10 best new books of August 2022, according to Amazon editors – Business Insider

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Top new books in August 2022

The best books released this month include a laugh-out-loud debut and a “pure candy” mystery novel, according to Amazon’s editors.
Amazon; Rachel Mendelson/Insider

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  • Amazon’s book editors round up the best new releases every month.
  • August’s picks range from a “knock-out” memoir to a laugh-out-loud funny debut.
  • For other book recommendations, check out their best books of 2022 so far here

If you’re looking for a book to tear through in the last sweltering month of summer, Amazon’s editors just issued their August shortlist.

The best new books of the month include a laugh-out-loud debut, a spy novel that’s “pure candy,” a new book from Beth Macy of “Dopesick” fame, and a gutting new memoir that’s both “a chronicle of the American Dream and an indictment of it.”

For more book recommendations, check out the best beach reads of the year. You’ll find the best new books this August, according to Amazon’s book editors, below.

The 10 best new books of August 2022, according to Amazon’s book editors:

Descriptions are provided by Amazon and lightly edited for clarity and length.

“Acceptance: A Memoir” by Emi Nietfield

"Acceptance: A Memoir" by Emi Nietfield book cover


Available at Amazon, $24.30

This memoir is a knock-out — and will not only keep you turning the pages as you root for Emi Nietfeld who didn’t have it easy as a kid, but will change the way you think about the voices we listen to and the voices we don’t, and the paradox of what help is acceptable to ask for. In some ways, it feels so unsatisfyingly trite to explain that “Acceptance” is about a young brilliant girl who, because of her hoarding, mentally unstable, and manipulative mother, is thrown into psych wards and foster care for her teenage years. Left to deal with eating disorders, cutting, addiction, and homelessness, it’s too easy to say that no adult trusts Emi to rise from her trauma, let alone to go to an Ivy League school. But it’s true, and her account of her lone fight — for education, for her dreams — is gutting and alive. This is one of the best memoirs I’ve read this year. — Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor 

“Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America’s Overdose Crisis” by Beth Macy

“Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America’s Overdose Crisis” by Beth Macy book cover


Available at Amazon, $26.99

In “Raising Lazarus,” an excellent follow-up to her Hulu-adapted “Dopesick,” Beth Macy compels us not to look away from those who are suffering in the opioid epidemic. Her philosophy is reflected in the book’s title, a biblical story about challenging yourself to get uncomfortably close to death in order to witness the miracle of life. But our society rejects this idea, assigning shame and stigma to addiction — and soon the equivalent population of Houston will be dead from opioids. Macy weaves incredible tales of heroic volunteers meeting troubled drug users where they are. She offers a new language to challenge the contempt around drug use — “bupe,” “opioid use disorder”— which she argues is a human condition that cannot be eradicated. There’s no magic wand, and no political party is off the hook. Macy shines by bringing statistics to life with illuminating personal stories, and you’ll leave this book feeling sobered and perhaps inspired by this moment, a “historical opportunity to radically rethink addiction care.” — Lindsay Powers, Amazon Editor 

“Dirt Creek” by Hayley Scrivenor

“Dirt Creek” by Hayley Scrivenor book cover


Available at Amazon, $25.19

The premise of “Dirt Creek” is tried and true: it’s the story of the disappearance of a 12-year-old child and the aftermath. But Scrivenor does a remarkable job of pulling this simple premise apart and rebuilding it in a heart-wrenching, realistic, and breathlessly suspenseful way, with particularly effective use of setting and multiple narrators. In a rural town as small as Durton, everyone knows everyone else and it’s almost impossible to keep a secret, therefore it’s unfathomable that a local could be responsible for Esther’s abduction and death. As rumor and gossip take hold, the town doesn’t quite come together so much as give way to an ugly new reality. Narration duties are divided between several people, including Esther’s best friend Ronnie (sad), a detective on the case (skeptical), and even a Greek chorus of the town’s children (heartbreaking). All of it adds up to a cracker of a tale: tough to look at up close, impossible to look away. — Vannessa Cronin, Amazon Editor  

“My Government Means to Kill Me” by Rasheed Newson

"My Government Means to Kill Me" by Rasheed Newson book cover


Available at Amazon, $27.99

Laugh-out-loud moments give way to galvanizing moments in this un-put-down-able debut by Rasheed Newson. Set in the 1980s, “My Government Means to Kill Me” follows the trajectory of a young Black man who ditches his wealthy Midwest family to go be free and uninhibited in New York. When not spending time in men’s bathhouses, he gets an education in the Civil Rights movement, community organizing, and the fight for gay rights, among other things. Newson, the writer and producer behind “Narcos,” “The Chi,” and “Bel-Air,” lends his cinematic eye to his novel, which makes the grit, the sex, the activism, and the political struggle all the more atmospheric and immersive. In short, I’ve never been prouder of an 18-year-old narrator who leads us through the New York City streets, and compels not just his friends and network to action, but the reader too. — Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor 

“How to Kill Your Family” by Bella Mackie

"How to Kill Your Family" by Bella Mackie book cover


Available at Amazon, $27

As titles go, you’d be hard pressed to find one as provocative, or apt, as “How to Kill Your Family.” Grace is sitting in a prison cell, recounting why she killed her family (her dad, a rich heir, refused the wishes of her poor dying mum to get involved in Grace’s life) and listing the much more entertaining hows (locations including, but not limited to, a steam room in Monaco, a mountain road in Marbella, and a sex club in London’s East End). But the standout moments in this darkly hilarious novel are those spent inside Grace’s head as she moves with deadly and detached efficiency through her to-do (or, more accurately, to-kill) list of awful family members. Her running commentary (on everything from prep work for killing someone, the class divide, unsolicited penis pics, wearing cords, and influencers) is sharp as a tack and spit-out-your-coffee comical. This twisted, darkly funny thriller will fill the “Dexter”-shaped hole in your heart. — Vannessa Cronin, Amazon Editor

“Life on the Mississippi: An Epic American Adventure” by Rinker Buck

“Life on the Mississippi: An Epic American Adventure” by Rinker Buck book cover


Available at Amazon, $26.99

Seven years ago, Rinker Buck published “The Oregon Trail,” in which he traced the celebrated journey that brought so many Americans west. Now he’s following a different path: the trip down the mighty Ohio and Mississippi Rivers on flatboats (think: Mark Twain). While this journey occupied the generation or two that came before the height of the Oregon Trail, it’s been lost a bit to the whims of history. Still, flatboats traveling from Pittsburgh to New Orleans did as much, maybe more, to define our cultural and economic heritage as the journey west did. And, of course, Rinker Buck builds his own flatboat and takes the trip himself. History tends to take on a glossy sheen when it’s in the rearview mirror, but Buck’s adventure illustrates how much messier it is in the making. Part travelogue, part history, part human nature study, this is a book that you just want to keep reading. — Chris Schluep, Amazon Editor

“Mika in Real Life” by Emiko Jean

"Mika in Real Life" by Emiko Jean


Available at Amazon, $19.59

Emiko Jean is the bestselling author of witty young adult rom-coms “Tokyo Ever After” and “Tokyo Dreaming,” and while her first adult novel, “Mika in Real Life,” has rom-com vibes, this is a book with real heft. When Mika was a freshman in college, she got pregnant and gave her daughter up for adoption. 16 years later, Mika’s daughter finds her, and what follows is a story of motherhood, forgiveness, and fresh starts. Mika’s catharsis became my own, as she realizes that her expectation of how a “good” mother should be is the stuff of fairytales. The relationship between mother and child is complicated pretty much from birth, and whether you are a mother, the child, or both, it’s two sides of the same coin where perfection is a fantasy. Jean gives us authentic characters, a lot of laughs, and a chance to see our own relationships — with our mothers, our children, and ourselves — in a new and refreshing light. — Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor

“The Last White Man” by Mohsin Hamid

"The Last White Man" by Mohsin Hamid book cover


Available at Amazon, $18.20

Expansive and eye-opening, Mohsin Hamid’s novels confront issues of race, class, and migration with a dash of magic and genuine inquisition. In “Exit West,” lovers fled the violence that surrounded them by stepping through doors that quite literally opened to safety somewhere else. In his latest, “The Last White Man,” Hamid dissects the state of race by exploring a world in which people wake up with different colored skin, and thus, are treated differently by their neighbors, the media, their partners, and their family. Throughout this slim love story, the question of identity lurks everywhere, as white people become brown and the world changes around them. With cool steadiness, Hamid’s tale is a reminder that we, as individuals and as a society, have invented racism. This is a book you can read in one sitting, but I promise you, it will stick with you longer after that. — Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor

“Thank You for Listening” by Julia Whelan

“Thank You for Listening” by Julia Whelan book cover


Available at Amazon, $14.39

Julie Whelan, the much-loved, real-life audiobook narrator, is back with her second book, “Thank You for Listening.” I’m not sure I trust anyone else to tell this funny and heartwarming story centered around Sewanee, an award-winning audiobook narrator who loves her job, as long as it doesn’t include one specific genre, romance. But soon Sewanee receives a request from a popular author in that genre, who she has collaborated with in the past, to do one last project. And the thing is, this was the author’s dying wish and it pays handsomely, making it hard to say no. The project is also a collaboration with audiobook royalty — the sexy, yet mysterious male narrator beloved by romance fans, yet new and unknown to Sewanee. Complex relationships with her beloved grandmother, stubborn dad, and wistful best friend, compounded with Sewanee’s unresolved feelings about the accident that took her away from her original career — acting — adds texture to the story. And Sewanee’s wit and banter as she deals with the complexity of life makes this a delightful read. — Kami Tei, Amazon Editorial Contributor

“Alias Emma” by Ava Glass

"Alias Emma" by Ava Glass book cover


Available at Amazon, $24.30

Alias Emma is pure candy for those of us who love a good spy story — this is a novel you’ll struggle to put down. Expertly paced, readers ride a wave of action at breakneck speed in this modern twist on an old-school Cold War thriller. Emma Makepeace is a lower-level Secret Service agent when she’s tapped to convince a Russian target, a handsome doctor named Michael Primalov, to enter what amounts to a witness protection program. The Russians want him desperately and will go to great lengths to get him, but Emma is on this rescue mission alone. Undercover operatives, shootouts, high-speed car chases, and some romantic tension follow, as Emma navigates the city of London with Primalov in tow. Makepeace is a welcome new face in the fictional world of British secret agents and what she lacks in luxury sports cars and high-tech gadgets, she makes up for with grit and courage. The first of a planned new series, I can’t wait to see where Emma’s next assignment takes her. — Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor

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