9 new books to read in September

Including a new novel from the lauded Italian author Elena Ferrante, a memoir from celebrity chef David Chang, and analysis from BuzzFeed’s Anne Helen Petersen about how millennials became the burnout generation at work, here are nine new books being published in September.

Courtesy of Europa

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

Available September 1

Elena Ferrante fans, rejoice. The anonymous and lauded Italian author of My Brilliant Friend has a new novel coming out this fall, once again set in her beloved Naples. In The Lying Life of Adults (Europa), our new protagonist Giovanna is searching for her identity in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: the Naples for the rich and the Naples for the poor. She moves between these two cities, disoriented by the fact that, whether high or low, the city seems to offer no answer and no escape.

Courtesy of Park Row

The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim

Available September 1

Told through the intimate lens of a Los Angeles–based Korean mother and daughter who have struggled all their lives to understand each other, The Last Story of Mina Lee (Park Row) is Jooyoun Kim’s powerful debut novel illustrating the devastating realities of being a working-class immigrant in the United States while exploring issues of identity, family, secrets, and what it truly means to belong. Interwoven with Margot’s present-day search for her mother, Mina, is the titular character’s first year in Los Angeles as she navigates the promises and perils of the American myth of reinvention.

Courtesy of Penguin

Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher

Available September 1

Paola Mendoza, who served as creative director for the Women’s March, makes her young adult (YA) fiction debut with writer and performer Abby Sher on a dystopian novel that isn’t actually that far off from present day. In Sanctuary (Penguin), the year is 2032, all citizens are chipped and everyone is tracked—from buses to grocery stores. And in this America, it’s almost impossible to survive as an undocumented immigrant, but that’s exactly what 16-year-old Vali is doing. She and her family have carved out a stable, happy life in small-town Vermont, but when Vali’s mother’s counterfeit chip starts malfunctioning and the Deportation Forces raid their town, they are forced to flee—to California, a sanctuary state being walled off from the rest of the country.

Courtesy of Clarkson Potter

Eat a Peach: A Memoir by David Chang and Gabe Ulla

Available September 8

In 2004, Momofuku Noodle Bar opened in a tiny, stark space in Manhattan’s East Village. But lo and behold, the eatery would become one of the restaurants that changed dining in New York City as we know it—and would make David Chang one of the most influential (and famous) chefs of his generation. Eat a Peach (Clarkson Potter) is an intimate account of the making of a chef, the story of the modern restaurant world that he helped shape, and how he discovered that success can be much harder to understand than failure.

Courtesy of Gallery/Scout Press

One by One by Ruth Ware

Available September 8

If you’re looking for a literary escape, Ruth Ware’s novels will do the trick. Her latest psychological thriller, One by One (Gallery/Scout Press), takes off from an ill-fated corporate ski retreat in the French Alps—where survival soon trumps synergy. When the cofounder of trendy social music app upends the agenda of a weeklong getaway by pushing a lucrative but contentious buyout offer, tensions simmer and loyalties are tested. After staff and guests are cut off from all access to the outside world by a devastating avalanche, resentments are laid bare as the corporate food chain unravels and office politics take a deadly turn. If, for some reason, you’ve been missing corporate retreats, you won’t after this.

Courtesy of Grand Central Publishing

The Little Book of Life Skills by Erin Zammett Ruddy

Available September 15

We all have areas in our lives that make us feel disorganized, unprepared, or stressed out. The Little Book of Life Skills (Grand Central Publishing) strives to solve all those problems in one book. It’s an ambitious task, but it covers the basics, from getting you on track with a morning routine and managing household chores with your work calendar (a must if you’re working from home) to keeping a houseplant alive and advice on how to end an argument. An easy subtitle for this could have been “How to Do Adulting Better.”

Courtesy of Clarkson Potter

The Home Edit Life by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin

Available September 15

After months of being cooped up at home, you might find yourself looking for tips, tricks, or any little bit of help in sprucing up a space and making it more livable. Or maybe you need some kind of change to stay sane right now, however small that change might be. In very colorful The Home Edit Life (Clarkson Potter), Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin—New York Times bestselling authors of The Home Edit and stars of an upcoming companion Netflix series—teach you how to apply their holistic approach to your work life, on-the-go necessities, and technology. In the next phase of the home organizing craze, they go beyond the pantry and bookshelf to show you how to contain the chaos in all aspects of your life, from office space and holiday storage to luggage and pet supplies.

Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin

Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation by Anne Helen Petersen

Available September 22

Anne Helen Petersen’s long-read on millennial burnout was Buzzfeed News’ most-read article in 2019—and for good reason. Whether it’s the gig economy or the experience of layoffs during the Great Recession and again during the COVID-19 pandemic, millennials have been taught that work is precarious and that their jobs will not provide them with the benefits needed for a decent standard of living. As they’ve become parents, millennials—especially millennials of color—have faced impossible standards as they’ve often been required to work full-time, and women are still expected to do most of the housework. And in the face of apps monetizing our attention, as well as social media that pressures us to “perform” our beautiful vacations and well-behaved families, true leisure has become a distant fantasy.

And the devastating effects of the coronavirus have drawn Petersen’s findings into hyper-focus. In the course of reporting Can’t Even (Houghton Mifflin), Petersen conducted thousands of interviews with millennials across the race, gender, socioeconomic, and ability spectrums. Reading this book is to be reassured that our struggles are connected and systemic—not a result of our individual efforts.

Courtesy of Viking

Big Dirty Money: The Hidden Cost of White Collar Crime by Jennifer Taub

Available September 29

Big Dirty Money (Viking) details the scandalously common and concrete ways that ordinary Americans suffer when the rich and powerful use white-collar crime to gain and sustain wealth, social status, and political influence. Profiteers caused the mortgage meltdown and the prescription opioid crisis, and they’ve evaded taxes and deprived communities of public funds for education, public health, and infrastructure. Legal scholar Jennifer Taub tracks how we got here—from post-Enron failure of prosecutorial muscle to the growth of “too big to jail” syndrome—and pose solutions that can help catch and convict offenders.

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