With summer reading lists behind students and time spent waiting on campus ahead, September
is an optimal time to review fall’s literary releases.
UNESCO also recognizes Sept. 8 annually as International Literacy Day, which promotes the necessity of reading across countries and further highlights the power of quality writing.
Yet choosing a new book worth investing time into can be hard, especially with the wide array of new fiction, nonfiction, humor and re-release titles now available at bookstores.
Below, The Oracle suggests some notable books being released within the next three months.
“Richard Yates” by Tao Lin
Students who ignore their e-mail accounts or text messages long enough to read “Richard Yates” might be surprised to find these formats throughout the book.
The plot follows NYU graduate Haley Joel Osment and New Jersey teenager Dakota Fanning – named after the real-life child actors – from an initial connection through computer chat to their relationship’s dark deterioration.
“Richard Yates” incorporates Internet conversations between the two characters for dialogue and its sentences are often sparse with monosyllabic word choices.
Still, Lin’s second novel may offer a more grounded, relatable story than his debut “Eeeee Eee Eeee” – with its homicidal dolphins and Elijah Wood references. Author Clancy Martin even described the writer and frequent blogger Lin as “a Kafka for the iPhone generation.”
Or read: David Sedaris’ “Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary” – released later this month – a similarly eclectic book with stories detailing animals in strange adult situations.
“Sourland” by Joyce Carol Oates
For students without enough free time to invest in a novel, a short story collection could offer easier reading – and Oates has a collection sure to impress even literary professors.
Though these 16 stories have been previously published in magazines, “Sourland” ties them together for the first time under the same violent and gothic theme.
The pieces involve personal loss and damaged characters – even literally with the amputee librarian protagonist of “Amputee.” In “Probate,” a lonely widow must grapple with courtroom absurdities.
The compilation also marks this year’s second release for the prolific, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author, who also wrote the “Lolita”-esque novel “A Fair Maiden.”
Or read: Pulitzer Prize-winner Philip Roth’s 31st novel “Nemesis” – to be released Oct. 5 – which begins with a 1940s polio outbreak and examines its later wake on a Newark neighborhood.
“Earth (The Book): A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race” by Jon Stewart
After the success of their faux-U.S. history textbook “America (The Book),” Jon Stewart and his “Daily Show” writers now widen their gaze to the entire globe with “Earth (The Book).”
The 256-page guide attempts the not-at-all ambitious goal of documenting humanity and its most historic accomplishments – with the Comedy Central host’s traditional wit.
At first, the premise might seem resoundingly similar to fellow humorists The Onion’s “Our Dumb World” atlas. Yet, “Earth (The Book)” will imagine the human race has ended and take a look backward.
Not many specific details have emerged about the book, but readers should expect sarcastic quips, audacious pictures and other ways Stewart and company can bring the humor to posthumous.
Or read: Matt Groening’s “Simpsons World The Ultimate Episode Guide,” an 1,200-page, 8.8-pound book – due for release Oct. 26 – exhaustively detailing 20 seasons of the longest-running primetime show ever.
“My Spiritual Journey” by the Dalai Lama, Sofia Stril-rever
The Dalai Lama has contributed to several books about Buddhism, but Harper Collins Publishing claims that “My Spiritual Journey” will be the Nobel Peace Prize-winning figure’s “most accessible and intimate book.”
Assembled from his stories and co-authored by Sofia Stril-rever, the book tracks the Dalai Lama’s spiritual searching through three eras of his life.
The first section involves his reminisces on childhood memories and how they shaped his future as a public figure. The second section covers his immersion into Buddhism and the third focuses on his current endeavors trying to build peace in Tibet.
With 304 pages full of anecdotes, “My Spiritual Journey” should help readers relate to an international peace symbol who may seem larger than life.
Or read: A secular counterpart in Greg Graffin and Steve Olson’s “Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, and Bad Religion in a World Without God” – available Sept. 28 – where Olson and Bad Religion singer Graffin examine the world and human spirit in an evolutionary, non-religious search.
“An Object of Beauty” by Steve Martin
Steve Martin is best known as the comedian from such films as “The Jerk,” but he is also a surprisingly deft author – penning both the novella “Shopgirl” and the memoir “Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life” – with a new novel about New York art.
The story concerns Lacey Yeager, a Sotheby’s gallery intern whose charisma and fine art know-how helps her climb up the New York art world’s social ladder. The novel’s plot expands to include painting, thievery, avid collectors and artists with names like Pilot Mouse.
“An Object of Beauty” should provide students with a glance of the passions that art can incite and Martin even includes reproductions of referenced art within the passages.
Or read: The new reprint of Gerald Martin’s “Gabriel Garcia Marquez: A Life” – available now – which examines artistic passions in real life as Martin compiles nearly 20 years worth of research on the author of “100 Years of Solitude.”