9 Books We Can't Wait to Read in September
A woman who only begins to understand the person her mother was after her death. A clinical therapist recounting some of her most memorable patients. An entire generation that’s mercilessly mocked for their avocado toast habit reckoning with overwhelming burnout. These are the narrators of nine new books we can’t wait to dig into this month. Check them out below.
1. Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
Gifty is a Ph.D. candidate studying neuroscience at Stanford. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after an ankle injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her mother is suicidal. Determined to turn to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, Gifty finds herself grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised and the salvation it promised.
2. Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation by Anne Helen Peterson
In January 2019, culture writer and former academic Anne Helen Petersen wrote a hugely viral piece for BuzzFeed about millennial burnout, which Peterson argues has been “born out of distrust in the institutions that have failed us, the unrealistic expectations of the modern workplace and a sharp uptick in anxiety and hopelessness exacerbated by the constant pressure to ‘perform’ our lives online.” Using a combination of sociohistorical framework, original interviews and detailed analysis, Can’t Even examines how millennials have arrived at this point—and where we go from here.
3. The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim
When Margot Lee's mother, Mina, doesn’t return her calls, 26-year-old Margot visits her childhood apartment in L.A.’s Koreatown, LA, only to find that her mother has suspiciously died. From there, Margot embarks on a mission to find out about her single mother's life as a Korean War orphan and an undocumented immigrant. Interwoven with this present-day search is Mina's account of her first year in Los Angeles as she navigates the promises and perils of the American dream.
4. The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante
She’s baaaaaaack. Ferrante’s newest novel follows Giovanna, a meek, obedient 12-year-old growing up in a middle-class neighborhood in Naples. An expert chronicler of young adulthood, Ferrante (The Neapolitan Novels) follows Giovanna’s life from age 12 to 16, charting her development from the sweet girl who adores her parents to a sulking, aggressive teenager who finds pleasure in self-abasement and making other people uncomfortable. (And yes, she leaves open the possibility of a sequel.)
5. The Baddest Bitch in the Room by Sophia Chang
The daughter of Korean immigrants in predominantly white suburban Vancouver, Chang left for New York City in the early 90s, where she became a powerful voice in music boardrooms and worked with the likes of The Wu-Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest. In her debut memoir, she writes candidly about her rise to the top of a male-dominated industry, and all the things that happened along the way, including marriage, motherhood, aging and martial arts.
6. Good Morning, Monster: A Therapist Shares Five Heroic Stories of Emotional Recovery by Catherine Gildiner
PSA: This one is heavy. During Gildiner’s 25 years as a clinical therapist, she's treated a wide range of clients. She focuses on five of the most memorable in her most recent book. From Laura, who was abandoned in the woods at the age of nine, and left to care for her two younger siblings to Peter, whose formative years were spent locked in the attic of his mother's Chinese restaurant with nothing but a small toy piano to comfort him, Good Morning, Monster is a fascinating look at what it’s like when you’re on the other side of a therapy appointment.
7. Likes by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum
In this collection of nine stories, ideal for fans of Tessa Hadley and Lauren Groff, Bynum explores the contradictions of modern life in stories about friendship, parenthood, celebrity and more. In the title story, for example, we see a father struggle to connect with his daughter through the lens of her Instagram account, while “Julia and Sunny” chronicles the breakup of a marriage from the biased perspective of the couple’s closest friends.
8. Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty
Instead of attending his college graduation ceremony, Jay Shetty went to India to become a monk. After three years, a teacher told him he would have more impact on the world if he left the monk's path to share his experience and wisdom with others. In this book, he draws on his time as a monk, combining ancient wisdom and his own experiences to reveal how to overcome negative thoughts and habits, and access the calm and purpose that he says lies within all of us.
9. Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh
Seven years after her number one New York Times best-seller, Hyperbole and a Half, Brosh is back with a new collection of comedic, autobiographical and illustrated essays. Topics include stories from her childhood; the adventures of her very bad animals; merciless dissection of her own character flaws; incisive essays on grief, loneliness powerlessness and more.