So Much September: Your Guide to the Best New Titles
September might be the biggest publishing month in British history… Follow our thread through the labyrinth for our top 30(ish) veritable titans, stunning debuts & scintillating miscellany. Plus: get 10% off on all *80* of our preorder titles here.
Don't forget, there's still 10% off if you pick up the whole Booker longlist from us – the most exciting list for years! (our fiendish multiple-choice quiz on the books is extra) <<buy it here>>
Jack, Marilynne Robinson <<pre-order it here>>
Start reading for next year's prize lists with Jack by Marilynne Robinson, a return to the world of Gilead. Meet John and Della, falling in love across the colour line and testing their faith in segregated St. Louis. Sure to be a religious experience.
Piranesi, Susannah Clarke <<pre-order it here>>
Can 2020 get any weirder? Yep, Susannah Clarke IS BACK with the magic. It's been 16 years & we need her intricate puzzle-box fiction more than ever. "Piranesi lives in the House. Perhaps he always has?" is the ultimate lockdown-era tagline.
The Lying Life of Adults, Elena Ferrante, trans. Ann Goldberg <<pre-order it here>>
A simultaneous global release because really, we all need this. As ever in Ferrante's novels, class and gender, refracted through the incendiary emotions of adolescence and the complex geography of Naples, cut deep and catch hard. No lies.
The Road to the City, Natalia Ginzburg, trans. Frances Frenaye <<pre-order it here>>
Leaving the village for the city is one of the great themes of C19th and C20th literature & Ginzburg's bittersweet lyrical account of Delia's journey in and out of love and work is up there with greats like the Scots Quair trilogy.
Exit Management, Naomi Booth <<pre-order it here>>
A pitch-black follow up to Sealed from rising talent Naomi Booth. Bureaucracy and sociopathy meet in a house in London full of priceless artworks and haunted by past losses. You'll never hear the words Human Resources the same way again.
Red Pill, Hari Kunzru <<pre-order it here>>
State of the world, down the rabbit hole compulsive reading from Kunzru, as he takes on the alt-right mancult, where television fandom meets online obsession, copaganda, violence addiction, and the weirdness of writers' retreats.
D (A Tale of Two Worlds), Michel Faber <<pre-order it here>>
It's nearly Christmas (right? even in this year of 4000 months?) so the perfect time for a Dickensian fable of friendship and freethinking from master of the Victorian form Michel Faber. Expect gorgeousness.
Unquiet, Linn Ullmann <<pre-order it here>
A remote island in the Baltic. A renowned filmmaker and his daughter, by one of the great actresses he worked with and loved. They plan to write a book together about ageing and memory… out of his thoughts, she will write her own story.
Daddy, Emma Cline <<pre-order it here>>
You loved The Girls but you want it darker? Emma Cline is here to haunt, with these scintillating glimpses into the faultlines of family and relationships, shattered by male fragility and its violence. What the short story form is for.
Afterland, Lauren Beukes <<pre-order it here>>
At the meeting point of Children of Men and Y: The Last Man, mixed with the question "What would a feminist version of The Road be like?" comes Beukes' brutal, heart-stopping new novel of mother-son bonding during (yep) a pandemic.
Just Us, Claudia Rankine <<pre-order it here>>
How do we talk to each other – how can we talk to each other – in white supremacy? Rankine's astounding follow-up to Citizen pushes her all-encompassing form further, with interwoven essays, poems, images & commentary.
Another Now: Dispatches from an Alternative Present, Yanis Varoufakis <<pre-order it here>>
HELP US, YANIS! Blending Platonic dialogue and speculative fiction, Varoufakis presents his post-capitalist Utopia (and its shadows): collective ownership, guaranteed income & a radical uprising. Who doesn't want an alternative present?
Azadi: Freedom. Fascism. Fiction, Arundhati Roy <<pre-order it here>>
More help available here, from one of the wisest voices in literature: Arundhati Roy offers a primer on authoritarianism by looking at its use of language, and how the crises of the moment might get us telling stories of another way of life.
In the Shadow of No Towers, Art Spiegelman <<pre-order it here>>
In one of the biggest projects of recent years – in multiple senses – Spiegelman uses the oversized two-page spread of early newspaper comics to capture the events of & after 9/11 in his home city. Harrowing and enraging 19 years on.
Solutions and Other Problems, Allie Brosh <<pre-order it here>>
And sometimes you need something more relaxing… like Allie Brosh's merciless autobiographical self-explorations and commentary on the absurdity of modern life. But with such gorgeous pictures. And pets. Very naughty pets.
Honey For You, Honey For Me, Michael Rosen & Chris Riddell <<pre-order it here>>
Gift this brilliant collection of classic nursery rhymes edited and illustrated by two Children's Laureates (& also National Treasures) to every child you know – and keep one for yourself. What could be more comforting & inspiring than Jelly on a Plate?
Nadiya Bakes, Nadiya Hussain <<pre-order it here>>
… especially if it's a Nadiya jelly! Or pastel de nata. Or strawberry shortcake. Or amaretto biscuit. Or strudel. Or buttermilk chicken. Or even a no-bake bake for hot days. Expect another run on flour when this is published & get ahead of the pack!
Ottolenghi Flavour, Yotam Ottolenghi <<pre-order it here>>
No, you spent all of lockdown either eating, cooking or fantasising about food. If you've been making toast every day, then there's no-one better than Ottolenghi to introduce some new, veggie flavour inspirations. Aubergine dumplings, waaaah!
Your House Will Pay, Steph Cha <<pre-order it here>>
There should have been way more noise for this brilliant novel when it was published in the UK in late Jan but something or other intervened. Don't sleep on it now: this is an L.A. Riots Romeo & Juliet thriller for the Black Lives Matter era.
Pizza Girl, Jean Kyoung Frazier <<pre-order it here>>
This wise-cracking tale of a pregnant teen delivering pickle-covered pizzas to a stressed-out middle-aged mom will scratch that Such a Fun Age itch. If you've ever avoided the big stuff in your life by focusing on the weird everyday, this is for you.
Mix Tape, Jane Sanderson <<pre-order it here>>
One Day with an extra-yearning soundtrack reaching across oceans? OK! Mix Tape is about reconnecting through music, not only to an old flame, but to who you were in a time & place you thought you'd left behind. The past is another radio station…
Punching the Air, Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam <<pre-order it here>>
A visceral YA novel in verse about finding freedom. Yusuf Salaam's experience as one of the Exonerated Five deeply informs this brilliant take on the racist criminal justice system, the harsh realities of prison & the possibilities of art.
Ramble Book: Musings on Childhood, Friendship, Family and 80s Pop Culture, Adam Buxton <<pre-order it here>>
In which Adam Buxton does what he does best: takes a thought for a loopy, pop-culture infused meander – this time, in service of telling his own story. It's like… a great podcast that someone wrote down and wrapped in a really bright pink cover.
Forward Book of Poetry 2021 <<pre-order it here>>
2020 shortlists inc. BF faves Caroline Bird, Malika Booker, Natalie Diaz, Ella Frears, Will Harris, Rachel Long, Valzhyna Mort, Pascale Petit, Nina Mingya Powles, Martha Sprackland & Sarah Tsiang, so this is will be incredible. They're ALL winners!
SLAM! You're Gonna Wanna Hear This, edited by Nikita Gill <<pre-order it here>>
Big names like Raymond Antrobus, Sophia Thakur and Dean Atta are here alongside up-and-comers, all sharing their poetry writing and performance secrets, as well as their brilliant poems. One to inspire all young poets (& older ones, too).
The Art of Drag, Jake Hall <<pre-order it here>>
Whether you're a Wotever veteran, a Drag Race stan, or applying your first eyeliner 'tache, there's something in Jake Hall's book for you. From Japanese theatre to Alternative Miss World, know your history through great writing & fabulosa art.
Wild Cities, Ben Lerwill & Harriet Hobday <<pre-order it here>>
Pigeons, foxes… and leopards? Learn about the crafty ways animals have come to live in the spaces humans have created, and see what you can spot when you're out and about. What about a hawk in Trafalgar Square?
The Art of Disruption, Magid Magid <<pre-order it here>>
It started as a poster for a local music festival in Sheffield… and became frankly the best political manifesto we have. Magid Magid, still committed to doing epic sh*t, brings his change-making vision to all of us. If you get this book, you've got this!
The Gifts of Reading, edited by Robert Macfarlane <<pre-order it here>>
The response to Robert Macfarlane's Penguin mini of the same title was so overwhelming that he reached out to a whole world of writers to share their own stories of how reading shaped them, which will shape you in turn. Just…book bliss.
Hey Hi Hello: Five Decades of Pop Culture from Britain's First Female DJ, Annie Nightingale <<pre-order it here>>
The first record Annie Nightingale bought was Elvis's Hound Dog – & she's been bang on-trend ever since, from bringing punk to R1 to interviews with Little Simz and Billie Eilish, as well as never-seen treats like her encounter with Bob Marley.
This Golden Fleece: A Journey Through Britain's Knitted History, Esther Rutter <<pre-order it here>>
From Highland farmers to the garments we make & wear, wool is inextricably knitted into Britain's history, both its glories and its shames, like the clearances. From a sheep farming family, Esther Rutter sets out to tell the whole knotty story.
Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our World, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures, Merlin Sheldrake <<pre-order it here>>
We are #TeamMycelium, and will add this to a (cool, dark) shelf with A Mushroom at the End of the Universe & Fungarium. Models of collaborative communication, fungi have tons a lot to teach us & Sheldrake is a great guide on the trip.