Readers will full to-read lists might do well this month to clear out some space in preparation for this October, as those lists are sure to be refilled with all the offerings coming this fall. Most of the big titles this year have been squarely in the political realm, but the buzz this October is centered on big fiction releases from names consistently associated with prizes and book discussion favorites across genres. On to the specifics:
--Any novel from Haruki Murakami gets attention, and Killing Commendatore holds particular appeal as it’s the author’s homage to The Great Gatsby. Mixing magical realism with a sprawling plot, fans of Murakami’s previous works will find much to like. Barbara Kingsolver also wrestles with plot spanning centuries in Unsheltered, centered on a dilapidated house and two families from different eras who call it home. It hits shelves mid-month. Family quarrels of a different sort are the subject of debut author Kathy Wang’s Family Trust. As a Chinese-American family awaits the demise of its patriarch, a scion of Silicon Valley, his would-be heirs contemplate unfulfilled promise, lifestyle excess and tricky family dynamics. Publisher’s Weekly notes Wang ‘expertly considers the values of high-tech high society.’
--It wouldn’t be fall without some familiar names hitting the bestseller list. Jodi Picoult continues her of-the-moment trend with A Spark of Light, centered on the abortion debate. Michael Connelly, creator of LA detective Harry Bosch, introduced a new detective Renee Ballard with last year’s The Late Show. Dark Sacred Night pairs the two detectives in a cold kidnapping case that plumbs the depths of both investigators dark pasts. Tana French offers her first standalone novel in The Witch Elm, an account of a beating victim who retreats to the family ancestral home, only to find a human skull in the garden. Booklist calls it ‘spellbinding’ while Kirkus praises its compelling, psychologically complex storytelling. John Sandford’s Holy Ghost sees Virgil Flowers called in when a small Minnesota town’s efforts to reverse its financial fortunes by becoming a pilgrimage site turn decidedly unholy. Booklist calls it both wicked and sublime; it’s on shelves October 9.
--There’s still a strong showing from nonfiction this month, surprisingly largely free of big political titles. David Grann, author of last year’s blockbuster Killers of the Flower Moon, returns with a brief tale of obsession and the Shackleton expedition in The White Darkness. Comedy fans will want to take note of two releases: Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman chronicle the story of their uproarious relationship in The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History, while podcaster and comedian Phoebe Robinson tackles issues serious and not in her second collection of essays Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay. Fall also sees a surge in cookbook offerings. Longtime favorites Ina Garten (Cook Like a Pro) and Christopher Kimball (Milk Street: Tuesday Nights) lead the field competing for readers and chefs’ interests.
Several October releases (and some September ones) will be featured at this year’s Wisconsin Book Festival. Be sure to check out their schedule of events for authors and titles that will be appearing at free events throughout Madison.
And as always you can click on through to see the full list.