9 New Books To Read This September

Whether you’re still at home, or starting to commute again, you’ll want a good book to accompany you into autumn. Thankfully, September is serving up a huge selection of fiction and memoirs from a range of bestselling authors. Here are our picks of the month.

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

From the bestselling author of the Neapolitan quartet comes this powerful new novel set in a divided Naples. The mysterious Elena Ferrante is unsurpassed in her ability to draw readers into her books from the very first page and she proves this again with The Lying Life of Adults. Twelve-year-old Giovanna’s pretty face has changed: according to her father it’s turning into the face of an ugly, spiteful adolescent – and that of an aunt’s she’s never met. But is she seeing things as they really are? And which mirror should she look in to find her true self? Originally published in Italian last year, The Lying Life of Adults fast became another hit for Ferrante in her home country. Now published in a further 40 countries as of this month – and translated by Ann Goldstein for the UK version – we predict another bestseller – and perhaps another HBO adaptation.

"Modern, urgent, truthful." – Lucy Hughes-Hallett, The Telegraph

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The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

This classic murder mystery is the first book in The Thursday Murder Club series by TV presenter Richard Osman. In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders. But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing 80, but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Can this unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it's too late? A wonderfully modern and witty update on the classic whodunnit.

“So smart and funny. Deplorably good.” – Ian Rankin, author of the Inspector Rebus novels

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Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald

From the bestselling author of H is for Hawk comes Vesper Flights, a collection of essays about the human relationship to the natural world. Helen Macdonald brings together a collection of her best-loved writing along with new pieces covering a range of subjects. There are essays here on headaches, on catching swans, on hunting mushrooms, on 20th-century spies, on numinous experiences and high-rise buildings; on nests and wild pigs and the tribulations of farming ostriches. Vesper Flights is a book about observation, fascination, time, memory, love and loss and how we make the world around us. Moving and frank, personal and political, it confirms Macdonald as one of the UK’s greatest nature writers. 

“Macdonald is so joyously and excitedly in love with the natural world around her it is difficult not to share in this rapture, but so, too, in her sense of loss. Her writing is as compelling and urgent as these issues require.” – India Lewis, Arts Desk

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Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh

We loved Ottessa Moshfegh’s last novel – My Year of Rest and Relaxation – and have been looking forward to this one since we first heard it was being published. Her third book focuses on an elderly widow whose life is upturned when she finds an ominous note on a walk in the woods, handwritten and carefully pinned to the ground by stones. “Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn’t me. Here is her dead body.” But there is no dead body. Becoming obsessed with solving this mystery, the unnamed narrator imagines who Magda was and how she met her fate. With very little to go on, she invents a list of murder suspects and possible motives for the crime. And as her investigation widens, she must face the prospect that there is either an innocent explanation for all this or a much more sinister one. A blend of horror, suspense and pitch-black comedy, Death in Her Hands asks its readers to consider how the stories we tell ourselves both reflect the truth and keep us blind to it.

“Death in Her Hands is not a murder mystery, nor is it really a story about self-deception or the perils of escapism. Rather, it’s a haunting meditation on the nature and meaning of art.” – Kevin Power, The New Yorker

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Sisters by Daisy Johnson

Something unspeakable has happened to sisters July and September. Desperate for a fresh start, their mother Sheela moves them across the country to an old family house that has a troubled life of its own. Noises come from behind the walls, lights flicker of their own accord, sleep feels impossible and dreams are endless. In their new, unsettling surroundings, July finds that the fierce bond she's always had with September – forged with a blood promise when they were children – is beginning to change in ways she cannot understand. Taut and profoundly moving, Sisters explodes with the fury and joy of adolescence and the equal pull of sibling love and sibling envy. A must for anyone after a gripping read.

“A short sharp explosion of a gothic thriller.” – Observer

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More Than a Woman by Caitlin Moran

A decade ago, award-winning author Caitlin Moran thought she had it all figured out. Her instant bestseller How To Be A Woman was a game-changing take on feminism, the patriarchy, and the general 'hoo-ha' of becoming a woman. Back then, she firmly believed the difficult bit was over, and her 40s were going to be a breeze. Instead she found that when middle age arrives, a whole new set of tough questions need answering: why isn't there such a thing as a 'Mum Bod'? Can feminists have Botox? How can you tell the difference between a teenage micro-breakdown, and the real thing? Now with ageing parents, teenage daughters, a bigger bum and a to-do list without end, Moran is back with More Than A Woman: a guide to growing older, a manifesto for change and a celebration of all those middle-aged women who keep the world turning.

“She writes with such heartening vim and warmth about all the important stuff. More Than A Woman is my friend, untangling a lot of my confusion about doing feminism right.” – Marian Keyes, author of The Break

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Just Like You by Nick Hornby

Lucy married just the sort of man you might expect: a university graduate who runs his own business. Unfortunately, he turned out to have serious dependency issues. Joseph is shaking off the memory of his last date, a girl who ticked all the right boxes and also drove him up the wall. On an average Saturday morning in a butcher's shop in north London, Lucy and Joseph meet on opposite sides of the counter. She is a teacher and mother of two, with a past she is trying to forget; he is an aspiring DJ with a wide-open future that maybe needs to start becoming more focused. The pair are opposites in almost all ways – but can something life-changing grow from uncommon ground? Rom-com king Nick Hornby's tender and brutally funny new novel gets to the heart of what it means to fall headlong in love with the best possible person – and what happens when opposites attract.

“A writer who dares to be witty, intelligent and emotionally generous at once.” – New York Times

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The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn

After walking 630 miles homeless along The Salt Path – the premise for Raynor Winn’s critically acclaimed debut – the windswept and wild English coastline now feels like their home. And despite Raynor’s husband Moth's terminal diagnosis, against all odds, he seems revitalised in nature. As they return to four walls, the sense of home is illusive and returning to normality is proving difficult – until an incredible gesture by someone who reads their story changes everything: a chance to breathe life back into a beautiful but neglected farmhouse deep in the Cornish hills. Rewilding the land and returning nature to its hedgerows becomes their new path. Along the way, Raynor and Moth learn more about the land that envelopes them, find friends both new and old, and, of course, embark on another windswept adventure when the opportunity arises. Ultimately, The Wild Silence is a story of hope triumphing over despair, of lifelong love prevailing over everything. 

“Raynor Winn has written a brilliant, powerful and touching account of her life before and after The Salt Path, which, like her astonishing debut, will connect with anyone who has triumphed over adversity.”– Stephen Moss, author and naturalist

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Sad Janet by Lucie Britsch

Janet is sad. Not about her life, but about the world. But she’s not out to make anyone else sad – she just wants to wear her giant coat, get rid of her passive-aggressive boyfriend and avoid human interaction at the rundown dog shelter where she works. That is, until word spreads about a new pill that promises cynics like her one day off from being sad. When her family stages an intervention, and the prospect of making it through Christmas alone seems like too much, Janet finally decides to give them what they want. What follows is life-changing for all concerned – in ways no one quite expects. Hilarious, provocative and profound, Sad Janet is the antidote to our happiness-obsessed world – and has one of the best front cover images we’ve seen in a while.

“Surprising and irreverent… Be prepared for edginess, dark humour and profanity.” – New York Times

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