By: Em Perper

Hide out from a week of autumn rain with one of these books, out September 12.

Curious Iguana owner Marlene has been raving about Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family and an Inexplicable Crime by Ben Blum since Penguin Random House sent us an advanced reader’s copy six months ago. Author Blum’s cousin, Alex, was a 19-year-old due to deploy to Iraq in two weeks when he participated in the armed robbery of a bank in Tacoma, Washington. Why would a popular, patriotic young man agree to participate in criminal activity? In his investigation of Alex’s decision, Blum explores the rigorous and dogmatic re-education aspiring Rangers undergo and profiles Specialist Luke Elliott Sommer, the dangerous, charismatic ringleader of the crime. (Blum has compared Sommer to Donald Trump.) You’ll want to discuss Ranger Games with everyone you know after you finish reading it. (Penguin Random House, $28.95)

Formerly a writer and producer for FOX’s smash hit Empire, Attica Locke’s latest endeavor takes place far from the glitz of the New York City hip-hop scene. Her new novel, Bluebird, Bluebird, is a return to her East Texas roots. Daren Mathews is a black Texas Ranger in a place where some people don’t take kindly to taking orders from people of color. His latest case is a double homicide: a local white woman and a visiting black lawyer have been killed, and Mathews must solve the mystery before racial tensions in the small town of Lark boil over. Kirkus says the story “pulses throughout with a raw, blues-infected lyricism.” Locke herself says Bluebird, Bluebird is her most personal work yet. Don’t miss this slow-burning thriller. (Hachette, $26)

After World War II, the Ertl family flees Germany for Bolivia; patriarch Hans assisted in the creation of Nazi propaganda films and has no desire to be held accountable. The family fractures further in Bolivia; most remarkably, one of Hans’ three daughters, Monika, becomes instrumental in Che Guevara’s Marxist revolution. The Ertls were real people, and author Rodrigo Hasbún has taken the framework of their lives and spun an intriguing alternate history in Affections. In an interview at The White Review, Hasbún explained, “It’s true that I had some solid facts to hold onto, and that I knew I should get them into the story, but other than that it was the same old ambiguity that every new text brings. I was interested in exploring the mundane side of the family, the day-to-day life on which I’d found almost nothing in my research.” You can read an excerpt of Affections at The Guardian; it’s a striking introduction to Monika and her growing dissatisfaction with her conventional marriage to “a man with the same name as your father.” (Simon & Schuster, $23)


  • Magicians Impossible by Brad Abraham
  • Sirius: A Novel About the Little Dog Who Almost Changed History by Jonathan Crown
  • A Column of Fire by Ken Follett
  • Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford
  • The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson
  • Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss
  • Hame by Annalena McAfee
  • The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz
  • Solar Bones by Mike McCormack
  • The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb
  • Lea by Pascal Mercier
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar
  • Worlds from Word’s End by Joanna Walsh
  • The Age of Perpetual Light by Josh Weil


  • Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff
  • 12: Freedom From Your Addictions by Russell Brand
  • Another Fine Mess: Life on Tomorrow’s Moon by Pope Brock
  • Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown
  • The Seven Ups of Happiness by Scott Christopher
  • Something Beautiful Happened: A Story of Survival and Courage in the Face of Evil by Yvette Manessis Corporon
  • The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Stephen Greenblatt
  • Mind Hacking: How to Change Your Mind for Good in 21 Days by John Hargrave
  • The Hacking of the American Mind by Robert H. Lustig
  • The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life by Lauren Markham
  • An Odyssey: A Father, A Son, and an Epic by Daniel Mendelsohn
  • The Happiness Prayer: Ancient Jewish Wisdom for the Best Way to Live Today by Evan Moffic
  • Afterglow (a dog memoir) by Eileen Myles
  • Secret Lives of the First Ladies: Strange Stories and Shocking Trivia from Inside the White House by Cormac O’Brien
  • No Room for Small Dreams by Shimon Peres
  • Finding Magic: A Spiritual Memoir of Power, Politics, and a Little Voodoo by Sally Quinn
  • A Citizen’s Guide to Impeachment by Barbara Radnofsky
  • The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt by Robert J. Sutton
  • Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur