slump With These Shiny August Reads
Pan Macmillan

About this book:

Now this is cool: it turns out that author AViVA isn’t just a writer – she’s a multidisciplinary artist and muso. Pretty impressive! So deffo make some banging playlists to listen to while you read this.

Teddy needs to act fast to save Clan Ember from Link’s tyranny and protect the Underground from the City’s clutches.

She has no choice but to trust Hunter – a stranger from outside the wall – to help her infiltrate the City Council, find her missing mother and discover the truth.

But will the truth really set the Underground, and Teddy, free?

Release date: August 9

Where to buy: Amazon ($16.79) | Booktopia ($17.50) | QBD ($19.99)

The Brink by Holden Sheppard

August new book releases: The Brink by Holden Sheppard
Text Publishing

About this book:

The Brink pulls absolutely no punches in exploring masculinity, sexuality and mental health while taking the teenage experience to the next level in this electrifying novel by award-winning YA author Holden Sheppard (author of Invisible Boys).

A group of school-leavers arrive ready to party on a remote island on the Western Australian coast.

Leonardo is terrified he’s definitely not part of this cool gang; Kaiya is trying to forget her drug-addicted sister while dealing with pressure from the popular girls to lose her virginity; Mason, a footy jock with the physique to match, is coming to terms with his secret desire for his best mate, Jared; and Jared wants a week off from his relationship with Val so he can have sex with as many girls as possible.

But the party takes a dangerous turn when Val is drugged and a man is later found dead on the beach. Blame, fear, mistrust, coverups, power plays and dark secrets tear the group apart and expose the deadly tensions beneath the surface. And each teen is forced to confront demons that will lead them either to devastating tragedy or transformative triumph.

Release date: August 2

Where to buy: Amazon ($19.50) | Booktopia ($21.25 with signed copies available) | eBay ($30.43) | QBD ($24.99)

Best short story collections to read this month

Everything Feels Like The End of The World by Else Fitzgerald

New book releases: Everything Feels Like the End of the World
Allen & Unwin

About this book:

Else Fitzgerald is a former Richell Prize winner, so you know this is going to be good. This short story anthology explores grief, loss, sense and love with power and humour: basically, the things that make us human.

A young woman is faced with a terrible choice about her pregnancy in a community ravaged by doubt. An engineer working on a solar shield protecting the Earth shares memories of their lover with an AI companion. Two archivists must decide what is worth saving when the world is flooded by rising sea levels. In a heavily policed state that preferences the human and punishes the different, a mother gives herself up to save her transgenic child.

These transformative stories are both epic and granular, and forever astonishing in their imaginative detail, sense of revelation and emotional connection. 

Release date: August 2

Where to buy: Amazon (23.69) | Booktopia ($24.25) | QBD ($29.99)