It’s Fall, Y’all: 30 New Reads for September

It’s September, all of the most anticipated books of the year are being released, and we couldn’t be happier. The books speak for themselves, readers. Dig in!

Recommended by Ann

If I Survive You By Jonathan Escoffery Cover ImageIf I Survive You

If I Survive You reads like real life and reads like fiction of the highest order. This is a compelling hurricane of a book that sweeps the past, present and future together into one inextricable knot. This is where Jonathan Escoffrey’s career begins. There are no limits to where he will go.

Also loved by Lindsay!

Recommended by Kathy

Fellowship Point: A Novel By Alice Elliott Dark Cover ImageFellowship Point: A Novel

I so enjoyed sinking my teeth into this story of two older women, lifelong friends who have supported each other all their lives. A major disagreement over the future of their beloved Fellowship Point signals a breaking point in their friendship. The character development and writing amazed me.

Also loved by Cheryl and Patsy!

Recommended by Rae Ann

Where the Wandering Ends: A Novel of Corfu By Yvette Manessis Corporon Cover ImageWhere the Wandering Ends: A Novel of Corfu

History and mythology combine in this captivating multi-generational story of the Greek Civil War.

Recommended by Ashby

Daisy Darker: A Novel By Alice Feeney Cover ImageDaisy Darker: A Novel

Remember Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None? Feel that level of suspense again. An island. An old house. A storm. Nana’s family comes to celebrate her 80th birthday. At midnight, Nana is found dead. An hour later, another death. Then another. Who is killing them off one at a time?

Also loved by Jake, Cheryl, & Sissy!

Recommended by Patsy

The Last White Man: A Novel By Mohsin Hamid Cover ImageThe Last White Man: A Novel

Anders awakes one day to find his skin tone changed from white to brown. As he grapples with this strangeness, the same metamorphosis occurs to others in the town. Unrest leading to anarchy erupts with the crumbling world order. This is a thought-provoking tale of other-ness, love and loss, and the new beginnings which arise with acceptance of change. Perfect for our times!

Recommended by Cheryl

All Good People Here: A Novel By Ashley Flowers Cover ImageAll Good People Here: A Novel

Debut novel about a journalist who returns to her hometown after decades to her take care of her uncle. A girl goes missing that reminds her of her childhood friend’s murder. Story accelerates and surprises at the end.

Also loved by Chelsea!

Recommended by Hannah

Carrie Soto Is Back: A Novel By Taylor Jenkins Reid Cover ImageCarrie Soto Is Back: A Novel

Game, set, match: Taylor Jenkins Reid serves an enthralling novel about ambition, family, and when (if ever) enough is enough. A master at crafting complexly flawed, unforgettable characters, Reid stuns with Carrie Soto.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Other Birds: A Novel By Sarah Addison Allen Cover ImageOther Birds: A Novel

A young woman arrives at an island, hoping to learn about her late mother, but she finds a new family of friends and a mystery to be solved in this magical story by one of my all-time favorite authors.

Recommended by Maddie

Stories from the Tenants Downstairs By Sidik Fofana Cover ImageStories from the Tenants Downstairs

This is a collection of eight poignant, interconnected slice-of-life stories focusing on residents of a fictional low-income high rise in Harlem. You will find yourself immediately rooting for this cast of characters as they all face the realities of gentrification and struggle to forge their own identities in the midst of their individual struggles.

Also loved by Patsy!

Recommended by Ashby

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy By Megan Bannen Cover ImageThe Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

Lonely zombie hunter + angry undertaker + fantasy western world setting = romcom like nothing you’ve read before. Throw in a subplot where lonely zombie hunter writes anonymous letters answered anonymously by – you guessed it – angry undertaker. Hart and Mercy have a lot to figure out before they get to happily ever after.

Recommended by Rae Ann

The Fortunes of Jaded Women: A Novel By Carolyn Huynh Cover ImageThe Fortunes of Jaded Women: A Novel

I loved this amazing novel about a family of estranged women and the psychic prediction that brings them together again.

Recommended by Hannah

The American Roommate Experiment: A Novel By Elena Armas Cover ImageThe American Roommate Experiment: A Novel

Armas knocks it out of the park with her second novel – it’s better than her debut in every way. Some of my favorite characters of the year, Lucas & Rosie’s chemistry is utterly delectable. Don’t miss this witty, swoony gem… I guarantee you’ll walk away from this book with a new fictional crush!

Also loved by Katie!

Recommended by Katie

Love on the Brain By Ali Hazelwood Cover ImageLove on the Brain

I adored The Love Hypothesis so much that when I finally got my hands on Ali Hazelwood’s newest book I greedily read it one sitting. I was almost worried that these enemies to lovers couldn’t turn it around, but boy did they! Such a worthy follow up! You’ve Got Mail but make it STEM.

Also loved by Cat!

Recommended by Chelsea

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches By Sangu Mandanna Cover ImageThe Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

I picked this up on a whim and devoured it in a weekend. A sweet story about found family and trust with just a dash of witchery thrown in. If you love TJ Klune and cozy fantasy, this is the perfect fall read for you.

Recommended by Theo

Acting Class By Nick Drnaso Cover ImageActing Class

Acting Class is an eerie and surreal tale about a group of adults taking a free introductory acting class under the tutelage of a charismatic and questionable instructor. If you haven’t read Drnaso’s other comics Sabrina and Beverly, think David Lynch’s Twin Peaks if it were inspired by middle class 1980s rec centers instead of 1950s domesticity.

Recommended by Katie

Lizzie Blake's Best Mistake: A Novel By Mazey Eddings Cover ImageLizzie Blake’s Best Mistake: A Novel

I have never rooted so hard for a pair as I did for Rake and Lizzie. In a two-night stand gone seriously sideways these two try and find a way to make the best of a complicated situation. You will laugh. You will cry. And you will fan your face from all the sexual tension.

Recommended by Ashby

DUNE: The Graphic Novel, Book 2: Muad’Dib By Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson, Raúl Allén (Illustrator), Patricia Martín (Illustrator), Bill Sienkiewicz (Contributions by) Cover ImageDUNE: The Graphic Novel, Book 2: Muad’Dib

Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert’s son, and Kevin J. Anderson continue the graphic adaptation of Dune in volume 2. Stranded in the desert, Paul and his mother must find the Fremen or die. This powerful graphic adaptation gave me the chance to experience the adventures, politics, and spirituality as Paul grows into a man. I cannot wait for the third volume.

Recommended by Lindsay

Wild Things Are Happening: The Art of Maurice Sendak By Maurice Sendak (Artist), Jonathan Weinberg (Editor), Lynn Caponera (Introduction by) Cover ImageWild Things Are Happening: The Art of Maurice Sendak

By Maurice Sendak (Artist), Jonathan Weinberg (Editor)

I mean, who doesn’t want to know the stories behind the wild rumpus? I love Maurice Sendak and this book is gorgeous.

Recommended by Cat

I Am From Here: Stories and Recipes from a Southern Chef By Vishwesh Bhatt, John Currence (Foreword by) Cover ImageI Am From Here: Stories and Recipes from a Southern Chef

By Vishwesh BhattJohn Currence (Foreword by)

This cookbook does an absolutely amazing job of blending traditional Indian recipes with those of the American South. I loved the challenge of cooking with ingredients that I didn’t have much prior experience with and seeing how certain foods I already love, like eggplant and okra, got a number of recipes dedicated to them in a way that feels new and fresh.

Also loved by Chelsea!

Recommended by Jenness

All the Living and the Dead: From Embalmers to Executioners, an Exploration of the People Who Have Made Death Their Life's Work By Hayley Campbell Cover ImageAll the Living and the Dead: From Embalmers to Executioners, an Exploration of the People Who Have Made Death Their Life’s Work

A revealing and respectful study of those who have chosen death as a way of life. Hayley Campbell provides an enlightening look into the overlooked or unknown professions involved with the care for our physical selves after death and the individuals who embody these roles. Heartfelt and informative, this is a powerful book which explores “the exact intersection of wonder and fear.”

Recommended by Sydney

All the Women in My Brain: And Other Concerns By Betty Gilpin Cover ImageAll the Women in My Brain: And Other Concerns

Actress turned writer, Betty Gilpin, has a knack for depicting the unique expectations surrounding what it means to be a woman (particularly in Hollywood). An intrusively relatable essay collection for women of all backgrounds, this debut is perfect for anyone else who read and adored Jenny Slate’s Little Weirds.

Recommended by Chelsea

Sinkable: Obsession, the Deep Sea, and the Shipwreck of the Titanic By Daniel Stone Cover ImageSinkable: Obsession, the Deep Sea, and the Shipwreck of the Titanic

Not your typical Titanic shipwreck book, this picks up where A Night to Remember ends. Stone uses the history of the search for the Titanic wreckage as a means to explore our society’s fascinations with shipwrecks and the deep sea. The reader also gets introduced to some larger-than-life personalities whose obsession with the ship only started after she sank. A great read for non-fiction experts and amateurs alike.

Recommended by Katie

Unmask Alice: LSD, Satanic Panic, and the Imposter Behind the World's Most Notorious Diaries By Rick Emerson Cover ImageUnmask Alice: LSD, Satanic Panic, and the Imposter Behind the World’s Most Notorious Diaries

“Two Teens. Two Diaries. Two social panics. One Incredible Fraud” Wow! As someone who read Go Ask Alice as a young person I was totally riveted by this book unpacking the colossal lie that it all was. While I had not heard of the other memoir, Emerson did a great job connecting them and situating them so well in the cultural moment . I read non-fiction sparingly but I really dug this book.

Recommended by Cat

Solito: A Memoir By Javier Zamora Cover ImageSolito: A Memoir

This is one of the most riveting memoirs I have ever read- Zamora captures his experience as a child migrant with extraordinary detail and emotion. It feels special to read a memoir that manages to stay true to the confusion of childhood in a very adult scenario and the uncertainty of migration while also not shying away from the kindness he was shown and the gratitude he so clearly feels towards those that helped him.

Recommended by Jenness

Good Grief: On Loving Pets, Here and Hereafter By E.B. Bartels Cover ImageGood Grief: On Loving Pets, Here and Hereafter

In parts memoir, self-help, science, and cultural study, Good Grief reaffirms that the love we have for our pets is universal, as is the grief we experience upon loss. An interesting and compassionate book for pet lovers, and a reminder that mourning is normal and acceptable, but love is eternal.

Recommended by Marcia

Radical Love: Learning to Accept Yourself and Others By Zachary Levi Cover ImageRadical Love: Learning to Accept Yourself and Others

Levi looks at his relationship with his mother and his struggles with depression in this inspiring book about his journey to healing. The audiobook is read by the author himself, so if you’d like to hear the book in his own voice, purchase through It’s fantastic!

Recommended by Patsy

A Place in the World: Finding the Meaning of Home By Frances Mayes Cover ImageA Place in the World: Finding the Meaning of Home

Frances Mayes, beloved chronicler of the restoration of an old house in Tuscany (Under the Tuscan Sun), reflects on places she has called home since her upbringing in Georgia. Elaborating on favorite flowers in her gardens and the memories they evoke, she contemplates what makes a house a home, studding these recollections with a few favorite recipes from these cherished places and with tales of friends and neighbors.

Recommended by Rachel

Delphi: A Novel By Clare Pollard Cover ImageDelphi: A Novel

I genuinely did not expect to enjoy a book about the pandemic so soon after its occurrence. Delphi captures small snapshots of lockdown by categorizing the present in terms of the past. The methods of fortune telling Pollard explores grabbed my attention, but what held me until the end was how she made me rethink the entire pandemic.

Recommended by Lindsay

Artful By Ali Smith Cover ImageArtful

By Ali Smith

I’ll read anything Ali Smith writes–whether that’s experimental contemporary fiction, essays, or historical fiction–Artful is somehow all of those things and more. This genre-bending book is a gorgeous meditation on loss, love, and art.

Recommended by Sarah

The Secrets We Kept: A novel By Lara Prescott Cover ImageThe Secrets We Kept: A novel

With Banned Books Week coming up, I’ve been thinking about banned books from around the world, past and present. The Secrets We Kept tells the story of Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago, the women who inspired it, and the women who helped distribute it in the Soviet Union after it was banned as a CIA Cold War strategy.

First Editions Club: September Selection

If I Survive You If I Survive You By Jonathan Escoffery Cover Image

By Jonathan Escoffery

Dear Friends,

Here at the Parnassus First Editions Club, some months are easy and some months are hard, by which I mean some months contain an abundance of literary gems to choose from, while other months, not so much. September is when publishers like to bring out the marquee names, big books by beloved authors. It’s not the month to publish first books, especially if that book is a collection of short stories, because surely a first-time author’s collection of stories would vanish without a trace in September. Or at least that’s what I thought when I picked up a copy of Jonathan Escoffery’s debut story collection, If I Survive You.

The second thing I thought was, wow, this is really, really good.

The third thing I thought was, maybe this isn’t a collection of stories. Maybe it’s more like chapters weaving a web around a Jamaican family of four living in Miami over decades. Maybe the book, which isn’t like anything else, is in fact doing something entirely new. It’s funny and raw and as bent on destruction as the hurricane that rips everything apart. As good as all those big-name September books were, this is the one I kept coming back to, because this book was better. This is the one I wanted everyone to read.

I hope you love it as much as I do.

Ann Patchett

More about our First Editions Club: Every member receives a first edition of the selected book of the month, signed by the author. Books are carefully chosen by our staff of readers, and our picks have gone on to earn major recognition including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Plus, there’s no membership fee or premium charge for these books. Build a treasured library of signed first editions and always have something great to read! Makes a FABULOUS gift, too.