What I read in September.

September has some bad-ass new books that you’ll want to see. Ready?

First up is my September pick for the Fantastic Strangeling Book Club:

It’s Land of Milk and Honey by C Pam Zhang (the award-winning author of How Much of these Hills is Gold) and it is haunting and strange and the prose is absolutely gorgeous.

Want a taste?

Set in a dystopian future where a smog has settled over so much of the world that the food chain has been destroyed and the world subsists on bland bean flours, a chef escapes her dying career in a dreary city to take a mysterious job at a decadent mountaintop colony seemingly free of the world’s troubles. But not all is what it seems.

And for the Nightmares from Nowhere Book Club we’re sending you Black Sheep by Rachel Harrison. A cynical twenty-something must confront her unconventional family’s dark secrets in this fiery, irreverent horror novel from the author of Such Sharp Teeth and Cackle.

Rachel Harrison is the queen of the intersection of cozy humor and terrifying and I can’t tell you why I like it because *SPOILERS* but it’s so good.

You need to read it because I need to discuss it. I’m selfish that way.

Need more to get you through the month? I GOT YOU, SUNSHINE.

Here are nine other new releases I read that I can tell you about. I am crushing my yearly reading challenge because yay for productive procrastination!

The September House by Carissa Orlando – When Margaret and her husband bought the large Victorian house on Hawthorn Street—for sale at a surprisingly reasonable price—they couldn’t believe they finally had a home of their own. Then they discovered the hauntings. THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD.

And Then She Fell by Alicia Elliott –  A mind-bending, razor-sharp look at motherhood and mental health that follows a young Indigenous woman who discovers the picture-perfect life she always hoped for may have horrifying consequences.

The Square of Sevens by Laura Shepherd-Robinson  – An orphaned fortune teller in 18th-century England searches for answers about her long-dead mother and uncovers shocking secrets in this immersive and atmospheric saga.

What Kind of Mother by Clay McLeod Chapman – Combining supernatural horror with domestic suspense into a visceral exploration of parental grief.

Playing the Witch Card by KJ Dell’Antonio – If you’re looking for a cozy mystery/romance with a spooky edge this is it.

Black River Orchard by Chuck Wendig – Would you like to be afraid of apples? Because you will be. Chuck Wendig never misses.

Night Watch by Jayne Anne Phillips – Want to visit the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum during the aftermath of the Civil War? (But just in a book rather than in real life?) Here you go.

EarthDivers: Kill Columbus by Stephen Graham Jones – Time hopping horror thriller graphic novel about far-future indigenous outcasts on a mission to kill Christopher Columbus by one of my favorite authors? Yes, please. The only downside is that it’s just the first volume so there’s a lot of unanswered questions. Please finish volume two, Mr. Graham Jones.

Which book is speaking to you the most this month?

PS. We have some spots open if you want to join any of our four book clubs, and if you’re a member of the Fantastic Strangelings make sure you check your email because next week we’re doing an online craft hour where we can just visit and talk about books and make weird shit without ever leaving our homes. Agoraphobic book lovers unite! (But, you know…separately…obviously.)

15 thoughts on “What I read in September.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Almost forgot…I’m opening up the discussions for last month’s books on the Facebook pages but just in case you don’t do facebook, here are my thoughts. SPOILERS BELOW:

    First off, my thoughts on Fever house:

    This book took over my brain and I could not put it down. It reminded me of the first time I read The Stand. Epic and strange and exciting and grisly and all of the things you want in a great horror book. I loved the twists and turns. Also a big fan of the way agoraphobia was explored in the book because I completely related and it added to the suspense but in a way that made even the common seem terrifying. Plus, trauma and grief and possessed hands and tortured angels and authoritarian corruption and a dizzying storyline with fascinating characters? So good.

    My only problem was that as I was reading it the end kept creeping closer and I kept thinking “There is no way he’s going to wrap up all of this” and then it ended and I was like, “Okay, is this one of those books that leaves open-ended so you can decide what happens next?” and I was okay with that but also really wanting more and was so relieved to find out that there’s another book coming

    And my thoughts on Congratulations the Best is Over!:

    I love R. Eric Thomas so much and have for years, so when this book came out I immediately grabbed it and loved it. Even though we have almost nothing in common I could relate so much to it, especially the search for community and the ordinary trauma of life not going to plan. It was funny, authentic, tender…and one of the first books I read that really nailed life during quarantine. Plus, Oprah’s Favorite Things and the gay frogs? Love.

  2. I live about 50 miles west of Baltimore and have for about 30 years (save for 6 years that I lived in Kentucky). I was all in on the places and descriptions he had, we avoid Balmore like the plague. I loved this book, am so glad I read the afterward!

  3. I agree; I was loving Fever House and getting through it and was near the end and thought, I see there is a new second book coming in February 2024; please don’t let it end abruptly and boom, it ended without really ending. Did that annoy me? Hell yes. Will I be reading the second book? HELL YES. Loved it!

  4. I’m reading 3 ARCs and trying to finish the Throne of Glass series and promised another indie author I’d read his book.

    My cat, Samwise aka SamSam aka Sammie, was just diagnosed with diabetes. I’m trying so hard to deal with this but it’s treating me apart. He’s the hero of Lord of the Rings and my Emotional Support Cat. Now it’s my turn to support him.

  5. Thank you so much for these lists! I love putting more books on my goodreads list. Of course, I’ll never get through them all, but the list makes me happy!

  6. The envy I feel is almost a palpable thing. The only things I get to read these days are the reports on my desk that need to be edited by Friday. It’s always “by Friday”, isn’t it? Why is that? It’s not like the boss is going to authorise them for issue over the weekend.

  7. Thank you so much for these lists! I love putting more books on my goodreads list. Of course, I’ll never get through them all, but the list makes me happy!

  8. I think you would love a book pf short stories by Kim Fu, called “Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century.” They are just weird enough to be wonderful!

  9. I just started reading September House and it is EXCELLENT so far. I’m loving every minute of it.

  10. I polished off Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Torzs. Amazing first novel about magical books, the people who write and protect them. Impossible to put down.

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