As we near the end of summer, grab those last bits of sunny rays and settle in with a good book. At She Writes Press, our August titles aren’t exactly a typical summer beach read, but they are perfect to start transitioning out of vacation mode.

Bess and Frima by Alice Rosenthal

If you liked A Bronx Tale, read Bess and Frima by Alice Rosenthal

Like A Bronx Tale, Bess and Frima is another classic tale of growing up in the Bronx. Bess and Frima are nineteen, Jewish and best friends. In June 1940, they both dream of romance – Frima finds it with Bess’s brother, while rebellious Bess renames herself Beth and seeks a new life with an Italian American left-wing labor leader from across the country. But with war looming, both girls must grow up fast.

Better Than This by Cathy Zane

If you liked Gaslight, read Better Than This by Cathy Zane

This tale of psychological abuse may be more subtle than Gaslight, but the story rings true just the same. As Sarah Jenkins’s so-called “perfect” life starts to crumble, long-forgotten truths about her marriage and her past come to light. With the help of her friends and an unopened letter she is able to start to rebuild her life and quiet her critical inner voice.

Boot Language by Vanya Erickson

If you liked fathermothergod by Lucia Greenhouse, read Boot Language by Vanya Erickson

From debut author Vanya Erickson comes a heart-wrenching coming-of-age memoir featuring neglect in a Christian Science family. While Vanya was able to immerse herself in the beauty and solitude of nature, after her father’s service in WWII, her family was never the same. Prayer, not medicine, became the way to heal all ills.

Drinking from the Trough by Mary Carlson, DVM

If you liked Dr. Doolittle, read Drinking from the Trough by Mary Carlson, DVM

Mary Carlson might not be able to literally talk to animals, but she certainly is a real-life Dr. Doolittle. After watching her husband work as a veterinarian, she was inspired to go to vet school and opened her own clinic. She soon became the caretaker of cats (many), dogs (two, both huskies) and horses (some with manners, some without).

Excess Baggage by Tracey Carisch

If you liked At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider, read Excess Baggage by Tracey Carisch

This story of uprooting a family to travel the world is not just a travel memoir. The Carisch family’s extraordinary 18-month adventure across six continents is filled with hilarious mishaps, meaningful revelations and unique and bizarre situations that teach them about the world – and themselves.

m Page to Stage by Betsy Graziani Fasbinder

If you liked Public Speaking for Authors, Creatives and other Introverts by Joanna Penn, read From Page to Stage by Betsy Graziani Fasbinder

This practical how-to guide offers the what, why and how of public speaking. Between inspiration and encouragement, and exercises and resources, Fasbinder lays out the nut-and-bolts tools that authors need to assemble their content for any venue. She also models how to handle challenging questions with confidence and grace.

Memories in Dragonflies by Lannette Cornell BloomIf you liked Advice on Dying by the Dalai Lama, read Memories in Dragonflies by Lannette Cornell Bloom

When Bloom’s mom was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, she quit her job as a nurse and dove into taking care of her. In the choice to slow down and be present, she glimpsed the bits of magic that existed beyond the pain, and joined her mother in the experience of mindful dying – a journey that would shape the rest of her life.

Not a Poster Child by Francine Falk-Allen

If you liked Limping through Life by Jerry Apps, read Not a Poster Child by Francine Falk-Allen

In lucid, dryly humorous prose, Falk-Allen tells the story of how contracting polio as a child affected every aspect of her life – from relationships, career, religion, athleticism, artistic expression and aging. This cheeky memoir shows that while a handicap may affect you, it does not define you.

Off the Rails by Suzanne BurrowesIf you liked Thirteen, read Off the Rails by Susan Burrowes

This memoir follows Burrowes’s daughter, Hannah, a privileged young girl with a bright future, as she descends into an abyss of sex, drugs, alcohol and other high-risk behaviors, and then claws her way back out over two years, three programs, a strong family support system and a whole lot of love and determination.

School Tales by Sharon MyrickIf you liked Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, read School Tales by Sharon Myrick

Like Thirteen Reasons Why, this coming-of-age novel tackles big issues in a school setting. The school environment dictates much of the way students interact and engage as they encounter issues like racism, anxiety, shame, a cross-country move, depression, lack of self-direction, abuse and law enforcement.