With a change in the season, it’s time for a deep dive to get your mind, body and soul right for the fall weather. Here are some pleasurable reading options.
Taking Care of Biz
Small-business owners have an advocate in Nicole "Nic" Cober. The founder of Soul Day Spa, a former luxuriating destination in D.C., has branched out with a powerful testimony for entrepreneurs, CEO of My Soul: The Self-Love Journey of a Small Business Owner (CJ Publishing, $19.99). Cober gave up a successful career as an attorney to make the leap and take her fate into her own hands by starting a business. What we learn from this whiz is that going on your own doesn't have to be frightening. In fact, it can be freeing.
I Am Not My Hair
Phoebe Robinson has a ball with You Can't Touch My Hair (Plume, $16). The standout stand-up comedian and podcaster for public radio is an insightful social and cultural observer with an uncanny knack for saying what so many of us are thinking. Anyone who follows 2 Dope Queens, Robinson's spot-on series, will enjoy this guided essay tour into the id of one of the most promising nonfiction voices to emerge so far this year.
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I'm showing my age here, but I've been an admirer of children's book icon Jacqueline Woodson for more than two decades. Now, after feeding countless youngsters, the National Book Award–winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming (Penguin Young Readers) has recently released only her second novel for adults. Another Brooklyn (Amistad, $22.99) shows good writing is ageless. In this elegantly crafted page-turner, Woodson returns to 1970—a time of tremendous change, especially for our heroine August, who leads us on quite an emotional odyssey.
Secrets & Lies
The Mothers (Riverhead, $26) arrives with a great deal of fanfare. Its author, 25-year-old Brit Bennett, became an Internet cause célèbre after penning the essay "I Don't Know What to Do With Good White People" for Jezebel. Bennett proves she can back up the buzz. And she delivers a helluva plot. Set in a close-knit Southern California community, The Mothers revolves around three intriguing characters who are bound and ultimately unglued by a devastating secret. Bennett's hypnotic writing hooks you from the very beginning and never lets you go in this spine-tingling study of destiny.
Is there anything that Colson Whitehead can't do in fiction? The MacArthur "genius" award winner tackles The Underground Railroad (Doubleday, $26.95) with startling results. In his reimagining of the elaborate system that ushered enslaved folks to freedom, we meet Cora, a teenager who goes on a perilous trek trying to escape from a brutal Georgia plantation in 1850. Every step of the way, Cora meets horrific and sometimes humane aspects of the American character. The Underground Railroad will haunt you for days, as it should, in a good way.