Do you remember back in March when I was telling you about the can’t-miss debut novels by authors with highly anticipated summer books? I was losing my mind over new novels from writers like Paula Hawkins and Arundhati Roy. Well, now I’m really losing it over the incredibly exciting books coming out this fall. I mean there are new books coming from Jennifer Egan and Dan Brown and Alice Hoffman and Gabrielle Zevin and, well, you get the point. To keep myself together, I’m revisiting old favorites by authors with big books coming out this fall.
15 Favorite Novels from 15 Favorite Authors
Set in New York City in the months before and immediately following 9/11, THE EMPEROR’S CHILDREN follows three characters as they transition from the ease and entitlement of life at Brown University to the difficult and disappointing reality of life in the city. Claire Messud writes brilliantly about the collision of values and the relationship between perception and reality, themes she also explores in her new novel THE BURNING GIRL (out in August).
When 14-year-old Alma receives a mysterious letter in the mail, she undertakes an adventure to find her namesake—an old man who fell in love 60 years ago and wrote a book that would cross oceans and change lives. A writer also takes the main stage in Nicole Krauss’s new novel, FOREST DARK, about a young novelist and an older lawyer whose transcendental search leads them to the same Israeli desert (out in September).
An instant favorite among readers, THE STORIED LIFE OF A. J. FIKRY is the charming story of a solitary bookseller who loses a rare collection of Poe poems, but receives a mysterious package that gives him the chance to make his life over. Gabrielle Zevin is sure to charm readers again with her second novel, YOUNG JANE YOUNG, about an ambitious congressional intern who has an affair with her boss, moves to a remote town in Maine, and raises her daughter to avoid the mistakes she made (out in August).
A.J. Fikry’s life is not going according to plan. Unmarried, alone, and running a bookstore on the brink of collapse, he has just discovered that one of his most prized possessions, a rare folio of poems written by Edgar Allen Poe, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears one morning at the store, its unexpected arrival gives him the chance to see everything anew.
Set in Mississippi during the 12 days immediately leading up to Hurricane Katrina, SALVAGE THE BONES is the heart-wrenching story of an unforgettable family of motherless children sacrificing for each other as best they can. Jesmyn Ward’s new novel SING UNBURIED SING is perhaps even more profound, searing, and poetic (out in September).
Set in the 12 days leading up to Hurricane Katrina’s arrival in Mississippi, a family of motherless children do everything they can to protect and care for each other. SALVAGE THE BONES is a wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty.
A gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU follows a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio as the body of their favorite child is found in a lake and they struggle to understand not only what went wrong, but each other. Things also go wrong for the family at the center of Celeste Ng’s new book LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE, about the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives (out in September).
“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this dark but exquisite novel about a Chinese-American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, but when her body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, and the family is forced to come to terms with their struggles and secrets.
The first book in the bestselling Robert Langdon series, ANGELS AND DEMONS follows the Harvard symbologist as he is summoned to his first assignment at a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol seared into the chest of a murdered physicist. Robert Langdon discovers the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati and embarks on a frantic hunt to stop their plan to bomb Vatican City. After the remaining three books in this series, Langdon’s adventures continue in Bilbao, Spain, with Dan Brown’s stunningly inventive new book ORIGIN (out in October).
THE JAPANESE LOVER is a beautifully crafted love story and multi-generational epic that magnificently sweeps from World War II to the present day, exploring issues of race and identity, abandonment and reconciliation. For more of Isabel Allende’s landmark storytelling, read her new book IN THE MIDST OF WINTER, about three very different people who are brought together in a mesmerizing story that journeys from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil (out in October).
Isabel Allende’s latest novel spans from Poland in the 1930s to present-day San Francisco. This sweeping love story explores questions of identity, abandonment, redemption, and the unknowable impact of fate on our lives.
For more than 200 years, the women in the Owens family—including Gillian, Sally, and their quirky aunts Franny and Jet—have been blamed for every mishap in their Massachusetts town, and haunted by the rumor that any man who falls in love with them will befall a horrible fate. When Gillian and Sally’s relationships both end terribly, they return home for a funny, sweet—and, dare we say, magical—adventure about the power of family, love, and hope. Alice Hoffman’s newest novel, THE RULES OF MAGIC, is the prequel to this beloved story, centered around Franny, Jet, and their brother Vincent, but the books can be read in any order, making it perfect for fans and newbies alike (out in October).
Having lived most of their lives with their eccentric and magically gifted aunts, orphaned sisters Sally and Gillian want nothing more than to ignore their own burgeoning powers and blend into normal society. But when a ghost begins to menace their hometown, can this misfit family embrace their magical gifts to save their community?
About a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral in the world, the mason who becomes his architect, and a beautiful lady haunted by a secret shame, PILLARS OF THE EARTH is the first book in Ken Follett’s bestselling Kingsbridge series. Follett’s magnificent new epic, A COLUMN OF FIRE, will delight longtime Kingsbridge fans and enchant readers new to the series (out in October).
This two-novel epic set in medieval England centers around a Gothic cathedral and the pride, love, and greed it inspires in the townspeople affected by its creation. Political, social, and religious upheaval make for a storyline that’s fast paced and action packed without sacrificing historical detail.
In LITTLE CHILDREN, a surprising host of thirty-something parents in a sleepy American suburb are thrown together when a convicted child molester moves back to town, and two restless parents begin an affair that goes farther than they ever planned. For more of Tom Perrotta’s provocative and hilarious fiction, check out his latest novel, MRS. FLETCHER (out in August).
Check out 6 others Tom Perrotta books you should marathon read.
Phoebe O’Connor sets out on a quest to find out the truth about the death of her beloved older sister Faith, a beautiful, idealistic hippie who died in Italy in 1970. Traveling from San Francisco throughout Europe, Phoebe uncovers complex and disturbing revelations about family, love, and Faith’s lost generation. Set during the Depression and WWII, Jennifer Egan’s new novel, MANHATTAN BEACH, explores another transformative moment in the lives of women, men, and America itself (out in October).
TEN THOUSAND SAINTS is a multigenerational drama set against the 1980s punk scene of downtown New York. Centered on a teenager named Jude, his friends, and the adults trying (and somewhat failing) to raise them, Eleanor Henderson’s debut novel is a gorgeous, tense approach to the traditional coming-of-age story. Her next book, THE TWELVE-MILE STRAIGHT, promises a similar saga, only this time it’s set in 1930s Georgia (out in September).
For the old-school ’80s punk
This stunning novel is a coming-of-age story about the son of die-hard hippies growing up in raw, roaring New York City of the late 1980s. With the unbridled optimism and reckless stupidity of the young—and old—TEN THOUSAND SAINTS takes on hard-core punk rock, teen pregnancy, adoption, and drugs to form one heart-aching tale.
When web designer Clay Jannon is forced into a career move, he takes a job at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, where loyal customers gather, but never seem to buy anything. To figure out why, Clay analyzes the clientele’s behavior to try to figure out what secret they’re keeping. A smart and satirical send-up of the tech, publishing, and intellectual communities, it has readers eagerly waiting (or salivating) for his new book, SOURDOUGH (out in September).
Clay lands a job at a mysterious 24 hour bookstore with few customers and almost no book sales. What he discovers about the store and the owner and the world beyond makes this a page turner of a novel.
Set during one of the most conflicted and controversial periods in American history, HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET follows Henry Lee, who discovers the belongings of Japanese-American families sent to internment camps during World War II, and is forced to confront his past and reconcile with memories of a young girl he knew who was sent away. Jamie Ford’s new novel, LOVE AND OTHER CONSOLATION PRIZES—aside from having one of the best titles ever—is an evocative and heartbreaking novel based on a true story about a young boy whose life is changed forever at the 1909 World’s Fair in Seattle (out in September).
15 WWII Novels Beyond Europe’s Shores
Several months ago, I read GONE TO SOLDIERS by Marge Piercy and fell in love with its unique kaleidoscopic perspectives on the war. I have since been on a hunt for more World War II fiction that portrays the war from viewpoints outside of Europe. I have discovered many novels that show the war as it played out in Asia, America, and the Pacific. Here are just a few I most look forward to reading.
A book that transcends the sci-fi genre, THE MARTIAN was a massive hit even before it was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film starring Matt Damon. Told from the perspective of Mark Watney, a botanist who is part of a mission to Mars—and then is left there by accident—it’s a harrowing and human story of survival, strength, and space. Andy Weir’s new novel, ARTEMIS, centered on a heist on the Moon, is sure to be just as thrilling (out in November).
Stuck on Mars after a space mission gone awry, astronaut Mark Watney makes a desperate bid to survive despite near-impossible odds. The adaptation stars Matt Damon, who has some experience with stranded spacemen—he was in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar just last year. But don’t get the two tales confused: according to Damon himself, The Martian is “totally f****** different.”
Release date: October 2, 2015