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21 Cool New Books with Rave Reviews to Read in September 2021

17 cool new books with rave reviews we can't wait to read in September 2021, including novels and non-fiction.

New month, new books! Book Light is our Dandelion Chandelier curated list of the most-anticipated new book releases every month, and next up is September 2021. If you ask us, the ideal September read is a perfect balance of light and heavy; silly and serious; sweet and sour; escapist, and yet filled with hard truths. So what are the best new books coming out in September 2021? Previously, we’ve shared our picks for the best fall reads this year. But – wait – there’s more! Our intrepid team kept exploring, and here’s what we found: 21 cool new books with rave reviews we can’t wait to read in September 2021, including novels and non-fiction.

what are the most-anticipated new book releases for September 2021?

Wondering what to read in September 2021 among all the new novels and new non-fiction books?

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new novels and books of poetry September 2021

It’s a blockbuster month for new novels and poetry collections. September 2021 will see new works from Colson Whitehead, Sally Rooney, Richard Powers, Lauren Groff, Colm Tóibín, Liane Moriarty and Joshua Ferris. There are also buzzed-about new novels from Lola Akinmade Akerstrom, Emily Itami and Rachel Long.

The best new book releases in fiction and non-fiction coming in September 2021

The best new book releases in fiction and non-fiction coming in September 2021.

new non-fiction books September 2021

The non-fiction aisle will see the arrival of memoirs from child star Hayley Mills and from one of the victims of the Sarah Lawrence College con man and cult leader. A scientist shares how societies around the world deal with “problem” animals and trees. And both a podcast queen and a Harvard Law School professor release a new essay collections.

21 of the best new books coming in September 2021

Here’s our pick of what to read from the crop of eagerly anticipated new book releases coming in September 2021. The best books from a range of genres, including novels, essay collections, and non-fiction. You can pre-order them now if you like.

New book releases on September 7, 2021

1. Matrix by Lauren Groff.


The author returns with her first new novel since the widely acclaimed Fates and Furies, this time with a work of historical fiction. Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, seventeen-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey. As she finds meaning and purpose in this unexpected work, she becomes determined to forge a new path for the women she now leads. But is the force of her will sufficient to change their circumstances?

BUY NOW: $22.99.

2. In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom.


In the debut novel In Every Mirror She’s Black, three different Black women are drawn into the circle of a powerful white businessman. Marketing executive Kemi is lured from the U.S. to Sweden by the CEO of the nation’s largest marketing firm to help fix a PR fiasco involving a racially tone-deaf campaign. Former model-turned-flight-attendant Brittany-Rae becomes that CEO’s paramour after a chance encounter in business class on a transatlantic flight. And refugee Muna, alone after losing her entire family, takes a job as a cleaning woman at the CEO’s firm.

Through the eyes of each of these three Black women striving to make a life in Stockholm, the novel examines what it means to be of color in a society dominated by those who are not.

BUY NOW: $20.49.

3. L.A. Weather by María Amparo Escandón.


In the midst of a drought in L.A., the patriarch of a family is obsessed with The Weather Channel, and distracted by a secret he’s determined not to share. His wife is ready to divorce him and their three adult daughters are blindsided as their parents’ marriage dissolves. Reminiscent of The Barbarian Nurseries, this is a wry and honest look at life in L.A. in this confounding moment.

BUY NOW: $22.49.

4. The Magician by Colm Tóibín.


Best new books in fiction and non-fiction being released in September 2021


This new novel from the author of Let the Great World Spin is a fictional account of the life of Thomas Mann. Considered to be the most successful novelist of his time, and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, Mann led a complicated and secret private life. Married with six children, he never revealed his homosexuality (it is said that on a holiday in Italy, he longs for a boy he sees on a beach and writes the story Death in Venice.)

This work is both a sweeping historical saga that begins with World War I and ends after the Cold War, and a mediation on the fierce desire to be seen and known, and the anguish of hiding one’s true nature.

BUY NOW: $23.49.

5. Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney.


The author of Conversations with Friends and Normal People returns with Beautiful World, Where Are You. Like her previous fiction, this novel centers on a group of young, well-educated and attractive people who are British and Irish. This time, one is a successful novelist who retreats to the Irish coast after suffering a nervous breakdown. Another works at a literary magazine. Their love lives and thoughts on culture and society are the nucleus of this narrative. If that sounds good to you, you’ll love this.

BUY NOW: $19.69.

6. Inseparable by Simone de Beauvoir.


In the never-bef0re-published novel Inseparable, the groundbreaking feminist writer mines the depths of female friendship in post-World War I France. From the moment Sylvie and Andrée meet in their Parisian day school, they see in each other an accomplice. Despite their vastly different natures, they rely on and trust each other as they enter adulthood in a society that has traditionally paid little attention to the desires and needs of young women.

Deemed “too intimate” to publish during the author’s life, the story reflects elements of de Beauvoir’s own real-life transformative and tragic relationship with a childhood friend.

BUY NOW: $23.99.

7. Fault Lines by Emily Itami.

Fault Lines is a debut novel about marriage and motherhood set in present day Tokyo. Japanese housewife Mizuki has a hard-working husband, two children and a spectacular apartment. Yet she’s often overcome with ennui. Then she meets Kiyoshi, a successful restaurateur, and embarks upon a passionate love affair. In the end she must choose one life over the other – and determine who she really is, and who she really wants to be.

BUY NOW: $22.49.

8. Beautiful Country: A Memoir by Qian Julie Wang.


In Chinese, the word for America, Mei Guo, translates directly to “beautiful country.” The memoir Beautiful Country is the poignant story of how the author – beginning as a 7-year old – experienced the United States as an immigrant in the mid- to late ’90’s. While living in China, Qian’s parents had been professors. In America, her family is “illegal,” forcing them to work in sweatshops in Chinatown for less than a living wage. The stress of poverty and illness fractures her parents’ bonds and sends the young girl into the realm of books for knowledge and solace. In a poignant note, Qian remembers considering “The Berenstain Bears as her first American friends.”

BUY NOW: $24.49.

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9. Slonim Woods 9: A Memoir by Daniel Barban Levin.


You may remember the April 2019 New York Magazine story about the cult leader who lived in his daughter’s college dorm in an expensive private college in Westchester County, a wealthy area north of New York City. The story was so bizarre it was hard to believe. In September 2010, at the beginning of the academic year at Sarah Lawrence College, Talia Ray asked her roommates if her father Larry (an ex-con) could stay with them for a while. No one objected. Ray arrived at the dorm, a communal house called Slonim Woods 9, and stayed for the entire school year.

What followed was an unspeakable series of acts of abuse, humiliation, blackmail and financial fraud as a drug-fueled cult of personality formed around Ray right in the heart of the college campus. In February 2020, Ray was indicted on several charges. This is the memoir of one of his young victims.

BUY NOW: $22.49.

10. Say it Loud! On Race, Law, History and Culture by Randall Kennedy.


In Say it Loud, Harvard Law School professor Randall Ken­nedy (who was our instructor lo these many years ago!) shares 29 essays – some previously published, others written for this volume – that explore the key social justice issues of our time. From Frederick Douglass to George Floyd, this is a provocative and insightful account of the ongoing debates, struggles and triumphs of the Black community in America.


11. Forever Young: A Memoir by Hayley Mills.


Hayley Mills was transformed into one of the biggest child starlets of the 1960’s through her iconic roles in Disney films like Pollyanna and The Parent Trap. She became one of only twelve actors in history to be bestowed with the Academy Juvenile Award, presented at the Oscars by its first recipient, Shirley Temple.

In this memoir, Mills provides a view of her relationship with Walt Disney himself, as well as the challenges of being bound to a wholesome, youthful public image as a teenager and beyond. Married at 20 to a producer 30 years her elder, this is a slice of Hollywood history – and a cautionary tale about what happens when a prodigy is expected by society to remain forever young.


New book releases on September 14, 2021

12. Palmares by Gayl Jones.


Best new books in fiction and non-fiction being released in September 2021.

Palmares is a novel about a Black woman’s journey through slavery and liberation, set in 17th-century colonial Brazil. It’s also the first novel that Jones has released in over 20 years. So this is A Moment.

The plot revolves around Almeyda, an enslaved girl who learns about Palmares – said to be a community founded by escaped slaves. And those who don’t know Jones will now: discovered and edited by Toni Morrison in the 1970’s, the New York Times reports that Morrison said of Jones’ work: “No novel about any Black woman could ever be the same after this.” We. Cannot. Wait. To read this.


13. Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead.


Ray Carney, hero of Harlem Shuffle, lives a good life. He’s a respected furniture salesman, and he and his wife are expecting their second child. But when he gets roped into his cousin’s jewel heist, he threatens to put all of that at stake. Now he will have to fight to keep his second life a secret, while also fighting to stay alive. Since this new family story is from Pulitzer Prize-winning Colson Whitehead, we know that it’s going to be one of the best of the year.

BUY NOW: $20.49.

14. Harrow by Joy Williams.


Best new books in fiction and non-fiction being released in September 2021

In her first novel since The Quick and the Dead (a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), the author spins a dystopian and ultimately life-affirming tale about two young children and a group of octogenarians struggling to build a new world after an environmental apocalypse. It’s essential query? Can the world be saved by a “gabby seditious lot, in the worst of health but with kamikaze hearts, an army of the aged and ill, determined to refresh, through crackpot violence, a plundered earth”?

BUY NOW: $22.99.

15. Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty.


Best new books in fiction and non-fiction being released in September 2021

The author of Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers returns with Apples Never Fall, a thriller about a wealthy family in crisis. Stan and Joy Delaney are tennis stars nearing retirement age and planning for the new chapter in their lives. But just after selling their world-famous tennis academy, Joy goes missing. Bet you $5 that we’ll be seeing this one on the small screen soon – maybe read the book now, before all the spoilers start spilling out.

BUY NOW: $18.15.

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16. Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach.


The highly enjoyable and entertaining Fuzz centers on a number of pressing modern issues. Such as what’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? Three hundred years ago, animals that broke the law would be assigned legal representation and put on trial. Now such matters are the province of scientists who study “human-wildlife conflict.”

We get a behind the scenes look at the work of people in jobs we never knew existed: human-elephant conflict specialists, bear managers, and “danger tree” faller blasters. Leading to the ultimate inquiry: is the trouble here “problem” animals? Or problem humans?

BUY NOW: $21.49.

New book releases on September 21, 2021

17. Bewilderment by Richard Powers.


Best new books in fiction and non-fiction being released in September 2021.

The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Overstory returns with Bewilderment, a novel about the bonds between a father and son. Longlisted for the Booker Prize, it’s the story of a recently-widowed astrobiologist and his 9-year old, who is slowly losing control of his anger and grief. In attempt to keep him off of psychotropics, the father opts instead for an experimental neurofeedback treatment that involves training his son on the recorded patterns of his late mother’s brain.

BUY NOW: $22.49.

18. The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki.


The acclaimed author of A Tale for the Time Being is back with The Book of Form and Emptiness, a novel that sounds poised to appeal to adults and young adults alike. After losing his father, teenager Benny Oh begins to hear voices – the voices of all the objects in his house.

Desperate for an end to this sudden calamity, he finds his way to the library, where he finally finds his peace and quiet – the objects know to speak quietly – and where he meets a cast of eccentric, empathetic characters who may help him find a greater peace.

BUY NOW: $25.49.

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19. My Darling from the Lions by Rachel Long.


The best new book releases in fiction and non-fiction coming in September 2021.

The award-winning poetry collection My Darling from the Lions addresses a wide variety of modern dilemmas faced by young women: family quirks, the perils of dating, the grip of religion, and sexual awakening. Divided into three sections, these are poems about growing up, falling in love with “not-great” men, and the lived experience of a young Black woman in America.


New book releases on September 28, 2021

20. A Calling for Charlie Barnes by Joshua Ferris.



The author of Then We Came to the End is back with A Calling for Charlie Barnes, a bittersweet novel about a washed-up dad. Charlie Barnes, divorced, discontented – a schemer and  romantic – finds his life deteriorating even further than he imagined when he’s hit with both the Great Recession and a cancer scare. It takes his son – a “storyteller” – to turn Barnes into the man he always knew he could be.

BUY NOW: $22.49.

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21. Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes: Essays by Phoebe Robinson.


The comedian and host of the 2 Dope Queens and Sooo Many White Guys podcasts returns with Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes, her third book of essays. And reading it is like hanging out with your coolest girlfriend – the one so funny and smart you’re not sure why she’s willing to talk to you. Robinson riffs on quarantining with her boyfriend, deciding not to have children and “performative allyship” in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. You know, the stuff we’ve all been thinking and talking about during the Great Lockdown(s). There might even be a pandemic puppy in the mix – read it and find out.

BUY NOW: $22.99.

most anticipated releases of new novels and non-fiction books in September 2021

Those are our picks for what to read this month: 21 of the best and most anticipated new book releases coming in September 2021. So many options to answer the pressing matter of what to read in September 2021 . . .  What’s at the top of your list? Whatever you decide, stay safe and strong and have a good month, dear reader.

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