15 new books you absolutely need to read in September
After three long months of maxi skirts, a lot of sweat, and cringe-worthy energy bills, it’s finally FINALLY September. It’s not exactly autumn yet, but I can already feel the crispness in my bones. I can already taste the acorn squash and cinnamon coffee, and I know exactly what I’m going to do as soon as it hits below 65 degrees: I’m going to cuddle up with a warm blanket on my couch and I’m going to read a really good book.
Not that I ever stopped reading good books — summer was filled to the brim with compelling titles that kept me up until 3 am. But there’s really nothing like spending a cool day inside reading the perfect book. And September has an amazing array of new ones. Here are some newly released (or soon-to-be-released) titles that are worthy of your obsession:
1. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (Publication date: September 15)
Fates and Furies is a tale about marriage, and it’s anything but expected. Split into two parts (“Fates” and “Furies”), the novel is narrated by both Lotto and Mathilde — the seemingly glamorous protagonists of whom everyone is jealous. Lotto, who struggles for years to become an actor, makes it as a famous playwright. And Mathilde, who supported him throughout those financially shaky years, his manager. While their love seems fairytale-like, it’s anything but. Lauded as this year’s Gone Girl, Fates and Furies is a gorgeous page-turner you’ll want to bring with you everywhere you go until you finish it.
2. Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins (Publication date: September 29th)
It’s the future. Southern California has succumbed to the drought, and is now a wasteland. Survivors Luz and Ray make due by squatting in a celebrity’s mansion, looting, and rationing soda. While the two are content with each other’s company, one day they come across a mysterious kid — and everything changes. Gold Fame Citrus is a stunning read, its language rich and complex, and its story frightening and poignant.
3. The Girl in Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz (Out September 1st)
Lisbeth Salander fangirls will be psyched to know that the story of a genius hacker continues. In this follow-up to The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (written by the late Stieg Larsson), Mikael Blomkvist is contacted by someone who says they have insanely important U.S. documents — and this person has also been talking to Lisbeth, because of course. Lisbeth and Mikael, as usual, find themselves in a dangerous predicament once they join forces — and that’s only the beginning.
4. This is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evision (Publication date: September 8th)
With a title like This is Your Life, Harriet Chance! there is no way you could NOT read this quirky, lovable novel about a woman trying to find herself. Done mourning her two-years-dead husband, 79-year-old Harriet decides to go on an Alaskan cruise. There, she reflects on her life. And bumps into her estranged daughter — whom she finally has to face. Like, really really face. This is Your Life, Harriet Chance! is a heart-bursting, wonderful story that will make you want to give everyone in your life a big hug.
5. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie (Publish date: September 8th)
We are lucky we live in the same world as Salman Rushdie, because the man is a genius and he knows words and stories and how to pull on your heart and make your brain work a little bit, too. In his newest novel, Rushdie presents a future New York which is rattled by a storm. Characters’ lives begin to change in strange and mysterious ways, a baby becomes a human detector for corruption, and one man is unable to touch the ground. This magical story about good vs. evil, and dark vs. light is another masterpiece you can hold close.
6. After the Parade by Lori Otslund (Publish date: September 22nd)
40-year-old Aaron Englund is haunted by the realities of his Midwestern past — and he combats his fears and dissatisfactions by leaving his long-time partner in New Mexico, and heading out north-west to San Francisco. But soon, he learns not even an eye-opening, American road trip will heal old scars —Aaron has to come face-to-face with the town he grew up in. After the Parade is deeply rooted in environment, memory, and rejection, and is a staggeringly good read for anyone who has tried to start over — only to fall into the same place again and again.
7. Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta (Publish date: September 22nd)
Under the Udala Trees is already gathering a lot of acclaim and for good reason. Protagonist Ijeoma falls in love with a girl and knows their fate is doomed from the start. Hiding her sexual identity, Ijeoma learns that this kind of secrecy comes with a price. Okparanta’s novel is full of heart, and it’s incredibly smart — Under the Udala Trees is a must-read this fall.
8. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson (Publish date: September 22nd)
For anyone who’s heard of The Bloggess (aka Jenny Lawson’s hilarious, endlessly-scroll-worthy blog) has also probably heard of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson’s first memoir (which was weird, crazy funny, and all-around wonderful). And now, Lawson is giving the world more with Furiously Happy, true tales of the blogger’s intense depression and crumbling anxiety. Lawson’s words are heart-shattering, relatable, and a reminder that no matter how happy someone seems —they could be falling apart on the inside.
9. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood (Publish date: September 29th)
In Margaret Atwood’s newest, In The Heart Goes Last, Charmaine and Stan are in a bad place, living in a car and surviving on scraps. But when they see ad for “Consilience,” they are all for the “social experiment,” which promises shelter and food and work. All they have to do is “give up their freedom” every other month, and live in a prison cell, while “alternates” (another couple like them) live in their space. Sound bizarre and horrifying? Well, it is.
10. The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (Out September 1st)
Everyone is talking about the Neapolitan saga, as they should. It’s totally addictive. The Story of the Lost Child is the final installment, and it centers on Elena and Lila, two women who have overcome their past and embraced their future — their unbreakable friendship. Set in Naples, Italy, Elena Ferrante takes you through the violent neighborhoods the women escape from, the jobs in which they work, and the people who stand in their way.
11. The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr (September)
You may have heard of Mary Karr, author of The Liars’ Club, Cherry, Lit, and a bunch of really impressive poetry. You can find her work in The Paris Review and The Poetry Foundation, which is kind of a big deal. She also teaches at Syracuse University in New York, where she mentored Cheryl Strayed, and oh yeah — she and David Foster Wallace dated for awhile. In her newest memoir, The Art of Memoir, Karr dives deeper into her life, this time sharing experiences as a grown-up human person who overcomes alcoholism, finds spirituality, and learns from the students she taught. There’s something hypnotic about the way Karr writes about the human condition, and The Art of Memoir is no exception.
12. Purity by Jonathan Franzen (Out September 1st)
The long-awaited new Franzen novel is here and people have FEELINGS. Some say the author is trying too hard this time, and others say this is his best yet. Whichever way you lean, Purity is undeniably a conversation starter. Purity, which focuses on titular character Purity (also known as Pip Tyler), is about a girl who is anything but normal. Living with anarchists in Oakland, Pip becomes involved with German peace activists, The Sunlight Project. Andreas Wolf, the creator of TSP, becomes drawn to her, for reasons unknown. Just like The Corrections and Freedom, Franzen manages to create a world that is provoking, funny, and unmistakably powerful.
13. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (Publication date: September 15th)
While Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? was about Mindy Kaling’s initial path to success (as well as her totally relatable dorky high-school years and post-college struggles), Why Not Me? is the matured follow-up. Kaling, who is all grown-up and now has a lot of experience in Hollywood, has some important things to share. And that includes what it’s like to find new friends as an adult, serious relationship talk, and what it’s like when no one else in “show biz” looks like you. Fiercely personal, hilarious, and achingly honest, Kaling reminds us once again why we all want to be her BFF.
14. The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo (Publication date: September 8th)
Melissa DeCarlo’s debut novel is a dazzling read, one that will lift your spirits and let them soar —which is totally appropriate, because The Art of Crash Landing is about traveling. Mattie Wallace, who’s broke and pregnant, takes a trip back to her hometown when she learns about an inheritance. But once she arrives, she sees it’ll be hard to leave. A story about place, family, and the perseverance of the self, DeCarlo digs deep into what makes a person a person, and reminds all of us that what we come from matters.
15. South Toward Home: Travels in Southern Literature by Margaret Eby (Publication date: September 8th)
Our very own Margaret Eby serves as a literary tour guide in this book, visiting places in the Deep South where writers like Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, and Harper Lee lived and worked. It’s like having your smartest friend take you on a tour of her favorite places and books, and seeing what happens along the way.
(Images via Barnes & Noble and Shutterstock)