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All the Books, Films, Shows and Music We’ll Always Associate With the Pandemic
We’ve had a lot of time on our hands over the last year. With restaurants closed, gatherings with friends and loved ones unadvisable, travel discouraged, and live performances nonexistent — especially during the first months of the pandemic — certain types of pop culture, like books, albums and TV shows, have been some of the only ways to escape reality and entertain ourselves.
There are titles that we won’t be able to disassociate from the first time we consumed them amid pandemic times.
Some of the Best TV Shows We Binged During the Pandemic
Hulu’s Normal People was released right on time at the end of April of last year to help us kill time and to serve as a form of binge-able therapy. Connell and Marianne’s on-and-off relationship not only made us ugly cry , it also reminded us about the fragility and complexity of love.
Lovecraft Country , a timely supernatural horror set in the 1950s, came to HBO in the late summer to remind us of the horrors of sundown towns, segregated buses and separate entrances for Black people. Along with that terror, it also packed all the ingredients of an adventure thriller.
In October we chose to be very interested in chess — but mainly ’60s and ’70s fashion — thanks to Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit . And then we went back to the comforts of Mando having to successfully solve one mission by the end of every episode of The Mandalorian . Needless to say, The Child’s cuteness very much helped to soothe our souls too.
In November, Kaley Cuoco proved she’s much more than just Penny from The Big Bang Theory by starring in and producing HBO’s The Flight Attendant . And thanks to this whodunnit and hilarious international thriller we got to go from New York to Bangkok and then Rome without leaving the comfort — and safety — of our homes.
And in December we simply swooned away with delight at Bridgerton .
We started the new year with Netflix’s thriller Lupin about a gentleman thief obsessed with the literary character Arsène Lupin. The fact that the show is set in Paris and that it stars the charismatic actor Omar Sy surely helped make this French show an international success. 2021 also brought Marvel’s delightful lesson in television creativity, WandaVision .
The Movies We Mostly Saw From Home
For a few months at the beginning of the pandemic, there wasn’t that much to watch in terms of new movies. So you had to make do with renting some of the early releases of the year if you hadn’t had the chance to watch them in a theater. The Invisible Man , Emma. , Birds of Prey and Onward made for perfect at-home viewing, as did the obligatory rewatch of Contagion (2011), of course. Steven Soderbergh’s movie about a global pandemic, which has a lot of things in common with COVID-19, had already hit the top 10 charts on iTunes by the end of January 2020.
The closure of theaters worldwide prompted an ever-changing movie calendar release that hasn’t completely stabilized yet. Other than renting previously released movies, we could also count on Netflix for some new movies at home. The streamer released the action-packed Extraction starring Chris Hemsworth in April. May was the occasion for the contemporary romantic comedy The Lovebirds . In June, it was time for Spike Lee’s 156-minute long movie about a group of Vietnam War veterans, Da 5 Bloods . And in July, Charlize Theron and Kiki Layne proved how to kick ass in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s action-adventure film The Old Guard .
By July other platforms warmed to the idea of opening movies directly on streaming. And we were gifted with the possibility of watching the Broadway hit Hamilton on Disney+ from a very unique vantage point. Disney+ would also offer up the live-action version of Mulan in September.
It was also in early September that Christopher Nolan’s Tenet tried to single-handedly bring back the moviegoing experience. The film opened exclusively in theaters, making it impossible for most viewers to watch it. The John David Washington vehicle would end up topping the pandemic box office .
October brought Amazon’s Borat Subsequent Moviefilm . The Sacha Baron Cohen sequel would become an instant headline-grabber due to the inclusion of a very compromising sequence with New York’s former mayor Rudy Giuliani .
Christmas Day brought two big releases similar to what we’d normally watch at the megaplex: Pixar’s animated movie Soul and the superhero sequel Wonder Woman 1984 .
The pandemic also meant that most of the Oscar-bait movies of the year — Nomadland , Minari , Promising Young Woman , The Father , The Trial of the Chicago 7 , One Night in Miami , Mank , Judas and the Black Messiah — were easier to access from home.
Documentaries and Interviews That Shaped Our Pandemic Viewing
When it comes to non-fiction viewing, the early days of the pandemic were very much defined by the Netflix true-crime miniseries Tiger King , released on March 20, 2020. Things didn’t necessarily get less bizarre after that.
In September we obsessed over filmmaker Craig Foster’s fixation with an octopus in the documentary My Octopus Teacher . And then we learned about the prevalence of voter suppression with Stacey Abram’s documentary All In: The Fight for Democracy .
The arrival of the new year made us reevaluate Britney Spears in a very different light. With Framing Britney Spears we gained some knowledge about the concept of conservatorship and met some of the pop singer’s fans who are leading the #FreeBritney movement.
And March 2021 was the month to simply devour all 86 minutes of Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special and learn from the best — Oprah Winfrey — about how to conduct an incisive and flawless interview and become a meme sensation all at once.
The Music We Couldn’t Stop Listening to
The Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny got the top spot on Spotify’s 2020 list as the most-streamed artist of the year. His work YHLQMDLG was also last year’s most-streamed album on Spotify. But it was the song “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd that got the most listens. The theme has been played more than 2 billion times on Spotify. And we still don’t seem to be tired of it.
The pandemic also made us move to the pop and disco sounds of Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia . Even if we’ve been mainly dancing to “Don’t Start Now” and “Break My Heart” at home.
Less dancing inducing but equally definitive of pandemic times is Taylor Swift’s folklore . Her themes “cardigan” and “exile” — which Swift sings with Bon Iver — will make you want to grab the chunkiest, coziest sweater in your closet, put it on and lay by the fireplace while nursing a generous glass of red wine.
And we couldn’t leave out Paul McCartney’s McCartney III , which we’ll always associate with our time sheltering at home . Most of us have been too overwhelmed with the health crisis, lack of socialization, economic crisis, political divide and racial reckoning to do anything else. The former Beatle managed to record this solo album, where he sings and plays all the instruments, while in lockdown in England.
The Books We Had All the Time to Read During the Pandemic
Fortunately, there was also time for some reading. You know, the ultimate socially distanced activity.
Among Amazon’s fiction best-sellers in 2020 were Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere and Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half . The popularity of Ng’s book, initially published in 2017, is linked doubtlessly to Hulu’s captivating miniseries, which stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. Bennett’s historical novel, on the other hand, was also chosen as the best Historical Fiction book of 2020 by the users of Goodreads . Another favorite among Goodreads readers was Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic , which won in the Best Horror category.
On the non-fiction side of literature, lots of readers sought the words of the activist and Boston University professor Ibram X. Kendi. His book, How to Be an Antiracist , became an educational manual for many after the Black Lives Matter protests resurged in the United States in the aftermath of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in the spring of 2020.
We also bought, read and enjoyed all 768 pages of A Promised Land , the first volume of Barack Obama’s presidential memoirs.
But tell us, what did we miss that you will always associate with memories of these bizarre pandemic times?
MORE FROM ASK.COM
Here Are the 8 New Books You Should Read in October
T he best new books arriving this month dive deep into a range of topics, from a wrenching portrait of homelessness and poverty in America to the dissection of a marriage and its eventual unraveling. October welcomes the return of best-selling novelist Amor Towles as well as a posthumous book from British spy master John le Carré . Between thought-provoking nonfiction, thrilling examinations of fictional relationships and more, there’s something for everyone this month. Here, the best new books to read this October.
Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City , Andrea Elliott (Oct. 5)
14 New Books Coming in October
Novels from Jonathan Franzen, Amor Towles and Tiphanie Yanique; histories of Black cinema and music in America; and plenty more.
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By Joumana Khatib
‘ All of the Marvels: A Journey to the Ends of the Biggest Story Ever Told ,’ by Douglas Wolk (Penguin Press, Oct. 12)
Though the Marvel universe encompasses galaxies (not to mention half a million pages), that didn’t stop Wolk from reading all 27,000+ comics that comprise the universe. His new book looks at how its principal characters — the Avengers, Spider-Man, the X-Men — have left their mark on American culture, and what the enduring popularity of Marvel says about us.
Read our review
‘ A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries (2003-2020) ,’ by David Sedaris (Little, Brown, Oct. 5)
In this companion to “ Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002), ” Sedaris mines his old journals for overheard jokes, observations about bureaucratic exchanges and baffling encounters. (At one point he realizes that entries about mice would make for “an edge-of-your-seat thriller for cats.”) Readers feel the passage of time through his own experiences — watching his agent slide into dementia, grieving after his sister’s death — and larger events, like Brexit, the invasion of Iraq and the election of Donald Trump.
‘ Colorization: One Hundred Years of Black Films in a White World ,’ by Wil Haygood (Knopf, Oct. 19)
Touching on everything from Blaxploitation to “Black Panther,” this new history uses film as a way explore Black culture. The book opens with “The Birth of a Nation” — “the movie that started it all,” a caption notes — and dives into the lives of prominent Black filmmakers and actors, including Spike Lee, Halle Berry, Sidney Poitier and Ava DuVernay.
‘ Crossroads ,’ by Jonathan Franzen (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Oct. 5)
The first installment in a promised trilogy, this book unfolds in the Chicago suburbs in the 1970s. The Hildebrandts are headed up by Russ, a pastor, and Marion, his wife, whose plain and unassuming affect conceals plenty of secrets. Over the course of the novel, the family members question their faith, authenticity and values — a college-age son volunteers to fight in Vietnam, a strait-laced teenage daughter experiments with drugs. Our critic wrote that the novel is Franzen’s warmest yet, “wider in its human sympathies, weightier of image and intellect.”
‘ Fight Night ,’ by Miriam Toews (Bloomsbury, Oct. 5)
Three generations of a family are shadowed by the specter of mental illness and a strict religious community in this story of mothers and daughters. Composed of unsent letters, the novel centers on the relationship between 9-year-old Swiv and her fierce grandmother, Elvira, who encourages her to fight for her own survival and pursuit of independence and joy.
‘ Going There ,’ by Katie Couric (Little, Brown, Oct. 26)
For decades, Couric has been one of the most visible journalists in the United States. But the exposure doesn’t necessarily mean readers really know her: “Television can put you in a box; the flat-screen can flatten,” she says. “It is not the whole story, and it is not the whole me. This book is.” Along the way, she touches on career milestones (and the sexism she faced), the aftermath of her husband’s early death from cancer and her working relationship with Matt Lauer.
‘ Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival and Hope in an American City ,’ by Andrea Elliott (Random House, Oct. 5)
In 2013, Elliott introduced readers to Dasani, an 11-year-old girl living in a New York City homeless shelter. This book , which juxtaposes eight years in Dasani’s life against the story of her family’s journey north during the Great Migration, offers a powerful view of poverty and economic inequality.
Read our review | Listen to Elliott on the Book Review podcast
‘ The Lincoln Highway ,’ by Amor Towles (Viking, Oct. 5)
In his third novel, Towles, the author of the best-selling “ A Gentleman in Moscow, ” follows a teenager on a cross-country journey. Emmett, who has just been driven home to Nebraska by a warden at the juvenile work farm where he’s served time, plans to scoop up his younger brother and head west. But when he realizes two of his former bunkmates from the farm have stowed away in the trunk of the warden’s car, his life takes a different turn.
Read our review | Read an excerpt
‘ Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres ,’ by Kelefa Sanneh (Penguin Press, Oct. 5)
Sanneh, a New Yorker writer and former pop music critic for The Times, distills the past 50 years by zeroing in on several significant genres: rock, R&B, country, punk, hip-hop, dance music and pop. He calls this a “tribal” book, asserting the importance of labels to understanding music’s cultural role. The persistence of genres, he writes, “has shaped the way music is made and also the way we hear it.”
Read our profile of Sanneh | Read our review
‘ Monster in the Middle ,’ by Tiphanie Yanique (Riverhead, Oct. 19)
To understand Fly and Stela’s romance — and the baggage they’ve each brought to it — this novel delves into their secret-laced family histories, looking at their parents’ lives and own comings-of-age, leaping from Ghana to the Virgin Islands to 21st-century New York.
‘ My Monticello: Fiction ,’ by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson (Henry Holt, Oct. 5)
A debut collection follows Black characters confronting the legacy of racism — while reminding readers that white supremacy is still part of American culture. The title novella is set in the dystopian near future, as a descendant of Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson leads a group of Black and brown people under threat from white militias to seek refuge in the Monticello plantation.
‘ Oh William! ’ by Elizabeth Strout (Random House, Oct. 19)
Readers of Strout’s earlier fiction, including “ My Name Is Lucy Barton ” and the Pulitzer Prize-winning “ Olive Kitteridge, ” will recognize characters and places in her latest novel. Lucy, who narrates, recounts what happens when her ex-husband, William, asks her to help him investigate a family secret.
‘ Silverview ,’ by John le Carré (Viking, Oct. 12)
Sixty years ago, le Carré published his first novel, upending the spy novel genre. Now, 10 months after his death, comes his last, a story of a bookseller on the English coast who’s swept up in a broader espionage mystery. “The book is fraught, forensic, lyrical and fierce, at long last searching the soul of the modern Secret Intelligence Service itself,” le Carré’s youngest son, Nick Cornwell, said. “It’s a superb and fitting final novel.”
‘ State of Terror ,’ by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny (Simon & Schuster/St. Martin’s Press, Oct. 12)
After joining the cabinet of a former political rival, Secretary of State Ellen Adams has inherited the challenge of repairing the country’s image abroad after years of faltering diplomacy. But she soon has a more pressing problem: A new terrorist organization targets the global order.
Explore More in Books
Want to know about the best books to read and the latest news start here..
The political artist Edel Rodriguez drew some of the most provocative images of the Trump presidency. His new graphic memoir skewers the powerful once more .
Barbra Streisand’s 970-page memoir, “My Name is Barbra,” is a victory lap past all who ever doubted or diminished her, our critic writes .
Rebecca Yarros drew on her experience with chronic illness and life in a military family to write “Fourth Wing,” a huge best seller that spawned a spicy fantasy series .
Do you want to be a better reader? Here’s some helpful advice to show you how to get the most out of your literary endeavor .
Each week, top authors and critics join the Book Review’s podcast to talk about the latest news in the literary world. Listen here .
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Book News & Features
October book-ahead: what we're excited to read next month.
Meghan Collins Sullivan
October has plans to bring us some new works from established authors — and some attention-grabbing books from new ones, proving to be packed full of great reads. Here are some of the books we're excited about that are hitting shelves in October.
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness
"At first I feared I'd picked up I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness for the wrong reasons — namely, loving Claire Vaye Watkins ' dystopian near-future in Gold Fame Citrus when this is more contemporary (if surreal!) autofiction," says our critic Natalie Zutter. "But Watkins exposes just how dystopian modern motherhood is, and this novel winds up being a triumphant bookend to her viral essay 'On Pandering.'"
Critic Heller McAlpin says: "Some sequels are irresistible — particularly those with great characters like Elizabeth Strout 's Olive Kitteridge and Lucy Barton. Oh William! is Strout's third novel about Lucy, who's overcome an egregiously deprived childhood to become a successful writer. The titular William — who elicits concern and exasperation in equal measure — is Lucy's first husband, the father of her children, with whom she's remained friendly over the years. Not long after losing her second husband, Lucy is pulled in to help William, who's going through a rough patch of his own. She is repeatedly reminded that everyone is a mystery we can't fully understand."
Our critic Kristen Martin writes: "In 2016, Anne Elizabeth Moore won a "free" bungalow in Detroit's Banglatown from an arts organization that claimed it had been abandoned for years. Told in a series of darkly comic vignettes, Gentrifier grapples with life as a queer white woman in a Bangladeshi neighborhood in a Black city "shaped" by "corporate greed," where a quarter of residents lose their homes to property tax foreclosure, and where municipal services cannot be relied upon to function. While Gentrifier is an investigation of the costs—monetary, psychological, ethical—of Moore's free house, it's also an ode to community and neighbors, especially the girls on her street."
According to critic Thúy Đinh, Victoria Chang 's Dear Memory represents a groundbreaking work blending mementos, epistolary form, poetry, and literary criticism to pose a profound question, "Can memory be/unhoused, or is it/ the form in which/everything is held?" She says Chang's innovative process showing us how the poet's deconstructing effort to "put language at risk," "write into and toward ambiguity," and expose the "homicidal tendency" of memory, in fact embodies ways of shaping narrative out of erasure, or "making birds out of silence."
I'll Take Your Questions Now
"The image of a White House press secretary standing at a lectern being peppered with questions from the reporters is a standard trope in pop culture," says NPR White House reporter Ayesha Rascoe. "The press secretary is usually the one of the most visible officials in the White House — a stand-in for the president. But, what happens when that mouthpiece is silent? Stephanie Grisham , a former top spokesperson for then President Trump, notoriously never publicly briefed the press corps. Now that she's breaking her silence with a book, the political world is waiting to see what the estranged Trump insider has to say."
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October 2021 Book Releases Perfect for Fall
Wondering what to read now? Here are all the hot new October 2021 book releases for you. I’ll let you know what I’ve read, what I can’t wait to read, and what’s getting all the attention this month.
In case you’re new to Booklist Queen, every month I cover all the hottest new book releases. I try to read as many new book releases as I can to give you an honest perspective on what to read and what to skip.
However, I realize that my to-read list might not exactly match yours. That’s why, this year, I’ve decided to also include some of the most popular October 2021 book releases from your favorite authors.
Enough from me. Let’s get on to the October 2021 book releases so you can fill up your to-read list.
Don’t Miss a Thing
Top October 2021 Book Releases
The Lincoln Highway
Read with Jenna Book Club Pick . After spending a year at a prison work farm for involuntary manslaughter, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson returns to his Nebraska hometown. With his mother gone and his father recently deceased, Emmett plans to pick up his eight-year-old brother and head West. But his plans are derailed when two friends from the work farm suddenly appear with a scheme of their own.
Publication Date: 5 October 2021 Amazon | Goodreads | More Info
We Are Not Like Them
Christine pride and jo piazza.
Told from alternating perspectives, We Are Not Like Them tells of a friendship between two women, one white and one Black, that faces its ultimate test. Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten but their lives have taken different directions lately – Jen pregnant with her first baby and Riley the first Black woman anchor at the local Philadelphia station. When Jen’s husband, a police officer, is part of a shooting of an unarmed Black teenager, Riley is assigned to cover the career-making story.
State of Terror
Hillary rodham clinton and louise penny.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton teams up with acclaimed mystery novelist Louise Penny in one of the most-anticipated best new thriller books of Fall 2021. Years of American withdrawal from the world stage have left a power vacuum that its enemies have been more than happy to fill. After a series of terrorist attacks, novice Secretary of State Ellen Adams, under the administration of her rival, must unravel a deadly global conspiracy.
Publication Date: 12 October 2021 Amazon | Goodreads | More Info
On a snowy Chicago day in December 1971, a family is at a crossroads as the parents contemplate divorce and each family member craves freedom that is threatened by the others. Russ and Marion Hildebrandt are tired of their joyless marriage and desperate to leave. As their children return home for Christmas – Clem, the college student full of moral absolutism; Becky, the homecoming queen turned counterculture hippie; and Perry, the drug-dealing high schooler sworn to be better – the complications of their interactions are told in a way only Jonathan Franzen can.
Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World
Benjamin alire sáenz.
In Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe , two boys fell in love in a border town. Now in the long-awaited sequel, Ari and Dante are in their senior year. Being with Dante has pushed Ari to make new friends and stand up to bullies. But a loss will force Ari to fight for the life he truly wants even if the world around him doesn’t understand.
Save for Later
Book of the Month – October 2021
Receiving my blue box from Book of the Month Club is a highlight of every month.
Here’s how it works – each month, they pick 5 books and you get to choose one book or skip until the next month. If you want to add any extra books, then you get them at a discounted price.
Each month is usually a mix of new releases and advance copies of unreleased books. If you are interested in joining, right now you can use my Book of the Month Club affiliate link to get your first book for $5 !
The October Book of the Month selections are:
See the Complete List of Upcoming Releases !
Oprah Winfrey’s October 2021 Book Club Pick
Richard Powers, the author of the bestseller The Overstory , contemplates the world we are leaving for our children in his newest book release. As widowed astrobiologist Theo Byrne searches for life on other planets, he struggles with raising his nine-year son. Sweet nature-loving Robin is on the verge of being expelled from third grade. Robin’s teachers and doctors tell Theo that Robin needs drugs to help him be normal, but Theo refuses, leaning on the love of the natural world to help Robin cope.
Publication Date: 21 September 2021 Amazon | Goodreads | More Info
Reese Witherspoon October Book Club
Feeling lost in her 40s, Anna feels lost now that her daughter is grown up and her mother is dead. Going through her mother’s things, Anna finds some clues to the identity of her African father she never knew. Surprisingly, Anna discovers he became the leader (or dictator, depending on whom you talk to) of a small African country and is still alive today.
Exciting New October 2021 Book Releases
In the conclusion of her bestselling Tattooist of Auschwitz trilogy, Heather Morris tells the true story of three Slovakian sisters who promised to stay together, no matter what. When fifteen-year-old Livia is sent to Auschwitz, her oldest sister Cibi volunteers to join her to protect her. Later, Magda is also sent to Auschwitz, where they fight to survive the unbearable horrors and eventually move to Israel hoping to find freedom.
The Judge’s List
After taking on a criminal syndicate that was paying off a federal judge in The Whistler , Florida Board of Judicial Conduct investigator Lacy Stoltz returns in Grisham’s latest thriller. In her latest case, the crimes are even worse than before. Instead of taking bribes, a corrupt judge is taking lives with his own hit list.
Publication Date: 19 October 2021 Amazon | Goodreads | More Info
In the third book of the Amgash series, writer Lucy Barton returns in this in-depth look at the mysteries of marriage. Although they’ve been divorced for years, Lucy and her ex-husband William have remained close. He’s always been a closed book to her, so she is surprised when he asks her to join him on a trip to explore a recently uncovered family secret that changes how they view those closest to them.
Last Girl Ghosted
Wren met Adam on a dating app. But what starts as a quick hook-up quickly turns to something more. Which is why Wren is shocked when Adam ghosts her. As Wren investigates, she learns that she is not the only woman Adam has ghosted. The more she digs the more obsessive she becomes, blurring the lines between predator and prey.
After serving a prison sentence for a cruel crime, Nadja Kulka wants nothing more than a quiet, ordinary life. When Laura, Nadja’s friend and the wife of her boss, kills her lover, Nadja finds herself dragged into covering it up. As the plan to bury the body in the woods falls apart, Nadja realizes she has unwittingly set herself up as the perfect scapegoat for the murder.
After loving the uber-creepy Dear Child last fall, I was ecstatic to read Hausmann’s latest. I shouldn’t have been because it was the most confusing book I read all year. Nadja’s story is interspersed with a past timeline of a man having an affair and letters from an unknown sender. It took about 100 pages for the stories to make even an ounce of sense, but by then I was completely put off. It pains me to say it, but avoid avoid avoid is my advice.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Flatiron Books. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
My Rating: DNF Publication Date: 5 October 2021 Amazon | Goodreads | More Info
Once Upon a Wardrobe
When her terminally ill brother asks her to find out where Narnia come from, Megs Devonshire, a mathematics student, strikes up a friendship with author C. S. Lewis. All she wants is a straight answer, but instead, he tells her tales of his life, stories that teach her to move beyond logic and begin to hope.
Patti Callahan was smart to write about C. S. Lewis’s life in vignettes, hitting the interesting details and using the story of Megs and her brother George to carry the reader’s interest. The story lacked depth, never rising above sweet, with little character development and plenty of clichés. Ideal for a nice cozy read that is enjoyable without being too emotional.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harper Muse. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
These Silent Woods
Kimi cunningham grant.
Ever since she was a baby, eight-year-old Finch and her father Cooper have lived in isolation in the remote Appalachian mountains. Cooper is in hiding from his past, and other than a mysterious neighbor, their only visitor is Jacob, who brings them supplies once a year. When Jacob fails to show, Cooper must break their isolation, with disastrous results.
Almost nothing actually happens in the glacially slow plot of These Silent Woods . Although the mystery has a bit of suspense, it takes over half of the book for the action to even begin. With a religious spin and endless descriptions of nature, the book is definitely more contemporary fiction than thriller.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Thursday is the New Friday
I am a sucker for any and all business and productivity books , so I was intrigued by Joe Sanok’s promise to help you create the schedule you want. Constant hustling will just lead to burnout, and Sanok is dead on that you need to combine rest and slow down with focused sprints to be your most productive and happier.
Unfortunately, Sanok is a terrible storyteller, miserably failing to connect his personal anecdotes into larger concepts and completely lacking in transitions between anything – topics, chapters, even paragraphs. The occasional pieces of decent advice are obscured by boring scientific statements, pointless tangents, and cliché personality tests. Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from HarperCollins Leadership through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Popular October Upcoming Releases
What October 2021 Book Releases are You Most Excited to Read?
What books can you not wait to get your hands on this month? Did I miss any October 2021 book releases that you are anticipating? As always, let me know in the comments!
More New Book Releases:
- Can’t Miss September 2021 Book Releases
- The Hottest November & December 2021 Book Releases
- Book of the Month October 2021 Selections
- The Best Books of 2021
- The Best New Thrillers Books
October 5, 2021 at 11:43 am
Just placed my BOTM order for The Lincoln Highway and Sankofa!
Will try and squeeze in a book before those arrive.
I have a copy of The Secret History I got last month & currently reading Forever Young, by Hayley Mills! I just love her & so far the book is great I love her cheeky sense of humor. So cool reading her story!
October 5, 2021 at 11:48 am
Well shoot! I hit “go” by accident, so I’ll post again??
I just placed my order with BOTM for The Lincoln Highway (ReadwithJenna’s pick) and Sankofa (Reese’s pick).
I think the Reese’s readers were hoping for a Witchy read for October.
My local library did not have Sankofa, so was glad I was able to get that as my add on.
Will try & read a book before those arrive. I have The Secret History from last month.
Currently reading Forever Young. This is Hayley Mills bio y’all! I am such a fan and so far the book is so good.
October 5, 2021 at 1:01 pm
I am anxiously awaiting Broken Pots by Heather Tucker. I read Clay Girl and it was super good!
October 5, 2021 at 4:24 pm
Looking forward to The Judge’s List and The Lincoln Highway. Just finished Project Hail Mary and currently reading Apples Never Fall. So many books, so little time!!
Beyond the Bookends
A Book Blog for Women and Moms who Love to Read
67 Fall 2021 New Book Releases to Read Now
It’s time to look at the Fall 2021 New Book Releases!
New Book Releases are the best part of a given month but did you know there is more of a process to new book releases than just picking a random date?
If you were to check out each of the dates below, you would release they are Tuesdays. Why? Because almost all new books come out on Tuesdays.
Yep, Every Tuesday is its own little party in the publishing world. It’s known as #pubday and if you follow us on Instagram , you will see that we celebrate the books we have already read on their publication day.
While most Tuesdays are a flurry of activity, towards the end of the year (Q4) the releases start to slow down.
Table of Contents
Fall 2021 New Book Release Highlights
Publishing knows that holiday shopping starts towards the end of October so most of the major new releases will be out before Black Friday. You’ll notice the last truly robust publishing day on this list is Nov 9.
Jodi Picoult, Ann Pachett, and Diana Gabaldon have releases later in November, but with a built in fanbase, they are sure things and safer bets for easy sales.
Covid 19 also threw off the supply chain, so we are seeing books that were scheduled to come out earlier in the year pushed back a bit more. Minimalista, a book I preorder had to move it’s release date back 3 weeks, while Ryan’s Wick debut got moved back to December from it’s original summer release in AUGUST 2020! CRAZY.
December is a notoriously slow month for publishing because they don’t want their hottest new titles to get lost in the holiday shuffle, so they often hold books back to be released in the first quarter of the new year.
All that is to say, that the list below is slimmer than previous quarters, as it is every year. You can look through the robust Summer 2021 new book releases list to see a comparison.
There are still PLENTY of exciting new books coming out in the final quarter of the year, so grab your notebook and start writing down all the Fall 2021 new book releases you are hoping to get before 2021 ends.
Looking for more new releases? Head to this post for adult and kid new releases divided by season!
October – Fall 2021 New Book Releases
Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen
Jonathan Franzen’s gift for wedding depth and vividness of character with breadth of social vision has never been more dazzlingly evident than in Crossroads .
It’s December 23, 1971, and heavy weather is forecast for Chicago. Russ Hildebrandt, the associate pastor of a liberal suburban church, is on the brink of breaking free of a marriage he finds joyless—unless his wife, Marion, who has her own secret life, beats him to it. Their eldest child, Clem, is coming home from college on fire with moral absolutism, having taken an action that will shatter his father. Clem’s sister, Becky, long the social queen of her high-school class, has sharply veered into the counterculture, while their brilliant younger brother Perry, who’s been selling drugs to seventh graders, has resolved to be a better person. Each of the Hildebrandts seeks a freedom that each of the others threatens to complicate. More…
The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman
The Owens family has been cursed in matters of love for over three-hundred years but all of that is about to change. The novel begins in a library, the best place for a story to be conjured, when beloved aunt Jet Owens hears the deathwatch beetle and knows she has only seven days to live. Jet is not the only one in danger—the curse is already at work.
A frantic attempt to save a young man’s life spurs three generations of the Owens women, and one long-lost brother, to use their unusual gifts to break the curse as they travel from Paris to London to the English countryside where their ancestor Maria Owens first practiced the Unnamed Art. The younger generation discovers secrets that have been hidden from them in matters of both magic and love by Sally, their fiercely protective mother. More…
The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley
In the autumn of 1707, old enemies from the Highlands to the Borders are finding common ground as they join to protest the new Union with England. At the same time, the French are preparing to launch an invasion to bring the young exiled Jacobite king back to Scotland to reclaim his throne, and in Edinburgh the streets are filled with discontent and danger.
Queen Anne’s commissioners, seeking to calm the situation, have begun paying out money sent up from London to settle the losses and wages owed to those Scots who took part in the disastrous Darien expedition eight years earlier—an ill-fated venture that left Scotland all but bankrupt.
When the young widow of a Darien sailor comes forward to collect her husband’s wages, her claim is challenged. One of the men assigned to investigate has only days to decide if she’s honest, or if his own feelings are blinding him to the truth.
Her Honor: My Life on the Bench by LaDoris Hazzard Cordell
Judge Cordell, the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California, knows firsthand how prejudice has permeated our legal system. And yet, she believes in the system. From ending school segregation to legalizing same-sex marriage, its progress relies on legal professionals and jurors who strive to make the imperfect system as fair as possible.
Her Honor is an entertaining and provocative look into the hearts and minds of judges. Cordell takes you into her chambers where she haggles with prosecutors and defense attorneys and into the courtroom during jury selection and sentencing hearings. She uses real cases to highlight how judges make difficult decisions, all the while facing outside pressures from the media, law enforcement, lobbyists, and the friends and families of the people involved. More…
The Lincoln Highway: A Novel by Amor Towels
In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served fifteen months for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother, Billy, and head to California where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future, one that will take them all on a fateful journey in the opposite direction—to the City of New York.
Spanning just ten days and told from multiple points of view, Towles’s third novel will satisfy fans of his multi-layered literary styling while providing them an array of new and richly imagined settings, characters, and themes
The Ballad of Laurel Springs by Janet Beard
From the internationally bestselling author of The Atomic City Girls , a provocative new novel about multiple generations of women in one East Tennessee family haunted by violence and redeemed by their rich inheritance of folk music.
Ten-year-old Grace is in search of a subject for her fifth-grade history project when she learns that her four times-great grandfather once stabbed his lover to death. His grisly act was memorialized in a murder ballad, her aunt tells her, so it must be true. But the lessons of that revelation—to be careful of men, and desire—are not just Grace’s to learn. Her family’s tangled past is part of a dark legacy in which the lives of generations of women are affected by the violence immortalized in folksongs like “Knoxville Girl” and “Pretty Polly” reminding them always to know their place—or risk the wages of sin. More…
Last Girl Ghosted by Lisa Unger
Think twice before you swipe. She met him through a dating app. An intriguing picture on a screen, a date at a downtown bar. What she thought might be just a quick hookup quickly became much more. She fell for him—hard. It happens sometimes, a powerful connection with a perfect stranger takes you by surprise. Could it be love? But then, just as things were getting real, he stood her up. Then he disappeared—profiles deleted, phone disconnected. She was ghosted. Maybe it was her fault. She shared too much, too fast. But isn’t that always what women think—that they’re the ones to blame? Soon she learns there were others. Girls who thought they were in love. Girls who later went missing. She had been looking for a connection, but now she’s looking for answers. Chasing a digital trail into his dark past—and hers—she finds herself on a dangerous hunt. And she’s not sure whether she’s the predator—or the prey.
Three Sisters by Heather Morris
Against all odds, three Slovakian sisters have survived years of imprisonment in the most notorious death camp in Nazi Germany: Auschwitz. Livia, Magda, and Cibi have clung together, nearly died from starvation and overwork, and the brutal whims of the guards in this place of horror. But now, the allies are closing in and the sisters have one last hurdle to face: the death march from Auschwitz, as the Nazis try to erase any evidence of the prisoners held there. Due to a last minute stroke of luck, the three of them are able to escape formation and hide in the woods for days before being rescued. More…
Matrix by Laura Goff
One of our best American writers, Lauren Groff returns with her exhilarating first new novel since the groundbreaking Fates and Furies . Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, deemed too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, seventeen-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease.
At first taken aback by the severity of her new life, Marie finds focus and love in collective life with her singular and mercurial sisters. In this crucible, Marie steadily supplants her desire for family, for her homeland, for the passions of her youth with something new to her: devotion to her sisters, and a conviction in her own divine visions. More…
Spindle Splintered by Alex E. Harrow
USA Today bestselling author Alix E. Harrow’s A Spindle Splintered brings her patented charm to a new version of a classic story. Featuring Arthur Rackham’s original illustrations for The Sleeping Beauty , fractured and reimagined.
“A vivid, subversive and feminist reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, where implacable destiny is no match for courage, sisterhood, stubbornness and a good working knowledge of fairy tales.” —Katherine Arden
It’s Zinnia Gray’s twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it’s the last birthday she’ll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no-one has lived past twenty-one. More…
The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox
A feel-good, holiday-themed romantic comedy about identical twins who switch lives in the days leading up to Christmas–perfect for fans of Christina Lauren’s In a Holidaze and Josie Silver’s One Day in December . All they want for Christmas is a different life. When chef Charlie Goodwin gets hit on the head on the L.A. set of her reality baking show, she loses a lot more than consciousness; she also loses her ability to taste and smell–both critical to her success as show judge. Meanwhile, Charlie’s identical twin, Cass, is frantically trying to hold her own life together back in their quaint mountain hometown while running the family’s bustling bakery and dealing with her ex, who won’t get the memo that they’re over. More…
The Lighthouse Witches by C.J Cooke
Two sisters go missing on a remote Scottish island. Twenty years later, one is found–but she’s still the same age as when she disappeared. The secrets of witches have reached across the centuries in this chilling Gothic thriller from the author of the acclaimed The Nesting .
When single mother Liv is commissioned to paint a mural in a 100-year-old lighthouse on a remote Scottish island, it’s an opportunity to start over with her three daughters–Luna, Sapphire, and Clover. When two of her daughters go missing, she’s frantic. She learns that the cave beneath the lighthouse was once a prison for women accused of witchcraft. The locals warn her about wildlings, supernatural beings who mimic human children, created by witches for revenge. Liv is told wildlings are dangerous and must be killed.
Final Table by Dan Schorr
A political thriller about sexual misconduct in the #MeToo era, one victim’s battle to survive and overcome trauma, and the cable news machine that feeds off titillating scandal coverage and inflammatory confrontation, Final Table draws upon Dan Schorr’s firsthand experience as a New York City sex crimes prosecutor and sexual misconduct investigator to tackle the worlds of political and media dysfunction. More…
I Love You But I have Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins
Since my baby was born, I have been able to laugh and see the funny side of things. a) As much as I ever did. b) Not quite as much now. c) Not so much now. d) Not at all. Leaving behind her husband and their baby daughter, a writer gets on a flight for a speaking engagement in Reno, not carrying much besides a breast pump and a spiraling case of postpartum depression. Her temporary escape from domestic duties and an opportunity to reconnect with old friends mutates into an extended romp away from the confines of marriage and motherhood, and a seemingly bottomless descent into the past. More…
Christmas by the Book by Anne Marie Ryan
In small-town England, two booksellers facing tough times decide to spread some Christmas cheer through the magic of anonymous book deliveries in this uplifting holiday tale for book lovers everywhere.
Nora and her husband, Simon, have run the beautiful oak-beamed book shop in their small British village for thirty years. But times are tough and the shop is under threat of closure–this Christmas season will really decide their fate. When an elderly man visits the store and buys the one book they’ve never been able to sell, saying it’s the perfect gift for his sick grandson, it gives Nora an idea. She and Simon will send out books to those feeling down this Christmas. Maybe they can’t save their bookstore, but at least they’ll have one final chance to lift people’s spirits through the power of reading. More…
Always, In December by Emily Stone
Every December, Josie posts a letter from her home in London to the parents she lost on Christmas night many years ago. Each year, she writes the same three words: Missing you, always. But this year, her annual trip to the postbox is knocked off course by a bicycle collision with a handsome stranger–a stranger who will change the course of Josie’s life. Josie always thought she was the only one who avoided the Christmas season, but this year, Max has his own reasons for doing the same—and coincidence leads them to spending the holiday together. Aglow with new love, Josie thinks this might be the start of something special. Only for Max to disappear without saying goodbye. More.. .
State of Terror by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny
After a tumultuous period in American politics, a new administration has just been sworn in, and to everyone’s surprise the president chooses a political enemy for the vital position of secretary of state.
There is no love lost between the president of the United States and Ellen Adams, his new secretary of state. But it’s a canny move on the part of the president. With this appointment, he silences one of his harshest critics, since taking the job means Adams must step down as head of her multinational media conglomerate.
As the new president addresses Congress for the first time, with Secretary Adams in attendance, Anahita Dahir, a young foreign service officer (FSO) on the Pakistan desk at the State Department, receives a baffling text from an anonymous source.
Too late, she realizes the message was a hastily coded warning. More…
The Brides of Maracoor by Gregory Maguire
Ten years ago this season, Gregory Maguire wrapped up the series he began with Wicked by giving us the fourth and final volume of the Wicked Years, his elegiac Out of Oz .
But “out of Oz” isn’t “gone for good.” Maguire’s new series, Another Day, is here, twenty-five years after Wicked first flew into our lives.
Volume one, The Brides of Maracoor , finds Elphaba’s granddaughter, Rain, washing ashore on a foreign island. Comatose from crashing into the sea, Rain is taken in by a community of single women committed to obscure devotional practices. MORE
The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski
GOOD MOTHERS… Never show their feelings. Never spill their secrets. Never admit to murder.
The annual Halloween block party is the pinnacle of the year on idyllic suburban cul-de-sac Ivy Woods Drive. An influential group of neighborhood moms—known as the Ivy Five—plans the event for months.
Except the Ivy Five has been four for a long time. MORE
Well Matched by Jen Deluca
A pretend relationship gives two friends more than they bargained for in a Renaissance Faire rom com filled with flower crowns, kilts, corsets, and sword fights.
Single mother April Parker has lived in Willow Creek for twelve years with a wall around her heart. On the verge of being an empty nester, she’s decided to move on from her quaint little town, and asks her friend Mitch for his help with some home improvement projects to get her house ready to sell.
Mitch Malone is known for being the life of every party, but mostly for the attire he wears to the local Renaissance Faire—a kilt (and not much else) that shows off his muscled form to perfection. While he agrees to help April, he needs a favor too: she’ll pretend to be his girlfriend at an upcoming family dinner, so that he can avoid the lectures about settling down and having a more “serious” career than high school coach and gym teacher. April reluctantly agrees, but when dinner turns into a weekend trip, it becomes hard to tell what’s real and what’s been just for show. But when the weekend ends, so must their fake relationship. More…
The Every by Dave Eggers
From the award-winning, bestselling author of The Circle comes an exciting new follow-up. When the world’s largest search engine/social media company, The Circle, merges with the planet’s dominant e-commerce site, it creates the richest and most dangerous—and, oddly enough, most beloved—monopoly ever known: The Every .
Delaney Wells is an unlikely new hire at The Every. A former forest ranger and unwavering tech skeptic, she charms her way into an entry-level job with one goal in mind: to take down the company from within. With her compatriot, the not-at-all-ambitious Wes Makazian, they look for The Every’s weaknesses, hoping to free humanity from all-encompassing surveillance and the emoji-driven infantilization of the species. But does anyone want what Delaney is fighting to save? Does humanity truly want to be free? Studded with unforgettable characters and lacerating set-pieces, this companion to The Circle blends satire and terror, while keeping the reader in breathless suspense about the fate of the company—and the human animal.
O William! By Elizabeth Strout
I would like to say a few things about my first husband, William. Lucy Barton is a writer, but her ex-husband, William, remains a hard man to read. William , she confesses, has always been a mystery to me . Another mystery is why the two have remained connected after all these years. They just are.
So Lucy is both surprised and not surprised when William asks her to join him on a trip to investigate a recently uncovered family secret—one of those secrets that rearrange everything we think we know about the people closest to us. What happens next is nothing less than another example of what Hilary Mantel has called Elizabeth Strout’s “perfect attunement to the human condition.” More…
A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz
The New York Times bestselling author of the brilliantly inventive The Word Is Murder and The Sentence Is Death returns with his third literary whodunit featuring intrepid detectives Hawthorne and Horowitz.
When Ex-Detective Inspector Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, author Anthony Horowitz, are invited to an exclusive literary festival on Alderney, an idyllic island off the south coast of England, they don’t expect to find themselves in the middle of murder investigation—or to be trapped with a cold-blooded killer in a remote place with a murky, haunted past. More…
Monster in the Middle by Tiphanie Yanique
From the award-winning author of Land of Love and Drowning , an electric new novel that maps the emotional inheritance of one couple newly in love.
When Fly and Stela meet in 21st Century New York City, it seems like fate. He’s a Black American musician from a mixed-religious background who knows all about heartbreak. She’s a Catholic science teacher from the Caribbean, looking for lasting love. But are they meant to be? The answer goes back decades—all the way to their parents’ earliest loves. More…
Duke, Actually by Jenny Holiday
There’s a royal wedding on, and things are about to get interesting.
Meet the man of honor
Maximillian von Hansburg, Baron of Laudon and heir to the Duke of Aquilla, is not having a merry Christmas. He’s been dumped by a princess, he’s unemployed, and his domineering father has sent him to New York to meet a prospective bride he has no interest in. In the city, he meets Dani Martinez, a smart (and gorgeous) professor he’s determined to befriend before their best friends marry in the Eldovian wedding of the century.
Meet the best woman . More…
The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan
Perfect for the holidays! A brand-new heartwarming Christmas novel from the beloved New York Times bestselling author of The Bookshop on the Corner and Christmas at the Island Hotel .
Laid off from her department store job, Carmen has perilously little cash and few options. The prospect of spending Christmas with her perfect sister Sofia, in Sofia’s perfect house with her perfect children and her perfectly ordered yuppie life does not appeal.
Frankly, Sofia doesn’t exactly want her prickly sister Carmen there either. But Sofia has yet another baby on the way, a mother desperate to see her daughters get along, and a client who needs help revitalizing his shabby old bookshop. So Carmen moves in and takes the job. More…
Christmas at Peachtree Bluff by Kristy Woodson Harvey
When the Murphy women are in trouble, they always know they can turn to their mother, Ansley. So when eldest daughter Caroline and her husband, James, announce they are divorcing—and fifteen-year-old daughter Vivi acts out in response—Caroline, at her wits end, can’t think of anything to do besides leave her with Ansley in Peachtree Bluff for the holidays. After all, how much trouble can one teenager get into on a tiny island?
Quite a lot, as it turns out.
As the “storm of the century” heads toward Peachtree Bluff, Ansley and her husband, Jack, with Vivi in tow, are grateful they’re planning to leave for the trip of a lifetime. But Vivi’s recklessness forces the trio to shelter in place during the worst hurricane Peachtree has ever seen. More…
Still Life by Sarah Winman
A captivating, bighearted, richly tapestried story of people brought together by love, war, art, flood, and the ghost of E. M. Forster, by the celebrated author of Tin Man
Tuscany, 1944: As Allied troops advance and bombs fall around deserted villages, a young English soldier, Ulysses Temper, finds himself in the wine cellar of a deserted villa. There, he has a chance encounter with Evelyn Skinner, a middle-aged art historian who has come to Italy to salvage paintings from the ruins and recall long-forgotten memories of her own youth. In each other, Ulysses and Evelyn find a kindred spirit amidst the rubble of war-torn Italy, and set off on a course of events that will shape Ulysses’s life for the next four decades. More…
Ski Weekend by Rektok Ross
*Named a Best Book of Fall by Cosmopolitan , Yahoo!Life , SheReads , SheKnows , BookTrib , and more! *2021 Firebird Award Winner in Young Adult Fiction
The Breakfast Club meets Alive in this gripping tale of survival, impossible choices, and the harrowing balance between life and death.
Six teens, one dog, a ski trip gone wrong . . .
Sam is dreading senior ski weekend and having to watch after her brother and his best friend, Gavin, to make sure they don’t do anything stupid. Again. Gavin may be gorgeous, but he and Sam have never gotten along. Now they’re crammed into an SUV with three other classmates and Gavin’s dog, heading on a road trip that can’t go by fast enough. More…
November – Fall 2021 New Book Releases
A Day Like This: A Novel by Kelley McNeil
What if everything you’ve ever loved, ever known, ever believed to be true…just disappeared?
Annie Beyers has everything—a beautiful house, a loving husband, and an adorable daughter. It’s a day like any other when she takes Hannah to the pediatrician…until she wakes hours later from a car accident. When she asks for her daughter, confused doctors tell Annie that Hannah never existed. In fact, nothing after waking from the crash is the same as Annie remembers. Five happy years of her life apparently never happened. More…
Dreams Lie Beneath by Rebecca Ross
From Rebecca Ross, acclaimed author of The Queen’s Rising duology, comes a story about magic, vengeance, and the captivating power of dreams. A must-read for fans of The Hazel Wood and The Night Circus .
The realm of Azenor has spent years plagued by a curse. Every new moon, magic flows from the nearby mountain and brings nightmares to life. Only magicians—who serve as territory wardens—stand between people and their worst dreams.
Clementine Madigan is ready to take over as the warden of her small town, but when two magicians arrive to challenge her, she is unknowingly drawn into a century-old conflict. She seeks revenge, but as she gets closer to Phelan, one of the handsome young magicians, secrets—as well as romance—begins to rise. More…
The Family by Naomi Krupitsky
Two daughters. Two families. One inescapable fate.
Sofia Colicchio is a free spirit, loud and untamed. Antonia Russo is thoughtful, ever observing the world around her. Best friends since birth, they live in the shadow of their fathers’ unspoken community: the Family. Sunday dinners gather them each week to feast, discuss business, and renew the intoxicating bond borne of blood and love. MORE
Minimalista by Shira Gill
As a professional home organizer with clients ranging from students to multi-millionaires, Shira Gill observed that clutter is a universal stress trigger. Over the years she created a signature decluttering and organization process that promotes sustainability, achieves lasting results, and can be applied to anyone, regardless of their space or lifestyle. Rather than imposing strict rules and limitations, Shira redefines minimalism as having the perfect amount of everything—for you— based on your personal values and the limitations of your space. Now, in Minimalista, Shira shares her complete toolkit for the first time, built around five key steps: Clarify, Edit, Organize, Elevate, and Maintain. MORE
A Certain Appeal by Vanessa King
A sparkling contemporary retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in the tantalizing world of New York City burlesque, perfect for fans of The Kiss Quotient and The Roommate .
After a betrayal derailed her interior design career, Liz Bennet found a fresh start in New York. Now an executive assistant by day and stage kitten by night, she’s discovered a second home with the performers at Meryton, Manhattan’s top-tier burlesque venue. Love’s the last thing on her mind when she locks eyes with Will Darcy across the crowded club, yet the spark between them is undeniable—that is, until she overhears the uptight wealth manager call her merely “tolerable.”
The London House by Katherine Reay
Caroline Payne thinks it’s just another day of work until she receives a call from Mat Hammond, an old college friend and historian. But pleasantries are cut short. Mat has uncovered a scandalous secret kept buried for decades: In World War II, Caroline’s British great-aunt betrayed family and country to marry her German lover.
Determined to find answers and save her family’s reputation, Caroline flies to her family’s ancestral home in London. She and Mat discover diaries and letters that reveal her grandmother and great-aunt MORE…
Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart
It’s March 2020 and a calamity is unfolding. A group of friends and friends-of-friends gathers in a country house to wait out the pandemic. Over the next six months, new friendships and romances will take hold, while old betrayals will emerge, forcing each character to reevaluate whom they love and what matters most. The unlikely cast of characters includes a Russian-born novelist; his Russian-born psychiatrist wife; their precocious child obsessed with K-pop; a struggling Indian American writer; a wildly successful Korean American app developer; a global dandy with three passports; a Southern flamethrower of an essayist; and a movie star, the Actor, whose arrival upsets the equilibrium of this chosen family. Both elegiac and very, very funny, Our Country Friends is the most ambitious book yet by the author of the beloved bestseller Super Sad True Love Story .
The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom
What would happen if we called on God for help and God actually appeared? In Mitch Albom’s profound new novel of hope and faith, a group of shipwrecked passengers pull a strange man from the sea. He claims to be “the Lord.” And he says he can only save them if they all believe in him. Adrift in a raft after a deadly ship explosion, nine people struggle for survival at sea. Three days pass. Short on water, food and hope, they spot a man floating in the waves. They pull him in.
“Thank the Lord we found you,” a passenger says.
“I am the Lord,” the man whispers.
So begins Mitch Albom’s most beguiling and inspiring novel yet. More…
Gilded by Marissa Meyer
Long ago cursed by the god of lies, a poor miller’s daughter has developed a talent for spinning stories that are fantastical and spellbinding and entirely untrue. Or so everyone believes. When one of Serilda’s outlandish tales draws the attention of the sinister Erlking and his undead hunters, she finds herself swept away into a grim world where ghouls and phantoms prowl the earth and hollow-eyed ravens track her every move. The king orders Serilda to complete the impossible task of spinning straw into gold, or be killed for telling falsehoods. In her desperation, Serilda unwittingly summons a mysterious boy to her aid. He agrees to help her… for a price. Love isn’t meant to be part of the bargain. More…
All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman
The blockbuster co-writing debut of Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman, All of Us Villains begins a dark tale of ambition and magick… You Fell in Love with the Victors of the Hunger Games. Now Prepare to Meet the Villains of the Blood Veil.
The Blood Moon rises. The Blood Veil falls. The Tournament begins.
Every generation, at the coming of the Blood Moon, seven families in the remote city of Ilvernath each name a champion to compete in a tournament to the death.
The prize? Exclusive control over a secret wellspring of high magick, the most powerful resource in the world—one thought long depleted. More…
Anticipation by Melodie Winawer
From the author of the “engrossing historical epic” ( Booklist ) The Scribe of Siena comes a thrilling tale set in the crumbling city of Mystras, Greece, in which a scientist’s vacation with her young son quickly turns into a fight for their lives after they cross paths with a man out of time.
After the death of her beloved husband and becoming a single parent to her nine-year-old son Alexander, overworked scientist Helen desperately needs an escape. So when Alexander proposes a trip to Greece—somewhere he’s always dreamed of visiting—Helen quickly agrees.
After spending several days exploring the tourist-filled streets, they stumble upon the ancient city of Mystras and are instantly drawn to it. Its only resident is Elias, a mysterious tour guide living on the city’s edges…both physically and temporally. More…
A Marvelous Light by Freya Marske
Red White & Royal Blue meets Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell in debut author Freya Marske’s A Marvellous Light , featuring an Edwardian England full of magic, contracts, and conspiracies.
Robin Blyth has more than enough bother in his life. He’s struggling to be a good older brother, a responsible employer, and the harried baronet of a seat gutted by his late parents’ excesses. When an administrative mistake sees him named the civil service liaison to a hidden magical society, he discovers what’s been operating beneath the unextraordinary reality he’s always known.
Now Robin must contend with the beauty and danger of magic, an excruciating deadly curse, and the alarming visions of the future that come with it—not to mention Edwin Courcey, his cold and prickly counterpart in the magical bureaucracy, who clearly wishes Robin were anyone and anywhere else. More…
Madam by Debby Applegate
The compulsively readable and sometimes jaw-dropping story of the life of a notorious madam who played hostess to every gangster, politician, writer, sports star and Cafe Society swell worth knowing, and who as much as any single figure helped make the twenties roar—from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Most Famous Man in America .
Simply put: Everybody came to Polly’s. Pearl “Polly” Adler (1900-1962) was a diminutive dynamo whose Manhattan brothels in the Roaring Twenties became places not just for men to have the company of women but were key gathering places where the culturati and celebrity elite mingled with high society and with violent figures of the underworld—and had a good time doing it. More…
Just Haven’t Met you Yet by Sophie Cousens
From the New York Times bestselling author of This Time Next Year comes a heartwarming and hilarious tale that asks: What if you picked up the wrong suitcase and fell head over heels for its mystery owner? Hopeless romantic and lifestyle reporter Laura’s business trip to the Channel Islands isn’t off to a great start. After an embarrassing encounter with the most attractive man she’s ever seen in real life, she arrives at her hotel and realizes she’s grabbed the wrong suitcase from the airport. Her only consolation is its irresistible contents, each of which intrigues her more and more. The owner of this suitcase is clearly Laura’s dream man. Now, all she has to do is find him. More…
Never by Ken Follet
The new must-read epic from master storyteller Ken Follett: more than a thriller, it’s an action-packed, globe-spanning drama set in the present day. “Every catastrophe begins with a little problem that doesn’t get fixed.” So says Pauline Green, president of the United States, in Follett’s nerve-racking drama of international tension. A shrinking oasis in the Sahara Desert; a stolen US Army drone; an uninhabited Japanese island; and one country’s secret stash of deadly chemical poisons: all these play roles in a relentlessly escalating crisis. Struggling to prevent the outbreak of world war are a young woman intelligence officer; a spy working undercover with jihadists; a brilliant Chinese spymaster; and Pauline herself, beleaguered by a populist rival for the next president election. More…
The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
Louise Erdrich’s latest novel, The Sentence , asks what we owe to the living, the dead, to the reader and to the book. A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store’s most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Souls’ Day, but she simply won’t leave the store. Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading “with murderous attention,” must solve the mystery of this haunting while at the same time trying to understand all that occurs in Minneapolis during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation, and furious reckoning. More…
Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King
By the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Writers & Lovers , Lily King’s first-ever collection of exceptional and innovative short stories
With Writers & Lovers and Euphoria , Lily King’s books catapulted onto bestseller and best-of-the-year lists across the country and established her as one of our most “brilliant” ( New York Times Book Review ), “wildly talented” ( Chicago Tribune ), and beloved authors in contemporary fiction. Now, for the first time ever, King collects ten of her finest short stories—half published in leading literary magazines and half brand new—opening fresh realms of discovery for avid and new readers alike. More…
Never Fall for Your Fiancée by Virginia Heath
The first in a new historical rom-com series, a handsome earl hires a fake fiancée to keep his matchmaking mother at bay, but hilarity ensues when love threatens to complicate everything.
The last thing Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, ever wants is a wife. Unfortunately for him, his mother is determined to find him one, even from across the other side of the ocean. So Hugh invents a fake fiancée to keep his mother’s matchmaking ways at bay. But when Hugh learns his interfering mother is on a ship bound for England, he realizes his complicated, convoluted but convenient ruse is about to implode. Until he collides with a beautiful woman, who might just be the miracle he needs. MORE
City of Time and Magic by Paula Brackston
City of Time and Magic sees Xanthe face her greatest challenges yet. She must choose from three treasures that sing to her; a beautiful writing slope, a mourning brooch of heartbreaking detail, and a gorgeous gem-set hat pin. All call her, but the wrong one could take her on a mission other than that which she must address first, and the stakes could not be higher. While her earlier mission to Regency England had been a success, the journey home resulted in Liam being taken from her, spirited away to another time and place. Xanthe must follow the treasure that will take her to him if he is not to be lost forever. More…
The Singles Table by Sara Desai
Opposites attract in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy about a free-spirited lawyer who is determined to find the perfect match for the grumpy bachelor at her cousin’s wedding. After a devastating break-up, celebrity-obsessed lawyer Zara Patel is determined never to open her heart again. She puts her energy into building her career and helping her friends find their happily-ever-afters. She’s never faced a guest at the singles table she couldn’t match, until she crosses paths with the sinfully sexy Jay Dayal. MORE
An Heiress’s Guide to Deception and Desire by Manda Collins
Former lovers become reluctant allies in this delightfully witty historical rom-com from the bestselling author of A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem —for fans of Evie Dunmore, Enola Holmes , and Netflix’s Bridgerton !
England, 1867 : As half of the writing duo behind England’s most infamous crime column, Miss Caroline Hardcastle has quite the scandalous reputation. It may have cost her a fiancé, but she would much rather bring attention to crimes against those ignored by society than worry about what the ton thinks of her.
After Caro’s dear friend is kidnapped, however, she has no choice but to work with Lord Valentine Thorn, the same man who broke her heart. Worse, when her actions put her father’s business at risk, a marriage of convenience may be her only solution . . . but can she trust Val to stand by her? Or will their past repeat itself? MORE
Go Tell the Bees I’m Home by Diana Gabaldon
The past may seem the safest place to be . . . but it is the most dangerous time to be alive. . . . Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall were torn apart by the Jacobite Rising in 1746, and it took them twenty years to find each other again. Now the American Revolution threatens to do the same. It is 1779 and Claire and Jamie are at last reunited with their daughter, Brianna, her husband, Roger, and their children on Fraser’s Ridge. Having the family together is a dream the Frasers had thought impossible. More….
These Precious Days by Anne Patchett
“Any story that starts will also end.” As a writer, Ann Patchett knows what the outcome of her fiction will be. Life, however, often takes turns we do not see coming. Patchett ponders this truth in these wise essays that afford a fresh and intimate look into her mind and heart.
At the center of These Precious Days is the title essay, a surprising and moving meditation on an unexpected friendship that explores “what it means to be seen, to find someone with whom you can be your best and most complete self.” When Patchett chose an early galley of actor and producer Tom Hanks’ short story collection to read one night before bed, she had no idea that this single choice would be life changing. It would introduce her to a remarkable woman—Tom’s brilliant assistant Sooki—with whom she would form a profound bond that held monumental consequences for them both. More…
Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and The Book of Two Ways comes “a powerfully evocative story of resilience and the triumph of the human spirit” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Malibu Rising )
Diana O’Toole is perfectly on track. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the cutthroat art auction world. She’s an associate specialist at Sotheby’s now, but her boss has hinted at a promotion if she can close a deal with a high-profile client. She’s not engaged just yet, but she knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galápagos—days before her thirtieth birthday. Right on time. More…
You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus
From the author of One of Us Is Lying comes a brand-new pulse-pounding thriller. It’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with murder when three old friends relive an epic ditch day, and it goes horribly—and fatally—wrong.
Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close. Now all they have in common is Carlton High and the beginning of a very bad day. Type A Ivy lost a student council election to the class clown, and now she has to face the school, humiliated. Heartthrob Mateo is burned out from working two jobs since his family’s business failed. And outsider Cal just got stood up . . . again. More…
December – Fall 2021 New Book Releases
Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding
Sonya used to perform on stage. She attended glamorous parties, dated handsome men, rode in fast cars. But somewhere along the way, the stage lights Sonya lived for dimmed to black. In their absence, came darkness—blackouts, empty cupboards, hazy nights she could not remember.
Haunted by her failed career and lingering trauma from her childhood, Sonya fell deep into an alcoholic abyss. What kept her from losing herself completely was Tommy, her son. But her love for Tommy rivaled her love for the bottle. Addiction amplified her fear of losing her child; every maternal misstep compelled her to drink. Tommy’s precious life was in her shaky hands. More…
Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman
Formerly titled The Hill We Climb and Other Poems , Amanda Gorman’s remarkable new collection reveals an energizing and unforgettable voice in American poetry. Call Us What We Carry is Gorman at her finest. Including “The Hill We Climb,” the stirring poem read at the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, and bursting with musical language and exploring themes of identity, grief, and memory, this lyric of hope and healing captures an important moment in our country’s consciousness while being utterly timeless.
Boy Underground by Catherine Ryan Hyde
During WWII, a teenage boy finds his voice, the courage of his convictions, and friends for life in an emotional and uplifting novel by the New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author.
1941. Steven Katz is the son of prosperous landowners in rural California. Although his parents don’t approve, he’s found true friends in Nick, Suki, and Ollie, sons of field workers. The group is inseparable. But Steven is in turmoil. He’s beginning to acknowledge that his feelings for Nick amount to more than friendship. More…
The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale
Thirteen years ago, Delphine abandoned her prestigious soloist spot at the Paris Opera Ballet for a new life in St. Petersburg––taking with her a secret that could upend the lives of her best friends, fellow dancers Lindsay and Margaux. Now 36 years old, Delphine has returned to her former home and to the legendary Palais Garnier Opera House, to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart the next phase of her career––and, she hopes, finally make things right with her former friends. But Delphine quickly discovers that things have changed while she’s been away…and some secrets can’t stay buried forever.
The Last Dance of the Debutante by Julia Kelly
The author of the “sweeping, stirring, and heartrending” (Kristin Harmel, author of The Room on Rue Amélie ) The Light Over London returns with a masterful, glittering novel that whisks you to midcentury Britain as it follows three of the last debutantes to be presented to Queen Elizabeth II.
When it’s announced that 1958 will be the last year debutantes are to be presented at court, thousands of eager mothers and hopeful daughters flood the palace with letters seeking the year’s most coveted invitation: a chance for their daughters to curtsey to the young Queen Elizabeth and officially come out into society. More…
A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw
Travis Wren has an unusual talent for locating missing people. Hired by families as a last resort, he requires only a single object to find the person who has vanished. When he takes on the case of Maggie St. James—a well-known author of dark, macabre children’s books—he’s led to a place many believed to be only a legend.
Called Pastoral, this reclusive community was founded in the 1970s by like-minded people searching for a simpler way of life. By all accounts, the commune shouldn’t exist anymore and soon after Travis stumbles upon it…he disappears. Just like Maggie St. James. More…
Homecoming King by Penny Reid
Rex “TW” McMurtry’s perpetual single-hood wouldn’t bother him so much if all his ex-girlfriends didn’t keep marrying the very next person they dated, especially when so many of those grooms are his closest friends. He may be a pro-football defensive end for the Chicago Squalls, but the press only wants to talk about how he’s always a groomsman and never a groom. Rex is sick of being the guy before the husband, and he’s most definitely sick of being the best man at all their weddings. More…
An Accidental Odyssey by K.C. Dyer
Gianna Kostas is on the cusp of a fairy-tale life. Sure, she’s just lost her job, but she’s about to marry one of New York’s most eligible bachelors. On her way to taste wedding cakes, though, things go sideways. Shocking news sends Gia off on a wild journey halfway around the world in pursuit of her ailing—and nearly estranged—father.
In Athens, she learns Dr. Kostas, a classics professor, is determined to retrace Odysseus’s famous voyage. This is a journey her father is in no condition to take alone, so Gia faces a tough decision. When an unexpected job offer helps seal the deal and quash the guilt Gia feels from her disapproving groom-to-be, the journey is on. More…
How Not to Fall in Love by Jaqueline Firkins
A hardened cynic and a hopeless romantic teach each other about love in this swoony and heartful romance that’s perfect for fans of Tweet Cute and The Upside of Falling .
Harper works in her mom’s wedding shop, altering dresses for petulant and picky brides who are more focused on hemlines than love. After years of watching squabbles break out over wedding plans, Harper thinks romance is a marketing tool. Nothing more. Her best friend Theo is her opposite. One date and he’s already dreaming of happily-ever-afters. He also plays the accordion, makes chain mail for Ren Festers, hangs out in a windmill-shaped tree house, cries over rom-coms, and takes his word-of-the-day calendar very seriously. More…
Safe-Cracker by Ryan Wick
Safecracker Michael Maven’s latest job should be simple: steal a rare coin from a New York apartment. Except the coin’s owner comes home with a beautiful woman, who murders him, nearly murders Maven, and takes the coin herself, and then Maven’s life gets really complicated: the woman’s boss, a sadistic drug lord, forces him to take on a far more dangerous job.
If Maven fails to crack the safe of a rival cartel boss in Miami, his friends and family will die. If he succeeds, he might. MORE
Here’s to Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera reunite to continue the story of Arthur and Ben, the boys readers first fell for in the New York Times bestselling rom-com What If It’s Us .
Ben survived freshman year of college, but he’s feeling more stuck than ever. His classes are a slog, his part-time job working with his father is even worse, and his best friend Dylan’s been acting weird for weeks. Ben’s only real bright spot is his writing partner Mario, who’s been giving him a lot of Spanish lessons and even more kisses. Mario’s big Hollywood dreams make Ben start to dream bigger—and the choices he makes now could be the key to reshaping his future. So why can’t he stop thinking about a certain boy from his past? More…
My Darling Husband by Kimberly Belle
Everyone is about to know what her husband isn’t telling her…
Jade and Cam Lasky are by all accounts a happily married couple with two adorable kids, a spacious home and a rapidly growing restaurant business. But their world is tipped upside down when Jade is confronted by a masked home invader. As Cam scrambles to gather the ransom money, Jade starts to wonder if they’re as financially secure as their lifestyle suggests, and what other secrets her husband is keeping from her. More…
Smile and Look Pretty by Amanda Pellegrino
What happens when four assistants risk everything to say enough is enough ?
Best friends Cate, Lauren, Olivia and Max are overworked and underpaid assistants to some of the most powerful people in the entertainment industries. Like the assistants who came before them, the women know they have to pay their dues and abide the demeaning tasks and verbal abuse from their bosses in order to climb the ladders to their dream jobs. More…
The Spanish Daughter by Lorena Hughes
As a child in Spain, Puri always knew her passion for chocolate was inherited from her father. But it’s not until his death that she learns of something else she’s inherited—a cocoa plantation in Vinces, Ecuador, a town nicknamed “París Chiquito.” Eager to claim her birthright and filled with hope for a new life after the devastation of World War I, she and her husband Cristóbal set out across the Atlantic Ocean. But it soon becomes clear someone is angered by Puri’s claim to the plantation . . . More…
It happened one midnight by Syranna DeWylde
CAN YOU SKIP THE STORYBOOK BEGINNING . . . Novelist Juniper Blossom has romance down to a science in her bestselling books. But she’s not about to settle for just any man—a happy ending looks different for everyone, and she needs to find the guy who’s idea of forever matches her own. Try telling that to her adorable, meddling grandmothers, though. If she doesn’t find a man soon, they’re going to find one for her. Which is why Juniper has prepared for a trip home to Ever After by fibbing that her sexy, smart, sweet best friend Tomas is her fiancé! He doesn’t believe in love at all, but that doesn’t matter if they’re just pretending . . . More…
What Fall 2021 New Book Releases are on your to-read list?
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As a mother of two boys, Kirsten rediscovered her life-long love for reading while choosing appropriate books for her children. She started this website with Jackie to share their passion for literacy with other moms and kids. She uses her years of experience in marketing and public relations to create the quarterly magazines, implement social media strategy, and ensure the website content is relevant and beautiful.
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Bring on the horror.
Fall has arrived, and as temperatures starts to drop, it’s the perfect time to curl up with a good book. This October brings plenty of new releases to add to your bookshelf , from much-anticipated lit-fic, to must-read memoirs, and — of course — several great horror novels .
On top of new fiction from acclaimed authors like Elizabeth Strout, Miriam Toews, Claire Vaye Watkins, and Tiphanie Yanique — not to mention nonfiction from Sesali Bowen and LaDoris Hazzard Cordell — there’s a wide variety of Halloween-ready books hitting stores this month. First, there are the witch-themed reads , including C. J. Cooke’s The Lighthouse Witches , Lana Harper’s Payback’s a Witch , Rachel Harrison’s Cackle , Alice Hoffman’s The Book of Magic , and Gregory Maguire ’s The Brides of Maracoor . Rather lean into horror? Cherie Priest’s Grave Reservations and Catherynne M. Valente’s Comfort Me with Apples are sure to delight mystery and thriller readers, and the re-release of Tananarive Due’s Bram Stoker Award-nominated debut, The Between , is a must-read for all. That’s not to mention The Death of Jane Lawrence , the new novel from The Luminous Dead author Caitlin Starling, or Cassandra Khaw’s Nothing but Blackened Teeth , which introduces readers to a group of merry-makers about to anger the vengeful ghost of a Heian-era bride.
Below, the most anticipated books of October 2021.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
A Conspiracy of Mothers
Colleen van Niekerk’s debut novel centers on Yolanda, a Black woman who returns to South Africa during the 1994 election, hoping to reconnect with her biracial daughter, Ingrid. But when Ingrid is nowhere to be found, Yolanda finds herself fighting against her ex-lover’s mother.
Bad Fat Black Girl: Notes from a Trap Feminist
From music journalist Sesali Bowen comes Bad Fat Black Girl . Interweaving memoir and cultural commentary, Bowen argues for a new, inclusive feminism — an anti-capitalist philosophy embedded in contemporary hip-hop.
What Storm, What Thunder
When a 7.0 magnitude earthquake strikes the heart of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 10 mostly unconnected people find themselves searching for stability in the wake of trauma, in Myriam J. A. Chancy’s What Storm, What Thunder .
The Lighthouse Witches
The Nesting author C. J. Cooke returns to stores this month with The Lighthouse Witches . More than two decades ago, Luna’s mother moved the family to a Scottish island for work — and not long after, Luna’s two two younger sisters vanished. Only then did Luna and her mother learn the island’s dark secret: that sometimes, missing children are replaced by things that look just like them. Now, Luna’s baby sister, Clover, has just reappeared... looking exactly as she did 22 years earlier.
Tananarive Due’s 1995 debut comes back in an all-new edition this October. The Between centers on Hilton, a man whose near-drowning as a child comes back to — literally — haunt his family 30 years later, when his wife becomes the target of a racist hate-mail campaign.
The author of The Circle returns with The Every , a spiritual sequel of sorts to his bestselling novel about a Google-like company; this time, Eggers is taking on Amazon. In keeping with the book’s themes, the hardcover version will only be available for purchase in independent bookstores.
Payback’s a Witch
Gareth Blackmoore has made a few enemies in his time, and now he’s about to pay. Talia and Linden, the two witches he recently wined, dined, and two-timed, are out for blood, and they want Emmy — another of Gareth’s exes, and Linden’s best friend — to join them. Emmy can’t get the alluring Talia off her mind, but she still isn’t sure she wants to be part of her and Linden’s revenge scheme.
From the author of The Return comes Cackle : a story about Annie, a teacher who moves to upstate New York to start a new life after a bad breakup. There, she meets Sophie, a charming and carefree woman who wants to help Annie reinvent herself. So what if Sophie lives in a secluded manor, and all the townsfolk give her a wide berth? Annie needs all the friends she can get... right?
A Spindle Splintered
The Once and Future Witches author Alix E. Harrow takes on the classic “Sleeping Beauty” story in this novella. Zinnia contracted a rare disease in childhood, a disease that kills all who have it by the age of 21. Her best friend has planned a birthday blowout with a Sleeping Beauty theme, but fairytale magic is about to get real for Zinnia and another young woman with the same condition.
The title story in Jocelyn Nicole Johnson’s debut collection follows Da’Naisha, a young Black woman — and descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings — as she heads up a group of Charlottesville citizens who take refuge in the titular plantation house when white supremacists threaten their lives.
A delightfully strange little book, Eugene Lim’s Search History centers on a grieving man who learns that his late best friend has been reincarnated... as a dog.
Kingdom of the Wicked
The follow-up to last year’s Kingdom of the Wicked , Kingdom of the Cursed follows Emilia, the Queen of the Wicked, who, because of her vow to avenge her sister, may need to marry an evil prince whom she does not love.
We Are Not Like Them
The foundation of a lifelong friendship between two women — one white, one Black — begins to crack when one’s husband shoots and kills a Black teenager while on the job as a policeman.
The Death of Jane Lawrence
Luminous Dead author Caitlin Starling’s sophomore novel is The Death of Jane Lawrence : a Gothic thriller about a practical woman who finds herself trapped in a nightmare when she discovers that her new husband may not be the unflappable, charming man he once seemed.
Nine-year-old Swiv shares an apartment in Toronto with her heavily pregnant mom and ailing grandmother. When she’s expelled from school, Swiv finds herself doing Grandma-assigned homework: writing a letter to her absent father about her life without him. Of course, precocious Swiv has an assignment of her own. She wants Grandma to write a letter to her mother’s new baby, “Gord.”
A clique of popular teenaged werewolves, taking down the loathsome boys and men who try to hurt them? Yes, please! This YA graphic novel centers on a close-knit pack who find themselves laying low after one member’s abusive boyfriend is killed, leaving the whole group at risk of public exposure.
I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness
The line between fact and fiction blurs in this new novel from Gold Fame Citrus author Claire Vaye Watkins. Starring a protagonist with the same name and family history as the author, I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness follows the fictional Claire to Reno, Nevada, where she reminisces about her late parents.
The Keeper of the Night
The daughter of a grim reaper and a shinigami, Ren has spent her long life working to collect the London dead. But when her shinigami side poses a threat to the reapers, Ren finds herself living in the court of the Japanese Goddess of Death. Desperate to earn the Goddess’ approval, she soon sets out on a dangerous, near-impossible journey.
Bethany Ball’s literary satire has all the drama of a domestic thriller. Following several messy families in one wealthy Connecticut town, The Pessimists revolves around parents’ relationships with each other, their children, and the prestigious academy that binds them all together.
The Book of Magic
The captivating family saga that began in 1995’s Practical Magic comes to a close this month with Book of Magic . A direct sequel to that first installment, set at the end of Aunt Jet’s life, Alice Hoffman’s new novel follows the Owens women across the Atlantic in one last-ditch effort to break the curse that’s plagued their family for centuries.
The Brides of Maracoor
It’s been 25 years since Gregory Maguire pulled back the curtain on the Wicked Witch of the West, giving readers everywhere the chance to get to know Elphaba in Wicked . Now, 10 years after he released his last Wicked book, Out of Oz , Maguire is back with The Brides of Maracoor : the first installment in an all-new trilogy focused on Elphaba’s granddaughter, Rain.
Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World
Nearly 10 years after Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe landed in stores, fans finally have a sequel to read. In Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World , Benjamin Alire Sáenz picks up right where he left off, following his beloved heroes as they head into their senior year.
Brent Spiner — best known as Star Trek: The Next Generation ’s android, Data — has written a novel inspired by his life in and around the Star Trek fandom. The story follows a fictionalized Brent as he finds himself in the midst of a dangerous plot involving a suspicious package, the FBI, and his Star Trek co-stars.
When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky
In 1920s Nashville, Tennessee, two workers at a zoo — a Cherokee horse-diver and her Black best friend — get wrapped in supernatural events when the zoo comes under a ghostly siege.
All of the Marvels: A Journey to the Ends of the Biggest Story Ever Told
Marvel Comics has published tens of thousands of stories, and All of the Marvels author Douglas Wolk has read them all. In this new book, the author of Reading Comics and Comic-Con Strikes Again takes readers through the last 60 years of American history and culture, examining their impact on Marvel Comics... and vice versa.
The House of Rust
A surreal novel about one girl’s journey to save her father from the King of Sharks, Khadija Abdalla Bajaber’s The House of Rust features a talking cat, and a magical boat made from fish bones — and offers a compelling look at the lives of Hadrami people living in Kenya.
Within These Wicked Walls
Lauren Blackwood’s Jane Eyre retelling centers on Andi, the young woman whom Magnus Rochester has hired to banish the Evil Eye from himself and his estate. But as she tries to protect Magnus from his curse, Andi finds herself pulled into a world of darkness .
Originally published in 1974, Angela Y. Davis’ iconic An Autobiography is back this month in an all-new edition from Haymarket Books, featuring a new introduction from the author.
The third installment in Jen DeLuca’s Well Met series of rom-coms, Well Matched follows April and Mitch — a pair of best friends who find themselves fake-dating during a Ren Faire when Mitch’s family shows up unannounced.
Hunting by Stars
Cherie Dimaline’s sequel to Marrow Thieves takes place in a world where only Indigenous Americans have retained the ability to dream. Forced once again into residential schools, Dimaline’s young heroes must do whatever they can to survive.
Nothing but Blackened Teeth
When they choose to throw a wedding bash at a haunted, Heian-era estate, one group of friends will have to fight to survive the night. A murderous bride — whose remains, along with those of her victims, undergird the house — is on the hunt for a new sacrifice.
Margaret Owen’s new novel kicks off an all-new YA fantasy series. A retelling of “The Goose Girl,” Little Thieves centers on Vanja, a former servant who used a magic necklace to steal a princess’ identity — only to anger a god and wind up cursed. With two weeks left before she’s gone forever, Vanja must find some way to break the spell and keep her pampered life... or die trying.
Flowers for the Sea
Zin E. Rocklyn’s novella centers on Iraxi: a pregnant young woman who has spent years living at sea on a filthy ark, and who may be carrying a child capable of changing her life.
Set in a Mac repair shop in the 1990s, Tamara Shopsin’s LaserWriter II is a love letter to New York City and pre-Y2K tech culture.
Rebecca Solnit’s biography of George Orwell focuses on a side of the author we rarely discuss, using the legendary writer’s penchant for gardening as a lens through which to view his literary life and activism.
The Days of Afrekete
When her husband’s political campaign crashes, and the FBI begins an inquiry into his bid, Liselle decides to throw a dinner party for his biggest backers. But as she plans out what could be a major misstep, Liselle finds herself thinking more and more of her college roommate, a woman she has barely spoken to in years.
The second sequel to My Name Is Lucy Barton , Elizabeth Strout’s Oh William! centers on Lucy’s relationship with her first husband and the father of her daughters: the eponymous William.
Monster in the Middle
A family saga that explores the events that shaped two young lovers and their families, this new novel from Land of Love and Drowning author Tiphanie Yanique is a tender exploration of identity.
Her Honor: My Life on the Bench... What’s Working, What’s Broken, and How to Fix It
An in-depth examination of the criminal justice system by one of the country’s first African American judges, LaDoris Hazzard Cordell’s Her Honor is one of the year’s must-read works of nonfiction.
All the Feels
In her follow-up to Spoiler Alert , Olivia Dade takes readers behind the scenes of God of the Gates for a glimpse into another star’s romantic life. Cupid himself gets a shot at love this go-round, as God of the Gates star Alex begins to fall hard for his new therapist.
Tink and Wendy
When Tinker Bell shows up to take care of Wendy and Peter’s graves, Hope Darling is drawn into the fairy’s stories of the trio’s adventures in Neverland, and how their eventual choice to grow up came at a dreadful cost.
Dreaming of You
When her séance brings Selena — yes, the Selena — back from the dead, poet Melissa is pulled into the land of the dead, in Melissa Lozada-Oliva’s novella-in-verse.
When Grady’s travel agent reveals herself as a psychic by predicting that his plane will explode after take-off, Grady enlists her help in solving a cold case. But Leda has a cold case of her own to solve — the murder of her late fiancé — and she desperately wants to know why she sees his face when she speaks with Grady.
Comfort Me with Apples
Sophia and her husband have the perfect marriage, the perfect house, the perfect life. He travels a lot on business, but their gated community keeps her safe while he’s gone. Sophia makes sure everything stays spotless while her husband is away — except for the basement, the one place in their home she isn’t allowed to go.
The Wicked Widow
In the third installment of her Wicked City series, Beatriz Williams follows two women — flapper Gin Kelly and overworked mom-to-be Ella Dommerich — whose lives begin to align, more than 70 years apart, when Ella begins to look into an enemy’s past for evidence damning enough to derail his presidential bid.
Here are the great new books to read this October
"Palmares", new novels from Jonathan Franzen and Anthony Doerr, and more.
Space is by no means conquered — and what is, really? the dodo? — but a bit of the romance has dissipated. Did it start when NASA retired the space shuttle? Or when billionaires got into the low-orbit, low-stakes launch game? Their intentions aren’t all bad, but these nouveau riche rocketeers just aren’t cool.
If you’re feeling nostalgic for the dark and daring days of the Cold War’s Space Race well, a) you’re crazy, but b) there’s a new collection by Polish sci-fi master Stanislaw Lem (1921-2006) that should scratch that itch. Nine of the 12 tales in The Truth and Other Stories , just published by MIT Press, have never before been translated into English, and they are packed with weird robots, mad scientists, and otherworldly threats.
These retro-futuristic yarns are brainy enough, but they’re often funnier and more playful than Lem’s famously mind-warping novel Solaris — twice adapted into memorably moody movies. The 1972 version by Andrei Tarkovsky is quiet, dreary Soviet filmmaking at its finest. Steven Soderbergh’s 2002 iteration was slimmed down but decent. Lem apparently didn’t care for either.
Speaking of film adaptations: If you only know Cixin Liu from the 2019 Mandarin-language blockbuster The Wandering Earth (still on Netflix), seek out the modern Chinese sci-fi king’s new story collection of the same name, due to be published by Tor Books Oct. 26. Where the movie is rather silly and Michael Bay-ish, the story pulses with classic big-idea sci-fi optimism. Plus, maybe the concept of driving our planet through the solar system via gigantic rocket engines just looks better in the mind’s eye than it does on the screen.
Anyway, here are some of other excellent new books, which are more grounded but no less inventive.
Palmares , Gayl Jones. Championed by Toni Morrison and praised by James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, and John Updike, Gayl Jones was declared a bold and brilliant new voice of Black America with the publishing of her first two novels — Corregidora (in 1975) and Eva’s Man (1976). But fame never suited the Kentucky-born author, and her career since has been defined almost as much by her reclusiveness and long silences as her powerful, intimate stories of slavery and the scars it passes down from one generation to the next. Now 71, Jones has just released her first novel in 22 years — the immersive and devastating Palmares , about a fugitive slave girl in war-ravaged, colonial Brazil — and has four more books due over the next two years. (Beacon Press, $27.95, out now)
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Reprieve , James Han Mattson. All modern horror is somewhat meta, at least the good stuff, but this clever and pointed new thriller by James Han Mattson is particularly self-aware. That’s partly due to its examination of the scare industry itself, specifically those extreme, “full-contact” haunted house attractions that make Terror Behind the Walls (R.I.P.) feel like a walk in the park. In this case it’s the Quigley House, an infamous, high-stakes escape room that becomes the site of an actual murder. But Reprieve ’s more earthly specters (sex tourism, misogyny, ruthless capitalism, etc.) prove the most insidious. (HarperCollins, $27.99, Oct. 5)
I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness , Claire Vaye Watkins. Born in Nevada with Manson Family blood in her veins, Claire Vaye Watkins often writes about the cruel and indifferent desert. In 2015′s grim but fantastical Gold Fame Citrus , North America is being consumed by a sea of dunes erupting from the middle out, the sand slowly consuming towns, people, civilization. With a title swiped from an Austin indie band — and a main character who’s also an author named Claire Vaye Watkins — the funny and fearsome I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness offers an earlier view of environmental collapse. Still, the desert may be Claire’s undoing, as she leaves her family behind for a book reading in Reno and may never go back. (Riverhead, $27, Oct. 5)
Crossroads: A Key to All Mythologies, Volume 1 , Jonathan Franzen. Once school’s out, there’s no such thing as required reading, but some kind of dinner bell goes off among readers and critics every time Jonathan Franzen drops a new 600-page family drama (around once or twice a decade). Curmudgeonly, controversial and talented, Franzen has the air of old-school authordom about him, though one shudders at the satisfaction he’d gain from such an assessment, not to mention all the begrudgingly laudatory reviews he’ll receive for this latest slab of swaggering genius. Not long ago he wondered aloud whether he’d written his last novel; now here’s Crossroads , the engrossing and astute first installment of a three-part generational saga. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30, Oct. 5)
The Days of Afrekete , Asali Solomon. From most angles, Liselle is doing well: She’s a Bryn Mawr-educated Black woman with a nice home, a family, a housekeeper, the works. But maybe it’s all a house of cards? Her white, well-off husband just lost an ego-driven congressional bid, and one of the guests at tonight’s post-campaign wine-and-cheese soiree might be an FBI agent investigating political corruption. Suddenly Liselle is wondering how the racial and sexual awakenings of her college years could have led her to such a dull perch “on the wrong side of history.” And that’s just the launchpad for West Philly author Asali Solomon’s tense, affecting, and slyly funny second novel. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26, Oct. 19)
Others to consider
Chronicles From the Happiest People on Earth , Wole Soyinka. Soyinka, who became the first African-born Nobel laureate in 1986, publishes his first novel in 50 years — a sharp satire full of corruption and intrigue. (Pantheon, $28, out now)
Cloud Cuckoo Land , Anthony Doerr. The author of All the Light We Cannot See returns with an ambitious and heartbreaking novel whose characters are scattered between 15th-century Constantinople and a spaceship in a post-Earth future. (Scribner, $30, out now)
On Animals , Susan Orlean. The acclaimed New Yorker essayist (and charmingly tipsy tweeter) explores humanity’s connections to its fellow beasts of the field, from backyard chickens to showdogs to pet tigers and more. (Avid Reader, $28, Oct. 12)
Silverview , John le Carré. A bookshop owner becomes tangled up in international espionage in what may be the last novel by the great spy thriller by author le Carré, who passed away in December. (Viking, $28, Oct. 12)
Black Paper: Writing in a Dark Time , Teju Cole. Cole’s essays on art and ethics in the modern world are scholarly but not impersonal, honest but not hopeless, and illuminating in ways that stick with you. (University of Chicago Press, $22.50, Oct. 27)
More books to come
Look for Patrick Rapa’s monthly roundup of great reads on Inquirer.com and in the Sunday Inquirer.