The Best Books I Read in August 2021

Mini-reviews and recommendations to pump up your TBR

August is always a hectic time of year in education, and as a student affairs professional, it’s a wild ride. This year in particular has been challenging due to some changes in staffing and weather-related snaffus, yet we’ve arrived to September all the same! 

My courses are underway and the students are here, and life feels a bit closer to what it used to be… aside from the fact that we’re all still wearing masks indoors, of course. 

Naturally, August is a slow reading month for me, but I’m still here bringing a few gentle recommendations from the books I managed to finish this month. 

(Full disclosure: Links to specific books in this post are affiliate links. I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you, should you choose to purchase.)

Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford

Cover image courtesy Goodreads

Format: Audiobook (LibroFM)

Why I Read It: Author interviews on podcasts plus general book buzz piqued my interest 

There was a good bit of buzz around Somebody’s Daughter’s initial release, and interviews with Ford popped up in not one but two of the podcasts I listen to. So, naturally, I had to choose it for my August audiobook pick. 

I knew the book centered on Ford’s relationship with her father, who had been incarcerated for most of her life. That being all I knew about the book, I didn’t fully know what to expect in terms of content. 

I was a bit surprised to realize how much of the book focused on the author’s childhood, through the lens of her own child eyes. I haven’t read too many books that spend so much time on this perspective, and it was interesting to see how well Ford stepped back into her younger self’s way of viewing the world and the people in it. 

At its heart, this is a book about family, both the one you’re born into and the ones you seek out along the way. While Ford’s father is a noted absence, many of the other relationships in her life — that with her mother and grandmother, her siblings, take center stage. 

At times, I found the structure a bit puzzling, as there were large chunks that seemed almost painfully chronological, and then, suddenly, we’d skip over a great deal of time really quickly, such that I got a bit disoriented. This may be, in part, due to listening to the audio version, which I’ll admit isn’t my natural way of consuming a text. 

In all, I wouldn’t say I enjoyed this book, per say. I thought it was interesting, well-written, and an important story about the complexities of identity and family. 

But, at times I will admit I just plain wasn’t interested in putting it on during my drive, because some parts of the book just lagged for me. I recommend this book to those interested in identity, in understanding the impact of incarceration on families, and those who enjoy a family-focused memoir. 

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin

Photo by the author (originally posted on Instagram)

Format: Hardcover 

Why I Read It: Bookstagram made me do it (and I love a good witchy read!)

It’s been a bit since I’ve read any witchy fiction, so The Nature of Witches was a highly anticipated read for me. And, I loved it! 

This is such a unique take on a magic system that is both modern and has a hint of Wizard School vibes to it. 

Griffin balances climate change reality and witchy magic brilliantly in this book, and I found both the plot and its characters compelling. 

My full review appears on Your Book Friend, so I’ll keep my comments brief in this post. More here: “The Nature of Witches” Offers A Fresh Take On Magic
This book is a love letter to our earth and a plea to save

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

Okay, and Princess in the Spotlightand Princess in Love… 

But not sorry. (Still from The Princess Diaries film, sourced from Buzzfeed)

Format: Audiobook (Audible)

Why I (Re)Read It: Orientation week + nostalgia made me do it

The Princess Diaries movie is my deepest level of self care, and I found myself on the couch with a buffalo chicken pizza and this film queued up on day 5 of orientation. 

Naturally, this inspired me to remember that I purchased the audio of the first few books long ago, as narrated by none other than Anne Hathaway herself. For all that I adore both the movie and the books, they are vastly different worlds on so many levels, and I wanted to relive the nostalgia, ostensibly to help me fall asleep at night.

Except then I was listening while making dinner… and in the car… and while eating breakfast. I loved Meg Cabot growing up and still adore these books (though, the Mediator series was and is my personal favorite.)

They still feel funny and present and just so true in how they capture the experience of being a teenager, even if a few comments are a bit outdated (see: neighbor Ronnie). 

Plus, the narration in the audiobooks is spot on. I have a feeling this is the start of a full series re-read for me, if tearing through the first few is any indication. 

I always forget how rapid pace they are, each volume ending on a cliffhanger that just demands you immediately pick up the next to see what’s going to happen in the teenage drama. I mean, how can you not? 

And there we have it — the best books I read in the busy month of August. 

I’m still working my way through Tokyo Ever After, which is just… not landing for me. I am trying to give it a chance and finish before I pass judgement, but I keep getting caught up on writing style & pop culture references that feel very, well… familiar. Like, too familiar for a modern day teenager to make, perhaps? 

I’d love to hear what you read in August. Anything worth adding to the TBR? 

Thanks for reading! If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest book recommendations and reviews, why not give us a follow here at Your Book Friend? This post was originally published over on Medium, where we’d love you to join us if you’re a member!

We’re also on Instagram! Follow me there for more great bookish content — and a not-insignificant number of puppy pics! 


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