There is nothing better than a well-loved paperback. So here are eleven new September releases to add to your list as you head into fall, all ready to have their spines flexed and pages flipped. We’ve got a mix of historical fiction, magical realism, thrillers, and wonderful character studies to keep you reading all month long!
Anthony Doerr once again delivers beautiful prose that turns even the most mundane things into art. He intricately threads together five points of view across three time periods to create one masterpiece about resilience and survival. Constantinople, 1453: While people are preparing for war, an orphan and a young boy on opposing sides will do everything they can to protect their loved ones. Idaho, 2020: A kid seeks revenge against the world he’s living in when a gentle older man intervenes. And somewhere in the distant future: Konstance is the only one who can save humanity. To ensure survival, she’ll have to look to the past.
On the New York Times bestseller list for over 20 weeks * A New York Times Notable Book * A Barack Obama Favorite * A National Book Award Finalist * Named a Best Book of the Year by Fresh Air, Time, Entertainment Weekly, Associated Press, and many more
“If you’re looking for a superb novel, look no further.” —The Washington Post
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of All the Light We Cannot See, comes the instant New York Times bestseller that is a “wildly inventive, a humane and uplifting book for adults that’s infused with the magic of childhood reading experiences” (The New York Times Book Review).
Among the most celebrated and beloved novels of recent times, Cloud Cuckoo Land is a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring story about children on the cusp of adulthood in worlds in peril, who find resilience, hope, and a book.
In the 15th century, an orphan named Anna lives inside the formidable walls of Constantinople. She learns to read, and in this ancient city, famous for its libraries, she finds what might be the last copy of a centuries-old book, the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky. Outside the walls is Omeir, a village boy, conscripted with his beloved oxen into the army that will lay siege to the city. His path and Anna’s will cross.
In the present day, in a library in Idaho, octogenarian Zeno rehearses children in a play adaptation of Aethon’s story, preserved against all odds through centuries. Tucked among the library shelves is a bomb, planted by a troubled, idealistic teenager, Seymour. This is another siege.
And in a not-so-distant future, on the interstellar ship Argos, Konstance is alone in a vault, copying on scraps of sacking the story of Aethon, told to her by her father.
Anna, Omeir, Seymour, Zeno, and Konstance are dreamers and outsiders whose lives are gloriously intertwined. Doerr’s dazzling imagination transports us to worlds so dramatic and immersive that we forget, for a time, our own.
This is a wonderful, theatrical historical fiction novel that becomes a true coming-of-age story. Harriet’s whole life has always been about her persona as one half of “The Sisters Sweet,” a conjoined-twin vaudeville act conceived by her parents. But when her not actually conjoined twin, Josie, exposes their fraud and runs off to Hollywood in search of her own career, Harriet is left to pick up the pieces. She’s forced to find out who she is without her sister by her side. While the family falls on hard times, she’s determined to continue her role as the perfect daughter. But as she forms relationships outside of her family, she learns that there might be more to life, and herself, than her parents.
A fantastic historical fiction piece based on the life of Josephine N. Leary, one of the first Black female real estate tycoons. CAROLINA BUILT follows her journey and ambitions through the emancipation period in the South. Josephine takes on many roles in her life as a daughter, wife, mother, and businesswoman as she builds something much bigger than herself. Josephine’s story is one everyone should know, and Alexander has done a wonderful job bringing her history to the page.
This “exuberant celebration of Black women’s joy as well as their achievements” (Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author) novelizes the life of real estate magnate Josephine N. Leary in a previously untold story of passion, perseverance, and building a legacy after emancipation in North Carolina.
Josephine N. Leary is determined to build a life of her own and a future for her family. When she moves to Edenton, North Carolina, from the plantation where she was born, she is free, newly married, and ready to follow her dreams.
As the demands of life pull Josephine’s attention away, it becomes increasingly difficult for her to pursue her real estate aspirations. She finds herself immersed in deepening her marriage, mothering her daughters, and being a dutiful daughter and granddaughter. Still, she manages to teach herself to be a businesswoman, to manage her finances, and to make smart investments in the local real estate market. But with each passing year, it grows more and more difficult to focus on building her legacy from the ground up.
“Filled with passion and perseverance, Josephine Leary is frankly a woman that everyone should know” (Sadeqa Johnson, author of Yellow Wife) and her story speaks to the part of us that dares to dream bigger, tear down whatever stands in our way, and build something better for the loved ones we leave behind.
Tóibín once again weaves fact and fiction with wonderful prose in THE MAGICIAN, which follows Thomas Mann’s life in Germany before, during, and after both World Wars. Mann hid his artistic ambitions from his family and his homosexual desires from the world. After marrying the daughter of a prominent Jewish family and fathering six children, Mann pens DEATH IN VENICE after longing for a boy while on holiday. He becomes a successful novelist thrown into the spotlight with political expectations while keeping his real desires secret. Tóibín creates an exquisite portrait of a complicated man during a turbulent point in history.
A New York Times Notable Book, Critic’s Top Pick, and Top Ten Book of Historical Fiction
Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, NPR, Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg Businessweek
From one of today’s most brilliant and beloved novelists, a dazzling, epic family saga set across a half-century spanning World War I, the rise of Hitler, World War II, and the Cold War that is “a feat of literary sorcery in its own right” (Oprah Daily).
The Magician opens in a provincial German city at the turn of the twentieth century, where the boy, Thomas Mann, grows up with a conservative father, bound by propriety, and a Brazilian mother, alluring and unpredictable. Young Mann hides his artistic aspirations from his father and his homosexual desires from everyone. He is infatuated with one of the richest, most cultured Jewish families in Munich, and marries the daughter Katia. They have six children. On a holiday in Italy, he longs for a boy he sees on a beach and writes the story Death in Venice. He is the most successful novelist of his time, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, a public man whose private life remains secret. He is expected to lead the condemnation of Hitler, whom he underestimates. His oldest daughter and son, leaders of Bohemianism and of the anti-Nazi movement, share lovers. He flees Germany for Switzerland, France and, ultimately, America, living first in Princeton and then in Los Angeles.
In this “exquisitely sensitive” (The Wall Street Journal) novel, Tóibín has crafted “a complex but empathetic portrayal of a writer in a lifelong battle against his innermost desires, his family, and the tumultuous times they endure” (Time), and “you’ll find yourself savoring every page” (Vogue).
Fifteen-year-old Oscar Dreyer-Hoff is missing and the authorities are convinced he’s just another runaway teen looking for attention. But when his parents find a strange note, they fear something far worse is at play and beg for help from detectives Jeppe Kørner and Anette Werner. Perhaps the note is nothing, or maybe it’s a message from Oscar or even something from the kidnapper. With the clock ticking, it will have to be enough to find him before it’s too late. A modern noir story set in Copenhagen with two complex detectives reeling from their issues with parenthood while they look for a missing child makes for a wonderful atmospheric mystery.
This third novel in the “thrilling, nerve-wracking” (Shelf Awareness) Korner and Werner series follows the two detectives as they search for a missing teenager and uncover the web of lies that has threatened his life—and may prevent him from ever being found.
When fifteen-year-old Oscar Dreyer-Hoff disappears in this “masterpiece of Nordic noir” (Booklist, starred review), the police assume he’s simply a runaway—a typically overlooked middle child doing what teenagers do all around the world. But his frantic family is certain that something terrible has happened. After all, what runaway would leave behind a note that reads:
He looked around and saw the knife that had stabbed Basil Hallward. He had cleaned it many times, till there was no stain left upon it. It was bright and glistened. As it had killed the painter, so it would kill the painter’s work, and all that that meant. It would kill the past, and when that was dead, he would be free.
It’s not much to go on, but it’s all that detectives Jeppe Kørner and Anette Werner have. And with every passing hour, as the odds of finding a missing person grow dimmer, it will have to be enough.
I’m the kind of person who hates ASMR and sleep songs, and this book definitely reaffirmed that feeling! Nick Bishop takes a new and less exciting job after being laid off from his war correspondent position. Now he’s writing for an app called Clarity. The work is easy and the app itself doesn’t seem like anything special. Except for the “Sleep Songs.” Among all the guided meditations and relaxing background sounds, there is a woman singing a terrifying ballad. Nick finds it incredibly disturbing, and yet, somehow, it pulls him into a deep sleep. But with sleep comes the nightmares of a dead woman, and he still hears the song long after it’s stopped playing. Soon the nightmares follow him into the waking world and Nick realizes that Clarity doesn’t care about his writing. They’re interested in him. He has no memory of it, but he’s one of twenty people who have heard this song before. And he’s the only one still alive. Carson’s haunting premise is part sci-fi, part horror story, and altogether unexpected.
“Where They Wait is so readable, you’ll be a couple of hundred pages in before you realize you’re terrified…and then you can’t put it down. Mesmerizing.” —Stephen King
“Tense and twisty.” —Charlaine Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Southern Vampire Mysteries
“A taut, creepy techno-chiller that will leave you hearing ghosts.” —Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and Survivor Song
A new supernatural novel about a sinister mindfulness app with fatal consequences from the New York Times bestselling author of The Chill.
Recently laid-off from his newspaper and desperate for work, war correspondent Nick Bishop takes a humbling job: writing a profile of a new mindfulness app called Clarity. It’s easy money, and a chance to return to his hometown for the first time in years. The app itself seems like a retread of old ideas—relaxing white noise and guided meditations. But then there are the “Sleep Songs.” A woman’s hauntingly beautiful voice sings a ballad that is anything but soothing—it’s disturbing, and more of a warning than a relaxation—but it works. Deep, refreshing sleep follows.
So do the nightmares. Vivid and chilling, they feature a dead woman who calls Nick by name and whispers guidance—or are they threats? And her voice follows him long after the song is done. As the effects of the nightmares begin to permeate his waking life, Nick makes a terrifying discovery: no one involved with Clarity has any interest in his article. Their interest is in him.
PALMARES, Gayle Jones’s first published work in twenty years, is a sweeping magical realism novel. The narrative follows a young Black slave girl, Almeyda, living on a Portuguese plantation. She escapes and finds her way to the fugitive slave settlement of Palmares. When the settlement is destroyed, she embarks on an odyssey in hopes of reuniting with her husband. Jones brings a unique sense of mythology to her work as she paints a picture of the world fueled by greed and colonialism.
Allie Brosh brings her wonderful sense of humor and unique perspective to this book of illustrated essays. She combines humor and heartbreak and calls out the absurdity of our current reality. She tackles funny memories from her childhood and the adventures of her misbehaving dogs, while also dealing with grief and loneliness and flaws. Relatable and wonderful, with incredible illustrations, you don’t want to miss this one.
INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Allie Brosh—beloved author and artist of the extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller Hyperbole and a Half—returns with a long-awaited collection of “hilarious and slyly poignant” (People), autobiographical, illustrated essays.
Solutions and Other Problems includes humorous stories from Allie Brosh’s childhood; the adventures of her very bad animals; merciless dissection of her own character flaws; incisive essays on grief, loneliness, and powerlessness; as well as reflections on the absurdity of modern life. “No one sums up the hilarity, devastation, and bizarreness of life quite like comic artist and blogger Allie Brosh” (NPR).
This full-color, beautifully illustrated edition features all-new material with more than 1,600 pieces of art. Solutions and Other Problems marks the return of a beloved American humorist who has “the observational skills of a scientist, the creativity of an artist, and the wit of a comedian” (Bill Gates).
Lyrical and atmospheric, Passaro captures the essence of New York through an intimate character study. George and Anna, two college students, meet under the shadow of the new World Trade Center in 1976. Despite their connection, their romance is short-lived. Their on-again, off-again relationship spans four decades as they stumble through their separate lives, failed marriages, various careers, and the woes of parenthood until fate and history intervene once and for all.
A lyrical novel, spanning four decades in New York City, about a couple torn apart and the lengths to which they will go to be reunited.
Vince Passaro’s first novel, 2002’s Violence, Nudity, Adult Content, was a provocative book that explored the darkest human emotions and the traumas of mental illness, sexual assault, and murder. Now, nearly twenty years later, Passaro is back with his follow-up, Crazy Sorrow, a novel that is equally explosive and more grand in scope.
The story opens in the shadow of the new World Trade Center, on July 4, 1976, when students George and Anna meet on the weed- and wine-fueled night of the nation’s Bicentennial celebration. George, haunted by his upbringing, instantly falls for the sensual, magnetic Anna. Soon, they couple up, dropping acid, swapping music, exploring the city and each other. Yet their romance is short-lived, and they go their own ways.
Passaro chronicles the next four decades, following George and Anna through their various relationships, their sex lives both youthful and mature, their failed marriages, and the travails of parenthood and their careers. Yet as the years go by one thing remains constant: the former lovers wonder what happened to each other. Finally, miraculously, they reconnect as the new century is beginning, only to discover that history itself will have a say in whether they can stay together.
Crazy Sorrow is an ambitious examination of the forces that draw people together and drive them apart—yet it also expands beyond the points of view of its characters to capture the movement of time and to reveal a living, breathing New York that is both constantly changing and always familiar. Crazy Sorrow stands as Passaro’s powerful love letter to his characters and to the city that has shaped them.
This fast-paced historical fiction novel will tug at your heart with incredible prose, and the emotional impact will stay with you. What would you do for freedom and safety? Sama and Hadi had big dreams when they each found themselves in Boston. Caught up in a sweeping romance, they are now awaiting the birth of their son, who they hope will never have to know the troubles they faced as Syrian refugees. But just before Hadi’s visa appointment at the embassy, his father dies in Jordan. Hadi flies back with the promise that he will return soon. But while Sama waits at the airport for her husband, Hadi is detained at the border. Hours quickly turn into days and then weeks with both Sama and Hadi desperately hoping to get back to each other. But as time passes, they’re faced with the possibility that the freedom they dreamed of was just an illusion.
From the author of The Girls at 17 Swann Street comes a “masterful story of tragedy and redemption” (Hala Alyan, author of Salt Houses) “written in soul-searing prose” (BookPage, starred review) about a young Syrian couple in the throes of new love on the cusp of their bright future when a travel ban rips them apart on the eve of their son’s premature birth.
Sama and Hadi are a young Syrian couple in love, dreaming of their future in the country that brought them together. Sama came to Boston years before on a prestigious Harvard scholarship; Hadi landed there as a sponsored refugee from a bloody civil war. Now, they are giddily awaiting the birth of their son, a boy whose native language will be freedom and belonging.
When Sama is five months pregnant, Hadi’s father dies suddenly, and Hadi decides to fly back to Jordan for the funeral. He leaves America, promising his wife he’ll be gone only for a few days. On the date of his return, Sama waits for him at the arrivals gate, but he doesn’t appear. As the minutes and then hours pass, she becomes increasingly alarmed, unaware that Hadi has been stopped by US Customs and Border Protection, detained for questioning, and deported.
Achingly intimate yet poignantly universal, No Land to Light On is “a tense, moving novel about the meaning of home, the risks of exile, the power of nations, and the power of love” (Kirkus Reviews).
Bob Roth has been a Transcendental Meditation teacher to countless celebrities over the years. In STRENGTH IN STILLNESS, he brings his expertise to the page as he examines the dangers of stress on our physical and emotional well-being and the benefit that practicing Transcendental Meditation can have on the body. Roth also dives deep into the science behind three different types of meditation without overly complicated theories and excessive verbiage. STRENGH IN STILLNESS offers a unique introductory explanation of the power of calming your body and mind.
Instant New York Times Bestseller
A simple, straightforward exploration of Transcendental Meditation and its benefits from world authority Bob Roth.
Oprah Winfrey and Jerry Seinfeld. Ray Dalio and Ellen DeGeneres. Gwyneth Paltrow and Howard Stern. Tom Hanks and Gisele Bündchen.
What do they have in common? The answer is a Transcendental Meditation teacher named Bob Roth, who has spent the past fifty years helping many thousands of people access their innate creativity and power through this simple, nonreligious technique. Roth’s students range from titans of business and the arts to federal prisoners, from war-scarred veterans to overworked moms and dads.
Medical experts agree that the epidemic of stress is damaging our physical and emotional health at younger and younger ages. While there is no one single cure, the Transcendental Meditation technique is a simple practice that dramatically changes how we respond to stress and life’s challenges. With scientifically proven benefits— reduced stress and anxiety, and improved focus, sleep, resilience, creativity, and memory, to name a few—this five-thousand-year-old technique has a clear and direct impact on our very modern problems.
Once a skeptic, Roth trained under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the twentieth century’s foremost scientist of consciousness and meditation, and has since become one of the most experienced and sought-after meditation teachers in the world. In Strength in Stillness, Roth breaks down the science behind Transcendental Meditation in a new, accessible way. He highlights the three distinct types of meditation—Focused Attention, Open Monitoring, and Self-Transcending—and showcases the evidence that the third, Self-Transcending, or Transcendental Meditation, is a uniquely accessible, effective, and efficient way to reduce stress, access inner power, and build resilience.
Free of gimmicks, mystical verbiage, and obscure theory, Strength in Stillness offers a clear explanation for how Transcendental Meditation can calm the mind, body, and spirit.
Photo credit: iStock / Anastasiia Stiahailo