The 10 Books You Should Be Reading This September
From fascinating histories to thought-provoking takes on technology
This year has been a dizzying one so far, and it’s not over yet. So it seems entirely appropriate that September brings with it a number of books that attempt to grapple with the world we live in — whether it’s Naomi Klein and Cory Doctorow exploring the effects of technology on the psyche or Buzz Bissinger and Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe venturing into the past to see how that history informs the present day. Here are 10 recommended reads for this month — some that might help you see the world in a new light, and others that might provide a respite from it.
Naomi Klein, Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World (Sept. 12)
What does truth mean in a world — and a media landscape — where falsehoods, deepfakes and forgeries are common? In Naomi Klein’s new book Doppelganger, she reckons with these questions through the lens of another widely popular writer with whom she shares some similarities — but whose recent career has included forays into conspiracy theories and unsettling politics. And if that doesn’t pique your interest, this excerpt just might.
Ben Goldfarb, Crossings: How Road Ecology Is Shaping the Future of Our Planet (Sept. 12)
If you’ve been following discussions over the best ways to design roads recently, you’ve probably read about a growing number of wildlife crossings being implemented — a decision that should make life a lot easier for drivers and animals alike. Ben Goldfarb’s new book takes a look at the broader issues at stake here — and the sometimes fraught interactions between cars and creatures.
Holly Gleason, Prine on Prine: Interviews and Encounters with John Prine (Sept. 12)
It’s now been three years since the death of the great singer-songwriter John Prine. Since then, a number of archival releases and reissues have seen the light of day. And now, this new collection of interviews with Prine offers a fantastic overview of his thoughts on his long career, taken from different points over his many decades in the music industry.
Cory Doctorow, The Internet Con: How to Seize the Means of Computation (Sept. 5)
Whether he’s commenting on technology or writing about its application in a science fictional context, Cory Doctorow has spent years exploring the devices and software that are changing our lives and pondering their effects on our humanity. Doctorow’s recent observations on the tech world — and the concept of “enshittification” — are a must-read, and his latest book finds him pondering the limits of tech platforms and how they might be transformed to yield a better tomorrow.
Buzz Bissinger, The Mosquito Bowl: A Game of Life and Death in World War II (Sept. 13)
Stating the obvious: this book finds Buzz Bissinger writing about football. He’s done that before, and his Friday Night Lights had a seismic impact in the years following his release. With The Mosquito Bowl, Bissinger takes the reader back to World War II, when two Marine regiments competed in a game not long before taking part in the invasion of Okinawa. The result is a haunting look at both sports and warfare, and the unexpected places they converge.
Zadie Smith, The Fraud (Sept. 5)
Zadie Smith’s bibliography encompasses everything from thought-provoking fiction to incisive essays to a play riffing on the Canterbury Tales. What’s next? The answer, apparently, is “a historical novel.” The Fraud finds Smith delving back 150 years into British history for a story of conflicting agendas and legal battles; a fellow named Charles Dickens also puts in an appearance.
Ryan Britt, The Spice Must Flow: The Story of Dune, from Cult Novels to Visionary Sci-Fi Movies (Sept. 26)
If you’ve read Frank Herbert’s novel Dune, you’re already aware of the immersive and gripping narrative Herbert created. If you’ve seen the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, you know that the story behind Dune and the process of adapting it make for a thrilling narrative as well. With his new book The Spice Must Flow, Ryan Britt ventures into the world of all things Dune, showing how a beloved novel became a global phenomenon.
Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe, Astor: The Rise and Fall of an American Fortune (Sept. 19)
The last time Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe collaborated on a book, it involved Cooper revisiting his own family history. This time out, the duo is exploring the history of the Astor family, beginning with John Jacob Astor’s creation of a familial dynasty and continuing on through the years, with stops in the Gilded Age and on the Titanic along the way.
Rory Smith, Expected Goals: The Story of How Data Conquered Football and Changed the Game Forever (Sept. 5)
Few writers have chronicled the state of contemporary soccer better than Rory Smith. His latest book reckons with a question that is likely to resonate with fans of many sports: can analyzing the right data yield success on the field? Smith’s new book explores case studies from across the global game; in doing so, it might just change the way you think about soccer.
Deirdre Kelly, Fashioning the Beatles: The Looks That Shook the World (Sept. 19)
It’s an interesting time to be a Beatles fan. And while that’s likely never not been true, it’s especially accurate right now, as artifacts from the band’s history come to the foreground and thoughtful looks at their legacy see the light of day. And if you’ve ever been curious about how the Beatles’ sartorial approach came about, Deirdre Kelly’s new book explores how the Beatles found their own style — and how that style changed the world.
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