13 Great Books To Read This Month | SLMan
It’s a bumper month for new books. From a follow-up to one of the biggest murder-mysteries in recent years to new books from Colston Whitehead and Stephen King, September’s selection has something for everyone.
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Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

To his customers and neighbours on 125th street, Ray Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably priced furniture. Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his façade of normality has more than a few cracks in it. One day, his cousin Freddie falls in with a crew who plan to rob the Hotel Theresa, and volunteers Ray's services as the fence – but the heist doesn't go as planned. Now, Ray has to cater to a new clientele of shady cops on the take, vicious minions of the local crime lord, and numerous other Harlem lowlifes. Thus begins the internal tussle between Ray the striver and Ray the crook. As Ray navigates this double life, he starts to see the truth about who actually pulls the strings in Harlem. Can Ray avoid getting killed, save his cousin, and grab his share of the big score, all while maintaining his reputation as the go-to source for all your quality home furniture needs?

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The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

A year after the release of his record-breaking, bestselling debut, The Thursday Murder Club, Richard Osman returns with a much-anticipated follow-up. It's the following Thursday. Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life. As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists the rest of the gang – Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron – in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn't bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?

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Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen

It's 23rd December 1971, and the Hildebrandt family is at a crossroads. Patriarch Russ, the associate pastor of a suburban Chicago church, is poised to break free of a marriage he finds joyless – unless his brilliant but unstable wife, Marion, breaks free of it first. Their eldest child, Clem, is coming home from college afire with moral absolutism, having taken action that will shatter his father. Clem's sister Becky, long the social queen of her high school class, has veered into the era's counterculture, while younger brother Perry, fed up with selling pot to support his drug habit, has firmly resolved to be a better person. Each of the Hildebrandts seeks a freedom that each of the others threatens to complicate. In turns comic and harrowing, this novel of interwoven perspectives and sustained suspense is the first volume of a trilogy that will span three generations and trace the inner life of modern culture through to the present day.

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The Lincoln Highway by AmoR Towles

Since leaving the Kansas youth facility where he's served time, Emmett has wanted one thing: to give himself and his younger brother, Billy, a fresh start – and that means heading west. Young Billy has plans of his own: to get to San Francisco, where he believes their long-estranged mother is waiting for them. However, as soon as they've loaded Emmett's bright blue Studebaker with their few belongings, trouble arrives in the form of Duchess and Woolly, two runaways from the same facility Emmett just left behind him. Duchess and his devoted, but slow, companion Woolly soon wreck Billy's plan to get onto the open road, one well-intentioned blunder at a time. Each young man sees this journey as his chance to pursue his dreams, settle scores and find riches. And soon a simple journey quickly becomes an odyssey filled with obstacles, villains and ruses for our heroes to overcome. An excellent follow-up to Towles's word-of-mouth smash A Gentleman In Moscow.

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The Morning Star by Karl Ove Knausgaard

This is the new novel from the bestselling author of My Struggle. One long night in August, Arne and Tove are staying with their children in their summer house in southern Norway. Their friend Egil has his own place nearby. Kathrine, a priest, is flying home from a Bible seminar, questioning her marriage. Journalist Jostein is out drinking for the night, while his wife, Turid, a nurse at a psychiatric care unit, is on a nightshift when one of her patients escapes. Above them all, a huge star suddenly appears blazing in the sky. Then strange things start to happen, as nine lives come together under the star. Hundreds of crabs amass on the road as Arne drives at night; Jostein receives a call about a death metal band found brutally murdered in a Satanic ritual; Kathrine conducts a funeral service for a man she met at the airport – but is he actually dead? The Morning Star is about life in all its mundanity and drama, the strangeness that permeates our world, and the darkness in us all.

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A Calling For Charlie Barnes by Joshua Ferris

From the Booker-shortlisted author of To Rise Again at a Decent Hour comes a novel about fathers, sons, thwarted dreams and confronting the reality of who we really are. Charlie Barnes is a mid-century man devoted to his newspaper and his landline. But Charlie is about to get dragged into this troubled age by his storyteller son, who has a different idea of him than he has of himself. Then there are his other children, his ex-wives, present wife, business clients, friends and acquaintances, all of whom have their competing opinions of Charlie. He certainly seems simple enough: he's a striver, a romantic and a thoroughgoing capitalist. But suddenly blindsided by the Great Recession and a dose of bad news, he might have to rethink his life from top to bottom – and on short notice.

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El Chapo: The Untold Story of the World's Most Infamous Drug Lord by Noah Hurowitz

This striking investigation of the life and legend of Mexican kingpin Joaquin Archivaldo "El Chapo" Guzman Loera builds on Noah Hurowitz's revelatory coverage for Rolling Stone of El Chapo's federal drug-trafficking trial. This is the true story of how El Chapo built the world's wealthiest and most powerful drug-trafficking operation, based on months' worth of trial testimony and dozens of interviews with cartel gunmen, Mexican journalists and political figures, Chapo's family members, and the DEA agents who brought him down. Hurowitz digs in deep beyond the legends and delves into El Chapo's legacy – not just the hunt for him. From the evolution of organized crime in Mexico to the militarisation of the drug war to the devastation wrought on both sides of the border by the introduction of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, this book is a gripping and comprehensive work of investigative, on-the-ground reporting.

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Shackleton by Sir Ranulph Fiennes

In 1915, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s attempt to traverse the Antarctic was cut short when his ship, Endurance, became trapped in ice. What followed has become legend, and his attempt to survive is one of history’s most gripping adventures. Yet Shackleton’s critics have argued that the expedition was always doomed to fail. However, no previous biographer has experienced even a small taste of the conditions endured by Shackleton and his men. The same cannot be said of Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who has been described as “our greatest living explorer”. From Shackleton’s pursuit of adventure as a young merchant seaman through to his rivalry with Captain Scott, Fiennes brings his story viscerally to life – with the author’s own near-death on the ice, 50 years after his subject’s death, providing the proof to silence Shackleton's critics.

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Bewilderment by Richard Powers

The remarkable The Overstory earned Richard Powers a Pulitzer Prize. Now his latest novel has been nominated for the Booker. Bewilderment follows Theo Byrne, a promising young astrobiologist who has found a way to search for life on other planets. He is also the widowed father of an unusual nine-year-old. Robin is funny, loving and filled with plans; he is also on the verge of being expelled for smashing his friend’s face with a thermos. What can a father do, when the only solution offered to his troubled boy is to put him on psychoactive drugs? Perhaps the answer is to take his son to other planets, while fostering the boy’s desperate crusade to help save this one.

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Billy Summers by Stephen King

From legendary storyteller Stephen King comes a thrilling new novel about a good guy in a bad job. Billy Summers is a killer for hire and the best in the business. But he has morals: he'll do the job only if the target is a truly bad guy. And now Billy wants out. But first there is to be one last job. Among the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war veteran and Houdini when it comes to vanishing after the job is done, what could possibly go wrong for Billy? This new novel is part war story and part love letter to small town America and the people who live there. But it’s ultimately about a complex hero – with one last shot at redemption.

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The Late Train To Gipsy Hill by Alan Johnson

The Late Train To Gipsy Hill is the debut thriller from former home secretary and author of This Boy. Gary Nelson has a routine for the commute to his rather dull job in the city. Each day, he watches as a beautiful woman on the train applies her make-up in a ritual he now knows by heart. He's never dared to strike up a conversation. Then one evening, on the late train to Gipsy Hill, the woman who has beguiled him for so long invites him to take the empty seat beside her. Fiddling with her mascara, she holds up her mirror and Gary reads the words “HELP ME” scrawled on the glass. From that moment, Gary's life is turned on its head. He finds himself on the run from the Russian mafia, the FSB and even the Metropolitan police – all because of what because this mysterious young woman may have witnessed. In the race to find out the truth, Gary discovers there is a lot more to her than meets the eye.

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Invention: A Life by James Dyson

Dyson has become a byword for high-performing products, technology, design and invention. Now, James Dyson, the inventor and entrepreneur who made it all happen, tells his story. Over a four-year period, James Dyson made 5,127 prototypes of the cyclonic vacuum cleaner that would transform the way houses are cleaned around the world. In devoting all his resources to developing the technology, he risked everything, but out of many failures and setbacks came success. In Invention: A Life, Dyson reveals how he came to set up his own company and led it to become one of the most inventive technology companies in the world. It is a compelling and dramatic tale, with many obstacles overcome. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, appreciate great design or are looking for a fascinating read, Invention: A Life offers inspiration, hope and more.

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Snow Country by Sebastian Faulks

It’s 1914. Young Anton Heideck has arrived in Vienna, eager to make his name as a journalist. While working part-time as a private tutor, he encounters Delphine. Entranced by the light of first love, Anton feels blessed. Until his country declares war on hers. In 1927, life for Lena with a drunken mother in a small town has been impoverished and cold. She is convinced she will amount to nothing until a young lawyer, Rudolf Plischke, spirits her away to Vienna. But the capital proves unforgiving, and Lena leaves her metropolitan dream behind to take a menial job at the snow-bound sanatorium, the Schloss Seeblick. 1933: still struggling to come terms with the loss of so many friends on the Eastern Front, Anton – now an established writer – is commissioned by a magazine to visit the mysterious Schloss Seeblick. In this place of healing, where the depths of human suffering and the chances of redemption are explored, two people will see each other as if for the first time. Crossing Europe as it recovers from one war and hides its face from the coming of another, Snow Country is a novel of yearnings, dreams of youth and the sacredness of hope.

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