Arts Muse

Top New Releases: September 2020

Sophie Lutkin runs through some of the most highly anticipated books being released this month.

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Image Credit: Grand Central Publishing, 2020

Petticoats and pioneers: Bea Koch’s Mad and Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency
History and biography
Release date: 1st September 2020

Regency era England has been immortalised through the spirited heroines of Jane Austen’s novels. And yet, their almost exclusive focus on the lives of the Christian gentry neglects the incredible contributions of women who fell short of this ideal. We are introduced to Dido Elizabeth Belle, who was raised by her white father’s family despite her mother being born into slavery.  Property-owner, transvestite and lesbian Anne Lister is also a focus, who lived with her common-law wife, Ann Walker, in Shibden Hall, and whose story has been made into the BBC drama Gentleman Jack.  The final character  is  Judith Montefiore, a Jewish woman who wrote the first English language Kosher cookbook.  Koch steers us past the deceptive images of courtship and curling tongs, revealing the real rebels of the Regency.

For fans of Hitchcock’s Rear Window: Alyssa Cole’s When No One is Watching
Mystery and thriller
Release date: 1st September 2020

When “For Sale” signs start to appear overnight in greater and more disturbing numbers, at what point when does the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighbourhood turn from coincidence to conspiracy? At the same rate Sydney Green’s neighbours are seemingly vanishing into thin air, luxurious condos are rising, glittering and ominous, from the ground they used to walk on. She questions whether her lifelong friends have really just moved to the suburbs and whether she can trust Theo—the newest arrival to the block—long enough to figure out what’s really going on before they both disappear.

Witty, observant, and unpredictable: Fredrik Backman’s Anxious People
Fiction
Release date: 8th September 2020

In a quiet Swedish town, a bungled bank robbery has quickly evolved into a darkly humorous hostage situation. As their apartment viewing erratically diverges into a circumstance of life-or-death, seven incredibly anxious strangers wonder: if this is to be their last day on earth, should it not be a bit more… dramatic?

Recalling Sartre’s existentialist play, No Exit, as tensions rise, police close in on the premises, and television channels broadcast the developing state of affairs, buried secrets are irresistibly drawn to the surface. With all eyes on him, the failed criminal must decide which is the least painful option: walking outside to face the police, or staying put inside an apartment where disturbing truths are circulated like currency amongst strangers.

Unflinchingly human: Mychal Denzel Smith’s Stakes is High: Life After the American Dream
Non-fiction
Release date: 15th September 2020

When the principles that have sustained a country for almost 300 years are revealed to be the same ones that have led to its unforgivable shortcomings, how do we begin to navigate the remains left behind? In a series of searing essays, Smith exposes the inherent contradictions at the heart of the American Dream. Every American is promised “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness” –– however, it is down to the individual whether their pursuit comes to fruition. With care, honesty, and ingenuity, Smith helps us to envision an America whereby institutionalised racism, casual violence, and entrenched political prejudice makes way for the real American Dream of compassionate discourse, self-determination, and equal opportunity for all.

Dangerous data, subversive super villains, and expendable employees: Natalie Zina Walschot’s Hench
Science fiction
Release date: 22nd September 2020

Anna Tromedlov carries out minor jobs for insignificant evildoers - (everyone needs a stable income, right?). However, when her latest, most promising assignment results in injury, unemployment, and disillusionment with reckless heroes who pay no attention to the casualties of their superhuman feats, Anna gets angry. With her internet research acumen, she collates, manipulates, and weaponises data to reveal to the world that for all their good PR, superheroes are rash, unfeeling, and irresponsible. Exactly the opposite of what the world views them to be. As she becomes an increasingly more indispensable hench woman, Anna might just save the world.

From the bestselling author of The Notebook: Nicholas Sparks’ The Return
Romance
Release date: 29th September 2020

After a mortar blast outside the hospital where he works leaves Trevor Benson with devastating injuries, his grandfather’s ramshackle North Carolina cabin offers a place of solitude amongst the despair. However, adamant not to fall in love with a local, Natalie Masterson puts his principles to the test. And yet it is Callie, an uncommunicative teenage girl masquerading as a nineteen-year-old, who provides Trevor with clues regarding the mysterious circumstances of his grandfather’s death. In his endeavour to decipher both the reasons behind Natalie’s frostiness and Callie’s real relationship to his grandfather, Trevor will learn that in love, life, and forgiveness, we must often return to the place where it all began.

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