I can’t believe we’re thinking September, and Labor Day, and end of summer already, but here we are. One thing we have to look forward to: spending a long holiday weekend with one of the four books below, chosen by our September group leader, Erin Henry. You may remember Erin, RealSimple.com’s associate producer, who was our discussion leader for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks back in the spring of 2011 (Erin does everything from posting stories on Facebook to working with Deputy Editor Maggie Shi to produce our recipes and other food content). For her sophomore outing, and your consideration, Erin has picked four recent debut novels, whose diverse plots touch on everything from baseball to Marilyn Monroe. Check them out below, then vote for your favorite by 11:59 p.m. ET on August 26.
The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker
One morning, the Earth’s billions of citizens awake to find that the planet has suddenly started to slow its rotation. And while coming to grips with this new global reality, a young California girl has to deal with personal, emotional disasters of her own.
The Empty Glass, by J.I. Baker
Former Real Simple Executive Editor Baker deftly mixes fact and fiction in his buzzed-about debut: a crackling noirish thriller set around the suicide—or is it murder?—of Marilyn Monroe.
The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman
An isolated lighthouse keeper and his wife, heartbroken by her miscarriages, opt to keep secret the fact that the baby they are raising as their own had washed ashore in a rowboat—with the body of a dead man. Stedman’s novel explores the consequences of choices.
The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
Though its main character is a baseball-playing phenom and some of the action takes place on the field, the book itself is only nominally about the sport. At heart, this is a love story of all stripes, and its linchpin is a young shortstop whose loss of faith in his abilities has far-reaching effects.