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The Reading List: 4 Great Books for August

Round out your summer reading list with these four fine choices.

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1. The Art of Sleeping Alone by Sophie Fontanel

An editor at ELLE France expounds on her metaphorical chastity belt and the virtues of a celibate life. Sensate and self-aware, the cerebral, slightly surreal vignettes examine the relationship between sex, loneliness and self-esteem. Aug. 13.

2 / 4

2. Hellgoing by Lynn Coady

Coady’s most recent novel was called The Antagonist-an appropriate label for a writer who pushes against the polite restraint of Canadian fiction. Her new story collection is full of brash, fierce and fearless individuals, like a no-nonsense nun who tries to coax an anorexic teen out of her religious zealotry. July 27.

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3. The Cancer Chronicles by George Johnson

The New York Times’
science expert has written an obsessively researched jeremiad that examines both the forensics and the psychological repercussions of a cancer diagnosis. Johnson has several other titles to his name, but none are as personal or as heated as this one, which he started working on soon after his wife was diagnosed. Aug. 27.

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4. Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat

Haitian-born Danticat immigrated to New York at the age of 12, but her homeland has figured prominently in everything she’s written, including her Oprah-stamped debut novel, Breath Eyes Memory. In this magical and menacing new book, a seaside town is rattled by the disappearance of a child on the night her widowed fisherman father planned to give her away to a shopkeeper. Aug. 27.