This fall offers a stacked book lineup, with new titles from both veteran authors and those who are hitting their strides after coming out with highly anticipated debuts. It’s hard to pick only seven, but we had to narrow it down somehow.
Many books tackle contemporary themes and issues from the turbulent past four years, reflecting on what it means to be an immigrant, live with Covid and reckon with rapidly evolving climate change. Others channel those preoccupations into surrealist prose.
But they do what good fiction and nonfiction do best, which is to imagine different worlds and possibilities. With that in mind, here are some titles we’re keeping our eyes on this season.
Bliss Montage by Ling Ma (Sept. 13)
This highly anticipated story collection from the author of “Severance,” Ma’s debut novel that was turned into an Apple TV+ series, explores themes of isolation and intergenerational trauma through a surrealist, otherworldly and often darkly humorous lens. Ma takes risks by experimenting with form, but her stories are rooted in realities faced by contemporary women grappling with dating and searching for job security.
Fen, Bog & Swamp by Annie Proulx (Sept. 27)
Proulx returns to her environmental roots in this sweeping history of American wetlands — bogs, swamps, estuaries and fens (low land covered with water unless artificially drained) that largely eludes the public’s understanding but plays a large role in storing carbon emissions. This meditative book of nonfiction explores how peatlands are in danger because of climate change, and she makes a convincing case for why they need to be preserved.
Dinners with Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendships by Nina Totenberg (Sept. 13)
This memoir from the longtime NPR legal affairs correspondent draws on her close friendships with colleagues Cokie Roberts and Linda Wertheimer and with multiple Supreme Court justices over the years. But above all, the book celebrates the nearly 50-year friendship Totenberg enjoyed with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, up to the iconic judge’s last days. The two women bonded over personal joys, losses, illnesses and milestones.
The Furrows by Namwali Serpell (Sept. 27)
The Zambian author, who broke out onto the literary scene in 2019 with “The Old Drift,” returns with a second novel about a woman who sees the face of her lost, possibly dead younger brother everywhere she goes. The second part of the novel gets increasingly more complex when the narrator meets a man who shares the same name as her brother and is similarly haunted by someone gone missing.
Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat & Family by Rabia Chaudry (Nov. 8)
Chaudry, who comes from a Pakistani family, tackles weight and body image in this bare-it-all memoir. The host of the podcast “Undisclosed” recounts how her immigrant parents fed her fast food from a young age, making her the object of ridicule among her peers and her own relatives as she gained weight. But as she rediscovers her roots, she learns to cook with — and comes to love — traditional Pakistani food.
The Complicities by Stacey D’Erasmo (Sept. 20)
The story of a financial fraudster who is arrested after years of getting away with a massive Ponzi scheme may sound familiar, but in this novel by award-winning author D’Erasmo, the white-collar criminal’s takedown is seen through the eyes of three women in his life — notably his wife as she moves to a Massachusetts beach town to rebuild her life and assume a new identity.
Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng (Oct. 4)
The bestselling author of “Little Fires Everywhere” takes on big issues, from Covid-related attacks on Asians and Asian Americans to forced family separations at the U.S. border to book banning. But the central story of his dystopian novel is a boy searching for his missing mother, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was 9 years old, and whose disappearance leads him on a journey to New York to uncover family secrets and societal injustices.