The 8 New Books You Should Be Reading This September

It's basically Christmas season for book lovers, with new titles from Malcolm Gladwell, Josh Gondelman and Patti Smith

best books september 2019
September's best books include essays from Malcolm Gladwell, a memoir from Patti Smith and Ta-Nehisi Coates's first novel
By Jason Diamond / September 4, 2019 5:13 am

Holiday season is technically December, but for readers, September signals the time of the year when the publishers start rolling out their big titles. You’ll no doubt recognize some of the names on this list, though a few others might be new to you. Either way, we can promise all of these books are 100 percent worth your time. From Malcom Gladwell’s next “big idea” book that to the nicest dude in comedy writing a book of essays to titles from award winners like Patti Smith and Ta-Nehisi Coates, there’s more than enough to keep you occupied as we roll out of summer and into autumn.

Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac

For a second there, it felt like Uber was on the edge of becoming an industry-dominating force on par with the Googles and Amazons of the world. Then something happened. Well, a lot of things happened, from some public relations nightmares to a CEO ousting. In Super Pumped, Mike Isaac, a technology reporter at the New York Times, gives us all the juicy details one could hope for from a story like this.

Nice Try: Stories of Best Intentions and Mixed Results by Josh Gondelman

When they write about the dumpster fire that has been the last few years on planet earth, there had better be a chapter about how comedian Josh Gondelman was a beam of sunshine with his standup routine as well as his famed pep talks on Twitter. With Nice Try, Gondelman adds to his legacy of niceness, showing us all how to keep it positive no matter how badly or embarrassingly you might fail. You’ll laugh, you might cry, but then you’ll definitely laugh some more with the feel-good essay collection of 2019.

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcom Gladwell is giving the “Gotta hear both sides” argument a run as he revisits topics like the Jerry Sandusky Penn State pedophilia scandal and the death of Sandra Bland in a Texas jail cell. His argument: bad things happen because we don’t know how to talk to strangers. Twitter should have a field day with this one.

Savage Gods by Paul Kingsnorth

A slender book in size, but Kingsnorth looks for something so many of us seem to be in search of in 2019: belonging. This short book finds Kingsnorth, newly transplanted to a quiet part of Ireland, looking for a home in the world. What he finds is something deep and ultimately reaffirming. This is the sleeper book of September.

Opioid, Indiana by Brian Allen Carr

Brian Allen Carr has given us one of the most vital coming-of-age novels of the Trump era. On its face, Opioid, Indiana might look like a depressing read, but Carr searches for light in the darkness, and gives us one of the most vital books of 2019.

Make It Scream, Make It Burn: Essays by Leslie Jamison

Jamison, who has earned a spot as one of America’s leading essayists, usually has a more concise theme for her collections, but that’s sort of what makes this latest one so engaging. From exploring the devastation left after the Sri Lankan Civil War to children’s buried memories, Jamison looks and writes about everything with a degree of care we could all use more of.

Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith

Patti Smith is just going to keep writing memoirs and we’re just going to keep reading them, aren’t we? The truth is, while Just Kids is a classic that looked at her time in NYC in the 1970s, Year of the Monkey is something different. This is the modern-day Smith: she’s older, wiser, seeing the world, and reporting it all back to us in only the way she can. You can’t read this and not feel inspired after you put it down.

The Water Dancer: A Novel by Ta-Nehisi Coates

From winning the National Book Award for Between the World and Me and writing some of the most talked about articles of the last five years, Coates tries his hand at fiction with this debut novel.