September's fiction top pick might seem an odd choice in a month that will see the publication of much-buzzed debuts like The Night Circus and The Art of Fielding and new novels from literary darlings like Ali Smith. But while Blueprints for Building Better Girls may not have the media talking (yet), its quietly powerful coming-of-age stories make for the sort of book that becomes a word-of-mouth hit. Maybe it's unnecessary to say this about a co-founder of the literary magazine Tin House, but Elissa Schappell is a writer to watch.

—Managing Editor Trisha Ping


Holy War by Nigel CliffOur top pick for September nonfiction is a riveting tale of adventure and empire. Holy War by Nigel Cliff tells the story of Vasco da Gama's many sea journeys in the service of Portugal's rulers, who wanted not only to spread Christianity across the globe but to take over the spice trade from India to Europe, previously dominated by Muslim Arabs. If sweeping epics, the clash of cultures or the thrill of new discoveries float your boat, you won't want to miss this book!


—Associate Editor Kate Pritchard


I chose Snapped as my Romance top pick in September because of the grabber of an opening. Heroine Sophie Barrett is using her lunch hour to register for classes at a local college. As a reader I related to her search for a parking spot, the noon heat, and the uncomfortable walk in pretty high heels. I feel for Sophie, and even more so when suddenly gunfire erupts on the campus. I couldn't put it down after that!


—Romance columnist and author Christie Ridgway


September's mystery top pick is A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny. More than most authors nowadays, Louise Penny makes me read slowly, savoring her sentences and dog-earing pages where she has written something so catchy or profound that I will want to revisit them later to re-read those parts. I often give away my advance review copies of books to friends, on the stipulation that they don't return them to me, as my library is full to overflowing. Penny's books, on the other hand, I want back, as I will surely read them again (and again).


—Whodunit columnist Bruce Tierney


What's your favorite book coming out this month? Share in the comments!

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