Best Book Club Picks for August 2020

by Heather Caliendo
Best book club picks for August 2020-book club chat

The best book club picks for August 2020 feature five books covering a wide range of topics. 

Oh man, it is HOT in Phoenix. July 2020 was actually the hottest month ever recorded in Phoenix, which is fitting for 2020. But luckily, there are plenty of books to read in the comfort of our A/C! I hope you’re staying cool wherever you are.

I spent some time evaluating which books to include this month. I wanted to present your book clubs with something lighter among some of these heavy reads. I’m super excited that this list sees the return of Fiona Davis, Amy Poeppel and Megan Goldin. I’ve covered their books in the past on the site so be sure to check those out if you haven’t already.

Grab your favorite cold beverage and let’s get into the best book picks for August 2020!  


The Night Swim by Megan Goldin 

So this book suddenly became everywhere! And then I realized the author is Megan Goldin who wrote The Escape Room, a thriller that I so enjoyed!! It’s so well-written and twisty in such an interesting way. You have to check that one out if you haven’t already. With The Night Swim, Megan covers the phenomenon of the true-crime podcast world, which is very relevant. There will be plenty to talk about with this one. Here’s the synopsis:  

Ever since her true-crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall has become a household name―and the last hope for people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.

The new season of Rachel’s podcast has brought her to a small town being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. A local golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season 3 a success, Rachel throws herself into her investigation―but the mysterious letters keep coming. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insist she was murdered―and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody in town wants to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases―and a revelation that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.

Electrifying and propulsive, The Night Swim asks: What is the price of a reputation? Can a small town ever right the wrongs of its past? And what really happened to Jenny?

You can order the book on Amazon here. The book will publish on August 4. 


The Comeback by Ella Berman 

Another fiction novel that is timely is The Comeback by Ella Berman. This novel focuses on feminist justice in the #metoo era. The story takes place in Hollywood and will no doubt remind you of the monster Harvey Weinstein (which if you haven’t read Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow, definitely add it to the list). Here’s the synopsis for The Comeback

At the height of her career and on the eve of her first Golden Globe nomination, teen star Grace Turner disappeared.

Now, tentatively sober and surprisingly numb, Grace is back in Los Angeles after her year of self-imposed exile. She knows the new private life she wants isn’t going to be easy as she tries to be a better person and reconnect with the people she left behind.

But when Grace is asked to present a lifetime achievement award to director Able Yorke—the man who controlled her every move for eight years—she realizes that she can’t run from the secret behind her spectacular crash and burn for much longer. And she’s the only one with nothing left to lose.

Alternating between past and present, The Comeback tackles power dynamics and the uncertainty of young adulthood, the types of secrets that become part of our sense of self, and the moments when we learn that though there are many ways to get hurt, we can still choose to fight back.

You can order the book on Amazon here. The book will publish on August 4. 


The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis 

Fiona Davis is a master of historical fiction! She likes to focus on a historical building or a landmark and center the story around it. The result is both educational and entertaining. If you love historical fiction and haven’t read her novels yet, add all her books to your TBR. The Lions of Fifth Avenue features the iconic New York Public Library, a bookworm’s dream. Here’s the synopsis:

It’s 1913, and on the surface, Laura Lyons couldn’t ask for more out of life—her husband is the superintendent of the New York Public Library, allowing their family to live in an apartment within the grand building, and they are blessed with two children. But headstrong, passionate Laura wants more, and when she takes a leap of faith and applies to the Columbia Journalism School, her world is cracked wide open. As her studies take her all over the city, she is drawn to Greenwich Village’s new bohemia, where she discovers the Heterodoxy Club—a radical, all-female group in which women are encouraged to loudly share their opinions on suffrage, birth control, and women’s rights. Soon, Laura finds herself questioning her traditional role as wife and mother. But when valuable books are stolen back at the library, threatening the home and institution she loves, she’s forced to confront her shifting priorities head on . . . and may just lose everything in the process.

Eighty years later, in 1993, Sadie Donovan struggles with the legacy of her grandmother, the famous essayist Laura Lyons, especially after she’s wrangled her dream job as a curator at the New York Public Library. But the job quickly becomes a nightmare when rare manuscripts, notes, and books for the exhibit Sadie’s running begin disappearing from the library’s famous Berg Collection. Determined to save both the exhibit and her career, the typically risk-adverse Sadie teams up with a private security expert to uncover the culprit. However, things unexpectedly become personal when the investigation leads Sadie to some unwelcome truths about her own family heritage—truths that shed new light on the biggest tragedy in the library’s history.

You can order the book on Amazon here. The book will publish on August 4. 


The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi has been getting lots of buzz for about a year now. It sounds fascinating and mysterious—two combinations that make for a good book club read. Really looking forward to this one. Here’s the synopsis: 

One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom. 

Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations—a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.

You can order the book on Amazon here. The book will publish on August 4. 


Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel 

Amy Poeppel’s stories are so great and funny! I have to say, not many books make me laugh but Amy’s stories always do. While I’m so excited about this list for book club picks for August 2020, there’s a lot of intense reads—so if you’re looking for something lighter in August, Musical Chairs is a great choice. Here’s the synopsis: 

Bridget and Will have the kind of relationship that people envy: they’re loving, compatible, and completely devoted to each other. The fact that they’re strictly friends seems to get lost on nearly everyone; after all, they’re as good as married in (almost) every way. For three decades, they’ve nurtured their baby, the Forsyth Trio—a chamber group they created as students with their Juilliard classmate Gavin Glantz. In the intervening years, Gavin has gone on to become one of the classical music world’s reigning stars, while Bridget and Will have learned to embrace the warm reviews and smaller venues that accompany modest success.

Bridget has been dreaming of spending the summer at her well-worn Connecticut country home with her boyfriend Sterling. But her plans are upended when Sterling, dutifully following his ex-wife’s advice, breaks up with her over email and her twin twenty-somethings arrive unannounced, filling her empty nest with their big dogs, dirty laundry, and respective crises.

Bridget has problems of her own: her elderly father announces he’s getting married, and the Forsyth Trio is once again missing its violinist. She concocts a plan to host her dad’s wedding on her ramshackle property, while putting the Forsyth Trio back into the spotlight. But to catch the attention of the music world, she and Will place their bets on luring back Gavin, whom they’ve both avoided ever since their stormy parting.

With her trademark humor, pitch-perfect voice, and sly perspective on the human heart, Amy Poeppel crafts a love letter to modern family life with all of its discord and harmony. In the tradition of novels by Maria Semple and Stephen McCauley, Musical Chairs is an irresistibly romantic story of role reversals, reinvention, and sweet synchronicity.

You can order the book on Amazon here. The book is out now! 

Hope you enjoyed the best book club picks of August 2020! 

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