Everything I Read in August 2021

Everything I Read in August 2021

I read less than usual this month (four books), but I really enjoyed three out of the four. There are reading-heavy months and TV/movie-heavy months and this was definitely more of a TV and movie kind of month! The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue was probably my favorite thing I read. So many of you had suggested it, I’m not sure why I kept putting it off! It’s definitely a meatier book: long, and complexly written… not a “read in a day” beach read or thriller. But it’s one of those books you keep thinking about weeks and months later. I passed it along to my mom when I was done and she felt the same way. I also really enjoyed  The Magic of Found Objects (Maddie Dawson’s latest!) which is our Bad on Paper September book club pick!

Anyway, I always really love your recs!!! In the comments, tell me what you’re reading / send any and all recommendations – I love getting them. I’m especially interested in reading thrillers by authors of color.


Every month I update it with everything I read – it includes every book I’ve read in the past seven years. The best part is that you can filter + search by genre. Now you can also filter by GRADE to find exactly what you’re looking for or just peruse my top picks. If you’re feeling like you need even more book recs, check out last month’s list

Everything I Read in August 2021

the invisible life of addie larue by v.e. schwab book review grace atwoodThe Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

This came highly recommended by so many of you (especially after reading The Midnight Library) and wow, I see why… it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a while. It’s so creative and such an interesting premise. It’s been on nearly every “best of” books list, too. I will tell you that it is long (444 pages), and I struggled with the writing at times, but it feels a bit like a fairy tale for grownups in the best possible way.

Spanning over 300 years, it is the story of Adeline LaRue. 23 and about to be married off to a man she does not love, she makes a deal with the devil… not knowing what she is doing. In exchange, she’s free – and will live forever. But no one will ever remember her. And so she spends three hundred years being very alone. Can’t get a job, form relationships or ever marry, can’t even rent an apartment. But with that freedom, her life becomes such an amazing adventure, spanning centuries and continents! It was getting pretty sad (and lonely) until one day Addie is in a bookstore and plot twist: a young man remembers her. I won’t say anymore but it’s a wonderful story and I loved the ending so much – it made me cry! Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon!

  • Overall Score: A

The View Was Exhausting by Mikaella Clements and Onjuli Datta

I wanted to love this one but only wound up being medium on it! I had seen so much hype about it on Instagram, the premise was so good (a faux Hollywood romance turned real between an A-list hollywood actress and a hotel heir), it had been blurbed by Taylor Jenkins Reid (my favorite), and it was written by a lesbian couple (cool!). But the writing just didn’t grab me and I never felt very connected to the characters. Parts felt tedious to read and a lot of it just just felt… flat? I think it could be that it was a little bit awkward because (I think) the authors’ primary language is German.

Regardless, it was a fun read and it had a good twist that I didn’t see coming. I love anything about the ins and outs / behind the scenes of Hollywood, and I read it within a few days. But was only medium on it if I’m being totally honest. I will tell you I am in the minority here. I have been seeing really great things about it all over Bookstagram. So I could be wrong. Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon.

  • Overall Score: B

The Magic of Found Objects, by Maddie Dawson

This book is so sweet. Sweet in a good way. I love how Maddie Dawson writes… her books are all so magical. (her other book, Matchmaking For Beginners, is still one of my all-time favorite books.) Phronsie and Judd have been best friends forever, bonding over their (many) bad dates in New York (relatable!!!). One day, Judd hatches a plan… they should get married! They are above all of that love stuff… and since they have the foundation of friendship, they’ll be able to spend the rest of their lives together, raise children, and so on and so forth.

Phronsie’s father and stepmother couldn’t be more delighted. The wedding is moving forward. Meanwhile, her capricious and free-spirited semi-estranged birth mother keeps telling Phronsie to STOP, that the universe is sending her signs not to do it. When Phronsie meets someone who she could (maybe?) really love, she has to make a decision. Does she move forward with a life that will give her stability and babies and certainty… or should she give that up and hold out for true love?! I really enjoyed this book and am excited that we’re going to have it as our September book club pick! Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon.

  • Overall Score: A-

The Other Me, by Sarah Zachrich Jeng

This one took me about 80 pages to get into but once I got into it, I was hooked and couldn’t put it down (I stayed up until 1am finishing it!!!). It’s perfect for fans of Sliding Doors. Kelly is a struggling Chicago artist, but overall, she likes her life. She is free-spirited and happy, with a close knit group of friends. On the night of her 29th birthday, she is at an art gallery. She opens a door and suddenly she’s in her Michigan hometown with twelve years of all new memories (plus, her old memories… confusing!).

She is married to Eric, a sweet and handsome guy that she barely knew in high school. Her whole family is there for her birthday dinner and everything is… very different. In this life, he’s her high school sweetheart. She still lives in her hometown, never went to art school and is instead a graphic designer who can barely paint (and seems a little bit bored, to be honest!). At first, Eric seems pretty perfect but as time goes on, she begins to think he might be behind this sudden switch. I liked this book because this sort of plot hasn’t been done before – it felt very fresh and because of that, it kept me on my toes.  It’s also a great exploration of “what if!?!” Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon.

  • Overall Score: A-

Photography by Allie Provost.

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  1. Colleen:

    I’m a big reader too and love your book recs!! : )

    9.2.21 Reply
  2. mary:

    My mom and I share books too. It’s a fun way for us to bond.

    My favorite book I read this month was The Turnout by Megan Abbot. It’s a dark, kinky, slow burn mystery (and murder!) centered around ballet-training. I found the deep dive into this discipline fascinating and the characters very well-written. I was totally absorbed.

    9.2.21 Reply
  3. Michelle:

    I love any book set in 70s/80s New York. I finished Astrid Knows All in 24 hours. I felt like I was there. Loved it.

    9.2.21 Reply
  4. Elizabeth:

    One of the best books I’ve read recently is “Kinfolk” by Pearl S. Buck. It is a fascinating story of parents who left China to start their lives in America in the 1940s, and what happens when their children all ultimately return to China and find that it does not feel as much like home as they always imagined it would. Highly recommend, both as an exploration of Chinese history through fiction and the fascinating premise of longing for a homeland and discovering that it is still, somehow, a foreign country.

    9.2.21 Reply
  5. Briana:

    Just finished ‘Safe in My Arms’ by Sara Shepard. Lots of plot twists and the ending I did not see coming! Highly recommend!

    9.2.21 Reply
  6. Mary Beth:

    I just finished up “Ghosts” by Dolly Alderton and immediately thought of you and Becca! It’s a really witty tale of a 32 year old dealing with online dating (and its struggles), friendships changing once people get married/have kids, and just generally getting older. It was so funny and tender but also real. It’s character driven but a quick read, I highly recommend!

    9.2.21 Reply
  7. Hollie:

    I loved Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center. I’m a huge fan of this author and have read most of her books but finished this one a few weeks ago and tore through it. It’s a quick read and would be great during travel.

    9.2.21 Reply
  8. Erin:

    I feel like my reading has been all over the place the last few months. I just finished Crying in H Mart which I loved! It was such a devastating memoir but hopeful at the same time. Michelle Zauner is an incredible writer and I loved her descriptions of her family’s Korean recipes and her narratives of complex family relationships.
    I’m now reading Stephen King’s new book (not my typical read but I was in the mood for a spooky thriller) and Billy Summers is delivering so far!
    I’m adding The Magic of Found Objects to my list; thank you for always sharing the best recs!

    9.2.21 Reply
  9. Stephanie:

    I love reading about your recommendations and seeing comments from other readers! My most recent favorite was “The Sweetness of Water,” a debut by Nathan Harris. It’s a story centered around two brothers, newly freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, and how their arrival impacts a Southern town struggling to understand how to move forward in the Reconstruction era.

    9.2.21 Reply
    • mary:

      I LOVED The Sweetness of Water.

      9.2.21 Reply
  10. Emma:

    I’m finally reading “The Talented Miss Farwell” and I’m obsessed! It is SO good and I love rooting for a female anti-hero type character. Also really fun to read a book that takes place a lot in Chicago where I live.

    For book club we just read “The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell” and it was fantastic. Don’t let the cover fool you or the narrative from a kid’s perspective in the first 1/2 of the book. It was so well written and left me with such a good feeling once I was done with it.

    9.2.21 Reply
  11. Carter:

    Grace, you HAVE to read “Goodnight, Beautiful.” An amazing thrilled I read practically in one sitting.

    9.2.21 Reply
  12. Lucy:

    I loved Empire of Pain about the Sackler Family and Oxycontin. Really fascinating read and helped me understand the opioid crisis further.

    9.2.21 Reply
  13. Keren:

    The Invisible Life of Addie Larue actually sounds very similar to another book by Matt Haig- How to Stop Time.
    It’s about a man who ages very slowly and lives for centuries.

    9.2.21 Reply
  14. Katie:

    Grace, I can’t thank you enough for recommending The Girl in the Mirror last month, it wast just the kind of fun thriller I wanted to read. I actually screamed “WHAT THE FUCK” when I read the last word!

    9.2.21 Reply
  15. Kathy:

    I just finished False Witness which I highly recommend. The story kept you wanting to know more and the characters were great. Note – trigger warnings for sexual assault/rape and drug addiction.

    9.2.21 Reply
  16. Briana:

    In August I really leaned into all the beach reads and have been flying through books! Finally catching up on my pile of books I’ve been loaned.

    Also so lucky to be able to exchange books with aunts and my cousin – we are constantly rotating books at every gathering!

    9.2.21 Reply
  17. Jessica:

    “The Thursday Murder Club” was fantastic… a light-hearted and funny murder mystery!

    9.2.21 Reply
  18. Laura:

    I just started When We Believed in Mermaids. It’s good so far! I just finished the last thing he told me so have to catch up on the podcast next!

    9.2.21 Reply
    • Ashley:

      I loved loved loved Mermaids!! Hope you enjoy.

      9.7.21 Reply
  19. Ashley:

    Please read ‘animal’ by lisa taddeo – dying to know what you would think of it!

    9.2.21 Reply
  20. Lindsay S.:

    I read “Never Have I Ever” in a day because I absolutely could not put it down. It’s a psychological thriller & I really loved that the last twist at the end had me gasping out loud. Grace, I think you would devour this book!

    9.2.21 Reply
  21. Sierra:

    Love your monthly round ups! Excited to read the Maddie Dawson for Bad on Paper Book Club. Wondering if you’re planning an update on your commitment to read monthly anti-racist books? Would love to hear your thoughts!

    9.4.21 Reply
    • Hey Sierra, I’m not planning on an update, but I updated my anti-racist book list here as I read them. https://thestripe.com/list-of-anti-racist-books/

      I read twelve books on the list over twelve months and found that was plenty. The commitment was for a year and while I’m glad I did it, it was probably overkill as a lot of the books on the list are very similar. The year is over now, but I will always prioritize reading books by a diverse range of authors. This was a slower month of reading so less diverse than usual!

      9.4.21 Reply
  22. Marianne Canada:

    The Magic of Found Objects is free if you have Kindle Unlimited! Excited to read this one for your book club.

    9.8.21 Reply
  23. Robin:

    Are you also on Goodreads?

    9.21.21 Reply