15 Must-Read Books for September 2012

Dig in to new novels from Zadie Smith and Michael Chabon, plus a short story collection by Junot Díaz.
Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures

Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures

320 pages; Riverhead Trade
The golden age of Hollywood is vividly imagined in Emma Straub's Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures. Elsa Emerson is just another Hollywood hopeful until she is plucked from the crowd by dashing studio exec Irving Green, who reinvents her as Laura Lamont. But fame, naturally, brings its own set of troubles. While the plot may sound familiar, Straub's brisk pacing and emotionally complex characters keep the story fresh. Laura still grieves for her older sister, Hildy, who died before she could achieve the stardom she craved. Despite her success, Laura is haunted by the belief that Hildy "should have been on the screen, her cheekbones projected, her beauty marks copied." This bewitching novel is ultimately a celebration of those moments when we drop the act and play the hardest role of all: ourselves.
— Pamela Newton