While Exclusive Books uses August to celebrate and showcase local cookery in their Tasty Reads- Mzansi-Made campaign, we acknowledge that deeper reading – both fiction and non-fiction is still ever-popular – especially for cold evenings.

And with the return of customers to physical stores as the third wave abates, we are excited to highlight these fantastic reads.

Exclusive Books 28 recommended titles are merchandised in front of all their stores every month and are carefully curated in different categories – local authors, fiction and non-fiction, plus young adult and children’s. The aim is to assist customers to see at a glance, and in a short space of time, titles that are new, trending and have caught the eyes of the Exclusive Books buyers in among 1000’s and 1000’s of titles. There are choices for all age groups and genre tastes.

All 25 titles are presented on dedicated Exclusive Books Recommends display units where the books are grouped together with shelf talkers in-store for the entire month of July. Fanatics members also earn a whopping 200 bonus points on their purchases from the list during July.

There are 12 fiction titles for August. In Afraid of the Night author Douglas Kennedy shows his skills at zigzag plotting, blending domestic twists with turns created by global affairs. Animal by Lisa Taddeo is ‘Like a series of grenades exploding’ quotes Marian Keyes. In Blood Trail author Tony Park writes with vigour and the story unfolds at a steady pace with plenty of action and gunshots. Falling by J.T Newman is stunning and relentless. This is Jaws at 35,000 feet.

Marilyn deur Channete Paul is vywervrou? Nee, ’n kaivrou. Dis wat sy is. Vervolg op die Vywervrou-trilogie, dit is nou Marilyn se storie. Soul Sisters by Lesley Lokko is a rich, intergenerational tale of love, race, power and secrets which centres on the lifelong friendship between two women: Scottish Jen McFadden and South African-born uKwemisa Mashabane. The Mad Women’s Ball by Victoria Mas is darkly sumptuous tale of wicked spectacle, wild injustice and the insuppressible strength of women. The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris is a thrilling, edgier Devil Wears Prada that explores privilege and racism.

The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi is a sensuous description of food, local colour, and Lakshmi’s art that make this gorgeous sequel to The Henna Artist worth savouring. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman is smart, funny and deplorably good. In The Wanderers by Mphuthumi Ntabeni, Ruru’s father, Phaks, joined the anti-apartheid struggle in exile before she was born but never returned, preferring to stay in Tanzania. Years later, though he has passed away, Ruru goes in search of signs of his life in his adopted country. Two Women in Rome by Elizabeth Buchan is a beautifully atmospheric, elegant and emotive story … intricately plotted and transportive.

Seven titles are on the non-fiction list for August. Fake History by Otto English is an alternative history of the world that exposes some of the biggest lies ever told and how they have been used over time. In Khaya Dlanga’s It’s the Answers for Me, Thuso Mbedu quotes “I love this. I went from crying tears of laughter to tears of heartbreak to silent tears of shock.” With the party seemingly at war with itself and President Ramaphosa battling to rein in corrupt cadres, author Ralph Mathekga predicts the ANC will fall below the critical 50 per cent threshold before the end of the decade in his book The ANC’S Last Decade. In The New Apartheid Dr Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh explores the edifice of systemic racial oppression – the new apartheid – that continues to thrive, despite or even because of our democratic system.

The Storm Upon Us by Mike Rothschild is a sobering look at how the QAnon phenomenon began, and how it spread online to become a sort of all-encompassing conspiracy movement. Gender-based violence feeds on shame and silence but in this extraordinary collection When Secrets Become Stories edited by Sue Nyathi, brave women reclaim their power and summon the courage in others to do the same. In speaking out, sharing what was once secret, shame’s hold is broken. Why We Kneel, How We Rise by Michael Holding is a sober, densely researched account of racial discrimination.

The last six titles are YA and Children’s. Readers in search of joyful stories of young Black love will adore Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Nic Stone, Tiffany D. Jackson, Ashley Woodfolk, Angie Thomas and Nicola Yoon. Megamonster is about evil experiments abound at a sinister school – located on a treacherous volcanic island – in this monstrously funny adventure from bestselling phenomenon David Walliams and iconic illustrator Tony Ross. On my Papa’s Shoulders by Niki Daly invites young readers along on a little boy and his Papa’s walk to school, where they have their own special way of saying goodbye.

Join Roland and his best friend, Garg the Barbarian, as they leave the safety of their village and embark on a quest to save Roland’s mum from the White Warlock. Will their heroes survive? in Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure by Jeff Kinney. The Eldest Curses 2: The Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu is a thrilling adventure for High Warlock Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood, for whom a death-defying mission into the heart of evil is not just a job, it’s also a romantic getaway. We Are Inevitable by Gayle Foreman is masterfully layered story about friendship, family, and acceptance with brilliant bursts of Seinfeldian humour zinging throughout.