10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in September

Need a great book? Look no further. Here are ten great novels coming out this month, plus a bunch of short story collections. Place your holds now!


The Bone Clocks
by David Mitchell
Mitchell’s latest novel, already nominated for Britain’s Booker Prize, revolves around the life of Holly Sykes, from her teenage years as a runaway to six decades later, when Holly is struggling to survive on an island in a post-apocalyptic world.  In between, the story jumps through time, recounted by various narrators who all connect back to Holly. Characters from Mitchell’s other novels such as Cloud Atlas and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet make appearances, as do recurring themes such as reincarnation and the supernatural. “Rich in detail and incident, funny, rueful and terrifying by turns, ‘The Bone Clocks’ is a tour de force, deeply enjoyable as both a literary puzzle and the story of one remarkable woman across nearly six tempestuous decades. It’s an easy book to get lost in, the plot dense but not difficult to track” (The San Francisco Chronicle). You can read a preview here.

Island of a Thousand Mirrors
by Nayomi Munaweera
Island of a Thousand Mirrors tells the story of people who find themselves on opposite sides of Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war while their lives unexpectedly intertwine amidst the chaos. This debut won the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize for the Asian Region and was longlisted for the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize and the Dublin IMPAC Prize. It arrives in the U.S. this month to great fanfare, including recognition as a Good Housekeeping pick and as an Indie Next List pick for September. “Munaweera's first novel is a breathtaking work of lyrical prose and vivid, transporting imagery” (Booklist). You can meet the author at OPL’s Main Library on October 11! 

The Paying Guests
by Sarah Waters
Struggling with their bills in post-World War I England, Frances Wray and her widowed mother have made the less-than-ideal decision to rent half of their house to lower-class Leonard and Lilian Barber. In spite of the awkwardness of the arrangement, Frances and Lilian fall for each other and begin a passionate affair that has fatal consequences. “Tension is high from the first paragraph,” says Kirkus; Library Journal recommends it “for fans of complex historical crime fiction with a strong sense of dread.” Waters is best known for her novel Tipping the Velvet and is a three-time Booker Prize finalist, two-time Orange Prize finalist, and one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists.

The Moor's Account
by Laila Lalami
Lalami imagines the tale of the forgotten first Black explorer of the West, a Moroccan slave who was one of only four survivors of a doomed expedition from Spain to Florida in 1527. Mustafa al-Zamori, called Estebanico, is on a journey of survival with the three others in “a totally engrossing and captivating novel that reconsiders the overlooked roles of Africans in New World exploration” (Booklist) that is “meticulously researched yet extraordinarily readable” (Library Journal). The Moroccan-born author is also the author of the novel Secret Son.

Rose Gold: An Easy Rawlins Mystery
by Walter Mosley
In 1960s Los Angeles, Private Investigator Easy Rawlins has no trust for the LAPD, but takes an offer he can’t refuse—good pay for finding the missing daughter of a weapons dealer who may have been kidnapped by Uhuru Nolica, a political revolutionary and former boxer.  “Mosley has few peers when it comes to crafting sentences, and he's woven some beauties into this swift-moving yet philosophical story” (Booklist). If you’ve never read this beloved and iconic series, start with Devil in a Blue Dress (1990).

The Children Act
by Ian McEwan
As Family Court Judge Fiona Maye approaches 60, she must grapple with her crumbling marriage while faced with a complicated legal case, in which a hospital wants her to compel a young boy to receive medical treatment that he and his family are refusing on religious grounds. Her decisions result in surprising consequences. “In spare prose, he examines cases, people, and situations, to reveal anger, sorrow, shame, impulse, and yearning… few will deny McEwan his place among the best of Britain's living novelists” (Publishers Weekly). McEwan is perhaps best known for his novels Atonement and Amsterdam, and has won multiple awards including the Booker Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

The Wonder of All Things
by Jason Mott
Mott’s 2013 novel The Returned received numerous rave reviews and inspired the TV Show Resurrection starring Omar Epps. His new novel, arriving at the end of the month, tells the story of 13-year-old Ava. Ava has the power to heal others’ physical wounds and illnesses, but at her own physical expense. When her secret power is exposed and her fame as a “miracle child” spreads, people begin seeking her out from all over the globe. The book has already been optioned for film adaptation by a major studio; no wonder Mott was named by Entertainment Weekly as one of their 10 “New Hollywood: Next Wave” people to watch—besides being nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2009. “Lyrically written, thought-provoking and emotionally searing, the book asks some unsettling questions about love, death, responsibility and sacrifice” (Kirkus Reviews).

Into the Go-Slow
by Bridgett Davis
In the mid-1980s, Angie has just graduated from Wayne State University with no clear plans. When she crosses paths with a Nigerian man who knew her late sister Ella, an activist and journalist who died an untimely death in her adopted home of Nigeria, Angie is inspired to make her own voyage to the African country. “The difficult intellectual questions Davis raises about personal identity and an African-American's relation to contemporary Africa are particularly resonant” (Kirkus Reviews). Davis’s debut novel, Shifting through Neutral, was a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finalist.

How to Build a Girl
by Caitlin Moran
British humorist and critic Moran had a breakout hit with her bestselling memoir/feminist manifesto How to Be a Woman. She’s back with a semi-autobiographical novel that tells the story of 14-year-old Johanna Morrigan, who is reeling from a mortifying appearance on a local TV show. She decides to cope by drastically reinventing herself with an edgy new persona, complete with a new name, new appearance, a new job writing scathing reviews for a rock magazine, and a fast new lifestyle. Kirkus calls it “hilarious” and Booklist says the “characters are huggable and aggressively real” and the “depiction of growing up well worth reading”.

Five Days Left
by Julie Lawson Timmer
Mara Nichols is planning her suicide as an alternative to a slow demise from Huntington’s disease. Scott Coffman is dreading the loss of his eight-year-old foster child Curtis, who will return to his mother when she is released from jail. Get your tissues ready for this heart-wrenching debut novel which binds the grief of two people who have met through an online support group. Kirkus Reviews gushes: “The characters are so affecting it's tough to make it to Day 5. An authentic and powerful story.”

If that’s not enough, how about a few short stories?
New collections out this month from back-to-back Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel, Margaret Atwood, who also counts a Booker among her prizes, the insanely prolific Joyce Carol Oates, celebrated novelist and travel writer Paul Theroux, New Yorker contributor and MacArthur Award winner Donald Antrim and notable Oakland author Kim Addonizio.

Are you looking forward to an upcoming new release? Tell us about it!


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