By: EM PERPER

Sneak Peek pals, it’s practically September. In book world, we’re gearing up for the holidays (already!) I can’t wait to preview a slew of autumn releases for you, but in the meantime, there are some fascinating titles dropping this Tuesday, August 29.

Popular podcasts like Lore, The Moth, The Dollop, and Welcome to Night Vale bridged the divide between aural experience and written word; Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy by Tim Harford joins their ranks. Harford analyzes a striking variety of inventions and their impact on contemporary society; Ikea’s Billy bookcase, the disposable razor, the plough, and the bar code are but a sample. His engaging style makes history fun and accessible, and the innovations he chooses to explore are surprising and fascinating.

Witchy kitsch, if not casual witchcraft itself, is more or less mainstream now. Co-authors Jess Zimmerman and Jaya Saxena are well aware of the glut of candles, tarot cards, and other feminist-shrouded spooky accouterment flooding the market. Enter Basic Witches: How to Summon Success, Banish Drama, and Raise Hell with Your Coven. Its tongue-in-cheek title belies the worthwhile advice inside, from “a spell for self-care” to “a collaborative ritual to deepen friendship” and “expelling social toxicity.” Publishers Weekly gave Basic Witches a starred review; it “[encourages] women to reject the pressure to be feminine, clear away hopelessness, and feel sexy in their own bodies…[and to] dismantle the cultural conditioning that trains women to be weak and small.” Light a candle, buy a copy for yourself, and share your spells with the other basic witches in your life.

When Stephen King calls a novel a masterpiece, I pay attention. In addition to accolades from King, Phil Klay and Celeste Ng, My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent is the number one Indie Next List pick for September 2017. It’s a harrowing but beautiful story about a 14-year-old girl named Turtle trapped in an unsustainable, abusive family situation; Turtle’s dad, Martin, keeps her isolated from everyone and everywhere but school. She can roam the forests of northern California solo, but she can’t make friends. It isn’t until Turtle meets a boy named Jacob that she has the motivation and means to escape her home life. My Absolute Darling is a nail-biting page-turner of a novel, impossible to put down.

Other new releases, alphabetized by author:

  • The Perfect Cookie: Your Ultimate Guide to Foolproof Cakes, Brownies and Bars by America’s Test Kitchen (cooking)
  • Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles (self-help)
  • All the Dirty Parts by Daniel Handler (romance)
  • The Burning Girl by Claire Messud (fiction)
  • The Hidden Light of Northern Fires by Daren Wang (historical fiction)
  • The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas (fiction)