Note: This post contains affiliate links. Complimentary copies of all five of the books I talk about in this post were provided to me by Book of the Month. The book synopses below are from the book jackets, but I have paraphrased and reworded them as I see fit.
Fall is officially here (well, okay, not officially officially, but it’s September and all the kiddies in the neighborhood are going back to school, so it definitely feels like fall is here, you know?). Anyway, fall is almost officially here and that means publishers are gearing up to release books by some of the most prestigious authors in the literary world.
A couple weeks ago I published my fall book preview, which outlines only the most exciting upcoming releases from only the greatest authors. There are forty-six books on that list–twenty-three coming out in September alone. Yikes.
Obviously, you cannot read all those books, unless of course, you are one of those insane people speed-reading cyborgs on Goodreads who plows through two hundred books a year while holding down a full-time job, in which case I have nothing to say to you.
Assuming you cannot read two dozen books in one month, you might be wondering, “How can I possibly choose from such a marvelous array of literature?”
This is where Book of the Month comes in.
Book of the Month basically a book club in a box. Here’s how it works:
- Sign up for a Book of the Month subscription. This isn’t a big commitment. You can sign up for as little as one month or as long as six months. Depending on the subscription you choose, you can get one, two, or three months for just $9.99 each. (A subscription normally costs $14.99 a month.)
- Five amazing judges choose five hot new books they absolutely love. This gives you options without being overwhelming. You choose which book you want to read and it will be shipped to you in a jiffy. If none of the selections look interesting, you can just skip a month and resume your membership next month. It’s a no-lose situation!
- You can also add additional selections to your box for just $9.99 each. These are gorgeous special Book of the Month edition hardcovers, so this is a real steal. Even Amazon can’t beat that price!
- Enjoy your book(s)!
- Login to the Book of the Month Club forums and chat with other members who are reading your selection(s). Book of the Month has a passionate community of readers, so it’s just like being part of a real book club–only without people coming over to your house and dropping Planters peanuts between your couch cushions. (It really is the perfect book club for introverts.)
Now is the perfect time to treat yourself to a Book of the Month subscription because the September selections are seriously amazing.
Let’s take a look at the options.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
The Investment: 352 Pages
The Reviews: 4.39 Goodreads Average
The Judge: Kim Hubbard, Books Editor at People Magazine
Shaker Heights is a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland and the perfect example of the tyranny of homeowners associations (just my opinion). Everything about the community is planned–from the layout of its winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. Elena Richardson, a mother of four, is the perfect embodiment of the community’s homogeneous spirit.
Enter Mia Warren, an enigmatic artist and single mother, who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter, Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants, but Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend the carefully ordered community.
When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets of Mia’s past, but her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.
Pick if you like: domestic dramas, suburban angst, stories about motherhood
Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker
The Investment: 320 Pages
The Reviews: 3.89 Goodreads Average
The Judge: Krysten Ritter, aka Jessica Jones
One night, fifteen-year-old Cass and her seventeen-year-old sister, Emma, disappear. The family car is found deserted on a nearby beach, but the authorities are baffled by what could have become of them.
Three years later, with just the clothes on her back and no evidence to back up her claims of what happened, Cass returns home…without her sister. Her tale is one of kidnapping and isolation on a mysterious island.
Cass’s story has holes, and to forensic psychologist Dr. Abby Winter, something just doesn’t add up. As an expert in narcissistic personality disorder, Dr. Winter looks deeply into Cass’s family to uncover the truth. She looks at the mother, a woman so beautiful on the surface and so damaged–and damaging–beneath. She looks at the stepfather and stepbrother, each so uniquely troubled and dangerous. And she looks at Cass herself. What she finds will shock those searching for Emma and reveal a twisted story of a deeply dysfunctional family and the lengths to which Cass has gone to bring about redemption.
Pick if you like: page-turning thrillers, dysfunctional families, unreliable narrators
Lies She Told by Cate Holahan
The Investment: 288 Pages
The Reviews: 3.96 Goodreads Average
The Judge: Stacey Armand, Winner of #YouBetheJudge Contest
Liza Cole, a once-successful novelist whose career has seen better days, has one month to write the thriller that could land her back on the bestseller list. Meanwhile, she’s struggling to start a family, but her husband is distracted by the disappearance of his best friend, Nick. As stresses weigh her down in her professional and personal lives, Liza escapes into writing the chilling exploits of her latest heroine, Beth.
Beth, a new mother, suspects her husband is cheating on her while she’s home caring for their newborn. Angry and betrayed, she aims to catch him in the act and make him pay for shattering the illusion of their perfect life. But before she realizes what she’s doing, she’s tossing the body of her husband’s mistress into the East River.
Then, the lines between Liza’s fiction and her reality eerily blur. Nick’s body is dragged from the East River, and Liza’s husband is arrested for his murder. Before her deadline is up, Liza will have to face up to the truths about the people around her, including her own. If she doesn’t, the end of her heroine’s story could be the end of her own.
Pick if you like: heart-pounding suspense, “book within a book” stories, crazy plot twists
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
The Investment: 304 Pages
The Reviews: 4.31 Goodreads Average
The Judge: Elizabeth Kiefer, Refinery 29 Staff Writer
Jojo is thirteen-years-old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent white father, Michael; his grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his uncle, Given, who died as a teenager.
His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister’s lives. She is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She wants to be a better mother but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. Simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which can only come to her when she’s high, Leonie is embattled in ways that reflect the brutality of her circumstances.
When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the state penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He, too, has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, and about love.
Pick if you like: non-spooky ghost stories, stories that grapple with race and identity, stories about fathers and sons
Sourdough by Robin Sloan
The Investment: 272 Pages
The Reviews: 4.08 Goodreads Average
The Judge: Dana Schwartz, Author & Writer
Lois Clary is a software programmer at General Dexterity, a robotics company with typical San Franciscan world-changing ambitions. She codes all day and collapses at night, her human contact limited to the two brothers who run the neighborhood hole-in-the-wall from which she orders, and savors, dinner every evening. Then, disaster! The brothers run into visa issues. They quickly close up shop, but not before making one last delivery to Lois: their culture, the sourdough starter brought from afar, used to bake their bread. She must keep it alive, they tell her–feed it daily, play it music, and please, please: learn to bake with it.
Lois is no baker, but she could use a roommate, even if it is a needy colony of microorganisms. Soon, not only is she eating her own homemade bread, she’s providing loaves daily to the General Dexterity cafeteria. The company chef urges her to take her product to the farmers market and a whole new world opens up.
When Lois comes before a jury that decides who sells what at Bay Area markets, she encounters a close-knit club with little appetite for new members. Then, an alternative emerges: a secret market, literally underground, that aims to fuse food and technology. It might be perfect for the programmer-turned-baker, but who are these people exactly? And who is the mysterious Mr. Marrow presiding over it all?
Pick if you like: food novels, quirkily unique stories, stories involving technology
Book of the Month also offers three backlist selections that you can add to your box for $9.99 each. Here are this month’s choices:
Sign up now and make your selections before September 6th! And let me know which book(s) you chose in the comments below!