9 Books We Can't Wait to Read in September
Raise your hand if you procrastinated back-to-school reading as a kid and now long for the days when all you had to do was pick up a book and take it all in. (Don’t worry, we feel the same way.) But just because we’re a few years decades past that point in our lives doesn’t mean we can’t use September to get back on track, books-wise. Especially when there are so many fabulous new offerings this month, from new novels by Lauren Groff, Colson Whitehead and Anthony Doerr to the definitive oral biography of Anthony Bourdain.
1. In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström
In this sharply written debut about multidimensional Black womanhood, three Black women are linked in unexpected ways to the same influential white man in Stockholm as they build new lives. Kemi is a successful marketing executive lured from the U.S. to Sweden by Jonny von Lundin, CEO of the nation's largest marketing firm; Brittany is a former model-turned-flight-attendant who meets Jonny on a flight; and Muna is a refugee who lost her entire family and finds a job cleaning the toilets at Jonny's office. Told from the perspective of each woman, In Every Mirror She’s Black touches on racism, classism, fetishization and more.
2. Matrix by Lauren Groff
In her first novel since the smash-hit Fates and Furies, Groff turns her attention to 12th century Europe. Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, 17-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey. There, she finds focus and love in collective life with the nuns. Born the last in a long line of women warriors and crusaders, Marie is determined to chart a bold new course for the women she now leads and protects. But in a world that’s changing in frightening ways, will the sheer force of Marie’s vision be enough?
3. Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography by Laurie Woolever
Anthony Bourdain’s impact and legacy have only grown since his death in 2018. For this oral biography, Laurie Woolever, Bourdain's longtime assistant and confidante, interviewed nearly a hundred of the people who shared his orbit—members of his kitchen crews, his writing, publishing and television partners, his daughter and his closest friends—in order to piece together a vivid and nuanced vision of his fascinating life and work.
4. Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
Thirteen-year-old Anna, an orphan, lives in Constantinople. Insatiably curious, she learns to read and finds a book about Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky. Five hundred years later, octogenarian Zeno leads children in a play adaptation of Aethon’s story. And in a not-so-distant future, on the interstellar ship Argos, Konstance is writing down the story of Aethon, told to her by her father. Dedicated to “the librarians then, now and in the years to come,” Cloud Cuckoo Land is about a book, the Earth and the human heart.
5. Beautiful Country: A Memoir by Qian Julie Wang
Wang came to the United States as a 7-year-old in 1994. In China, her parents were professors, but now, her family is considered “illegal,” and her parents work in sweatshops. Shunned by her classmates and teachers for her limited English, she retreats to the library and masters the language through books. Outside of those walls, she finds small treasures that confirm that the New York City she saw in movies does exist after all. This debut memoir is an essential coming-of-age story about the myth of the American dream through the eyes of a girl growing up in the shadows who never stops seeking the light.
6. Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion by Dr. Wendy Suzuki
Dr. Wendy Suzuki is a world-renowned neuroscientist and author of Healthy Brain, Happy Life. Her new book asks what would happen if we had a way to leverage our anxiety to help us solve problems and fortify our wellbeing and, instead of seeing anxiety as a curse, we could recognize it as a unique gift. Drawing on her own struggles and based on cutting-edge research, Good Anxiety is an inspiring guidebook for managing unwarranted anxiety and turning it into a powerful asset.
7. Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead
To his customers and neighbors on 125th street in Harlem, Ray is an upstanding furniture salesman making a decent life for himself and his family. What they don’t know is that Ray descends from a line of crooks, and that his façade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it. Cracks that are getting bigger all the time. When his cousin falls in with a crowd who plans to rob a hotel, Ray suddenly has a new clientele made up of shady cops, vicious local gangsters and other assorted lowlifes. As Ray navigates this double life, he begins to see who actually pulls the strings in Harlem.
8. The Spectacular by Zoe Whittall
Set in the late 90s, Whittall’s (The Best Kid of People) latest follows three generations of strong and stubborn women as they attempt to build authentic lives. First there’s Missy, a young cellist in a rock band who’s still mad at her absent mother. Carola, said mother, is in her forties and reeling from a sex scandal at the yoga center where she’s been living. Carola’s mother, Ruth, is 83 and planning her return to the Turkish seaside village where she spent her childhood. But when Missy winds up crashing at her house, she decides it's time that women in her family find a way to understand one another again.
9. Nice Girls by Catherine Dang
Mary used to be a nice girl—a quiet, chubby teen with a scholarship to an Ivy League school. But three years later a thinner and more cynical “Ivy League Mary,” as she’s now known, returns to her hometown after being kicked out of Cornell for reasons she won’t reveal. Working at the local grocery store, Mary tries to make sense of her life's sharp downward spiral. When her former best friend, the beautiful Olivia, goes missing, Mary thinks the disappearance is connected to that of another missing local girl. As Mary examines the mystery surrounding the two girls, old wounds open up, forcing her to confront a horrible truth.