Saying goodbye to summer — and with it, some of the hottest books of the season — is never easy. But the most anticipated books of the fall offer some comfort, returning to beloved stories and characters from years past. This season, look forward to highly anticipated sequels to Margaret Atwood’s 1985 classic The Handmaid’s Tale, André Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name and Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize winner Olive Kitteridge. And there are plenty of brand new stories coming this fall, too, including revealing celebrity memoirs, newsworthy nonfiction and novels from Ta-Nehisi Coates, Salman Rushdie and more. Here, the 42 most anticipated books of fall 2019.
Dominicana, Angie Cruz (Sept. 3)
It’s 1965 when 15-year-old Ana Cancion becomes Ana Ruiz. In Angie Cruz’s coming-of-age novel, the teenager has just married a man twice her age and moved from her home in the Dominican Republic to a walk-up in Washington Heights. Navigating the intimidating chaos of New York City and a volatile arranged marriage, Ana is crippled with a sense of isolation and desperate to leave — until she’s persuaded by her husband’s kinder younger brother to give her new life a chance. But as political unrest rattles the Dominican Republic, Ana’s sense of self is upended yet again, and she’s forced to choose which version of her life she wants to live.
Quichotte, Salman Rushdie (Sept. 3)
The titular character of Man Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie’s 14th novel is a traveling salesman pining after a woman he’s only seen on the television screen. Quichotte, which is on the short list for the 2019 Man Booker Prize, follows the protagonist as he sets off across the country in pursuit of love. But wait, a twist reveals Quichotte is himself a fictive creation, a character written by spy novelist Sam DuChamp. As DuChamp wrestles with his own midlife crisis, Rushdie paints a larger portrait of American culture and plays in the space between fiction and reality.
The Testaments, Margaret Atwood (Sept. 10)
The last time readers saw Offred, a woman forced into reproductive slavery in the Republic of Gilead, she was being whisked away in a van, unsure of her fate. But in The Testaments, which picks up more than 15 years later, Margaret Atwood will finally reveal what happened to the iconic characters who were first introduced in her 1985 dystopia, The Handmaid’s Tale. The new book — the most anticipated of the season — is on the short list for the Booker, despite a strict embargo.
Ducks, Newburyport, Lucy Ellmann (Sept. 10)
Also short-listed for the 2019 Booker, Ducks, Newburyport follows the stream-of-consciousness internal monologue of an Ohio housewife who runs through thoughts on many subjects: Jane Fonda, Obamacare, her four children and more. Lucy Ellmann’s eighth novel — 1,000 pages long and primarily composed of run-on sentences — is an experimental narrative that probes the anxieties of life in contemporary America.
Talking to Strangers, Malcolm Gladwell (Sept. 10)
Malcolm Gladwell examines why interactions between strangers can sometimes yield catastrophic consequences. The author of five previous bestsellers examines high-profile news cases including the death of Sandra Bland and the murder trial of Amanda Knox to argue that the way we misperceive each other can have an outsized impact on the world around us.
The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11, Garrett M. Graff (Sept. 10)
Journalist and historian Garrett M. Graff presents readers with a harrowing account of the September 11 attacks, told through the voices of many who were personally affected. Graff weaves together the stories of airline workers, first responders, generals at the Pentagon and more to contextualize and seek to further understand the trauma, humanity and history of 9/11.
The Institute, Stephen King (Sept. 10)
Luke Ellis is a 12-year-old living in Minnesota when his parents are murdered and he is kidnapped. In horror-master Stephen King’s latest novel, Luke is taken to the Institute, a mysterious facility that houses children with powerful abilities like telepathy and telekinesis — all of whom arrived the same way he did. Although Luke is comforted by the presence of the other kids, he wants out. But no one has ever successfully escaped the Institute, where punishments are severe and the captive population keeps growing.
Frankly in Love, David Yoon (Sept. 10)
Frank Li’s parents want him to date a Korean girl, but he’s smitten with Brit, his white classmate. In David Yoon’s young adult debut, the Korean-American teen teams up with family friend Joy Song, who is dealing with a similar dilemma, to pretend to date each other in order to appease their parents. But when Frank begins to realize that this fake relationship might be something real, he finds himself facing grown-up questions about family and identity.
A Single Thread, Tracy Chevalier (Sept. 17)
More than a decade has passed since the Great War, but Violet Speedwell is still coming to terms with the deaths of her brother and fiancé. In the latest from the author of Girl With a Pearl Earring, Violet struggles with her status as an unmarried “surplus woman” and decides it’s time to move out of her mother’s home and start living more freely. When she relocates to Winchester, she meets a dynamic society of embroiderers and joins them in making kneelers for the town’s Cathedral. But when the threat of another war looms, Violet’s newfound independence is threatened.
Coventry: Essays, Rachel Cusk (Sept. 17)
With her acclaimed Outline trilogy, Rachel Cusk proved her expertise in offering sharp observations on life through a fictional narrator. Cusk translates that skill into nonfiction in her first collection of essays. The British novelist shares her voice on everything from motherhood and marriage to art in these pieces, which jump between memoir, criticism and writing about writing.
The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls, Mona Eltahawy (Sept. 17)
In order to take down the patriarchy, Egyptian-American journalist and activist Mona Eltahawy argues that women need to start embodying the traits they’ve been taught to repress, like being angry, lustful and ambitious. Her feminist manifesto outlines how women can leverage their power in order for their voices to be heard. Balancing her personal stories with those of other women around the globe, Eltahawy’s second book is an essential addition to the dialogue surrounding the #MeToo movement.
On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal, Naomi Klein (Sept. 17)
In her new book, the author of This Changes Everything makes an urgent appeal for the fight against climate change. Delving into several examples of natural and man-made disasters from around the world, Klein urges readers to understand the implications of a changing environment and argues that a Green New Deal is vital to protecting the earth.
Permanent Record, Edward Snowden (Sept. 17)
When he was 29 years old, Edward Snowden became one of the most infamous whistle blowers of the 21st century, exposing a U.S. government plan for mass surveillance in 2013. Now, Snowden is sharing what led him to come forward in his new memoir, which covers everything from his childhood in Maryland to working at the NSA.
Breathe: A Letter to My Sons, Imani Perry (Sept. 17)
Structured as a letter to her sons, scholar and writer Imani Perry describes the challenges of raising black children in the U.S. Perry draws upon her own experiences and brings academics and authors, like Toni Morrison and W. E. B. DuBois, into the conversation to unpack the hopes and fears parents must navigate in an unjust world.
Red at the Bone, Jacqueline Woodson (Sept. 17)
Jacqueline Woodson, the National Book Award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming, turns her attention away from the middle-grade writing she’s known for and toward a story for adults. Her compact new novel, Red at the Bone, traces the impact of an unplanned teenage pregnancy on three generations of an African American family.
Piety and Power: Mike Pence and the Taking of the White House, Tom LoBianco (Sept. 24)
Reporter Tom LoBianco dives into over 100 interviews with people close to the Vice President to offer a portrait of the second most powerful man in the country. In Piety and Power, LoBianco offers key insights into Pence’s personal life and career, including his evangelical conversion, and gives a highly-detailed history of how President Trump selected Pence to be his running mate in 2016.
The Water Dancer, Ta-Nehisi Coates (Sept. 24)
In June, the award-winning author of Between the World and Me made a powerful testimony to Congress in support of reparations for slavery. His fiction debut dissects the country’s racist past through the eyes of Hiram, a young slave who decides to escape his Virginia plantation after nearly drowning in a river and seeing a vision of his mother — also a slave, sold away from him when he was a young boy.
Make It Scream, Make It Burn: Essays, Leslie Jamison (Sept. 24)
Essayist Leslie Jamison’s last collection tackled addiction. Her latest seeks to understand obsession. The 14 essays in Make It Scream, Make It Burn cover a diverse range of subjects — the Sri Lankan Civil War, lonely whales, children who remember their past lives — and pull from her personal experiences as a mother and partner to help answer an essential question: why do we want what we can’t have?
Who Put This Song On?, Morgan Parker (Sept. 24)
Loosely inspired by her own adolescence, poet Morgan Parker’s young adult debut illuminates the difficulties of being black in a predominantly white high school. The 17-year-old protagonist struggles with her identity alongside mental health issues that have only heightened her insecurities. But with the presidential election of 2008 around the corner, the teenager seizes the opportunity to learn more about black history and begins to build the voice she’s been afraid to use.
The Dutch House, Ann Patchett (Sept. 24)
In the follow up to her 2016 bestseller Commonwealth, Ann Patchett again tests the strength of familial bonds. This time, the story is centered on siblings Danny and Maeve, who live in a mansion outside of Philadelphia. When their father remarries, their situation evolves into a dark fairy tale-like narrative as the new woman in the house upends the trajectory of their lives.
Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love, Jonathan Van Ness (Sept. 24)
Those familiar with Jonathan Van Ness’s work on Netflix’s Queer Eye know him as a role model for self-acceptance and positivity, but it was a long road for the self-care expert to get there. In his memoir, Van Ness delves into what it was like growing up gay in a Midwest town where he was frequently targeted because of his sexuality. Over the Top also promises to uncover new personal details about Van Ness’ life, diving into his psyche as both a private and public person.
Stealing Green Mangoes: Two Brothers, Two Fates, One Indian Childhood, Sunil Dutta (Oct. 1)
Facing a grim cancer diagnosis, author Sunil Dutta reflects on the childhood he shared with his brother Raju. The duo endured a tumultuous upbringing in India, where the aftermath of the 1947 Partition introduced them to traumatic bouts of violence and abuse. Dutta’s memoir unpacks the pain of their shared past to make sense of the way their lives diverged as adults: Sunil became a biologist and then an Los Angeles police officer, while Raju became a fugitive-turned-terrorist.
Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth, Rachel Maddow (Oct. 1)
In her new book, the MSNBC host argues that there is a relationship between the rise of the oil industry and the destruction of democracy. Investigating some of the most devastating consequences of Big Oil — the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, earthquakes in Oklahoma — alongside Putin’s rise to power, Maddow proposes connections between several of the industry’s major players and Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.
Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl, Jeannie Vanasco (Oct. 1)
Plagued by nightmares of a sexual assault she experienced in college, Jeannie Vanasco faces the repercussions that incident has had not only on her life, but also on the life of her assailant. In a memoir that thoughtfully illustrates the lasting impact of trauma, Vanasco interviews the former high school friend who attacked her, after not speaking to him for 14 years.
How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir, Saeed Jones (Oct. 8)
Poet Saeed Jones traces his turbulent coming of age as a queer black man in Texas, unpacking the struggles he faced in understanding his identity as he felt at odds with his family, country and self. Jones revisits his romantic history — flings that were, at times, destructive — to examine the relationship between sexuality, race and vulnerability.
Grand Union: Stories, Zadie Smith (Oct. 8)
Known for her bestselling novels and nonfiction essay collections, Zadie Smith makes her short story collection debut with Grand Union. The 19 stories, 11 of which are new, cover a wide range, ruminating on race, parenthood, politics and more. From a story on the stabbing of Kelso Cochrane in 1959 to another on the experience of riding a lazy river in a Spanish resort, the collection builds on Smith’s observational wit and ability to use fiction to comment on real-life events.
Celestial Bodies: A Novel, Jokha Alharthi (Oct. 15)
Three Omani sisters grapple with love and loss as their country quickly transforms due to the rise of the oil industry. Celestial Bodies, the first novel originally published in Arabic to win the Man Booker International Prize, showcases Oman’s rich cultural history through a multigenerational saga.
Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People, Ben Crump (Oct. 15)
Attorney Ben Crump, who has represented the families of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and more, argues in Open Season that there is a genocide happening in America. He breaks down several memorable cases of unarmed black men being killed to expose injustices in the country’s judicial system, explaining that persistent racism is leading to more people dying — and fewer people noticing.
Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, Ronan Farrow (Oct. 15)
It was 2017 when Ronan Farrow’s investigative reporting helped take down one of the most powerful men in entertainment, Harvey Weinstein. Two years later, the Pulitzer Prize winner reflects on his experiences reporting on corruption and sexual misconduct scandals infesting Hollywood. In Catch and Kill, Farrow documents not only how he helped break one of the biggest stories on Weinstein, but also the threats he faced as a journalist in bringing the truth to light.
Me, Elton John (Oct. 15)
Elton John’s first autobiography follows the rise of a music legend, capturing the moments of rejection, disappointment and eventual superstar success he found throughout his career. Moving beyond his professional endeavors, he also writes of his personal battles and accomplishments, including his decade-long drug addition and his journey to parenthood.
Girl, Edna O’Brien (Oct. 15)
Edna O’Brien’s latest novel is set in Nigeria, thousands of miles away from her homeland of Ireland. Girl is a haunting fictional portrait of a young woman’s experience being kidnapped by Boko Haram and the horrors she faced during her abduction. In chronicling her protagonist’s attempt to flee the starvation, sexual violence and psychological trauma she suffered, O’Brien crafts a grueling survival story and examines its chilling aftermath.
Olive, Again, Elizabeth Strout (Oct. 15)
Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout brings readers back to Crosby, Maine, where Olive Kitteridge is coping with getting to know herself, as well as the people in her life. The new set of interlinked stories finds the beloved protagonist continuing to connect with others, from a teenager mourning the death of her father to a lawyer grappling with an unwanted inheritance.
Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, and Advice for Living Your Best Life, Ali Wong (Oct. 15)
Comedian Ali Wong’s two young daughters have long been a part of her professional work. She made headlines for performing pregnant in each of her Netflix specials, and now she is addressing her children directly in her new book. Wong applies her signature comedic tactic of blunt honesty in Dear Girls, covering everything her daughters will ever want to know about their mother, from her horror stories about being single in New York City to the time she drank snake blood in Vietnam.
Agent Running in the Field, John le Carré (Oct. 22)
Bestselling spy novelist John le Carre’s Agent Running in the Field is centered on Nat, a 47-year-old British spy who has just been tasked with managing the Haven, a division of London General that has seen better days. While playing badminton, Nat strikes up a conversation with a younger player, Ed, and the two discuss Brexit, the American president and what is going on in both countries. Le Carré pokes at timely tensions as a threat from Russia looms — and Ed’s rage against the state of politics grows dangerous.
Find Me, André Aciman (Oct. 29)
Fans of Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name and the Academy-Award winning film adaptation will finally get some answers about what happened to Elio and Oliver. Picking up years after they first met in Italy, the highly anticipated sequel revisits the two characters — who lead separate lives — as Oliver contemplates a trip back to Europe and they both consider the push and pull of true love.
Ordinary Girls, Jaquira Díaz (Oct. 29)
In her debut memoir, author Jaquira Díaz studies her troubled childhood in Puerto Rico and then Miami with her father, a drug dealer, and her mother, who is engaged in a bitter battle with schizophrenia. Díaz longs for stability as she grapples with depression, sexual assault and her identity as a queer person, often turning to friends over her family for support. Her path to developing inner strength and self-acceptance is a dynamic examination of the power of persistence.
Nothing to See Here, Kevin Wilson (Oct. 29)
Known for inserting the absurd amongst the mundane, author Kevin Wilson’s latest novel again dips into inventive territory, this time in the form of children who burst into flames when upset. In Nothing to See Here, protagonist Lillian receives a letter from an old friend she hasn’t spoken to in decades, asking if she would help take care of the self-combusting children. Bored by her current job and with little to lose, Lillian agrees and braves a strange summer, where the bonds she forms with the children inform her of the costs of abandonment and durability of love.
In the Dream House: A Memoir, Carmen Maria Machado (Nov. 5)
Demonstrating her signature inventive prose, National Book Award finalist Carmen Maria Machado explores her experiences being in a damaging relationship with a woman. Each chapter in her debut memoir is guided by a specific narrative trope — the haunted house, the unreliable narrator — and points to a larger dialogue surrounding the treatment of abusive queer relationships in history and literature.
Feed, Tommy Pico (Nov. 5)
The fourth installment of poet Tommy Pico’s Teebs tetralogy involves a walk through New York City’s High Line park, where the speaker reflects on the “recipe” that made him, mulling his identity as a Native American. Imagery of food plays a large part in Feed, in which the speaker also contemplates how to whip up the perfect macaroni and cheese. But as the walk continues, more pressing questions arise about familial and ancestral trauma, loneliness and more.
The Witches Are Coming, Lindy West (Nov. 5)
As the #MeToo movement took flight and influential men faced consequences for their destructive actions, some claimed that the prices they paid were too high, that feminists were engaging in a “witch hunt” to take down powerful men. The bestselling author of Shrill confronts that backlash in her new book, which charts misogynistic moments in American culture and history.
What It Is: Race, Family, and One Thinking Black Man’s Blues, Clifford Thompson (Nov. 12)
Clifford Thompson was raised to firmly believe that every person is entitled to equality in America. But as a parent of biracial children in the Trump era, the author of Love for Sale and Other Essays finds himself having to reckon with a reality at odds with the expectations he has carried for most of his life. Thompson opens a dialogue with fellow citizens who see the state of American racism differently than he does, and shares those conversations in his book.
Children of Virtue and Vengeance, Tomi Adeyemi (Dec. 3)
In the first book of the Legacy of Orïsha trilogy, young adult novelist Tomi Adeyemi introduced readers to the kingdom of Orïsha, where magic was wiped out after a king ruled that anyone with powers should be killed. The sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, picks up with protagonists Zélie and Amari after they have restored the magic, but now the duo have new problems to solve. A civil war is brewing and control of Orïsha is at stake — it’s up to them to keep the kingdom from splitting apart.
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