There are three new book releases in September that have captured my attention. And they are all from different genres.

Books are a long and winding highway to so many places. Fiction takes me outside myself. Personal memoirs touch my heart. And mental illness strikes a chord of empathy.

A Place Called Home:

The first one is “A Place Called Home” by David Ambroz, a true story.

There are millions of homeless children in America today.

In “A Place Called Home”, award-winning child welfare advocate David Ambroz writes about growing up homeless in New York for eleven years and his subsequent years in foster care.

His words offer a window into what so many kids living in poverty experience every day.

Lucy By The Sea:

New book by Elizabeth Strout titled Lucy By The Sea, a book about living during the pandemic lockdown.

The second is a fictional book titled “Lucy By The Sea” by Pulitzer-prize winning author Elizabeth Strout.

As a panicked world goes into lockdown, Lucy Barton is uprooted from her life in Manhattan and bundled away to a small town in Maine by her ex-husband and on-again, off-again friend, William.

For the next several months, it’s just Lucy, William, and their complex past together in a little house nestled against the moody, swirling sea.

Lucy by the Sea vividly captures the fear and struggles that come with isolation, as well as the hope, peace, and possibilities that those long, quiet days can inspire.

At the heart of this story are the deep human connections that unite us even when we’re apart.

The pain of a beloved daughter’s suffering, the emptiness that comes from the death of a loved one.

And the promise of a new friendship, as well as the comfort of an old, enduring love.

And the love, loss, despair, and hope that animate us even as the world seems to be falling apart.

Strangers To Ourselves: Unsettled Minds And The Stories That Make Us:

In New Book Releases In September, Strangers To Ourselves has peaked my interest.

And the third book is “Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us.”

Rachel Aviv explores fundamental questions about how we understand ourselves in periods of crisis and distress. Drawing on deep, original reporting as well as unpublished journals and memoirs, Aviv writes about people who have come up against the limits of psychiatric explanations for who they are.

She follows an Indian woman, celebrated as a saint, who lives in healing temples in Kerala.

An incarcerated mother vying for her children’s forgiveness after recovering from psychosis.

A man who devotes his life to seeking revenge upon his psychoanalysts.

And an affluent young woman who, after a decade of defining herself through her diagnosis, decides to go off her meds because she doesn’t know who she is without them.

Animated by a profound sense of empathy, Aviv’s exploration is refracted through her own account of living in a hospital ward at the age of six and meeting a fellow patient with whom her life runs parallel―until it no longer does.


“Lucy By The Sea” interests me because being “locked down” was an experience most of us had not experienced before. I’m beginning to see more novels about what we all endured.

“A Place Called Home is written by someone who was both homeless and then tossed into the “system.” I have to hope that this person has had a happier life as an adult because he obviously had a truly vulnerable and unsafe childhood.

And “Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us” delves into mental illness and how diagnosis and identity are equally effected.

The season of fall is knocking on our doors. I hope you find a good book to enjoy as the days get cooler.

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8 Comments

  1. All three of these books sound really good and ones I’d be interested in reading. I saved them on my Amazon wish list, but will get them at my library when they’re released. Thanks for the suggestions.

    PS – I’m reading The Girl Who Smiled Beads right now and it’s fantastic. It’s a true story of a young girl who had to flee from Africa because of war.

  2. I am reading the Lost Summer by Viola Shipman and it speaks of sewing notions, particularly buttons, and losing a loved one during Covid. It made me realize how sad people had to be in the early throes losing loved ones and being told they could not have a funeral for them. I know it happened to so many but now it’s hitting home to me that so much of the lockdown in it’s early stages was not only frustrating but very sad.
    I have quite a few books to read in fall and winter.

    1. I specifically recall reading about one man, I think he was in his 30s, and both his parents died and had to be kept wherever they put bodies because there was nowhere yet he could bury them. I felt so sorry for him.

  3. Some very interesting books, Brenda. You’re right living in lockdown is something we had never endured. It won’t be forgotten and will be talked about for many years.

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