We’ve all spent lots more time at home over the past four months than usual – for some of us, more than ever before. It was a great time to get a few new reads under our belt. Here’s Modern Woman’s top five August reads.
 
1. Blue Ticket, Sophie Mackintosh
In a world where motherhood is decided through a lottery system, the main character, childless Calla, becomes obsessed with the path she didn’t take – and the forbidden desire to have a baby. Writing intimately through the protagonist’s thoughts, Mackintosh reveals few details about the world she’s created, but its dystopian themes – motherhood, primal instinct, the Madonna-whore dichotomy and control over women’s bodies – follow subtly in the footsteps of the likes of Margaret Atwood. Its raw, earthy, primal poignancy is refreshingly rare and haunting.

2. All Men Want to Know, Nina Bouraoui
The French bestseller reaches an English-speaking audience for the first time with this work of autofiction, which traces her own story from her childhood in Algeria to adulthood in Paris – via racial tensions and an act of sexual violence against her mother, which changed the course of their lives. But it’s a coming-of-age story first, remembering sun-kissed Algerian summers and a conflicting sexual awakening at legendary Parisian gay nightclub The Kat. It’s been hailed as Bouraoui’s boldest work – lucky for English-speakers that it was translated, by award-winning Aneesa Abbas Higgins.

3.
The Ungrateful Refugee, Dina Nayeri
As a child, Dina Nayeri fled Iran as an asylum seeker, first settling in London, then the USA, then around Europe. From an early age she was taught to be eternally grateful for a ‘second chance’ in the West – all the while experiencing racist bullying at school and gradually understanding the silent contract of enforced gratitude between an immigrant and the country they ended up in. In this clear-sighted read, Nayeri rejects that narrative and shows that a person’s life is never a bad investment.

4.
The Squiggly Career, Helen Tupper
The days of being loyal to one employer for life are gone – as is the time when careers would follow a linear, ‘ladder’ pathway. The cult podcast has been turned into a No.1 Sunday Times Business Bestseller, coaching you through a modern working world of lateral career moves, constant job hopping, and – armed with the right tools – the potential for much more freedom and satisfaction. Like having a session with a personal career coach, this book will give you those tools.

5.

Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse, Nina Schick
We might mostly think of ‘fake news’ as something that Donald Trump says to silence his critics. But artificial intelligence and digital alterations have infiltrated society while we’ve had our back turned. Deepfakes threaten freedom – whether they’re fake revenge porn videos used to humiliate, or videos that have geopolitical potency, like the deepfakes that permeated the 2016 US Presidential elections (for example, the fake-news item that the Pope endorsed Trump). Nina Schick describes the dangers of an impending future where all information is untrustworthy – and advises on how to fight back.

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