As an avid reader, almost nothing makes me more giddy than a stack of new books, and this fall, the amount of really spectacular books being published is awe-inspiring. I don’t say that lightly. My TBR piles have been overflowing with books, and as soon as I finish one, there are three more to be read ASAFP. There are worse problems to have, sure.
Here are some of my favorites that you should pick up.
Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner (November)
Best known for his writing on The Sopranos and Mad Men (for which he was the creator), Weiner delivers a stark novel about class, obsession, and an Upper East Side family. Short but powerful, you’ll read through this in one sitting, because you won’t be able to tear yourself away.
Gold Dust Woman: The Biography of Stevie Nicks by Stephen Davis (November)
I mean…it’s Stevie Nicks. How could this possibly be bad? Seriously, though, this is a compulsively readable book that examines both the work and personal life of Nicks, bringing depth and a personal touch to a vibrant musician.
Far From the Tree by Robin Benway (October)
What is family? Benway explores this complicated question in this YA book. Three teens, bound together by DNA, are suddenly linked by Grace, who tracked down her biological siblings after giving her baby up for adoption – each of whom has a story. A unique, candid look at adoption, foster care, and relationships. Don’t let the YA label throw you off – you won’t regret reading it.
Landscape with Sex and Violence: Poems by Lynn Melnick (October)
I confess, my reading of poetry pales compared to my fiction and nonfiction. That being said, Melnick’s collection blew me away. These poems take the reader into the heart of rape culture and what it’s like to live as a woman in our society. Hard to read at times, brutally honest, and hitting you head-on, the truth spills from the pages.
Bonfire: A Novel by Krysten Ritter (November)
If you’re a fan of Jessica Jones or The Defenders, or even Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23, you’re familiar with Krysten Ritter. I admit I’m always wary of books written by actors. Many times, they’re a let down, obviously ghostwritten, or you wish they had been ghostwritten. This book is none of that. Given the subject matter (psychological suspense, a tough, guarded female PI), it’s hard not to read the book with Ritter-as-Jessica-Jones narrating it in your head, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
Circadian: Lyric Essays by Chelsey Clammer (October)
I first read Clammer’s writing when I was a nonfiction editor for the now-defunct literary magazine Revolution House. Even then, across the board, we were stunned by her poetic prose, the way the words were strung together in what felt like an effortless way (although we, as writers, knew better). When I heard about this book, I had to get an advance copy of it, and her writing has gotten even better since I last read it. Fresh, incisive, and simply beautiful, this collection of essays combining academia and memoir and commentary is a must-read.
We Are All Shipwrecks by Kelly Grey Carlisle (September)
I read this memoir in two sittings because it was like a painful event that I couldn’t turn away from. Carlisle was only a few weeks old when her mother was murdered, and she grew up with her grandparents – who owned a porn store and lived on a boat in a harbor. This book tells her story of a dysfunctional childhood and how she came to terms with it, and the answers she ultimately came to grapple with.
The Power by Naomi Alderman (October)
This was the 2017 winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, and it’s clear why. This is a story of a world where teenage girls can cause pain and death; their physical power makes the world a very different place. If you liked The Handmaid’s Tale, read this next.
Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus by Vanessa Grigoriadis (September)
Everyone should read this, especially young women on college campuses. Fresh new research, personal stories, great reporting – this is not as simple as “no means no,” and Grigoriadis manages to bring new perspectives to an age-old issue, in a constructive way.
The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed (0ctober)
Another excellent YA book, this tells the story of a new girl in town whose new friends tell her a secret about the girl whose room she now lives in – a secret that propels them into the center of rape culture. A diverse cast of characters makes this bold book especially enjoyable to read.
What books are on your list this fall?