Our Most Anticipated New Book Releases of September 2021

Crisp air, new pencils and notebooks, (the shimmery excitement of Pumpkin Spice): Fall is always a major moment for authors and readers, packed with big must-reads from authors we love, but this fall is one of THE BEST we’ve seen since we don’t know when. Three Pulitzer-Prize winners return: Colson Whitehead, with a caper flick, Anthony Doerr with an indelible epic, and Richard Powers with a tender story of fathers and sons. Sally Rooney follows up her hit Normal People with Beautiful World, Where Are You and Phoebe Robinson returns with a screamingly funny new essay collection (and a new book imprint.) And that’s just the start…

 

Fault Lines
Emily Itami

How do you choose between the life you have (complete with charming husband and very cute children) and the life you think you want with someone else entirely? OK, maybe your husband could work less and help more at home, but do you really want to pull the rug out from everything you’ve made in the last ten years? This bright, thoughtful novel set in Tokyo asks plenty of universal questions about what we need and what we want in ways that fans of Sally Rooney’s novels, Emma Straub’s All Adults Here or Miranda Cowley Heller’s The Paper Palace won’t want to miss.

 

Matrix
Lauren Groff

We’ve thought the world of Lauren Groff’s work, ever since her hauntingly original debut novel The Monsters of Templeton, the best combination of family saga + ghost story + historical mystery, and she gets better with every book, asking big questions about life and why we do what we do. Fates and Furies was the bestseller that put her in front of a whole new set of readers who were dazzled by her indelible characters and prose and insights into marriage and power. Just wait until you pick up her deceptively slim new novel of passion and faith, creativity and power, set in 12th-century France.

 

The Man Who Died Twice 
Richard Osman

There is so much joy when an author’s debut novel takes you by surprise. Luckily for all of us, Richard Osman follows up last year’s Thursday Murder Club very quickly! We guarantee that you will read this just as fast as last year’s book. Yes! It’s as cheeky and full of surprises as Thursday Murder Club. We said it before, we’ll say it again — Osman portrays growing older not as mystery but instead as an adventure that ALLOWS us to solve mysteries. Seriously, the “detectives” in Osman’s novels will charm their way into your life.

 

Beautiful Country: A Memoir
Qian Julie Wang

Evocative, ironic, aspirational and crushing, Qian Julie Wang has written an unforgettable memoir of the soul shaking experience of being undocumented. Not theory, not analysis, but life as lived in a maelstrom of conflicting opposites, balancing memory against present, known and unknown, despair and perseverance, love and hunger, always hunger. Fervent and cinematic, Beautiful Country is an extraordinary debut.

 

Harlem Shuffle
Colson Whitehead

Following up his back-to-back Pulitzer Prize winning novels, Colson Whitehead returns with a vivid, wildly entertaining heist novel that makes you feel as if you’re walking down a bustling 125th Street in 1960s Harlem. A veritable page-turner from start to finish.

 

Palmares
Gayl Jones

It was Kiese Laymon, acclaimed author of Heavy and Long Division, who introduced us to Gayl Jones’ indelible debut, Corregidora. Like her editor Toni Morrison and contemporary Toni Cade Bambara, Jones tells a powerful story of emancipation through gorgeous prose, leaving a permanent mark on the reader. Palmares is her first novel in more than two decades and, in it, she returns with an incredible story of slavery and freedom cut through with magical realism and a universal mythology. Not to be missed by fans of The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates or The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave.

 

The Last Graduate
Naomi Novik

Fans of Dark Academia! Our favorite supremely sarcastic sorceress and supposed harbinger of death, returns in the second installment of the bestselling Scholomance series. Novik ups the stakes as she adds to her stunning world-building, intriguing characters and will-they-or-won’t-they relationship with this first-in-class novel. You’ll want to follow Galadriel straight through this insane school and right into the third volume. Catch Naomi Novik on Poured Over: The B&N Podcast this fall.

 

Cloud Cuckoo Land
Anthony Doerr

From beloved, prize-winning author Anthony Doerr comes his first new novel in over six years: Cloud Cuckoo Land. A welcome read that is a celebration of both resilience and hope told from the perspective of children set worlds (and times) apart. An unforgettable epic from a master storyteller at the top of his craft.

 

This Bright Future: A Memoir
Bobby Hall

Bobby Hall, or Logic as he’s known in the music world, had a very sad start to his life and things got worse when his dad left, leaving this young man to help care for his schizophrenic mom. Eventually, Logic left home to start his own life while dropping out of high school. He always found music as a balm to his soul and quickly became a rapper of note. Through all of this, Logic faced psychological and emotional struggles, which he has spoken openly about as a way to help others. It’s his heart and soul that attracted so many fans to his first book, Supermarket.

 

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina
Zoraida Córdova

Imagine a mash-up (in the best way) of Mexican Gothic and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue with a touch of The Immoralists by Chloe Benjamin. Now pick up Zoraida Cordova’s very cool story of magic and family secrets. (Or pick this up if you know Zoraida’s fabulous YA work.) Cutting between past and present, from the tiny town of Four Corners to New York City and across continents, this stunning page turner will have you reading deep into the night. P.S., if you or a friend love novels by Alice Hoffman or Isabel Allende, you should give the one a try.

 

Beautiful World, Where Are You
Sally Rooney

It’s time to meet Alice, Felix, Eileen and Simon: Four young Irish millennials navigating life and love in this beautiful world. Beautiful World, Where Are You is the latest from Sally Rooney, author of Conversations with Friends and Normal People ― our first Monthly Pick for Fiction. “Sally Rooney’s writing is cool, wry, and smooth, and gives the reader a sense of being in the lucky position of overhearing not only what fascinating strangers are talking about, but also what they’re thinking.” ―Emily Gould, author of Friendship

 

L.A. Weather
María Amparo Escandón

You’ll never forget the Alvarado family: Dad wants nothing more than rain (and for his secrets to stay hidden); Mom feels pushed to divorce by Dad’s obsession with the weather; and each of their three daughters ― TV chef, architect and social media whiz ― isn’t quite sure what they want, but they’re pretty sure none of what they have now is it. This gimlet-eyed, laugh-out-loud page-turner has a bit of The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney and Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid to it, along with echoes of one of the great L.A. novels, The Barbarian Nurseries by Héctor Tobar.

 

Empire of the Vampire
Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff totally delivers an epic new world, one where humans, who haven’t seen sunlight in nearly three decades, are besieged by vampires. This series starter will have you on the edge of your seat following the one man who just might be able to save the world. Our beautiful B&N Exclusive Edition includes an alternate cover and 4-color endpapers featuring monolime art of four scenes from the book. Plus, all First Edition copies of Empire of the Vampire will be signed by Jay Kristoff.

 

Under the Whispering Door
TJ Klune

We adore TJ Klune and his charming, big-hearted books like The House in the Cerulean Sea. We’ve been waiting (a little impatiently, what can we say) for TJ’s latest, another kind, compassionate and fun story ― because really only TJ could write a delightful book about life with Death as a character and a ghost who doesn’t want to cross over to whatever’s next. A little comfort and a lot of hope goes a long way in a novel by TJ Klune. (Our Exclusive Edition includes the bonus feature, “A Reaper’s Guide.”)

 

Poet Warrior: A Memoir
Joy Harjo

Poet Warrior, an exuberant, thoughtful memoir, a bookend companion to her magnificent Crazy Brave, sings of a life moving toward wisdom. In a powerful mix of poetry and prose, infused with a grace of memory, a gift of dream and vision, Joy Harjo walks us through a landscape of individual and collective suffering, the ways of justice and injustice, and the legacies of power and conflict, while at once listening carefully to what can be learned through empathy, connection, belonging, gratefulness, and humor.

 

Bewilderment
Richard Powers

Richard Powers follows his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Overstory with an incredible, unforgettable story of childhood, the natural world, and an unbreakable bond between parent and child that’s perfect for right now. Powers’ prose is extraordinary, but part of his brilliance is due to the sheer humanity of his characters ― and the never-ending empathy he has for them. You’ll want to linger over the pages in this luminous story of grief and love and hope. Richard Powers joins us on Poured Over: The B&N Podcast this fall.

 

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law
Mary Roach

Oh, the places we’ve explored with Mary Roach as the guide! The morgue, the afterlife, the bedroom, the battlefield, our own alimentary canals, and space. In Fuzz, we follow her gladly down the fraught path of human-wildlife conflicts. What to do when animals break laws meant for humans? Thorny matters indeed. Mary Roach, the science teacher we all wish we’d had in school, is never afraid to ask any question. “I’m here. I might as well ask,” she states. That she unabashedly does so means we readers are by far richer for the delicious wildness and range of her curiosity. Mary Roach joins us on Poured Over: The B&N Podcast this fall.

 

A Calling for Charlie Burns
Joshua Ferris

It’s obvious that Ferris had a ball while he was writing his wildly funny story of an all-around American guy, a divorced dad with more than a couple of secrets. And when Charlie’s handed a second chance, he takes it with the help of his son, a writer. Like Ayad Akhtar’s Homeland Elegies or Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, this novel is driven by a big question: Who owns a story? If you’ve read Then We Came to the End you know just how funny Joshua Ferris is. (And if you’re a fan of The Office and haven’t read Then We Came to the End, what are you waiting for?)

 

The Mad Women’s Ball
Victoria Mas

In this slim gothic set in 1885 Paris, “troublesome” women and girls are declared to be hysterics by their fathers, husbands and brothers and locked away in the Salpetriere asylum. But “troublesome” is a subjective label, and this seductive smart novel follows a patient and a nurse as their paths collide. This hypnotic novel has already been optioned for film, and it’s a terrific recommendation for fans of The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue, The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton, and The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry.

 

Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes
Phoebe Robinson

If you’re familiar with Phoebe Robinson’s books You Can’t Touch My Hair and Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay, or her podcasts Two Dope Queens and Sooo Many White Guys, then you already know how hilarious she is, and her third book Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes delivers nothing short of what we would expect. (Honestly, we were hooked from the title alone ― and laughed our way through every page.) Known for delivering relatable, real content through pop culture references and comedic wit, Robinson delivers yet another collection of unforgettable stories. Phoebe Robinson joins us on Poured Over: The B&N Podcast this fall.

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