September Staff Picks

Our staff weigh in on books they’ve loved recently.

Sep­tem­ber is already here (how is this pos­si­ble?), and our staff have select­ed five more titles they’re lov­ing late­ly. See any that appeal? Click on a title to place a request, or five.

Want even more curat­ed recs from our staff? Check out our Read­ing Rec­om­men­da­tions page, or com­plete a short form and we’ll email you a list of per­son­al­ized recommendations.

Dr. No by Per­ci­val Everett

Adam says:

Imag­ine a James Bond sto­ry if the pro­tag­o­nist was a Black math­e­mati­cian on the autism spec­trum. And work­ing for the super-vil­lain. You’ll find your­self fre­quent­ly cack­ling at Everett’s prose and his delight­ful­ly sar­don­ic nar­ra­tor. It’s a mis­chie­vous read with vivid­ly drawn char­ac­ters who react to enor­mous plot machi­na­tions in truth­ful and unex­pect­ed ways. I’m eager to dive fur­ther into the canon of such an inven­tive and pro­lif­ic novelist!”

The Shad­ow of the Wind by Car­los Ruiz Zafón

Alli­son says:

Set in post-Span­ish Civ­il War Barcelona, this goth­ic mys­tery fol­lows Daniel Sem­pere, son of a book­shop own­er, dur­ing his com­ing-of-age years. Daniel dis­cov­ers secrets and intrigue sur­round­ing a remark­able book and its mys­ti­fy­ing author. A sto­ry with­in a sto­ry. Atmos­pher­ic and roman­tic. A nov­el I have read and re-read. The per­fect book for book lovers.”

Foucault’s Pen­du­lum by Umber­to Eco

Jude says:

Eco, the mas­ter of the cere­bral thriller, nev­er fails! He does what Dan Brown dreams of doing. This book has it all: con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, Freema­sons, Knights Tem­plar, Grail mythol­o­gy, his­to­ry, the­ol­o­gy. Enjoy­able as a main course, with a side of ency­clo­pe­dia and dic­tio­nary, if his­to­ry and eso­ter­i­ca are your thing. This was my most recent read and prob­a­bly one of my favorites thus far.”

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Plan­et by Becky Chambers

Haley says:

The mul­ti­species crew of the Way­far­er has been giv­en the dan­ger­ous task of tun­nel­ing a worm­hole through space to reach a dis­tant, war-torn plan­et. The book fol­lows Rose­mary as she joins this lov­able assort­ment of odd­balls and finds her human­i­ty in the com­pa­ny of non-humans. Cham­bers is able to build a uni­verse of her own, com­plete with diverse and ful­ly real­ized char­ac­ters, with­out ever mak­ing the read­er feel over­whelmed with lore. If you love cozy sci-fi and intri­cate world-build­ing, you will love this book.”

Briefly, a Deli­cious Life by Nell Stevens

Mark says:

This nov­el fol­lows French author George Sand and Pol­ish pianist Frédéric Chopin along their infa­mous­ly ter­ri­ble 1838 win­ter vaca­tion in Valldemossa, Mal­lor­ca — told through the lens of our nar­ra­tor, Blan­ca, a 14-year-old ghost from the 1400s. Stevens’ prose beau­ti­ful­ly describes the haunt­ing melodies of Chopin’s works, while being quite lit­er­al­ly haunt­ed. This char­ac­ter-dri­ven nov­el has so many things to love, com­bin­ing a noto­ri­ous moment in both musi­cal his­to­ry and lit­er­ary his­to­ry with a des­per­ate­ly lone­ly ghost in love.”