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OPINION: 12 best books of September 2017, according to Amazon’s editors

September 12, 2017 By Molly Driscoll
Author Salman Rushdie's newest work, “The Golden House,” depicts the reaction of Greenwich Village to the arrival of a new neighbor. AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade, File

The fall book season has many intriguing titles to offer. What are the best ones being released this month? Here’s Amazon’s full list with thoughts from Amazon Senior Editor Chris Schluep.


  1. “My Absolute Darling” by Gabriel Tallent. The book centers on teenager Turtle Alveston, whose difficult life with her father changes when she becomes attracted to fellow student Jacob. Schluep notes it is “brutal at times” but says, “[It’s] immediate, it’s visceral … A voice you won’t forget.”

  2.  “Good Me Bad Me” by Ali Land. Debut novelist Land’s book is the story of young Milly, whose mother is a murderer. After Milly tells the police what’s going on, she is placed with a foster family and starts at a new school, but Milly continues to feel conflicted. “A book that people want to discuss after reading,” Schluep says.

  3. “Sourdough” by Robin Sloan. “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” author Sloan’s latest work centers on software engineer Lois Clary, who gets to know the staff of a restaurant where she frequently gets food. When the restaurant closes, the brothers who run it give her the culture that they use to create bread. Lois’s life begins to change with her ownership of the culture. “There’s a dose of magic to his writing…” Schluep says. “This is life-affirming stuff.”

  4. “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng. “Everything I Never Told You” writer Ng’s latest novel depicts the lives of some of the residents of Shaker Heights, Ohio, including the Richardson and Warren families, whose relationships are threatened when residents of the town decide to adopt a Chinese-American infant and mothers Mia and Elena disagree over it. “We were eagerly anticipating this one and we were not disappointed,” Schluep says.

  5. “The Golden House” by Salman Rushdie. “Midnight’s Children” author Rushdie’s newest work depicts the reaction of Greenwich Village to the arrival of a new neighbor, the intriguing Nero Golden and his three sons. Filmmaker René soon gets to know the Goldens and becomes drawn into their world. “It’s very timely…” Schluep says. “Rushdie has a lot to say about the world.”

  6. “Draft No. 4” by John McPhee. New Yorker writer McPhee offers tips on the profession that he has worked at decades. “It’s a master class in writing,” Schluep says.

  7. “Sing, Unburied, Sing” by Jesmyn Ward. “Salvage the Bones” writer Ward’s new novel centers on family Leonie, son Jojo and daughter Kayla, who take to the road, heading for Mississippi State Penitentiary, when Jojo and Kayla’s father is about to be released from jail. “This is a very powerful novel,” Schluep says.

  8. “Ranger Games” by Ben Blum. Debut writer Blum’s nonfiction title has Blum look back at the struggles his family went through when his cousin, Alex signed up for the military but soon before he was supposed to leave for Iraq took part in an armed robbery. “It’s pretty unique…” Schluep says. “It’s really hard to put down and it’s even harder to stop thinking about it.”

  9. “The Burning Girl” by Claire Messud. “The Woman Upstairs” writer Messud’s latest novel tells the story of childhood friends Julie and Cassie, who have their friendship tested when Cassie embarks on a self-destructive path.

  10. “A Legacy of Spies” by John le Carré. Spy master le Carré returns with a new story about Peter Guillam, who worked with George Smiley at the British Secret Service and is now having his actions during the Cold War questioned. “This is a welcome return to [le Carré’s] legacy…” Schluep says. “It’s an experience to read this book.”

  11. “Coming to My Senses” by Alice Waters. Chez Panisse founder Waters looks back at the creation of her restaurant and how it has influenced food. The book shows “how she found her voice as a leader in foodie culture,” Schluep says.

  12. “The Twelve-Mile Straight” by Eleanor Henderson. “Ten Thousand Saints” writer Henderson’s new novel depicts the aftermath of white woman Elma Jesup giving birth to twins, one with light skin and one with dark skin, in 1930 Georgia. The book demonstrates “how racism and inequality damage us from generation to generation,” Schluep says.

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