Books of the Month: September 2023 Edition

September 2023 book recommendations

We were recently conversing with a writer about their new book for an interview to run on this very site when they noted — very aptly — that time seems to be especially accelerated this year. Or, to phrase it a bit differently: how exactly is it September already? At least one of the people involved with running this site is still pretty sure it’s still 2022. It’s baffling. Anyway, here are some books due out this month. We’re pretty excited to read them.

"Farsickness" cover

Joshua Mohr, Farsickness
(Sept. 1, House of Vlad)

Joshua Mohr’s previous book, the memoir Model Citizen, explored questions of health, sobriety, and family within an understandably realist framework. With Farsickness — complete with illustrations by his daughter Ava — he sets out in a very different direction, setting this novel’s protagonist on a hallucinatory quest through a surreal landscape. And remember: a little surrealism can be good for the soul.

"Out West" cover

Michael O’Leary, Out West
(Sept. 2, The Cultural Society)

For the record, the author of this book is the poet based in Chicago — not the New Zealand-based novelist who writes about cricket. (Though a conversation between the two of them would probably be fascinating reading.) This is O’Leary’s second collection, which novelist Patrick Lohier said “reinterprets the monumental metaphor of the west for a new generation navigating an anxious era.” We’re intrigued.

"Creep" cover

Myriam Gurba, Creep
(Sept. 5, Avid Reader Press)

We quite enjoyed Myriam Gurba’s previous work of nonfiction, Mean, and we’ve been eager to read this ever since it was first announced. The book’s subtitle — “Accusations and Confessions” — didn’t hurt, and this essay collections appears to abound with carefully written, deeply nuanced looks at interpersonal relationships, identity, and more.

"Schrader's Chord" cover

Scott Leeds, Schrader’s Chord
(Sept. 5, Tor Nightfire)

There’s a long history of fiction that juxtaposes music and horror, including Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom and Hari Kunzru’s White Tears. As the title of Scott Leeds’s new book Schrader’s Chord suggests, this represents a new entry in the subgenre. And this sprawling tale of cursed vinyl and uncanny resurrections looks to be a memorable entry therein.

"Do You Remember Being Born?" cover

Sean Michaels, Do You Remember Being Born?
(Sept. 5, Astra House)

Sean Michaels has a penchant for big ideas, and his latest novel might just feature his most high-concept work yet: it’s about a critically acclaimed poet hired by a tech company to collaborate with software on her next work. Think Spike Jonze’s Her by way of W.G. Sebald, maybe; all told, Do You Remember Being Born is a sharp meditation on art and technology — and so much more.

"Rouge" cover

Mona Awad, Rouge
(Sept. 12, Simon & Schuster)

You might not think a tale of the uncanny can center around a spa — but if you’ve seen the film In Fabric (and if you haven’t, you really should), you know that a haunted dress can be the stuff of nightmares. Why not a horror novel that ventures into the world of skincare and makeup, and transports the reader into an unexpected but thoroughly unsettling space?

"What Kind of Mother" cover

Clay McLeod Chapman, What Kind of Mother
(Sept. 12, Quirk Books)

There’s a long tradition of supernatural tales centering around parents and children, and its in this tradition that Clay McLeod Chapman’s What Kind of Mother situates itself. Throw an unconventional mother/child relationship and an emotionally fraught homecoming into the mix and you have the makings of a chilling read as fall begins to make itself known.

"New Millennium Boyz" cover

Alex Kazemi, New Millennium Boyz
(Sept. 12, Permuted Press)

In an interview with LitReactor last month, Alex Kazemi responded to descriptions of his new novel as “dangerous.” “I don’t think the book is dangerous, or edgy,” he said. “Dennis Cooper has happened. Bret Easton Ellis has happened. Chuck Palahniuk has happened… I’m not the creator of this genre.” That quote may give you a sense of the ballpark where Kazemi is playing — and his exploration of Millennial pop culture and generational shifts. It’s definitely gotten our attention.

"The Moth For the Star" cover

James Reich, The Moth For the Star
(Sept. 12, 7.13 Books)

Author, publisher, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn contributor James Reich has a new book out this month — one that he dubbed “multiple layers of existential and climate and economic and spiritual crisis” in a recent interview. Reich’s work is often heady, drawing on unexpected historical and literary influences; we’re eager to see what he does in this unconventional mystery.

"How, Upon Reflection, To Be Amorous" cover

Marvin Cohen, How, Upon Reflection, To Be Amorous
(Sept. 15, Sagging Meniscus Press)

The last few years have seen a significant number of works by Marvin Cohen reissued, largely through the efforts of two presses: Tough Poets and Sagging Meniscus. It’s the latter we can thank for How, Upon Reflection, To Be Amorous, a collection of Cohen’s writings on the subject of love across a variety of literary styles.

"Sonnets From a Cell" cover

Bradley Peters, Sonnets from a Cell
(Sept. 15, Brick Books)

For this, his first book and first collection of poetry, Bradley Peters reflected on his own experiences with the penal system in Canada, where he spent time incarcerated in his younger years. Sonnets from a Cell evokes that period of his life and uses literature in a way to reckon with the effects of incarceration on both a personal and a societal level.

"Anecdotes" cover

Kathryn Mockler, Anecdotes
(Sept. 19, Book*hug Press)

Having published some of Kathryn Mockler’s fiction as part of our Sunday Stories series, we’re thrilled to see a new full-length collection of her work slated for publication later this month. Tonally, the works collected here range from absurdist to tragic, offering a memorable selection of one writer’s haunting, searing prose.

"Sphinx" cover

Liliane Giraudon (translated by Lindsay Turner), Sphinx
(Sept. 23, Litmus Press)

Eight years ago, the site Writers No One Reads made the case for why more people should be exploring Liliane Giraudon’s work. Between Sphinx and Nightboat’s forthcoming translation of Love is Colder than the Lake, could we be on the verge of an Anglophone Giraudon revival? While we don’t usually quote publisher copy here, we will say that Litmus Press describes this book as follows: “practically drips with the blood of its enemies.” I mean…..

"Love and Money, Sex and Death" cover

McKenzie Wark, Love and Money, Sex and Death
(Sept. 26, Verso)

McKenzie Wark’s books have covered a host of subjects over the years, from Kathy Acker to rave culture. With this new book, she explores her own life — including coming out as trans a few years ago. Wark’s work is always worth checking out, and this new book looks to be an especially essential part of her bibliography.


Note: all cover art and release dates are subject to change.

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