What to Read Now: September 2019 Book Releases


Wondering what to read now? If you’re looking for book suggestions, look no further! We have all the hot new September 2019 book releases for you. We’ll let you know what we’ve read, what we can’t wait to read, and what’s getting all the attention this month.

What a month it has been. Between squeezing as much family fun as possible into the last days of summer and getting the kids all geared up for back to school, August was not my month for blogging.

Now that the kids are back in school and I’ve gotten my youngest two who are still at home on a schedule, I finally have some time to spend talking about books.

I could not let September pass without talking about all the hot new books out, because the September 2019 book releases are some of the best I’ve seen since I started blogging!

Just look at these September highlights:

  • A new Stephen King novel
  • Two sequels to award winning books
  • Two nonfiction books from incredible authors
  • Three historical fiction novels from returning authors

Have I got you interested? Then keep scrolling to see our picks for the best of the September 2019 book releases.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase anything, at no additional cost to you, we receive a small commission. For more information, read our Disclosures.

September 2019 Releases We’ve Read

book cover This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

This Tender Land
by William Kent Krueger

After his stunning novel Ordinary Grace, William Kent Krueger returns with a new novel set in Minnesota. This time, his story is set in 1932, where young orphan Odie O’Banion is living as one of the one white boys at the Lincoln School, a home for Native American children. The school is atrociously ruled by a mean-spirited superintendent, who cares little for the children and especially loathes Odie. One summer night, Odie flees the school in a canoe, along with his older brother, their best friend Mose, and a newly orphaned little girl. Thus sets up a river journey reminiscent of Huckleberry Finn.

If you don’t mind a slower pace, This Tender Land enchants the mind with an image of life during the Great Depression. Between meeting bootleggers, struggling farmers, and traveling revivalists, the four children witness aspects of the era that transport you back to that period of US history. Krueger highlights the injustice inherent in that era without forcing modern values into the minds of past generations. 

Despite the weak ending where everything ties together in a neat little bow, the story held my attention throughout, and was definitely my favorite of all the September 2019 book releases I’ve read so far. A great for anyone who enjoyed Before We Were Yours or The Orphan Train.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Atria Books. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


book cover The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January
by Alix E. Harrow

The award for the prettiest cover of the September 2019 book releases certainly belongs to Alix E. Harrow’s debut young adult fantasy novel. Growing up in the early 1900s, January Scaller lives in a expansive mansion in Vermont, the home of her guardian Mr. Locke, who collects peculiar treasures from all over the world. January herself is one of those treasures, not quite white but also not quite black. Her father travels the world finding treasures for Mr. Locke, while January sits at home trying to be a good girl. When January discovers a book about doors – magical passageways between worlds – she begins a journey toward a fantastical future and an understanding of her past.

I must admit, Harrow’s novel certainly was original. I enjoyed the thought-out approach to the magical concept of doors between universes. At first, I was worried because the novel alternates between January’s story and chapter excerpts from the book she is reading – which did blend as harmoniously as I would have liked. Luckily the book within a book was short and applied directly into the story line. 

Also, the first half of the novel was a bit slower, without much action. Then, in the second half the action comes much quicker, almost a bit too quick. I wish the author had been able to more even out the action. 

All in all, it was an enjoyable novel for me to read. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you particularly like the young adult genre, for it is not nearly as developed as you would expect from an adult novel. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Redhook Books and through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


book cover The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman

The World That We Knew
by Alice Hoffman

Although I haven’t read The Marriage of Opposites or The Rules of Magic (yet!), I absolutely adored The Dovekeepers, so I was excited to dive into Alice Hoffman’s newest novel, historical fiction set during World War II. After her daughter is almost raped, Hanni Kohn decides that she must send her daughter Lea away from Germany. Because she must stay to protect her mother, Hanni decides to create a mystical Jewish creature, a golem, whose purpose in life will be to protect Ettie. With the help of Ettie, a rabbi’s daughter, they bring to life Ava, and Ava, Lea and Ettie’s path converge in France, which is not quite the safe haven for Jews they were hoping for.

Hoffman does an excellent job of mixing in the fantastical element of Ava into reality, making the jump toward magical realism feel more believable, though still not quite palatable for my taste. From the story, you can tell Hoffman thoroughly researched the Jewish travails in France. Unfortunately, I felt that her extensive research lead to some of the backgrounds of the side characters being covered too extensively so that the author could squeeze in some interesting historical facts.

Though not nearly as good as The Dovekeepers, The World That We Knew will get plenty of outstanding reviews from some who love Alice Hoffman’s gorgeous writing, but only three stars from people like me who struggle with magical realism.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Simon & Schuster through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


book cover The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Water Dancer
by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Best known for his award-winning nonfiction books Between the World and Me and We Were Eight Years in Power, Ta-Nehisi Coates has a historical fiction novel about slavery among the September 2019 book releases. His latest novel follows Hiram, the black son of a white plantation owner. With no memory of his mother after she is sold away, Hiram tries to win the love of his father. After escaping death, Hiram realizes his father will never love him as a son. After a failed attempt to escape, Hiram eventually joins the Underground – where he aims to rescue others with a mysterious power he has developed.

Written in beautiful lyrical writing, The Water Dancer does an excellent job of showing how it doesn’t take physical abuse to make slavery so morally long. The slower pace of the novel made the beginning drag a bit, but the power in Coates’ writing kept me pushing forward. However, at the half way mark, the introduction of magical realism into the story became too much for me and I stopped reading it. I’m sure it has deeper meaning, but I completely lost interest. 

If you don’t mind the slower pace or the magical realism, you will probably love the powerful and lyrical writing of The Water Dancer. Else, you will be like me and struggle to finish it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Our Most Anticipated September 2019 Book Releases 

book cover Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Talking to Strangers
by Malcolm Gladwell

Of all the September 2019 book releases I most want to read, Talking to Strangers is at the absolute top of the list. It’s been six years since Malcolm Gladwell last published a book, and while is podcasts are interesting, I can’t wait to dive into his take on a new topic. In Talking to Strangers, Gladwell focuses on what happens when we encounter new people and why those encounters so often turn out poorly. With his mix of statistics, scientific research and interesting anecdotes, Gladwell is the ultimate storyteller. His five prior books have been amazing, so I can’t wait to try this one. Luckily for me, I won’t have to wait long because I plan to pick up a library copy today!


book cover The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

The Testaments
by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood’s famous dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale was published over 30 years ago, and has a recent resurgence in popularity thanks to the new Hulu tv series. Now, Atwood has published a sequel, set fifteen years after the events of the first book. Although the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead still rules, it’s power is beginning to slip. Following three women as the try to fight against the system, reviews say the novel feels much more like the tv show than the original book. Given that the shock factor of the original book can’t ever be recaptured, Atwood aims to please with a more action, an updated feel and a look at the inner workings of Gilead. While it is unlikely to achieve the same acclaim as her first novel, The Testaments still sounds like it will be a great read.


book cover Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

Olive, Again
by Elizabeth Strout

Also among the September 2019 book releases is a sequel to Elizabeth Stout’s Pulitzer Prize winning book Olive Kitteridge. Continuing in the same vein as the first book, Olive, Again, shows Olive struggling to understand the various people in her hometown of Crosby, Maine. In the sequel, Olive interacts with a teenager dealing with the death of a parent, a pregnant young woman, a nurse with a secret crush and a lawyer struggling with an inheritance. Reviewers on Goodreads gave the sequel highly positive reviews and said they still love the stubborn and judgmental Olive and her hilarious and moving interactions with her fellow townspeople. If you have’t read Olive Kitteridge, I would suggest starting there first, and if you have read Olive Kitteridge, you really should pick up the sequel.


book cover How To by Randall Munroe

How To
by Randall Munroe

From the creator of the comic XKCD (you know, the one with stick figures), comes a book of absurd scientific advice for common real-world problems. For example, you can learn to cross a river by boiling it, or use experimental military research to make sure no one every asks you to help them move. Perfect for any science lover or engineer, How To takes commonplace problems like changing a lightbulb and finds absurd ways to solve them. I loved his book What If? so I’m excited to see if How To can capture the same level of nerdy fun.


book cover The Institute by Stephen King

The Institute
by Stephen King

From the king of horror Stephen King comes another masterful story. In the middle of the night, Luke Ellis’ parents are murdered and he is kidnapped only to awaken in The Institute. Here live children with the special abilities of telekinesis and telepathy who are tested and used at the hands of the ruthless director Mrs. Sigsby. Children who cooperate are given tokens for the vending machines. Those that don’t are brutally punished. As other children start to disappear to never be seen, Luke realizes his only hope is to escape. Reviews are coming in strong for Stephen King’s latest, and it’s said to appeal both to avid Stephen King fans and to new Stephen King readers. I expect this will spend quite some time on the bestseller lists.


What September 2019 book releases are you most excited to read?

September 2019 Book Releases

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1 Comment

  • Reply Sandra Greathouse September 12, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    Thank you for some great reading choices!

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