17 Cool New Books with Rave Reviews to Read in August 2021

new book releases, including novels and non-fiction books, coming out in August 2021

New month, new books! Book Light is our Dandelion Chandelier curated list of the most-anticipated new book releases every month, and next up is August 2021. If you ask us, the perfect August read is carefree, but with just enough gravitas to remind us that summer is coming to a close. So what are the best new books coming out in August 2021? Previously, we’ve shared our picks for the best beach reads and thrillers for summer 2021. But our intrepid team has kept exploring, and here’s what we found: 17 cool new books with rave reviews we can’t wait to read in August 2021, including novels and non-fiction.

what are the most-anticipated new book releases for August 2021?

Wondering what to read in August 2021 among all the new novels and new non-fiction books?

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new novels and books of poetry August 2021

The month sees a bounty of new novels and short story collections from notable authors like Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi and Charlotte McConaghy. And several buzzed-about fiction debuts, including Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So and Ghosts by Dolly Alderton.

new book releases, including novels and non-fiction books, coming out in August 2021.

new non-fiction books August 2021

The non-fiction aisle will see the arrival of a heartwarming memoir about a family and the rescue dog who transformed their lives. There’s also new investigative journalism about a town that bars the use of cell phones. And a report from the front lines from a tutor to the children of the 1%.

17 of the best new books coming in August 2021

Here’s our pick of what to read from the crop of eagerly anticipated new book releases coming in August 2021. The best books from a range of genres, including novels, essay collections, and non-fiction. You can pre-order them now if you like.

best new books, fiction and non-fiction, coming out in August 2021

The best new books, fiction and non-fiction, coming out in August 2021

But wait. There’s more! In addition to these new August 2021 book releases, we’ve got even more suggestions about what to add to your reading list (or that stack on your bedside table).

If you’re in search of additional great summer reads in a specific genre, check out our list of the best new beach reads (steamy romances, fizzy novels, historical fiction, humorous essays and celebrity memoirs) of 2021. And/or our list of the best new thrillers of summer 2021 (including legal, psychological, medical and spy thrillers).

So many books, so little time . . .

New book releases the week of August 3, 2021

1. Ghosts by Dolly Alderton.


The best new books, fiction and non-fiction, coming out in August 2021

The debut novel Ghosts is already generating serious buzz and rave reviews. Writer Nina Dean is happily single, with a rich social life, a close-knit family nearby and a new book that’s just about to be published. When she downloads a dating app, her good fortune only multiplies: she meets dreamboat Max on her first date. But after a blissful start, one day Max ghosts her. And his disappearance leads her to confront the reality of her father’s Alzheimer’s and her mother’s denial of his condition. Her publisher rejects her new manuscript and her oldest friend is suddenly ice cold. If it feels a lot like Bridget Jones Diary for a new generation, well, what’s wrong with that?

BUY NOW: $23.00.

2. Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So.


In a horribly ironic twist of fate, after a bidding war for his debut short story collection, the 28-year-old author of Afterparties passed away unexpectedly. Now the collection is being released, and it is garnering the kind of praise that the clamor over the rights foreshadowed. An engaging and wry series of tales about Cambodian-American life, we follow the paths of the children of refugees as they carve out new paths for themselves in California. While still trying to honor the past and their elders – trying to keep the afterparties going while forging new alliances and new lives.

BUY NOW: $22.00.

3. Agatha of Little Neon by Claire Luchette.


The best new books, fiction and non-fiction, coming out in August 2021

The debut novel Agatha of Little Neon is a soulful examination of identity and the place of the individual in a larger collective. As the story begins, Agatha is in her ninth year as a nun living with three other sisters in an old home. When the money runs out, the four are forced to move to Woonsocket, Rhode Island. To a halfway house where their charges are unlike anyone they’ve met before. Agatha ventures out to teach math at a local all-girls high school. And for the first time in years, she has to reckon all on her own with what she sees and feels. And who she wants to be.

BUY NOW: $22.99.

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4. Savage Tongues by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi.


A novel with clear echoes of some of the themes from her acclaimed debut Call Me Zebra, Savage Tongues is the story of Arezu. An Iranian American, as a teenager she goes to Spain to meet her estranged father at his apartment. He never shows up, but his 40 year old step-nephew, Omar does. The two begin an affair that ends in disaster. Twenty years later, Arezu returns to this very apartment with a friend, who is there to help excavate the ghosts of loss and violence that remain. Absent fathers, the lure of Spain, the rules of love – all of these themes are revisited in poignant new ways in this latest brilliant novel from a robustly talented writer.

BUY NOW: $21.49.

5. Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy.


The author of the widely praised Migrations returns with one of the most-anticipated new novels of August 2021. Once There Were Wolves is set in the Scottish Highlands. Two sisters are part of a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing fourteen gray wolves into the wild. To everyone’s surprise, the wolves begin to thrive. But the humans don’t fare as well, as a farmer mysteriously turns up dead.

BUY NOW: $23.49.

6. Radiant Fugitives by Nawaaz Ahmed.


In Radiant Fugitives, we first meet Seema, who is working as a consultant for Kamala Harris’s attorney general campaign in Obama-era San Francisco. Despite her success, she’s still struggling with her father’s long-ago decision to exile her from the family after she came out as lesbian. Oh, and she’s pregnant. She’s hoping for solace and comfort in the company of her ailing mother and her devoutly religious sister. Told from the point of view of her child as he is first being born, this is a multigenerational story of a family trying to reconcile in turbulent times.

BUY NOW: $23.99.

7. Shallow Waters by Anita Kopacz.


The best new books, fiction and non-fiction, coming out in August 2021

In the debut novel Shallow Waters, the Yoruba deity of the sea, Yemaya, is brought to life as she discovers the power of Black resilience, love, and feminine strength in antebellum America.

BUY NOW: $21.99.

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8. Piglet: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf, Blind, Pink Puppy and His Family by Melissa Shapiro.



Piglet: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf, Blind, Pink Puppy and His Family is a touching memoir about the power of empathy and unconditional love. The author, a Connecticut veterinarian, gets a call about a tiny deaf blind puppy rescued from a hoarding situation who is in need of fostering. Her household already included her husband, their three college-aged kids, and six rescued dogs. But she took him in anyway, and that was the start of a transformative experience for both the puppy and his humans.

BUY NOW: $21.99.

9. The Quiet Zone: Unraveling the Mystery of a Town Suspended in Silence by Stephen Kurczy.


The Quiet Zone is an investigative report filed by a reporter who embedded in Green Bank, West Virginia, home to the high-tech Green Bank Observatory. The sensitive equipment requires a ban on all devices emanating radio frequencies that might interfere with the observatory’s telescopes. So the  residents in the surrounding neighborhoods live without WiFi, cellphones, laptops and the like. A life free from the constant digital connectivity that the rest of us  live with. Meeting the colorful cast of characters that live in the area, this book forces us to consider profound questions: is it better to live digital-free? Is that actually possible? What is the proper role of technology in our day-to-day lives?

BUY NOW: $23.49.

New book releases the week of August 10, 2021

10. In the Country of Others by Leila Slimani.


In The Country of Others is a new novel by the author of The Perfect Nanny. A woman in an interracial marriage finds that her fierce desire for personal autonomy parallels her adopted country’s fight for independence.

BUY NOW: $21.99.

11. Everything I Have Is Yours by Eleanor Henderson.


In Everything I Have is Yours: A Marriage, the author shares the story of her 20-year marriage to Aaron, a man who was as troubled and possibly self-destructive as she was purposeful and successful. A teenager when they met, the pair married and had two children. But then Aaron develops a mysterious illness that baffles his doctors. Is it a manifestation of depression? Evidence of drug use? The start of a severe neurological issue? The marriage is tested in ways common and highly unusual and this memoir provides ample food for thought about what it actually means to be “together.”

BUY NOW: $23.49.

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New book releases the week of August 17, 2021

12. I Left My Homework in the Hamptons: What I Learned Teaching the Children of the One Percent by Blythe Grossberg.



I Left My Homework in the Hamptons is the memoir of a tutor and learning specialist whose clients are mostly ultra-wealthy Manhattan families keen to give their offspring every advantage in the educational Hunger Games that is applying for and being admitted to an elite college. She shares tales of kids living full-time in 5-star hotels; taking their family’s private jet to Florida every weekend for equestrian competitions; and doing lots and lots of shopping.

BUY NOW: $23.49.

New book releases the week of August 24, 2021

13. The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers.


The 2020 National Book Award–nominated poet makes her fiction debut with The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois, a riveting and lyrical account of a young black woman’s quest to come to terms with her own identity. This book is at the top of our list of new novels coming out in August 2021. Growing up in the north but spending summers with relatives in the South causes young Ailey too excavate her family’s past, uncovering the stories, traumas and triumphs of generations of her ancestors. It’s the story of one family – and the story of how our nation was actually formed.

BUY NOW: $20.49.

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14. seeing ghosts: a memoir by kat chow.


Seeing Ghosts is a poignant memoir of a young woman who loses her mother too soon and what happens next. After her mother dies unexpectedly from cancer, Kat Chow and her family are plunged into a life suffused with grief and loss. As her extended family emigrates from China and Hong Kong to Cuba and America, we see the aftermath of a sudden loss and the long tail of sadness that can follow and affect an entire family.

BUY NOW: $23.49.

New book releases the week of August 31, 2021

15. Three Rooms by Jo Hamya.


The best new books, fiction and non-fiction, coming out in August 2021

“A woman must have money and a room of one’s own.” wrote Virginia Woolf in her classic A Room of One’s Own. The debut novel Three Rooms assess that adage from the perspective of the twenty-first century. To a generation of people living in rented rooms. Perhaps what a woman needs now is an apartment of her own.

BUY NOW: $22.49.

16. Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket: Stories by Hilma Wolitzer.


The beloved author of Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket is – as of this posting – ninety-one years old. And she seems to be at the top of her game. This collection of her short stories includes a new tale that brings some of the characters from her remarkably prescient earlier works into our confounding current era.

BUY NOW: $22.99.

17. The Secret History of Food: Strange but True Stories About the Origins of Everything We Eat by Matt Seigel.


The Secret History of Food is an enjoyable romp through the origin stories of many common foods that we take for granted, and one of the best new non-fiction books coming in August 2021. The author probes subjects ranging from the myths—and realities—of food as aphrodisiac to the role of food in fairy- and morality tales. You may never think of vanilla the same way again.

BUY NOW: $20.80.

most anticipated releases of new novels and non-fiction books in August 2021

Those are our picks for what to read this month: 17 of the best and most anticipated new book releases coming in August 2021. So many options to answer the pressing matter of what to read in August 2021 . . .  What’s at the top of your list? Whatever you decide, stay safe and strong and have a good month, dear reader.

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