Authors Posts by Liberty Hardy

Liberty Hardy


Now Read This April

Some of the new titles coming out in April seem particularly timely in light of the current national discourse. Here’s our guide to the top 10 most anticipated books scheduled for publication this month.

American War
by Omar El Akkad

American Wary by Omar El Akkad

A tense, smart dystopian thriller about a second American Civil War. When the North and the South are divided yet again in 2074, Sarat is 6 and living in Louisiana with her family. But when her father is killed, her family is forced into a camp. As the years go by with no resolution, she is influenced by her surroundings and turned into a weapon of war. This is a chilling debut.

by Julie Buntin

Marlena by Julie Buntin

A gorgeous, devastating debut about teen friendship, tragedy, and making peace with the past. Cat was 15 when she moved to Michigan and became close friends with her wild neighbor, Marlena. A year later, Marlena dies. Decades later, Cat must confront the ghost of her past and seek forgiveness in order to find peace in her life.

The Redemption of Galen Pike
by Carys Davies

The Redemption of Galen Pike by Carys Davies

An alderman shares a secret with Queen Victoria. A kindly Quaker spinster’s visits to a condemned prisoner have an unexpected effect on her life. A famous writer makes a new purchase. These stories and more comprise this wildly fantastic collection, a book full of striking prose and imagination.

Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America
by James Forman Jr.

Locking Up Our Own by James Forman Jr.

A hard-hitting, important examination of America’s criminal justice system, focusing on the rise of mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on people of color. A former D.C. public defender, Forman makes his case by telling the stories from all sides, including police officers, politicians, victims and defendants.

Sunshine State: Essays
by Sarah Gerard

Sunshine State by Sarah Gerard

The author of the wonderful novel “Binary Star” turns her attentions to the truth with this fabulous collection of essays, which use Florida as the backdrop for her explorations of the economic and environmental issues threatening the country. Building from her own personal experiences, such as her job at a bird sanctuary and a friendship turned sour, this is collection of beautiful, keenly observed stories with a lot of heart.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
by David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

A new David Grann book is cause for celebration! This is one of those banana-pants “truth is stranger than fiction” tales: In the 1920s, members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma were the richest people in the world per capita — until someone started murdering them. Not only were the crimes baffling, but several people who dared to investigate the killings were also murdered. So a young J. Edgar Hoover formed a task force specifically to solve the case. Using painstaking research and shocking new evidence, Grann has compiled a page-turning, true-crime masterpiece.

What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories
by Lesley Nneka Arimah

What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

An excellent new collection of stories revolving around the ties that bind us to each other and to the places we call home. There’s a woman desperate for a baby who weaves a child out of hair, three women who are visited by specters of war, a father struggling to protect his daughter, cousins discovering the common ground in their lives, and more. Arimah is an author to watch.

Imagine Wanting Only This
by Kristen Radtke

Imagine Wanting Only This by Kristen Radtke

Radtke showcases her considerable artistic talent with this graphic memoir, an examination of the ruins of both body and land. “Imagine Wanting Only This” addresses her life after the death of a beloved uncle, an unusual discovery in an abandoned building, and the reality of living with a rare, inherited heart disease. It is a moving book about loss, hope, and the struggle to rise from what came before us and decide what to leave for the world that will come after us.

Double Bind: Women on Ambition
edited by Robin Romm

Double Bind Women on Ambition edited by Robin Romm

A necessary collection that explores society’s tendency to label women with ambition as “aggressive” and “unlikable,” with a far-ranging group of essays discussing what is needed to shatter the glass ceiling. Contributors include Roxane Gay, Francine Prose, and Nadia Manzoor.

by Jesse Ruddock

Shot-Blue by Jesse Ruddock

A remarkable, beautiful, and sad novel about a young mother and her fierce love for her son, and the cold, unfriendly town where they reside. Rachel and Tristan live in the sparsest conditions, but she will not accept any help, choosing to keep her son safe from the harsh reality of the world. But, when Tristan is forced to be on his own, he learns just how lonesome and painful life can be. The writing in this book is gorgeous, and the story is gut-wrenching. Perfect for people who like to be destroyed by what they read.

Now Read This March

Among the most highly anticipated books slated for publication in March is the true story of a Maine-based hermit, authored by Michael Finkel, who will appear at The Music Hall in Portsmouth on March 14. Learn more about that and other top titles below.

All Grown Up
by Jami Attenberg

All Grown Up Jami Attenberg

A wonderful look at the life of Andrea, single and child-free, as she pushes back against the antiquated expectations placed on women. It’s Attenberg’s funniest and fiercest novel yet. (Have tissues ready for a good cry, too.)

The Idiot
by Elif Batuman

Idiot Elif Batuman

A witty, poignant debut novel about an earnest young Turkish immigrant and her first year at Harvard, which brings new experiences, interesting new friends, and opportunities to travel abroad. Hopefully this book will launch Batuman into the fame stratosphere where she belongs.

Ill Will
by Dan Chaon

Ill Will Dan Chaon

A new Chaon book is always cause for celebration! This is a great big novel about unsolved murders: the murder of the narrator’s parents when he was a teen, and the mysterious deaths in a town where he has a psychiatric practice. It’s a chilling story of faulty memory and the haunting of the past.

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit
by Michael Finkel

Stranger Woods Michael Finkel

The search for seclusion is at the heart of this fascinating true story about a Maine hermit who lived alone in the woods for 27 years, as well as the journalist who sought to understand him. This is definitely a “truth is stranger than fiction” tale.

Exit West
by Mohsin Hamid

Exit West Mohsin Hamid

It’s only March, but the best book of 2017 may already be here. This is a powerful story of love and war, about two young people whose escape from the violence of the civil war in their homeland leads them to a foreign land and an uncertain future. Definitely the right book for right now.

Rabbit Cake
by Annie Hartnett

Rabbit Cake Annie Hartnett

Twelve-year-old Elvis Babbitt is one of fiction’s most wonderful new characters. She’s got a head for trivia facts — think Jonathan Lipnicki in Jerry Maguire — but the accidental death of her mother and the unknowable future has her stumped for answers. As charming as it is heartbreaking.

White Tears
by Hari Kunzru

White Tears Hari Kunzru

A fabulous story of two young men who share a recording on the Internet, claiming it’s a song by a long-lost blues singer. When the truth of the recording is revealed, the men wind up at the heart of a tale about greed, racism, murder, and more.

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
by Hannah Tinti

Twelve Lives Samuel Hawley Hannah Tinti

Each chapter in this marvelous book is centered around the story behind a bullet Samuel Hawley encounters in his life as a career criminal. Hawley wants to give his daughter Loo a normal life, but he can’t seem to outrun his past. Tinti is a remarkable storyteller and this gorgeous novel is sure to leave a mark.

Temporary People
by Deepak Unnikrishnan

Temporary People Deepak Unnikrishnan

A delightfully weird and clever collection of 28 linked stories set in the United Arab Emirates, including the tale of construction workers who turn themselves into luggage to escape a labor camp, a woman who repairs the bodies of workers who have been injured on the job, and a man who invents disposable workers. Winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing.

The Impossible Fairy Tale
by Han Yujoo

Impossible Fairy Tale Han Yujoo

Mia is a spoiled child with everything; Child has nothing and is barely noticed in the classroom. All that changes when Child seeks revenge on her cruel classmates by ruining their work. But her actions will have serious, unpredictable results. This is a wildly imaginative novel about art, neglect, and the casual cruelty of children.

Now Read This February

The shortest month of the year brings no shortage of compelling, engrossing, and often mystifying new books. Here are 10 of the most anticipated highlights slated for publication in February. 

by Lara Elena Donnelly

Amberlough by Lara Elana Donnelly

A covert agent, his smuggler lover, and a cabaret dancer must take a risk trusting one another as they fight a fascist regime in a vintage cabaret setting. It’s a fun debut novel full of espionage and adventure, with double dealings and daring missions.

Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories
by Mariana Enríquez

Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez

Magnificently weird and slightly disturbing, Enríquez’s stories bring a bit of the unusual and surreal to normal life. Fans of Kelly Link and Shirley Jackson are sure to love this collection of stories about everyday terrors that lie in wait.

by Steve Erickson

Shadowbahn by Steve Erickson

One of the most provocative writers working today, Erickson’s new novel imagines a world in which the Twin Towers suddenly reappear in South Dakota 20 years after their destruction. And even weirder, they appear to be singing. And even weirder, Elvis Presley’s stillborn twin brother is alive and well on the 93rd floor. Abandon all reality, ye who enter here.

Swimming Lessons
by Claire Fuller

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

Fuller adds another wonderful novel under her belt, this time about a woman who writes letters to her husband and hides them in books, until the day she writes her last letter and disappears. Twelve years later, their daughter seeks answers, not knowing the answers have been in the house the whole time.

A Separation
by Katie Kitamura

A Separation by Katie Kitamura

When Christopher goes missing in Greece, his estranged wife flies to the country to look for him. But she knows something no one else does: Christopher was unfaithful, and they had recently split, a decision they were keeping a secret. This book is fantastically dark and suspenseful, and you should read it before the movie comes out.

by Min Jin Lee

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Beginning in Korea in the early 1900s, Lee details the story of one family’s move to Japan and highlights the discrimination Korean immigrants faced in Japan throughout the 20th century. It’s a powerful meditation on what it means to try and find your place in the world. Lee is a marvelous storyteller.

The Refugees
by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Written over a two-decade period, Pulitzer winner Nguyen’s thoughtful, precise stories wonderfully explore the longing, excitement, and fears of being away from your home and surrounded by the unfamiliar while making a new home for yourself.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel
by Heather O’Neill

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O'Neill

Two talented orphans — one a piano prodigy, the other a dancer — are abandoned at a Montreal orphanage and separated as teens. When they are reunited after the Great Depression, they seek to fulfill their dreams of stardom. “The Lonely Hearts Hotel” is a magical tale of hopes and dreams set in dark cities and bright theaters.

Lincoln in the Bardo
by George Saunders

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

This is a mesmerizing, heartbreaking story about the death of Willie Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln, and the ghosts in the cemetery where Willie’s body is temporarily held. No one expected anything less than an absolute work of genius from Saunders, and he delivered. It’s simply one of the year’s best novels.

The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Starr Carter is the only witness to the police shooting of her unarmed best friend. But will people believe what she has to say? And can it make a difference? This is a sensitive, smart look at violence and racism in America, and is recommended reading for teens and adults alike.

Now Read This January 2017

The New Year begins with a new batch of books, including novels, short stories, memoirs, and a couple of stunning debuts. Here are 10 highlights slated for publication in the month of January.

The Bear and the Nightingale
by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Fans of “Uprooted” and “The Night Circus” will want to pick up this magical debut about a young woman who must defy her evil stepmother and call on her hidden powers to save their Russian village from the nefarious forces she learned about in fairy tales.

The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead: Stories
by Chanelle Benz

The Man Who Shot My Eye Out Is Dead by Chanelle Benz

A monk in 16th-century England loses his faith. A young man is embarrassed by his incarcerated father. A brother and sister become outlaws. These are a few of the tales in this wildly original debut collection about people whose longing for escape and adventure lead them rushing toward difficult choices.

Little Deaths
by Emma Flint

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

Inspired by a true event, “Little Deaths” is compelling literary crime fiction about a mother who is accused of murdering her two children in New York City in 1965. When a journalist begins digging into the story of the supposedly murderous mother, he discovers there is more to the murders than meets the eye.

History of Wolves
by Emily Fridlund

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

Linda is a lonely teen girl in northern Minnesota who desperately wants to fit in with her peers, who call her “freak” and “commie.” When the chance to be accepted arrives in the form of a young mother and her son who move across the lake from Linda, she is drawn into their lives and secrets that will ultimately have devastating consequences. This is one of 2017’s best debut novels.

Always Happy Hour: Stories
by Mary Miller

Always Happy Hour by Mary Miller

Miller, author of the wonderful novel “The Last Days of California,” returns with these savagely funny, brutally honest stories of deeply flawed young women struggling to find their place in the world, despite all the damage and baggage they’ve already incurred.

by Joshua Mohr

Sirens by Joshua Mohr

Novelist Mohr has penned an astonishingly honest memoir about his years of substance abuse and his struggles against relapse. Moving and fierce, this is not a story about finding redemption but about a father and writer simply trying to lead a decent life and come out from under the influence.

by Emily Ruskovich

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

Another of 2017’s incredible debut novels is about a woman attempting to discover what happened to her husband’s first wife and children before his memory disappears, and the mysterious and shocking act that brought them together. The writing in this astonishing novel is off the charts.

The Brand New Catastrophe
by Mike Scalise

The Brand New Catastrophe by Mike Scalise

After a tumor burst in Scalise’s brain, he was left with a serious ailment, while “competing” with his chronically ill mother for the status of “best sick person.” This is a moving, often hilarious memoir, about illness, family, and personal stories.

Fever Dream
by Samanta Schweblin (translated by Megan McDowell)

Fever Dream by Samanta Schwebin

If you want to read something that terrifies and upsets you, and makes you feel like you’re going crazy, yet also makes you feel like you can’t put it down and you never want it to end because you love it so much, this is the book for you! It opens with Amanda, a young woman dying in a hospital while a young boy named David sits by her bed and engages her in an extremely disturbing discussion. Don’t say you weren’t warned. (But holy cats, it’s so good.)

Lucky Boy
by Shanthi Sekaran

Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

Two women are bound together by their love for a baby boy in this moving novel of motherhood, immigration, and privilege. Solimar crossed the Mexican border into California to find a better life, but now she is pregnant and alone. Kavya has always dreamed of being a mother, and when Solimar is placed in immigrant detention, her baby is placed in Kavya’s care. But when Soli fights to get her baby back, the two women will experience the anguish and heartbreak of broken dreams and second chances.

Now Read This December

With such a vast number of books published each year, and the major award ceremonies putting the spotlight on only a handful, it’s easy to miss some true literary gems. With that in mind, we offer up our top 12 underrated books of the year. Keep them in mind as potential gifts for avid readers.

The Story of a Brief Marriage
by Anuk Arudpragasam

The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam

A powerful, slim novel of brutal atrocities and sparks of hope, written in the most breathtaking prose, and set over the course of one day of the civil war in Sri Lanka.

by Natashia Deón

Grace by Natashia Deón

An unflinching historical saga of love and violence set against the backdrop of slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation in America. Worthy of as much attention as “The Underground Railroad.”

by Saleem Haddad

Guapa by Saleem Haddad

A young gay man living in an unnamed Arab country tries to make a life for himself amid social and political upheaval. A sensitive, beautiful novel.

The Wolf Road
by Beth Lewis


Possibly the best dystopian novel of the year, this is the story of an orphan named Elsa who is taken in by a dangerous stranger and taught how to survive after most of civilization is destroyed.

Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South
by Beth Macy

Truevine by Beth Macy

The horrifying true story of two African-American brothers kidnapped in 1899 and forced to perform in a circus, and their mother’s 28-year fight to get them back. The amount of research that went into making this book is astounding.

The Unseen World
by Liz Moore


Raised and homeschooled by her brilliant, socially inept scientist father, a young woman struggles to learn more about him and his work after his mind starts to fail him. Liz Moore is a gem.

by Tim Murphy

Christodora by Tim Murphy

Life, love, and death, set in the iconic Christodora building in New York City, spanning from the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s through present-day New York and the building’s changing neighborhood.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing
by Madeleine Thien

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

This beautiful, consuming novel about family, secrets, Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and the Tiananmen Square massacre won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, but still deserves more hype.

Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy
by Heather Ann Thompson

Blood in the Water by Heather Ann Thompson

An enlightening and infuriating look at the Attica Correctional Facility riots of 1971 that resulted in the deaths of 39 prisoners and correctional officers, and the cover-ups and lawsuits stemming from the incident that have continued for four decades.

Children of the New World: Stories
by Alexander Weinstein

Children Of The New World by Alexander Weinstein

Like “Black Mirror”? Like “Westworld”? Then you’ll love Weinstein’s brilliant stories set in a future filled with technology and despair — a future we may see very soon.

One-in-a-Million Boy
by Monica Wood

One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

When a young boy dies, his estranged father sets out to complete the requirements for the boy’s Scout badges, which includes doing chores for a 104-year-old woman. This one will get you right in the feels.

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist
by Sunil Yapa

Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa

Grief, heroics, and violence set amid the 1990 protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle. This is a powerful novel that has been lost in the shuffle because it came out at the very beginning of the year.

Now Read This November 2016

A number of fascinating new fiction and nonfiction works are slated for release this month, some of which could wind up on the year’s best-of lists. Here’s a guide to the top-10 most highly anticipated books coming out in November.

Virgin and Other Stories
by April Ayers Lawson

Virgin and Other Stories by April Ayers Lawson

Lawson’s mesmerizing stories are set in the American South and revolve around awakenings. Whether sexual, spiritual, or emotional awakenings, Ayers Lawson’s characters experience beautiful, unsettling moments of doubt and introspection about marriage, school, friendship, lust, and more in this stellar debut collection.

Searching for John Hughes: Or Everything I Thought I Needed to Know about Life I Learned from Watching ’80s Movies
by Jason Diamond

Searching for John Hughes by Jason Diamond

Diamond’s charming story of a broken home and big dreams will resonate with any child of the ’80s. As a young boy in Chicago, Diamond religiously watched the films of John Hughes, hoping to some day move to New York and write a book about the director. This is his story about how following your dreams can take you in unexpected directions while quietly leading you to where you need to be.

The Ornatrix
by Kate Howard

The Ornatrix by Kate Howard

Flavia has spent much of her life hiding from the world, ashamed of a bird-shaped blemish that covers her face. Sent to live in exile at a convent after disgracing her family, Flavia’s life changes drastically when she is chosen to be the handmaid to a former Venetian courtesan. This is a splendid historical novel about beauty and identity.

Hi, Anxiety: Life With a Bad Case of Nerves
by Kat Kinsman

Hi, Anxiety by Kat Kinsman

Kinsman discusses her lifelong battle with depression and anxiety, and why she believes people shouldn’t be afraid to come forward and get the help they need. A very brave and wonderful memoir.

Pull Me Under
by Kelly Luce

Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce

In Luce’s excellent debut novel, a woman in America must face her past when a mysterious package arrives at her home. As a young girl in Japan, Rio murdered the school bully. Now she is a grown woman with a new identity and a family in Colorado. But when she learns of her father’s death, she realizes she must face her past life in order to move forward.

Valiant Gentlemen
by Sabina Murray

Valiant Gentlemen by Sabina Murray

A humorous, delightful, and sometimes sad novel about the four decades of adventures and friendship between real-life historical figures Roger Casement, famed Irish patriot, and his closest friend, Herbert Ward. This deserves to be on all the best-of-the-year lists, and should be the next novel developed for a series.

Ray & Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald’s Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away by Lisa Napoli

Ray & Joan by Lisa Napoli

This is the fascinating, zany, true-life story of the Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton of the franchise world. Joan Kroc ultimately gave away a billion dollars of the McDonald’s fortune to causes she supported.

The Winterlings
by Cristina Sánchez-Andrade (translated by Samuel Rutter)

The Winterlings by Cristina Sanchez-Andrade

This novel is a beautiful mix of magical realism, history, and gothic fiction about two sisters who return to their grandfather’s cottage in 1950s Spain after his death during the Civil War. There they provoke curiosity and suspicion among the eccentric villagers.

Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs
by Douglas Smith

Rasputin by Douglas Smith

If you’ve always been curious about Rasputin, this is now considered the definitive biography of the man, starting with his rise as confidant to Russian royalty and guardian to the heir, and moving to his suspicious influence over the government, all the way up to his famous death. Like Rasputin’s death, this book goes on for a long time, but all 800-plus pages are fascinating.

Swing Time
by Zadie Smith

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Two friends dream of being dancers, but only one has the talent to be famous. It is this difference that will bring an abrupt end to their relationship when they reach their 20s. “Swing Time” is a marvelous, multi-layered look at friendship, jealousy, and fame by one of the great writers of our time.

Now Read This October

With Halloween lurking around the corner, it’s time to whet your appetite with nonfiction books about America’s haunted places and ’80s horror movies. October also brings the latest from Margaret Atwood and several other great authors. Here are 10 strong reading recommendations for the month.

The Angel of History
by Rabih AlameddineAngel of History by Rabih AlameddineA beautiful examination of memory and mortality, about a poet reexamining his life, from his adolescence spent in an Egyptian brothel to life as a gay man living with AIDS in San Francisco. Alameddine is a phenomenal writer.

by Margaret AtwoodHag Seed by Margaret AtwoodA delightfully marvelous retelling of “The Tempest” by Shakespeare, set in a prison getting ready to stage a performance of, well, “The Tempest.” Margaret Atwood is a gift to us all, and she’s at top form here as she gleefully weaves a wonderful plot of revenge and retribution.

The Mothers
by Brit BennettThe Mothers by Brit BennettA teenage girl’s decision to keep her pregnancy a secret from everyone — even her best friend — results in complications and heartbreak in her relationships later in life. A stunning debut novel and simply one of the year’s best.

The Wangs vs. the World
by Jade ChangThe Wangs vs. The Wold by Jade ChangA funny, charming road-trip novel about a Chinese immigrant family living in the United States that embarks on a cross-country journey after the patriarch loses his business, and all the hilarious happenings along the way.

The Red Car
by Marcy DermanskyThe Red Car by Marcy DermanskyDermansky delivers another psychologically stunning story about a woman who inherits a red sports car from her former boss, and the journey she takes in the car. A great look at independence and life choices.

Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places
by Colin DickeyGhostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin DickeyDickey discusses all the fascinating things you could want to know about our country’s haunted history. A wonderfully interesting book, whether you believe in ghosts or not.

You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain
by Phoebe Robinson You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe RobinsonRobinson, a comedian and one half of the wonderful podcast “2 Dope Queens” (along with the amazing Jessica Williams), has written smart, funny essays on race and feminism, doused with plenty of pop-culture references and a lot of heart.

All That Man Is
by David SzalayAll That Man Is by David SzalayA deep and sometimes deeply disturbing look at the lives of nine men in Europe from various cultures and backgrounds. Their stories, recounted from youngest to oldest, offer a fascinating glimpse into what it means to be a man in the modern world.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing
by Madeleine ThienDo Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine ThienShortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Thien has painted a beautiful portrait of two generations of an extended family in China, full of political and emotional strife. Marie and Ai-Ming are young women in present-day Vancouver whose search into their family’s past drives the narrative of Thien’s wonderful novel.

Brat Pack America: Visiting Cult Movies of the ’80s
by Kevin SmoklerBrat Pack America by Kevin SmoklerSmokler takes readers on a virtual tour of the landscapes of the classic movies of the ’80s. From Shermer, Ill., to the Goondocks of Astoria, he explains why these real-life locations for fictional places are as important to America as the films themselves.

Now Read This September

A number of highly anticipated novels, short stories, and essay collections are slated to hit shelves during the month of September. Here’s a guide to 10 of the best.

Into the Sun
by Deni Ellis BéchardInto The Sun by Deni Ellis BechardA stunning portrait of the expatriate community in Kabul, this intense novel is about the lives of seeming strangers involved in a car bombing. When a journalist begins looking into the lives of the passengers, it turns out they were actually secretly acquainted. And the driver of the car, who is missing, was one of their students.

We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation
by Jeff ChangWe Gon Be Alright by Jeff ChangWriter/journalist Chang (“Can’t Stop Won’t Stop,” “Who We Be”) is back with powerful essays tackling the recent events in America, including Ferguson, #BlackLivesMatter, and #OscarsSoWhite, and discusses ideas on how the country can move forward toward racial justice and cultural equality.

The Revolutionaries Try Again
by Mauro Javier CardenasThe Revolutionaries Try Again by Mauro Javier CardenasThree childhood friends — an expat, a bureaucrat, and a playwright — discuss the evils of dictatorship and their unease in their own lives amid political turmoil in Ecuador. This is a feat of high modernist literature that is sure to ring all the bells for Bolaño fans.

by Laia Jufresa, translated by Sophie Hughes Umami by Laia JufresaIn this beautiful novel, a precocious 12-year-old in Mexico City, hiding away from the painful death of her little sister, decides to start a garden in the courtyard of her apartment complex. Her work in turn brings her neighbors back to buried secrets and emotions of their own pasts.

Intimations: Stories
by Alexandra KleemanIntimations by Alexandra KleemanKleeman’s novel, “You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine,” was one of the best books of 2015, and she once again proves she is a writer like no other with this dazzling collection of strange stories, focusing on the oddities and intimate inner lives of the characters as they navigate surprising and unusual situations.

by Affinity KonarMischling by Affinity KonarThis is not for the faint of heart, but if you can deal with reading about humans at their cruelest (this goes for “The Underground Railroad” as well), you will find that this is one of the most divine, incredible novels of the year. Set amid the horrors of Mengele’s “human zoo” at Auschwitz, this story of identical twin sisters is a beautiful, inspiring work of literary magic.

Sleeping on Jupiter
by Anuradha RoySleeping On Jupiter by Anuradha RoyThree elderly women on a trip to the seaside town of Jarmuli encounter a young filmmaker. As they enjoy their holiday, they wonder about the young woman and her photographer companion, and their interest in the dark side of the beautiful town. A powerful novel of love, culture, and violence in contemporary India.

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
by Margot Lee ShetterlyHidden Figures by Margot Lee ShetterlyBefore you see the movie, read the book! It is an amazing story of the brilliant African American women enlisted to help NASA in a time when the country was working to keep them separate from their white counterparts, and how their contributions helped the United States achieve its space goals.

Children of the New World: Stories
by Alexander WeinsteinChildren Of The New World by Alexander WeinsteinWeinstein wrote this marvelous collection of stories about living in a digital age after witnessing his students and their almost non-stop interactions with their phones and computers. It is like reading episodes of the wonderful “Black Mirror” show.

The Underground Railroad
by Colson WhiteheadThe Underground Railroad by Colson WhiteheadYes, this is already out now, but it was originally scheduled to be released in September until Oprah scooped it for her book club. But it is THAT GOOD that it is worth mentioning anyway, because Whitehead’s fantastic story of an escaped slave and her journey north on the Underground Railroad (in this case, an actual train running under the country) is arguably the best book of the year.

Now Read This by Liberty Hardy

A number of spellbinding works of fiction and nonfiction are set for publication during the month of August. Here’s a roundup of some of the most anticipated new titles coming soon to a bookstore near you.

Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets
by Luke DittrichPatient H. M. by Like DittrichA fascinating true story about the most studied research patient of all time: Henry Molaison. Dittrich’s grandfather operated on Molaison to stop his seizures, but the surgery left Molaison unable to create any long-term memories, unintentionally creating the most important guinea pig in neuroscience history. This is a wild, heartbreaking tale.

Vow of Celibacy
by Erin JudgeVow of Celibacy by Erin JudgeAfter a string of failed relationships, Natalie has decided to take a vow of celibacy until she confronts herself and everything going on in her life instead of hiding behind someone else. Meanwhile, her best friend struggles with her secret identity as a popular online writer. This is a funny, contemporary novel, and it is refreshing to read about characters who are overweight and bisexual without it being a main focus of the story or something they feel they should apologize for.

Behold the Dreamers
by Imbolo MbueBehold the Dreamers by Imbolo MbueJende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, is thrilled to land a job working as a chauffeur for a rich executive at Lehman Brothers, and even happier when his wife is hired to work at the executive’s summer home. Finally, their dreams of making a living in America may be coming true. But when their employer’s financial world is rocked by the collapse of his company, they must struggle desperately to keep their dream alive. A compelling, beautifully written look at the other side of the Lehman Brothers collapse.

by Tim MurphyChristodora by Tim MurphyThe dazzling story of the inhabitants of an apartment building in the East Village, highlighting the heartbreaking and uplifting stories of their lives. Millay and Jared are a young privileged couple in the 1980s when their neighbor, a lonely addict, becomes wrapped up in their world. Spanning decades, “Christodora” is a moving look at AIDS and drug addiction in the city that never sleeps.

The Trees
by Ali ShawThe Trees by Ali ShawAfter thousands of years of abuse from humans, trees have taken over the planet. Overnight, they push their way up through streets and houses, turning towns and fields into forests. After the devastation, a group of survivors band together and set out in search of loved ones in what is left of the world. A fantastic apocalyptic fairy tale that isn’t just for readers of fantasy.

I’m Supposed to Protect You from All This: A Memoir
by Nadja SpiegelmanI'm Supposed to Protect You from All This by Nadja SpiegelmanSpiegelman, daughter of the famous creator of the graphic novel “Maus,” relates her experiences growing up in a family of secrets, and the relationships and estrangements between the women in her family on both sides of the Atlantic. This is an insightful look into what it means to be part of a family and why people sometimes love those who hurt them the most.

American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst
by Jeffrey ToobinAmerican Heiress by Jeffrey ToobinToobin takes a wildly interesting deep dive into the crazy story of the 1974 kidnapping of Hearst, a college sophomore and heiress to a family fortune, by the Symbionese Liberation Army. The kidnappers’ demands were strange, and though her family complied, months went by without Hearst’s release, until she was arrested after taking part in a bank robbery. Police shootouts, the first-ever breaking news story, the Black Panthers, and F. Lee Bailey are just some of the things that played a part in this circus.

Who Will Catch Us As We Fall
by Iman VerjeeWho Will Catch Us As We Fall by Iman VerjeeAfter fleeing Nairobi four years ago, Leena returns at the request of her father, just in time for the country’s turbulent elections. Haunted by a terrible event, Leena finds her family and the country largely unchanged, so she turns to a stranger for comfort. Alongside Leena’s story is the story of Jeffrey, a corrupt policeman with his own secrets and regrets. Told over the span of a dozen years, this is a wonderful, sad novel about political and emotional turmoil.

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race
by Jesmyn WardThe Fire This Time by Jesmyn WardWard used James Baldwin’s 1963 examination of race in America, “The Fire Next Time,” as inspiration for this contemporary collection of short essays, memoir, and poems, examining race in present-day America. Contributors include Edwidge Danticat, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Mitchell S. Jackson, Kima Jones, Kiese Laymon, Daniel José Older, Claudia Rankine, Natasha Trethewey, Wendy S. Walters, Isabel Wilkerson, and Kevin Young.

Another Brooklyn
by Jacqueline WoodsonAnother Brooklyn by Jacqueline WoodsonThe first adult novel in two decades from the National Book Award–winning author of “Brown Girl Dreaming,” about the dangers of memories and a group of friends who ran the streets of Brooklyn in the 1970s, full of hopes and fears. Woodson does a magnificent job conveying all the wrongs and dangers in the world that children don’t recognize until they are grown.

Now Read This by Liberty Hardy

A new batch of books is set for release during the month of July. Check out our selections for the top-10 most anticipated titles coming out this month.

You Will Know Me
by Megan AbbottYou Will Know Me by Megan AbbottKatie and Eric Knox have a singular goal: Help their gymnast daughter, Devon, achieve her dreams of making the Olympics. But when a death rocks their small community, they are about to learn they may not know their neighbors — or anyone — as well as they think they do. The always amazing Abbott delivers another delightfully nasty and fun tale.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
by Becky ChambersThe Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky ChambersLike space? Like fun? Then this is the perfect book for you! Self-reliant, shy Rosemary Harper doesn’t have much experience on spacecrafts when she joins the crew of the Wayfarer, but she soon falls into the busy rhythm of the ship. And as she and her ragtag group of coworkers explore the dark depths of space, Rosemary learns that trust and love are what she needs to survive.

The Devourers
by Indra DasThe Devourers by Indra DasIntrigued by the seemingly unbelievable stories of a mysterious stranger, a college professor in India agrees to transcribe a collection of battered documents that finish the man’s tale. What the professor learns is bigger than anything he could imagine: the story of a race of people, both human and beast, who lived in India in the 17th century. This novel is wildly inventive and fun.

Here Comes the Sun
by Nicole Dennis-BennHere Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-BennDennis-Benn’s heartbreaking debut is about an ugly side of a beautiful place. Jamaica is known for its beautiful beaches, but for Margot, it is a place of hardship, one where she must sell herself to afford to send her sister to school. When an opportunity arises to make big changes in her life, Margot jumps at the chance. But she will also have to face a secret: her forbidden love for another woman.

An Innocent Fashion
by RJ HernándezAn Innocent Fashion by R. J. HernandezElián San Jamar has always wanted more than to spend his life in his working-class hometown in Texas. A full scholarship to Yale brings him the opportunity to reinvent himself, and after four years of school, he lands the job of his dreams: a position at a prestigious fashion magazine. But Elián has to start at the bottom, and he soon learns that having everything you want — and hiding who you really are — is more work than he ever imagined.

The Wolf Road
by Beth LewisThe Wolf Road by Beth LewisElka doesn’t know a time before the world was ruined. Trapper took her in when she was 7 and taught her how to survive in a brutal, unforgiving landscape full of violence and danger. But when she decides to find her real parents in the frozen north, her teacher becomes her enemy, and Elka must use everything she learned to outsmart and escape him. A fantastic post-apocalyptic tale of cat and mouse.

A Very Special Year
by Thomas MontasserA Very Special Year by Thomas MontasserFans of “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” and “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend” will be sure to love this charming tale of a young woman who takes over her aunt’s bookstore where she learns she loves being a bookseller — and discovers a mysterious, unfinished manuscript.

The Unseen World
by Liz MooreThe Unseen World by Liz MooreAda Sibelius was raised and homeschooled by David, her mind-bogglingly brilliant, socially awkward scientist father. He teaches her in his Boston lab, where he also works. But when something goes wrong with David’s brain, it is up to Ada to figure out what he was working on and unlock the secrets of his past. Moore, the author of “Heft,” has written another gem.

The Inseparables
by Stuart NadlerThe Inseparables by Stuart NadlerHenrietta has lost her husband, and most of her money, so she agrees to let her publisher reissue a trashy bestseller she published decades earlier to help pay the bills. At the same time, her grown daughter, Oona, has left her husband and moved into the house Henrietta was desperately hoping to sell. But Oona is having too many problems with her own daughter to focus on helping Henrietta. “The Inseparables” is a funny, moving look at family and secrets in the digital age.

This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O’FarrellThis Must Be The Place by Maggie O'FarrellO’Farrell is a fantastic writer, and she does not disappoint with her hilarious and charming new novel about a New Yorker living with his wife in Ireland. His tumultuous life is about to get even messier with the return of a woman he hasn’t spoken to for two decades. An incisive look at marriage and true love, and what it means to lose yourself with age.