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    24 books finally out in paperback this September.

    Gabrielle Bellot

    August 31, 2023, 6:00am

    September is officially here, and that means—aside from the (hopeful) promise of cooler weather after a sweltering summer—a new month of paperbacks to look forward to. Below, you’ll find a wide-ranging selection of novels, stories, memoirs, and nonfiction studies being released in paperback this month, from authors new and famed alike. There’s a lot to look forward to, and I hope you’ll add some of these intriguing releases to your to-be-read list!


    Learning to Talk: Stories - Mantel, Hilary

    Hilary Mantel, Learning to Talk: Stories
    (Holt McDougal)

    “Those who’ve delighted for decades in Mantel’s fiction revel in her chameleonlike facility with language, her ability effortlessly to evoke wildly diverse characters, settings, and atmospheres….The stories here enable us the more fully to appreciate Mantel’s wide-ranging gifts….The overall effect of the collection is of a palimpsest, the powerfully atmospheric evocation of an unhappy mid-twentieth-century childhood in northern England.”

    Burning Questions: Essays and Occasional Pieces, 2004 to 2022 - Atwood, Margaret

    Margaret Atwood, Burning Questions: Essays and Occasional Pieces

    “[Burning Questions] reflects both the urgency of the issues dear to her—literature, feminism, the environment, human rights—and their combustibility….The book’s scope and the perspicacity of her writing evince the reading and thinking of a long life well lived.”
    Washington Post

    I Am the Light of This World - Parker, Michael

    Michael Parker, I Am the Light of This World

    “I continue to be haunted by this tragic novel—its note-perfect depiction of clueless youth, its bad breaks, bad choices, bewilderments and quirks, and, above all, the small moments of mercy that give hope in the midst of a hopeless situation….With a career’s worth of powerhouse fiction already in the books, Michael Parker has delivered his strongest work yet.”
    –Ben Fountain

    Stay True: A Memoir - Hsu, Hua

    Hua Hsu, Stay True: A Memoir
    (Anchor Books)

    “[Stay True] is funny and wise, an elegiac work of self-forgiveness. What a gift it is, Hsu concludes, to remember the people you loved, and who loved you, while you were busy becoming yourself.”
    The Atlantic

    Great Short Books: A Year of Reading--Briefly - Davis, Kenneth C.

    Kenneth C. Davis, Great Short Books: A Year of Reading—Briefly

    “Anyone who’s eternally time-strapped will treasure Kenneth C. Davis’ Great Short Books. This nifty volume highlights fifty-eight works of fiction chosen by Davis for their size (small) and impact (enormous). Davis delivers readerly insights and plenty of literary trivia in this handy guide. Outside of extra time, it’s the perfect gift for busy bibliophiles.”

    If I Survive You - Escoffery, Jonathan

    Jonathan Escoffery, If I Survive You

    “Not since Moby Dick has the all-American ethos of ‘sink or swim’ on your own been dramatized to such devastating effect. If I Survive You is an extraordinary debut collection, an intensively granular, yet panoramic depiction of what it’s like to try to make it—or not—in this kaleidoscopic madhouse of a country.”
    –Maureen Corrigan

    They're Going to Love You - Howrey, Meg

    Meg Howrey, They’re Going to Love You
    (Anchor Books)

    “A beautiful and relatable portrait of a woman, her regrets, and her successes. As Howrey unflinchingly and honestly dives into the intricacies of relationships and the inevitable growing pains that come with life, she also mines her history as a ballet dancer to deliver an honest portrayal of the dance world, the realities of working artists, and the obstacles facing female choreographers, revealing real-world truths through a fictional setting.”

    Profiles in Ignorance: How America's Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber - Borowitz, Andy

    Andy Borowitz, Profiles in Ignorance: How America’s Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber
    (Avid Reader’s Press / Simon & Schuster)

    “This is one of these brilliant books that makes you laugh until you cry. Borowitz masterfully throws light (and shade) on the confederacy of dunces who have fumbled their way into power. His writing has never been smarter, sharper, or more necessary.”
    –Susan Orlean

    Anna: The Biography - Odell, Amy

    Amy Odell, Anna: The Biography
    (Gallery Books)

    “Having interviewed over 250 sources (many of whom are unforgettable and quotable characters themselves)….Odell takes readers through Wintour’s lifelong love of fashion, her personal life and romantic relationships, and, primarily, her decades-long career….While Odell’s nimble writing moves at a clip, the extent and detail here make this perfect for fashion devotees and fans of publishing industry tales as Anna’s career coincides with sea changes in magazine journalism.”

    Lady Justice: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America - Lithwick, Dahlia

    Dahlia Lithwick, Lady Justice: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America

    “Whipsmart and wickedly acerbic, Lithwick shines a reassuring light on the essential interconnectivity between women and the law and champions the vital role women lawyers must continue to play if American democracy is to persevere.”

    The Singularities - Banville, John

    John Banville, The Singularities

    “Reading John Banville is like being in the presence of a fathomlessly talented, witty, and intelligent magician—someone so captivatingly masterful at their craft, you suspect that they could make you disappear. The Singularities proves that [Banville] deserves a summons from Stockholm….Time and again Banville stuns with sentences so dazzling they’re like a lightning-quick boxer’s jab.”
    Boston Globe

    The Passenger - McCarthy, Cormac

    Cormac McCarthy, The Passenger

    “[The Passenger] blends the rowdy humor of some of McCarthy’s early novels with the parched tone of his more apocalyptic later work….It’s so packed with funny, strange, haunted sentences that other writers will be stealing lines from it for epigraphs, as if it were Ecclesiastes, for the next 150 years….The Passenger is a great New Orleans novel. It’s a great food novel…For anyone who cares, it’s also a great Knoxville novel—Knoxville being where McCarthy spent most of his childhood….A sprawling book of ideas.”
    The New York Times

    Stella Maris - McCarthy, Cormac

    Cormac McCarthy, Stella Maris

    “If [Stella Maris and The Passenger] end up being McCarthy’s epitaph, we can say he went out with a majestic shudder in keeping with his best work. They echo not just his own greatest hits but a pantheon of American literature: the baroque language and sentence structure of Faulkner; the terse, laconic dialogue of Hemingway; even the paranoid poetry of DeLillo.”
    The Boston Globe

    Sacred Nature: Restoring Our Ancient Bond with the Natural World - Armstrong, Karen

    Karen Armstrong, Sacred Nature: Restoring Our Ancient Bond with the Natural World
    (Anchor Books)

    “Armstrong…delivers a searching, spiritual take on climate change….The illuminating examinations of a broad array of religious traditions are thought-provoking and have the power to change the way readers see the world and humanity’s place within it. Eye-opening and wide-ranging, this original take on climate change edifies.”
    Publishers Weekly

    The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human - Mukherjee, Siddhartha

    Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human

    “In an account that’s both lyrical and capacious, Mukherjee takes us through an evolution of human understanding: from the seventeenth-century discovery that humans are made up of cells to our cutting-edge technologies for manipulating and deploying cells for therapeutic purposes.”
    The New Yorker

    Wolf Hustle: A Black Woman on Wall Street - Fabré, Cin

    Cin Fabré, Wolf Hustle: A Black Woman on Wall Street
    (Holt McDougal)

    “What an amazing voice! What a clear-eyed and powerful story! Wow! She takes us back into her Haitian roots, through her life as a young person, and into the bowels of Wall Street to shine a deep and thoughtful light on everything from the Black immigrant experience in America to capitalism. Everyone needs to read this.”
    –Jacqueline Woodson

    Bliss Montage: Stories - Ma, Ling

    Ling Ma, Bliss Montage

    “Each story unspools like a dream sequence privately remembered….What’s so satisfying about Ma’s second act [is] how Bliss Montage picks up the thread left by Severance‘s coming-of-age arc into these stories of older, hardened women, who’ve already confronted their pasts over and over, who now find relief—and rebellion—via dissociation.”
    Vanity Fair

    Two Nurses, Smoking: Stories - Means, David


    David Means, Two Nurses, Smoking: Stories

    “There’s nothing quite like a David Means story….Means is a genius of the fragment….[Two Nurses, Smoking is a] remarkable set of stories, which seek to destabilize the illusions of fiction even as they embrace and heighten them.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    Diary of a Misfit: A Memoir and a Mystery - Parks, Casey

    Casey Parks, Diary of a Misfit: A Memoir and a Mystery

    “[S]ubtitled A Memoir and a Mystery, it certainly is both of those things, but it’s also an assiduous family history, a decades-spanning community chronicle à la Sarah Broom’s The Yellow House, a coming-out narrative, a dive into Christian denominations, a wrestling with Southern heritage….Most moving is Parks’s depiction of a queer lineage, her assertion of an ancestry of outcasts, a tapestry of fellow misfits into which the marginalized will always, for better or worse, fit.”
    The New York Times Book Review

    Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne - Rundell, Katherine

    Katherine Rundell, Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne

    “Katherine Rundell titles her new biography of Donne Super-Infinite. It’s an ingenious way of making his difficulty sound exciting as well as formidable….[Rundell] writes with both the knowledge of an expert and the friendly passion of a proselytizer.”
    The New Yorker

    Witches - Lozano, Brenda

    Brenda Lozano, Witches (trans. Heather Cleary)

    “Readers of Fernanda Melchor’s form-busting, psychedelic takes on recent South American history won’t want to miss Brenda Lozano’s Witches….Heather Cleary fluidly translates Lozano’s spiky narrative, immersing readers in its horrors without obscuring its beauties.”
    Chicago Review of Books

    The Story of Russia - Figes, Orlando

    Orlando Higes, The Story of Russia
    (Metropolitan Books)

    “This is the essential backstory, the history book that you need if you want to understand modern Russia and its wars with Ukraine, with its neighbors, with America, and with the West.”
    –Anne Applebaum

    Mother Brain: How Neuroscience Is Rewriting the Story of Parenthood - Conaboy, Chelsea

    Chelsea Conaboy, Mother Brain: How Neuroscience Is Rewriting the Story of Parenthood
    (Holt McDougal)

    “[A]n engaging book debut….The author deftly translates scientific studies—by neurobiologists, anthropologists, primatologists, psychologists, and endocrinologists, among others—into accessible prose that speaks to needs and anxieties that many parents share.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us - Aviv, Rachel

    Rachel Aviv, Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories that Make Us

    “Every attempt at resolution comes with its own pitfalls, which Aviv considers with empathy and analytic perspicacity….She is especially sharp in the granular—by focusing on the unique composition of each of these individuals’ perceptions, she can show how they change shape as soon as they come into contact with perceptions crafted in the forge of social history.”
    Los Angeles Review of Books

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