Stephen King, Margaret Atwood and Jhumpa Lahiri lead the parade of big names appearing in bookstores this month. Here are some of the highlights:
"Bleeding Edge" by Thomas Pynchon (Penguin Press, Sept. 17). The reclusive novelist has been living for years in the anonymous wilds of Manhattan, and his new novel opens there in spring 2001. So you know what's coming.
"Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety" by Eric Schlosser (Penguin Press, Sept. 17). The author of "Fast Food Nation" turns his attention to America's nuclear arsenal. Do we face more danger from our own stockpile than from weapons held by our enemies?
"Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?" by Alan Weisman (Little, Brown, Sept. 24). Weisman's "The World Without Us," which wondered what would happen if humans disappeared from the Earth, was a big hit in 2007. His follow-up investigates ways to keep the planet in balance.
"Doctor Sleep" by Stephen King (Scribner, Sept. 24). The sequel to "The Shining" — need I say more?
"Enon" by Paul Harding (Random House, Sept. 10). Harding could hardly have been more obscure when he won the Pulitzer Prize for his first novel, "Tinkers," in 2010. His follow-up appears with high expectations.
"Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital" by Sheri Fink (Crown, Sept. 10). Pulitzer Prize- winning reporter Fink spent six years investigating five days at
"Girl, 20" and "One Fat Englishman" by Kingsley Amis (New York Review Books, Sept. 17). Martin's curmudgeonly dad certainly had a way with a book title. These two early satires are being reissued by the invaluable NYRB Classics imprint.
"A Guide for the Perplexed" by Dara Horn (Norton, Sept. 9). Horn combines the suspenseful kidnapping of a computer- software pioneer in Cairo with the search for ancient documents and the medical practice of Moses Maimonides in the 12th-century court of Sultan Saladin. The result is an intriguing and readable novel.
"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, out now). If you've never read Harry Potter, what are you waiting for? Scholastic has re-issued the series in paperback with gorgeous new covers by graphic artist Kazu Kibuishi. The new illustrations focus less on Harry and more on pivotal scenes from the books, with vibrant colors and tremendous depth.
"The Hive" by Gill Hornby (Little, Brown, Sept. 10). Move over, kids — moms are the real mean girls in this sprightly novel about the drop-off set at a school in England's Home Counties. Who will get texted about the next day's exercise routine or invited to serve on the fundraising committee? Somehow these feel like crucial questions.
"Jim Henson" by Brian Jay Jones (Ballantine, Sept. 24). A biography written with the cooperation of the Muppet man's family.
"Local Souls" by Allan Gurganus (Liveright, Sept. 23). Gurganus took the literary world by storm in 1989 with "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All." He published three more books through 2001. His return to the bookstores is a collection of three novellas set in his mythological town of Falls, North Carolina.
"The Lowland" by Jhumpa Lahiri (Knopf, Sept. 24). Lahiri's first three prize-winnning, bestselling books intricately explored the experience of Indian immigrants in the West. Her new novel follows two brothers, Subhash and Udayan Mitra, one of whom devotes his life to radical politics in India while the other moves to America.
"MaddAddam" by Margaret Atwood (Doubleday, out now). Readers of "Oryx and Crake" and "The Year of the Flood" will want to read this conclusion to Atwood's dystopian trilogy, about a small group who survived a plague that decimated the Earth's population.
"Man Alive!" by Mary Kay Zuravleff (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, out now). After psychiatrist Owen Lerner is hit by lightning, all he wants to do is barbecue. How is he going to pay for his kids' college tuition?
"Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope With Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends and the New Rules of Boy World," by Rosalind Wiseman (Harmony, Sept. 10). The author of "Queen Bees and Wannabes," the instant-classic exploration of girlhood cliques, turns her attention to Boy World.
"Miss Manners Minds Your Business" by Judith Martin and Nicholas Ivor Martin (Norton, Sept. 23). The business world would run much more smoothly if everyone lived by Miss Manners's rules of etiquette. Her latest witty guidebook is written with her son Nicholas, who has a day job as director of operations at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
"The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You" by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin (Penguin Press, Sept. 26). If none of the books on this list suits your mood, check out this delightful volume of literary recommendations. Organized by "ailments" such as "Dinner Parties, Fear Of," and "Internet Addiction," the authors present suggestions ranging from classics to recent bestsellers. Their insightful, friendly essays had me jotting down lists of titles to buy.
"Someone" by Alice McDermott" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Sept. 10); "Subtle Bodies" by Norman Rush (Knopf, Sept. 10); "The Woman Who Lost Her Soul" by Bob Shacochis (Atlantic Monthly, out now). Three novels from authors who take a long time between books — to brilliant result.
"Wonder Women: Sex, Power and the Quest for Perfection" by Debora Spar (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Sept. 17). The president of Barnard College jumps into the conversation about whether women can have it all — and whether that's even a fair question.