The return of Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes can only mean one thing: fall is on its way.
It goes without saying that fall is a favorite season of lots of bibliophiles. It’s the time of year when crisp air, cozy blankets and apple-scented candles join forces to create the perfect atmosphere for reading. Our favorite authors know this, and they don’t disappoint. This fall reading list includes a fresh batch of books by authors like Roxane Gay and Sigrid Nunez, all of which are highly anticipated.
Plus – what better spot to sip that pumpkin spice latte than your local bookstore?
The Fraud by Zadie Smith (Sept. 5)
From renowned author Zadie Smith comes this historical novel centered around the “Tichborne Trial” of 1873 – wherein a lower-class butcher from Australia claims he is the rightful heir of a sizable estate and title. But is Sir Roger Tichborne really who he says he is? The case becomes a central part of the lives of the two central characters – Andrew Bogle, the star witness who grew up enslaved on the Hope Plantation in Jamaica, and Eliza Touchet, a sharp, curious woman who runs in the circles of celebrated English novelists like Dickens and Ainsworth and suspects England of being a land of facades. “The Fraud” is a novel about truth and fiction, Jamaica and Britain, and the mystery of “other people.”
The Young Man by Annie Ernaux (Sept. 12)
In her latest book to appear in English, French Nobel laureate Annie Ernaux looks back on a brief love affair with A, a man 30 years her junior. The relationship at times leaves her feeling ageless, outside of time even. Looking back at her love affair is like living her life backwards – seeing her younger self reflected in A’s young face, while at the same time being reminded of her mortality when forced to accept that she cannot have a child with him. This book is a meditation on time and aging (as well as love), written with unapologetic flair and wisdom.
How to Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair (Oct. 3)
In this memoir, poet Safiya Sinclair reflects on her childhood in Jamaica living under the strict rules of her Rastafarian father, a reggae musician who took strict measures to protect his family from what he saw as corruption from Western influences. As a child, Sinclair was able to find slivers of freedom and safety in the books her mother bought for her and her siblings – but her newfound independence resulted in clashes with her father, who became increasingly violent and paranoid. “How to Say Babylon” is a reflection of how she managed to carve out a new life for herself while remaining true to the people and places she loves.
Opinions by Roxane Gay (Oct. 10)
From bestselling author and feminist icon Roxane Gay comes a collection of essays on culture, politics and everything in between. While she tackles some of the biggest talking points of this day and age, such as gun violence, abortion and online disinformation, she also offers readers some lighter reading material with more personal ponderings: can I tell my co-worker her perfume makes me sneeze? Is it acceptable to schedule a daily 8 a.m. meeting? “Opinions” compiles all of Gay’s best work from the last ten years and includes an introduction in which she reflects on the peaks and valleys of living in America this past decade.
Julia by Sandra Newman (Oct. 24)
An imaginative retelling of George Orwell’s classic novel “1984,” this story is told from the point of view of Julia Worthing, a mechanic working in the Fiction Department at the Ministry of Truth. It’s 1984, and Britain (now called Airstrip One) has long been absorbed into the larger trans-Atlantic nation of Oceania and is now ruled by a quasi-mythical figure called Big Brother. Through Julia’s eyes, we see sides of Orwell’s dystopia that were previously overshadowed. The feminist retelling offers a new spin on a classic tale, re-introducing readers to a world we first got acquainted with nearly 75 years ago.
Absolution by Alice McDermott (Oct. 31)
For every war in history, there have been stories about soldiers and their brave feats. But what about the wives stationed with them? “Absolution” follows Tricia and Charlene, two military wives who form a wary alliance in Saigon in 1963 during the Vietnam War. They balance the era’s mandate to be “helpmeets” to their ambitious husbands with their own impulses to “do good” for the people of Vietnam. Then 60 years later, Charlene’s daughter, spurred by an encounter with an aging Vietnam vet, reaches out to Tricia. Together, they attempt to come to terms with how their own lives as women on the periphery have been shaped by the same sort of unintended consequences that followed America’s tragic interference in Southeast Asia.
The Vulnerables by Sigrid Nunez (Nov. 7)
“The Vulnerables” takes place in the early days of the Covid-19 lockdowns in New York City. A woman agrees to spend a few days living in the apartment of a friend of a friend to look after their parrot, Eureka, who has been abandoned by his previous collegiate bird-sitter – or so we think. The former bird-sitter soon returns without warning, and the pair (or the trio, counting the parrot) become inadvertent housemates. The latest novel by New York Times bestselling author of “The Friend” reveals what happens when strangers are willing to open their hearts to each other and how far even small acts of caring can go to ease another’s distress.
The Book of Ayn by Lexi Freiman (Nov. 14)
Anna, a 39-year-old writer living in New York, has been canceled. Her latest satirical novel about the opioid epidemic has been deemed “classist” by a New York Times reviewer. She learns what it’s like to be cut off from society after her publisher drops her and people attack her over Twitter. As the newest member of the “canceled club,” she joins the ranks of belligerent centrists, contrarian podcast hosts, and most significantly, “The Fountainhead” author Ayn Rand, who is widely viewed as being too extreme for her belief that altruism is nonexistent. Anna joins a group of dedicated Rand superfans, paving the way for a humorous story that is sure to cause a stir.