For some reason August felt like a lackluster reading month while I was living it. Returning to work meant I definitely read fewer books than I had the rest of the summer. Plus I turned to books I could breeze through rather than ones I needed to dig into. Usually that’s a recipe for a reading slump for me, but looking back over the month, I realized I actually did read some excellent books. While I didn’t have any oh-my-God-this book-is-AMAZING moments, I enjoyed every book I read this month and each felt appropriate to the amount of time and brainspace I had to devote to it. 

Here’s everything I read in August, why you should pick it up, and whether you can teach it:

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson. For a beautiful portrait of female friendship that also explores the intersection of race, class, and gender.

  • Can I teach it? Yes! It’s probably best for juniors or seniors in high school. I’m planning on bringing it into my Women in Literature curriculum this year.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. To soak in the atmosphere of a crumbling English castle and relive the nostalgic pangs of young unrequited love.

  • Can I teach it? Absolutely! This PG love story was the summer reading for our sophomores. 

*The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. For a window into the AIDS epidemic that’s simultaneously heartbreaking and just a really great story.

  • Can I teach it? This is tough to answer because this one seems particularly context specific. But this is such an important story so I recommend at least keeping it on your shelves for the right reader to find.

*Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. For a snarky, yet intimate depiction of marriage, misconceptions, and myopic perspectives.

  • Can I teach it? No due to both mature content and mature themes.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart. For a wonderfully sassy and confident female lead, a fun plot in a campus setting, and a reflection on what it’s like to feel both empowered and disempowered for the first time. 

  • Can I teach it? YES! I’m so excited to assign this book this semester!

*From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein. To relive the Obama years from a close-up and hyper gossipy perspective.

  • Can I teach it? No, but it would make a great college graduation gift.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. For that rare original WWII story and a really good cry.

  • Can I teach it? Definitely! It would also make a perfect book club text or independent reading project.


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*Starred books were graciously gifted to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.