Have we recovered from September yet? It seemed like last month had a very full slate of new offerings to check out, along with the announcements of a couple of notable award lists and Big Important Books. So it’s understandable if you, reader, feel a bit overwhelmed by the quantity of quality titles that have been recently released. However, October is still high season for big releases, although unlike September, a number of those big titles are installments in series that come around like clockwork every year. I like to think of October as the month of sure bets: a lot of familiar names and familiar series that typically top the bestseller lists every year. But if you’re looking for something novel in your novels or nonfiction, this October also has its fair share of new names that are already generating buzz. On to the highlights:
--October’s list reads like a who’s who of heavy hitters on the bestseller lists. John Grisham, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, John Sandford, Alexander McCall Smith and Elin Hilderbrand all have new titles out in their respective series, mostly in the thriller/crime/mystery realms. Patricia Cornwell was a staple bestseller with her Scarpetta novels of the early 2000s; October sees her change direction with Quantum, a thriller that launches her new Captain Chase series, centering on the nation’s space program, a missing twin and implications of cybertechnology. Heather Morris had a big word-of-mouth hit with The Tattooist of Auschwitz last year; she returns this month with Cilka’s Journey. Touching on similar themes to Tattooist, Cilka follows its namesake from the horrors of Auschwitz to an equally uncertain fate in Siberia: the novel is on shelves early October. Elizabeth Strout’s anti-heroine Olive Kittridge earned legions of readers, an acclaimed HBO miniseries and a Pulitzer Prize when it appeared in 2008; Strout returns to Crosby, Maine with Olive, Again, and the early reviews are unanimous that it is a worthy successor to the original. Olive, Again is on shelves midmonth.
--Nonfiction for October is a bit unusual in the concentration of so many music memoirs in one month. In his suitably titled autobiography Me, the former Reginald Dwight will finally tell in his own words how he became superstar Elton John; look for it on shelves midmonth. Being a groundbreaker means having stories to tell, and rockers Debbie Harry and Liz Phair definitely have seen things in their respective careers. Harry releases Face It October 1st, while Phair shares her Horror Stories a week later. The late, great Prince was rumored to be working on his memoirs when he died unexpectedly in 2016. While the book was still in its earliest stages, enough had apparently been written to see the release of The Beautiful Ones, due out in late October. Covering the artist’s earliest years as a memoir and rounding out the rest of his career with scrapbook materials, photos and a handwritten treatment of Purple Rain, it’s the closest fans will get to hearing Prince tell his story in his own words.
--If you’re more the type who likes your fiction off the beaten path, there’s a few notables lurking among the big names this month. Leigh Bardugo has earned fans with her YA fiction; she makes the leap to the adult market with the season appropriate Ninth House. It follows a freshman whose ability to see ghosts earned her a spot at a reimagined Yale whose secret societies are magic-based. Take usual Eli concerns about class snobbery and money and add elements of dark magic and murder, and the result is what Kirkus calls a compulsively readable novel. Reworking Frankenstein is a daunting task, unless you’re Jeanette Winterson. Her Booker shortlisted Frankissstein reimagines the classic monster tale as a love story, paralleling the relationship of Mary and Percy Shelley with a modern take that gets to the heart of personhood today. Look for Frankissstein on shelves early in the month.
Many more titles to check out this month on the full list; click on through to see. Happy reading!