How’s your summer reading going? We’ve hit the season’s midpoint, and after ticking off some weighty literary achievements (I devoured all 688 pages of Jonathan Eig’s top-shelf biography of Martin Luther King Jr.), I’m ready for less sprawling, more focused books. As far as nonfiction goes, a good memoir fits the bill—and fortunately August promises some excellent ones. Here are four I’m especially looking forward to; all received Kirkus stars.

Waiting To Be Arrested at Night: A Uyghur Poet’s Memoir of China’s Genocide by Tahir Hamut Izgil, trans. by Joshua L. Freeman (Penguin Press, Aug. 1): I know too little about the situation of China’s oppressed Uyghur minority, but as with many political issues, I expect that a personal story is the best entry point. Izgil is an acclaimed poet (his work has been published in the Atlantic and the New York Review of Books) who witnessed firsthand the government’s campaign against his people, eventually finding asylum in the United States in 2017. According to our reviewer, the “text is lyrical, heartfelt, and perfectly paced; the narrative unfolds with a slow, simmering burn.”

The Girl in the Yellow Poncho by Kristal Brent Zook (Duke Univ., Aug. 8): What did it mean to be a biracial girl in the 1970s, raised by a Black mother and grandmother and yet full of questions about her absent white father? Zook, a professor of journalism at Hofstra University and the author of Color by Fox (1999) and other titles about race in America, takes a deeply personal turn in this book of excavated memories (an episode of childhood sexual abuse by a neighbor looms large) and unflinching self-discovery. Our review calls it a “powerful memoir about a woman’s odyssey for connection, self-identity, and love.”

Chinese Prodigal: A Memoir in Eight Arguments by David Shih (Atlantic Monthly, Aug. 15): A favorite book from earlier this year was Ava Chin’s Mott Street, which traced the author’s complicated Chinese American family history across a century. This assemblage of autobiographical essays looks like the perfect companion, an examination of the author’s experiences growing up in a Chinese immigrant family in Texas in the 1970s and ’80s and then navigating life as an Asian American—a relatively new-fangled identity, forged by the 1982 murder of Vincent Chin—into adulthood. Our critic calls it a “profoundly thoughtful, unflinchingly honest Asian American memoir.”

Everything/Nothing/Someone by Alice Carrière (Speigel & Grau, Aug. 29): In a debut memoir our critic calls “spellbinding,” the daughter of an acclaimed, extravagant artist (Jennifer Bartlett) and a magnetic German actor (Mathieu Carrière) reckons with her privileged and destabilizing Manhattan upbringing, the dissociative disorder that nearly consumed her in adolescence, the psychiatric hospitals that didn’t help, and the relationship with a recovering addict that did. The book renders “real and poignant her experience—both material and interior—in stunning prose,” according to Kirkus’ review.

Tom Beer is the editor-in-chief.