August is over, and that means it's time for summer reading to end and for the far-less-sexy, far-less-mythologized autumn reading to begin. To get you started, here are 35 new books coming out in September 2019.
This month, Margaret Atwood will be releasing her highly-anticipated sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, which was originally published in 1985 but experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years, thanks to the Hulu television series and its particular resonance to modern politics. Not much is known about The Testaments, except that it will take place 15 years after the events of the original book.
In addition to Atwood's latest, there's plenty else this month to get excited about. Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the New York Times journalists who earned a Pulitzer Prize for breaking the story about Harvey Weinstein's long history of sexual misconduct, are releasing She Said, an in-depth look at the reporting and writing that went into that enormous achievement and an incredible history of the case.
This month will also bring with it the release of several notable debut novels, including The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott, based on a riveting true story about the publication of Doctor Zhivago. There's also quite a few nota Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi or Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera, both of which deal with coming-of-age, falling in love, and finding one's path in life.
For even more reading recommendations, here are 35 books to look out for in September 2019:
Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi (Sept. 3)
Emergency Contact author Mary H.K. Choi is back with another smart, funny, and wise exploration of young love in all its complexities. This time, her story centers on Pablo, a college dropout with a ton of student loans who works at a 24-hour bodega in Brooklyn, and Leanna, a pop star with more money (and fans) that seems possible. After the two meet at the bodega during one of Pablo's graveyard shifts, an unexpected relationship blossoms.
My Time Among the Whites: Notes from an Unfinished Education by Jennine Capó Crucet (Sept. 3)
In this slim, incisive essay collection, Jennine Capó Crucet examines her place in a society built on whiteness — and her own privilege within that system — through a series of personal stories that take place in Disney World, Miami, and a Nebraska ranch.
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott (Sept. 3)
In The Secrets We Kept, Lara Prescott tells a fictionalized account of the remarkable true story of the two CIA secretaries who were pulled from their desk jobs to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of Soviet Russia, where it went unable to be published, and bring it to the rest of the world. This tale of literary espionage is juxtaposed with the tumultuous love story of Pasternak and his mistress, Olga Ivinskaya, who inspired the protagonist of his famous novel.
Whose Story Is This?: Old Conflicts, New Chapters by Rebecca Solnit (Sept. 3)
In the latest book from Rebecca Solnit, the acclaimed thinker and essayist tackles one of the most important questions of the present day: Whose story is this? Those in power have one story; those who are marginalized have another. Solnit writes about the fight ahead — and why the matter of who is telling the story matters so much.
Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes by Dana Thomas (Sept.3)
If you care about the environment and about fair working conditions for all, then you need to care about fast fashion. In Fashionopolis, Dana Thomas explores the moral degradation of much of the fashion industry, as well as the grassroots movements — and designers — who are fighting for fairer, better, more sustainable fashion.
Cantoras by Carolina de Robertis (Sept. 3)
It's Uruguay in 1977, and political unrest has forced five "cantoras" — women who sing, queer women — into a secret, uninhabited cape, where they find refuge from the outside world. Over the course of 35 years, these five women journey to and from the cape, as their lives and loves fluctuate.
After the Flood by Kassandra Montag (Sept. 3)
Kassandra Montag's novel imagines a world that may soon not be fiction. A hundred years in the future, the coast and the heartland of the United States have been obliterated. A mother lives with her daughter on the mountainous islands that remain, but when she learns that her older daughter — the one who has long been missing — is living on a colony in the Arctic Circle, she undertakes a perilous journey to find her.
The Ungrateful Refugee: What Immigrants Never Tell You by Dina Nayeri (Sept. 3)
There has never been a better time to read The Ungrateful Refugee. Dina Nayeri writes of her own experiences as a refugee and of the experiences of a number of others to craft a nuanced portrait of immigration that steps beyond the rhetoric of "invasion" and challenges the notion of the "good" immigrant.
The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup (Sept. 3)
From the writer of the TV show The Killing comes a thriller set in a quiet Copenhagen suburb, where the townspeople have been shaken by the discovery of a murdered young woman along with a small doll made of chestnuts. Detectives Naia Thulin and Mark Hess soon connect the case to another murder from a year before — except that perpetrator is already behind bars. Then, another body turns up. And another chestnut man.
Dominicana by Angie Cruz (Sept. 3)
Ana Cancion is trapped in her Washington Heights apartment, forced to remain isolated by the husband who brought her with him from the Dominican Republic. She wants nothing more than to get away — and when her husband returns to the island to secure his financial assets during a time of political unrest, she sees her opportunity. Along with Cesar, her brother-in-law, she experiences the full beauty and wonder of New York City in the 1960s. But when her husband returns, she must decide if her new life is worth betraying her family.
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (Sept. 10)
Few details about the sequel to The Handmaid's Tale have been announced, but what is known is that The Testaments will take place 15 years after Offred's final scene in the original book and will be narrated by three women of Gilead. Margaret Atwood promises that readers will finally learn the true fate of Offred, though it remains to be seen if that fate aligns with the plot of the Hulu television show.
What Is A Girl Worth?: My Story of Breaking the Silence and Exposing the Truth about Larry Nassar & USA Gymnastics by Rachael Denhollander (Sept. 10)
Rachael Denhollander, the first victim to publicly accuse U.S.A. Gymnastics coach Larry Nassar of sexual assault, tells the full story of her gymnastic career, the abuse she suffered at the hands of someone she trusted, and the road to justice in her memoir, What Is A Girl Worth?
For the Love of Men: A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity by Liz Plank (Sept. 10)
If you've ever muttered "I hate men" to yourself (or others), here's the book for you. For the Love of Men is an expansive look the history of toxic masculinity and a guide to redefining it.
Gideon the Ninth by Tasmyn Muir (Sept. 10)
Ever wanted to read about queer necromancers in a battle for power and prestige.... in space? Tasmyn Muir is here to satisfy that very particular itch with Gideon the Ninth, a sci-fi/fantasy adventure about 18-year-old Gideon, who has spent her entire life in indentured servitude to the Ninth House and finally has a way to get out. All she has to do is help the heir to the Ninth in her quest to become the right-hand woman to the Necromancer Divine. Simple.
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi (Sept. 10)
If you read Freshwater, you are already familiar with the dizzying, dazzling talent of Akwaeke Emezi. In Pet, their young adult debut, the protagonist, a trans teen named Jam, lives in a society that says there are no monsters anymore. But when Jam meets Pet, a mysterious creature who emerged from her mother's painting with a drop of her blood, she must reconsider whether that's really true.
The Nobodies by Liza Palmer (Sept. 10)
At the beginning of this tale of the millennial experience, Joan Dixon is laid-off from yet another journalism job. She's unemployed, single, and living with her parents — until a copywriter job opens up at Bloom, a Los Angeles startup with a glittery office and big plans for the future. Life is finally looking up. She has a job, a relationship, and steady income — but then she starts looking into the history of Bloom and discovers the scoop of a lifetime.
His Hideous Heart: 13 of Edgar Allan Poe's Most Unsettling Tales Reimagined edited by Dahlia Adler (Sept. 10)
Spooky season is nigh, and Dahlia Adler's anthology of Edgar Allan Poe-inspired tales will surely amp up your excitement for all things witchy, ghoulish, and grim. Adler, a mainstay of the YA community, has recruited an impressive list of authors to fill out the collection, including Kendare Blake, Tiffany D. Jackson, Stephanie Kuehn, and Marieke Nijkamp.
Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera (Sept. 17)
Originally released in 2016, Juliet Takes A Breath got a makeover for its second debut to the world. The story is a stunner: After coming out to her conservative Puerto Rican family in New York City, Juliet packs up her bags and flies to Portland, Oregon for an internship with the feminist writer she's obsessed with, Harlowe Brisbane. Over the course of one summer, she blossoms into the truest form of Juliet: a badass, intersectional feminist writer babe.
Coventry: Essays by Rachel Cusk (Sept. 17)
From author Rachel Cusk comes an essay collection with observations as sharp and as philosophical as those found in her acclaimed book series, The Outline Trilogy.
The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation by Robin Pogebrin and Kate Kelly (Sept. 17)
From two New York Times reporters comes a deep-dive into the younger years of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed to the Supreme Court despite accusations of sexual misconduct and sexual assault from several women.
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson (Sept. 17)
Red at the Bone begins at a coming-of-age party: Melody is turning 16 years old, and she's wearing the dress that her mother would've worn on the same birthday, had she not been pregnant. Through the story of Melody, her mother, and her grandparents, Red at the Bone explores race, class, motherhood, history, generational trauma, and family.
The Babysitters Coven by Kate M. Williams (Sept. 17)
Baby-Sitters Club meets The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina in this delightful new young adult novel about two teenagers who discover that they're more than just babysitters: They're part of a lineage of superpowered, magical women who save the world from evil.
She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey (Sept. 17)
In 2017, New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey launched an investigation that would change the world. On Oct. 5, 2017, they dropped the story about Harvey Weinstein's long record of alleged sexual misconduct, and the #MeToo movement took off. In this book, the two reporters take readers on a journey through that story as well as the stories they reported after, including the case of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
The Seven Necessary Sins For Women and Girls by Mona Eltahawy (Sept. 17)
Mona Eltahawy advocates for a new kind of feminist activism, one that channels what she calls the "seven deadly sins of women and girls": to be angry, ambitious, profane, violent, attention-seeking, lustful, and powerful. Basically, to be all the things women and girls are conditioned not to be.
Heaven, My Home (A Highway 59 Mystery Book #2) by Attica Locke (Sept. 17)
In the new mystery from Edgar Award winner Attica Locke, Ranger Darren Matthews, the protagonist of her last book Bluebird, Bluebird, finds himself embroiled in a case that involves the missing son of a prominent member of the Aryan Brotherhood in Texas. The stakes are high — because if they find the son, they might be able to get information for him that they can use against white supremacists before Trump takes office.
A Fist or a Heart by Kristín Eiríksdottir, translated by Larissa Kyzer (Sept. 23)
The winner of the Icelandic Literary Prize, A Fist of a Heart is a riveting thriller about the twisty relationship between two women: Elín, a 70-something who lives a lonesome existence and is absorbed by her work making props and prosthetics for adaptations of Nordic crime novels; and Ellen, a young playwright and illegitimate daughter of a famous writer.
Obviously: Stories from My Timeline by Akilah Hughes (Sept. 24)
In this essay collection, writer and comedian Akilah Hughes opens up to readers about all her joys and triumphs, her insecurities and failures, and everything in between as she tells the story about her journey from the small Kentucky town of her childhood to New York City.
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Sept. 24)
In the first work of fiction by Between the World and Me author Ta-Nehisi Coates, a young slave named Young Hiram Walker is imbued with a mysterious power that saves him from near-death by drowning and follows him on his journey away from the Virginia plantation of his birth and into an underground war between slaves and those who have enslaved them.
Wayward Son (Simon Snow #2) by Rainbow Rowell (Sept. 24)
All hail Rainbow Rowell, who wrote an entire novel based on the fanfiction of the fictional world that she created for her novel, Fangirl. Did that make sense? Let me explain: In the YA novel Fangirl, Rowell's protagonist, Cath, is obsessed with the Simon Snow books, which are loosely based on Harry Potter. She's so obsessed, in fact, that she writes fanfiction in which the two major enemies of the series, Simon and Baz, are in love. The fanfiction portions of Fangirl were so popular with readers that Rainbow Rowell wrote an entire book dedicated to Simon and Baz. Now, in book two, their story continues.
Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker (Sept. 24)
Say hello to one of the most anticipated young adult debuts of the year. Morgan Parker, the Pushcart Prize-winning poet behind There Are Things More Beautiful Than Beyoncé, writes about a black teenage girl who is stuck in suburbia, stuck between identities, and stuck in a pit of depression.
Make It Scream, Make It Burn by Leslie Jamison (Sept. 24)
You will likely recognize Leslie Jamison as the author of the New York Times bestselling essay collection, The Empathy Exams, and the nonfiction book The Recovering, about alcoholism and sobriety. In her new essay collection, Jamison allows herself to roam beyond the boundaries of one issue, and instead latches her powerful, precise observations to a number of unconventional topics, including the loneliest whale in the world, the landscape of Sri Lanka in the aftermath of civil war, Las Vegas elopements, step-motherhood, and more.
SLAY by Brittney Morris (Sept. 24)
Seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is the developer behind an underground online card game for Black gamers called SLAY. She keeps her identity a secret — from her family, friends, and classmates at the nearly all-white academy she attends. But when a teen is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, the mainstream media learns of the game and it becomes the target for right-wine trolls who claim its existence is "anti-white discrimination." Now, Kiera must fight to protect her safe space, her identity, and her game.
The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste (Sept. 24)
You hear about the "women forgotten by history," all the time, but that movement still hasn't spread to every place in the world where women have made a profound mark upon politics, society, culture. In The Shadow King, Maaza Mengiste puts the spotlight on the women soldiers who fought during Benito Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia.
Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith (Sept. 24)
Patti Smith, rockstar and National Book Award winner, is back with another memoir about her remarkable, one-of-a-kind life, Year of the Monkey. As the title suggests, this memoir follows Smith after the beginning of a new lunar year, as she grapples with age, grief, loss, and the ever-changing nature of America.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (Sept. 24)
The Dutch House is the center around which this tale spins. The novel begins when Brooklyn developer Cyril Conroy buys the magnificent, lavish house just outside of Philadelphia as a gift for his wife, who hates it and promptly leaves him and her two children behind. His next wife, however, loves the house — so much so that she evicts his children when he dies and strips them of their inheritance, except what is needed for their education. The story, narrated by the son, is one of family, love, and building a home.
For more fall reading suggestions, check out Bustle's recommendations for Labor Day weekend.