Most Anticipated September 2018 Books

The Coil dishes the best new books to read this month. Nonfiction with a history bent, literary novels, and poetry for our time.


a falling knife has no handle
Emily O’Neill
O’Neill’s gorgeous, lush poems dissect food, comfort, relationships, and how they are intertwined and earned.

In the House of Wilderness
Charles Dodd White
A savage and soulful new novel from the master of moody backwoods darkness and folkloric Appalachian landscapes.

I Don’t Belong Here
Melissa Grunow
Beautiful essays of the woes and joys of adulthood, from grief and mental health to divorce to owning a new house.

Thank Your Lucky Stars
Sherrie Flick
Fifty stories of varying length combining wit, humor, love, loss, and Flick’s amazing prose.

Primitivity
Amy Sayre Baptista
These Southern Gothic stories wrestle with southern morality, survivalism, feminism, and what’s at the heart of a wounded region.

Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth
Sarah Smarsh
In this memoir for our times, Smarsh talks truthfully about working-class poverty in the American Midwest.

Bombing the Thinker
Darren C. Demaree
Poems about Middle America as told through the thoughts of Rodin’s famous statue, The Thinker.

The Golden State
Lydia Kiesling
With raw, sharp prose, Kiesling’s debut novel talks about the trials of motherhood in a broken America.

Lake Effect
Nicole Tone
A woman finds solace in painting after the death of her fiancé, but a new mentor pushes her back to square one.

Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises
Rebecca Solnit
Solnit is back with her biting commentary on our times in this collection of essays about American crises, their roots, and our responses to them.

Evolution
Eileen Myles
In their first collection of new poetry in years, the biggest mover-and-shaker in the poetry world is shaking things up again, changing our language forever.

I Can’t Talk about the Trees without the Blood
Tiana Clark
Winner of the Starrett Poetry Prize and Pitt Poetry Series, this collection is sure to hit the heart with the honesty, pain, and beauty of identity.

When Rap Spoke Straight to God
Erica Dawson
A book-length poem chronicling the tragedies of our time, from our disastrous government to American racism to being a woman in the age of #MeToo.

A Key To Treehouse Living
Elliot Reed
A wiser modern-day Huckleberry Finn-type coming-of-age story about an epic boyhood that is quirkily and wittily fun.

The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle
Malinda Maynor Lowery
Lowery tells the history and modern-day story of the East Coast’s largest tribe who have survived in their original homelands in a tumultuous biracial South.

The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War
Joanne B. Freeman
The story of the violence in Congress that led to internal conflicts and sparked the Civil War.

The Wonder That Was Ours
Alice Hatcher
Winner of the Dzanc Prize for Fiction, this novel shows the absurd prejudices, racism, and class structures of humans through the viewpoint of cockroaches.

The Distant Beautiful
Andrei Guruianu
Deriving inspiration from the Arab Spring, this novella seeks to prove that ideas are still as beautiful as they are dangerous.

Boomer1
Daniel Torday
When a man’s life falls apart, he turns to making viral videos that ensnare him in a web of trouble involving the government, his family, and his ex.

The Best Small Fictions 2018
Edited by Aimee Bender & Sherrie Flick
The annual collection of the best pieces of tiny fiction nominated by independent presses.

Musalaheen
Jason Arment
A heavy war memoir by a Marine Corps Machine Gunner during Operation Iraqi Freedom, this one is sure to bring on the guilt and the pain.

After Zero
Christina Collins
This is a middle grade book by a talented writer all about mutism, disorders, breaking the silence, and learning to be yourself.

Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free
Linda Kay Klein
Part reportage and part memoir, a former member of the evangelical church talks about the devastating effects its purity culture has on women.

Fins: Harley Earl, the Rise of General Motors, and the Glory Days of Detroit
William Knoedelseder
A look at Detroit’s heyday and Harley Earl, a college dropout who invented automobile styling, forever changing the way cars were imagined.

Young Benjamin Franklin: The Birth of Ingenuity
Nick Bunker
A new account of Benjamin Franklin’s early life and how the young visionary elbowed his way into success.

Pensacola Girls
Kristin Garth & Elisabeth Horan
A collection of poems about trauma, abuse, the mind games men play on women, and above all, survival.

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen
Sarah Bird
The story of Cathy Williams, a former slave and the only woman ever to serve with the legendary Buffalo Soldiers (dressed as a man, of course).

All Roads Lead to Blood
Bonnie Chau
Grand Prize winner of the 2040 Books Award, this story collection explores desire, lives of young women, and fresh perspectives of Chinese Americans.

In This Ground
Beth Castrodale
A former rocker who gave up music for fatherhood and a job as a gravedigger is haunted by the death of a band member buried at the cemetery.

City of Segregation: 100 Years of Struggle for Housing in Los Angeles
Andrea Gibbons
An exhaustive, comprehensive study of the housing crisis and the history of segregation in Los Angeles.

Lights in the Distance: Exile and Refuge at the Borders of Europe
Daniel Trilling
A heavily researched and engrossing account of the ongoing refugee crisis at the borders of Europe.

Summer Cannibals
Melanie Hobson
A literary novel about three sisters returning home to encounter each other and to face their tumultuous pasts.

Self-Defense for the Brave and Happy
Paul Vermeersch
Monsters, futuristic machines, and disinformation abound in this dystopian poetry collection that is a survival guide for what’s clearly coming.

Bury It
Sam Sax
Winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, this poetry collection touches on gay suicides, diaspora, and self-identity.

Quite Mad: An American Pharma Memoir
Sarah Fawn Montgomery
A memoir of mental illness following Montgomery’s descent into anxiety, OCD, and PTSD, and her ascent toward acceptance.

Hum
Natalia Hero
After a woman is raped, she gives birth to an agitating hummingbird, forever altering her life in this magical-realism novella of trauma and survival.

The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World
Sarah Weinman
The dark, real-life inspiration for Nabokov’s infamous novel finally receives justice in this meticulously researched look into Sally Horner’s kidnapping.

Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates
Eric Jay Dolin
Busting myths, misconceptions, and stereotypes, this account of historical North American pirates sheds new light on their lives and Colonial times.

Eliza Hamilton: The Extraordinary Life and Times of the Wife of Alexander Hamilton
Tilar J. Mazzeo
After the popularity of the musical Hamilton, everyone wants a piece of Eliza, but it’s about time this remarkable mover and shaker truly gets her due.

Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen
Jose Antonio Vargas
“The most famous undocumented immigrant in America” has a powerful, tear-jerking, necessary message and call to arms for a broken country.

Leadership: In Turbulent Times
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Pulitzer Prize-winning researcher and historian Goodwin dissects the leadership roles of Lincoln, both Roosevelts, and Lyndon Johnson.

The Poison Squad: One Chemist’s Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
Deborah Blum
The story of Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley and how food, often deadly and full of known harmful ingredients at the time, was made safe in America.

Rush: Revolution, Madness, and the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father
Stephen Fried
The story of medical pioneer and unsung Founding Father Benjamin Rush, who helped transform treatments for mental illnesses and addiction.

Crudo
Olivia Laing
A novel about learning to love at the cusp of an apocalypse and finding oneself when the whole world is falling apart.

Washington Black
Esi Edugyan
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, this novel tells the story of a boy born into slavery who works his way up to become a free man.

LEAH ANGSTMAN serves as editor-in-chief for Alternating Current Press and The Coil magazine, a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, and a proofreader for Pacific Standard. Her work has appeared in Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, Tupelo Quarterly, Electric Literature, Slice Magazine, Pacific Standard, and elsewhere. Find her at her website.
Leah Angstman curates the Most Anticipated Books Lists monthly based on The Coil staff recommendations and forthcoming booklists. To be considered for the October list, tweet your links to Leah on Twitter by the end of September.