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September Book-Ahead: What We're Excited To Read This Month

NPR Books looks ahead to September releases.

September tends to be a busy month in the publishing world — and this one will be no exception. Here are eight of the many books we're excited about this month.

Harlem Shuffle

"I have a passion for heist novels, and complex, charismatic characters dancing on the fringes of crime," says reviewer Denny S. Bryce, "Colson Whitehead's Harlem Shuffle promises to deliver on all fronts. Also, it's set in the 1960s, and features the Hotel Theresa — a historical landmark, back in the day known as 'The Waldorf of Harlem.' I can't wait to dive in."

Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Reviewer Heller McAlpin says of author Sally Rooney: "Her unembellished prose is rich in conversations that are at once plaintive and wry, soul-baring and deflective. In addition, there are Rooney's now-famous sex scenes, among the most lushly moving you'll find in contemporary literary fiction.

Cloud Cuckoo Land

Reviewer Jason Sheehan says: "I don't have much in the way of life advice to offer anyone, but I'd say that when you have a chance to read a book that's supposed to weave together stories from the 1453 siege of Constantinople, an elementary school play targeted by teenage ecoterrorists, and a 14-year-old girl aboard a generation ship headed for a new Earth, all revolving around a long-lost book from ancient Greece and the stories it contains, you put that right on top of your 'To Be Read' pile immediately. The fact that it's coming from Anthony Doerr, who won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction? That's just gravy."

Matrix

"Setting a feminist story in the 12th century is no easy feat," says reviewer Keishel Williams. There's always the possibility of coming on too strong and imposing modern ideologies on a period where they may not be as believable as the author hopes. But Lauren Groff's Matrix is an inspiring novel that truly demonstrates the power women wield, regardless of the era."

On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint

Our reviewer Annalisa Quinn says: "Two of Maggie Nelson's books, The Argonauts and The Red Parts, are favorites of mine, for the sharp and unexpected ways they interrogate the author's own beliefs as well as larger cultural attitudes about violence, love, sex, and gender. So I'll be very interested to read Nelson's new book On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint, which looks at the idea of freedom in art, drugs, and elsewhere."

Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence

Thirty years after her testimony in Clarence Thomas' hearing for a spot on the Supreme Court, Anita Hill reflects on her life since that moment, the state of progress in movements to stop gender violence and harassment, and accountability now — and in the future.

Poet Warrior: A Memoir

Reviewer Gabino Iglesias says "Joy Harjo's Poet Warrior is a lyrical, heartfelt celebration of life, music, poetry, and personal history. At once a memoir and an exploration of the literature, events, and music that shaped Harjo's work, this is a perfect book for those craving beauty and hope."

Peril

The last in Bob Woodward's trilogy focused on the Trump presidency, Peril, written with Washington Post reporter Robert Costa, will aim to provide a detailed view of the transition between the Trump and Biden White Houses. It joins Woodward's other books on Trump, Fear and Rage.

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