I’ve been on a reading roll these past couple months and hopefully it continues into the next month. I’ve decided I want to focus on reading the ebooks I purchased on my Nook for the month of August.
So here are the top books on my Nook that I’m excited to get to this month.
Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevedo
“Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…
In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.
Separated by distance – and Papi’s secrets – the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.
Papi’s death uncovers all the painful truths he kept hidden, and the love he divided across an ocean. And now, Camino and Yahaira are both left to grapple with what this new sister means to them, and what it will now take to keep their dreams alive.” (x)
It’s a bit ridiculous that I haven’t gotten to this yet given how much I loved The Poet X and With the Fire on High, but I think I just want to read this all in one sitting. Elizabeth Acevedo always delivers and I’ve never felt underwhelmed by anything she’s written so I’m absolutely ecstatic to finally get to this!
How To Love a Jamaican – Alexia Arthurs
Tenderness and cruelty, loyalty and betrayal, ambition and regret—Alexia Arthurs navigates these tensions to extraordinary effect in her debut collection about Jamaican immigrants and their families back home. Sweeping from close-knit island communities to the streets of New York City and midwestern university towns, these eleven stories form a portrait of a nation, a people, and a way of life.
In “Light Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowlands,” an NYU student befriends a fellow Jamaican whose privileged West Coast upbringing has blinded her to the hard realities of race. In “Mash Up Love,” a twin’s chance sighting of his estranged brother—the prodigal son of the family—stirs up unresolved feelings of resentment. In “Bad Behavior,” a mother and father leave their wild teenage daughter with her grandmother in Jamaica, hoping the old ways will straighten her out. In “Mermaid River,” a Jamaican teenage boy is reunited with his mother in New York after eight years apart. In “The Ghost of Jia Yi,” a recently murdered international student haunts a despairing Jamaican athlete recruited to an Iowa college. And in “Shirley from a Small Place,” a world-famous pop star retreats to her mother’s big new house in Jamaica, which still holds the power to restore something vital. (x)
One of my reading goals is to read way more novels/short stories by Jamaican authors. As I looked through the books I’ve completed, I haven’t read any (or really any other Caribbean authors) and I find it saddening. What better way to start off this new journey than to read a book by and about Jamaicans and the immigrant experience, specifically in New York City, which is great as my family is Jamaican and mainly settled in New York City. I’ve heard good things about this collection of short stories so I’m ready to get into it.
Parable of the Sower – Octavia E. Butler
In 2025, with the world descending into madness and anarchy, one woman begins a fateful journey toward a better future.
Lauren Olamina and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods remaining on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Behind the walls of their defended enclave, Lauren’s father, a preacher, and a handful of other citizens try to salvage what remains of a culture that has been destroyed by drugs, disease, war, and chronic water shortages. While her father tries to lead people on the righteous path, Lauren struggles with hyperempathy, a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive to the pain of others.
When fire destroys their compound, Lauren’s family is killed and she is forced out into a world that is fraught with danger. With a handful of other refugees, Lauren must make her way north to safety, along the way conceiving a revolutionary idea that may mean salvation for all mankind. (x)
I’ve only read Kindred by Octavia Butler (and only barely started on her short story collection, Bloodchild), but she made such an impact on me, I still remember how I felt reading Kindred and the fact that I haven’t read any of her other works earlier than now is a straight crime. I’m usually not into science fiction, but I put all my trust into Ms. Octavia E. Butler.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.
With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years. (x)
When I was in college, Ocean Vuong came to my campus for a talk and read some poems from his poetry collection. I remember being entranced by his poems which is something that rarely happens when I read or listen to poetry. So, I’m very sure I’ll go into this book feeling embraced by the beautiful writing that will greet me.
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson’s taut and powerful new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of the new child.
As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony in her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody’s mother, for her own ceremony– a celebration that ultimately never took place.
Unfurling the history of Melody’s parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they’ve paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. (x)
This is another book I saw a lot of good reviews about and I thought I’d add it to my list of what to read next. I enjoyed Brown Girl Dreaming, and the summary of this book intrigues me. I want to know the history we uncover and the importance of the event we open with and why it never happened years earlier.
Under the Midnight Sun – Keigo Higashino
This is the compelling story of a brutal crime and the two teenagers—Ryo, the son of the murdered man, and Yukiho, the daughter of the main suspect—whose lives remain inextricably linked over the twenty-year search for the truth behind the crime.
In Osaka in 1973, the body of a murdered man is found in an abandoned building. Investigating the crime, Detective SasagakI is unable to find the killer. Over the next twenty years, through the lens of a succession of characters, Higashino tells the story of two teens, Ryo and Yukiho, whose lives are most affected by the crime, and the obsessed detective, Sasagaki, who continues to investigate the murder, looking for the elusive truth. (x)
A friend recommended this to me years ago, but I never went back to it (mainly because the page count scared me a little). But, we have the same taste and I love love love a good mystery/thriller. So I think I’ll set aside a nice ol’ weekend this August for this book.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home – Carla Rifka Brunt
1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life—someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.
At Finn’s funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he just might be the one she needs the most. (x)
The reason I added this to my “Want to Read” was because I loved the title, the cover is super pretty and one of my friends said it was one of the best YA she’s ever read. Intrigue at 100%.
What are you reading?
So that’s it for my August TBR (To Be Read). Of course there are other books I’d like to read, but I want to prioritize these 7 first! What are you planning on reading for the month of August? Have you read any of the books listed in this post?