Well Read: The 5 Books You Won't Be Able To Put Down This September

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Reading is undeniably a key wellness practice—and one that many of us have ignored for far too long. It’s proven to build empathy, reduce stress, and even lessen sugar cravings (yes, really!). With that in mind, we’re excited to share Well Read, a column that curates the absolute best fiction and narrative nonfiction picks of the month. Here’s what you should read this August. (Want more book inspo? Here are the picks for JuneJuly, and August.)

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

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If you were one of the millions of people who quoted Noah Harari's first two books, Sapiens and Homo Deus, to sound super smart at dinner parties, you'll love his 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. While his former works relied on his history background to explore the past and the future, this one deals with the pressing issues of the modern day, offering in-depth, intellectual dives and pragmatic solutions to topics like big data, nationalism, terrorism, meditation, and more. It's as readable as his first two books, but far more actionable, and will leave you with conversation-starters for long into the future. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari (September 4)

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The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling

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A hard book to classify, The Golden State is at once a novel about societal breakdowns and the divides that plague our country in modernity (the main character, Daphne, flees San Francisco for the isolated desert, where she becomes involved in California's secessionist movement) and a deeply felt book about motherhood, as Daphne struggles with the responsibilities of single motherhood. It's the perfect book for someone looking to feel rather than intellectualize the loneliness and polarizing political climate that have come to define our time. The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling (September 4)

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

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This lushly rendered survival story centers around Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl who's lived in a marsh in North Carolina since being abandoned by her mother at age 6. Accused of murder by prejudice neighbors who judge her for being unkempt and different, this book is a heightened version of a coming-of-age story. To say that it's beautifully written would be an understatement: the sunset-colored descriptions of Kya's marsh are alive with sounds, smells, and vibrant color. You'll fall equally in love with the strong, independent heroine and the environment in which she tries to make a semblance of a life. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (August 14)

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Lake Success: A Novel by Gary Shteyngart

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Gary Shteyngart cemented his place in the canon of satire with his biting best-seller Super Sad True Love Story, and now he's back with the equal parts devastating and humorous Lake Success. Set right before the 2016 election, it's told through the point of view of a hedge-fund banker who relishes his extreme wealth. Slowly, it's revealed that he's the father of a son who's on the autism spectrum, which has had a significant effect on his relationship with his wife and his friends and co-workers, from whom he tries to hide his child's disabilities. He embarks on a trip across America, on which he grapples with the notion of success, empathy, and the ego-driven narrative that's dictated his life. A heartfelt satire about wealth in society, this is a must-read for anyone contemplating what we've come to define as a "good life." Lake Success: A Novel by Gary Shteyngart (September 4)

Transcription: A Novel by Kate Atkinson

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Famed novelist Kate Atkinson (Life After Life) is back with this World War II novel, which has the writing and character development of literary fiction and the daring page-turner quality of a spy thriller. It centers around Juliet, who, at age 18, is recruited to work undercover for the British government. Jumping between those years and her life as a television producer a few years later, the book expertly unwinds the mysteries of the events that have shaped Juliet's life. The book wonderfully illustrates the oft-forgotten role of women in World War II, while telling an engaging story of a single woman's transformation. Transcription: A Novel by Kate Atkinson (September 25, 2018)

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