Books I want to read (and finish) this August

I used to be one of those people that thought book bloggers were voracious readers, with insatiable appetites and book budgets all year round. I’m not Jack Edwards averaging close to 20 books monthly. I’m here to assure you that he is an anomaly. I have been sluggish with reading my books since June. We are entering the last quarter of the year and I am painfully behind my reading goals for 2022. Some months I have completely deterred from my planned reads, only wanting to read fiction at all times to fill a void. But that’s okay, reading should never feel like a chore. I will always advocate for the joy of reading, and that means reading what you want.

Today I’m sharing five books that I want to read and finish for the month of August. I’m back to throwing some nonfiction in there, just as an attempt to anchor myself back to the real world and learn some applicable knowledge.

Why We Fight: The Roots of War, Christopher Blattman.

When the Russo-Ukrainian War broke out, I couldn’t make sense of it. I couldn’t understand what external forces would converge to lead to the horrific event. I couldn’t understand the decimation I was seeing on TV day after day. I needed answers beyond what anchors were giving on the news. I needed an explanation, and this book promised to offer one.

Blattman draws from years of experience as a mediator/peacemaker to help us understand why humans—quite literally—will sometimes choose violence. The most interesting claim of his position is that violence is not typical behavior for our kind.

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois, Hondree Fanonne Jeffers.

This is a long one, sitting at about 600 pages. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried I’m going to drop off this book, but I’m counting on its powerful narrative style to carry me through. The last time I probably read a book this long was while reading either a Jared Diamond or Steven Pinker book.

This book follows a girl’s journey to uncover and embrace the long history of her roots, tracing back slavery from colonialism to the present day. This is part of my attempt to read more inclusive literature. Like many others, I grew up reading a very Westernized selection. Literary merits aside, the question of variety in perspectives I’ve read from remains limited, and I want to change that. It matters that a person of color reads literature drawing from experiences and lenses told from historical roots similar to her own.

True Story: What Reality TV Says About Us, Danielle J. Lindemann.

I don’t watch much reality TV. The last one I watched was Love Is Blind: Japan at the behest of a friend, but I didn’t end up finishing it. I’d be remiss to withhold that the show had managed to get a grip of my attention for a few episodes. Social experiments as spectacles are fascinating. True Story tries to explain that very draw and what we can learn about ourselves, cultures, and institutions from reality. We all know that the Kardashians are pervasive, but why? And what does a worldwide obsession over them say about us?

Acts of Desperation, Megan Nolan.

This book has been circulating on the Internet in concert with some other popular feminist works like Boy Parts, A Certain Hunger, and Her Body and Other Parties. It is an outlier in my typical selection, as it’s heavily focused on a romantic relationship narrated in the first person. It’s just that story is told from an unhinged, obsessive perspective. At some point in our lives, we’ve all felt that at least once.

Acts of Desperation is an examination of why we want the things that we do, and why we lose all sense of control when we want to be with someone. The inability to avoid this kind of toxicity is a very human experience. I look forward to the ways it will touch on power plays between sexes, greed, and jealousy. That doesn’t make me problematic, does it?

If I Had Your Face, Frances Cha.

We know that South Korea is at the forefront of pushing unattainable beauty standards—creating a milieu teeming with women whose insecurities are exploited by cosmetic and medical industries. While the themes and characters in this book are nothing new, I think a Korean author coming to prominence for writing a book like this deserves attention.

Literature has always been used to explore the pains of collective experiences and consciences. In a time where anti-feminist campaigns have propelled a conservative leader into power, books like this have never been more necessary. If I Had Your Face weaves the stories of four different women (not unlike Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women, I suspect) trying to navigate social and economic barriers buttressed by cultural beauty standards.

Are you reading any of these? Share your thoughts below.

If you enjoyed this post, check out these other TBRs from May and June.


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