This week, R. Eric Thomas, TV writer and author of Congratulations, The Best Is Over!, and Alex Abad-Santos, senior correspondent for Vox, joined us to reflect on the end of the writers’ strike and the 20th anniversary of the pumpkin spice latte.
Then, we revel in all of the best new books coming out this fall! We called up some of our favorite readers and writers to find out what they’re most excited to read this fall. Get ready to add a lot of these titles to your TBR list!
Same Bed Different Dreams by Ed Park (Nov. 7)
The second novel from the founding editor of The Believer is, according to the book’s official description, a “wild, sweeping novel that imagines an alternate secret history of Korea and the traces it leaves on the present—loaded with assassins and mad poets, RPGs and slasher films, pop bands and the perils of social media.”
“Does that sound awesome or what?” -Angie Kim, author of Happiness Falls
How to Be Multiple: The Philosophy of Twins by Helena de Bres (Nov. 7)
Traci Thomas, the host of The Stacks podcast (and mother of twins!), can’t wait to dive into this one. Written by a philosopher and illustrated by her twin, this dives into twinhood in all its facets. “It’s just calling my name!” says Traci.
Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros (Nov. 7)
This fantasy novel is a sequel to Fourth Wing, a book One to Watch author Kate Stayman London devoured earlier this year. “Boy did I spend two weeks wandering around Thailand, not talking to people, being like, ‘I have to read this 600-page dragon book, shut up.’” If the sequel is anything like its predecessor, it’ll be filled with more dragons, action, and love triangles.
Rouge by Mona Awad (Sept. 12)
Christina Orlando, an editor at Tor.com, says now is the prime time for dark academia season. To get into the spirit, they recommend this sophomore novel from Mona Awad about a cult-like spa. The book delves into “what people are willing to give up to feel clean and light and bright and glowy,” and it’s got some deeply sinister undertones.
Organ Meats by K-Ming Chang (Oct.24)
Another spooky title is book lover Lupita Aquino’s pick, which she says has the perfect combination of “really descriptive, gory, intense scenes, but also with really beautiful writing.” This book has talking dogs, ghosts, dreamworlds and more.
A Haunting on the Hill by Elizabeth Hand (Oct. 3)
Shirley Jackson fans, rejoice! This is the first novel officially authorized to occupy the world of The Haunting of Hill House. Now is Not the Time to Panic author Kevin Wilson can’t wait to get his hands on it. It’s about a playwright who assembles a troupe of actors to work on her next piece in an upstate mansion, when things begin to go awry.
Edith Holler By Edward Carey (Oct. 31)
All The Books! podcast host Liberty Hardy has declared that “Halloween is lit this year!” October 31 just so happens to fall on a Tuesday, which means it’s full of great spooky new releases, including the latest from Edward Carey. Billed as Tim Burton meets Gregory Maguire, this novel involves a precocious protagonist, a play about an evil child-killer, and a deeply creepy new stepmother.
The Reformatory by By Tananarive Due (Oct. 31)
“Tananarive Due writes the scariest books being written today, in my opinion,” says Liberty, who simply cannot contain herself to just one book recommendation. This horror novel takes place in Jim Crow Florida at a segregated reform school.
The Vaster Wilds by Lauren Groff (Sept. 12)
For her third recommendation, Liberty has to gush about this one, which just so happens to be Nerdette’s October book club selection! It’s about a young girl in early American colonial history who escapes her smallpox-ridden settlement with no destination. “The whole thing is just her! In the woods! And it’s one of the most incredible things you’ll ever read.”
Book critic Hillary Kelly seconded the praise for Lauren’s latest novel. “She rewrites the idea of American individualism and the founding fathers and the tough masculine world that we think of as our beginnings.”
Land of Milk and Honey by C Pam Zhang (Sept. 26)
So what is Lauren Groff reading right now? C Pam Zhang’s Land of Milk and Honey is about a chef during the brink of ecological collapse. The novel is a fascinating look at the climate crisis, Americanism, and the brutality of survival. “We should all be looking out for this strange, strange book,” Lauren says. It also just so happens to be Nerdette’s November book club pick!
Roaming by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki (Sept. 12)
NPR’s Andrew Limbong, the host of the Book of the Day podcast, loved this graphic novel that takes place in New York in the fall. It’s about two best friends who take a trip there, but one brings another friend, which was NOT part of the plan. “It’s this really heartfelt look at relationship dynamics, especially between three young women.”
Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas (Aug. 15)
Gwen Kirby, the author of S*** Cassandra Saw, has another seasonally appropriate book that spans a number of genres. “It’s sort of a gothic horror romance meets 1840s Mexican-American War,” she says. There are sexy vampires. Need we say more?
The Iliad translated by Emily Wilson (Sept. 26)
Gwen also raves about this translation of an epic text, saying it’s “exciting to see a woman for the first time taking a look at Homer’s words.” Wilson has also translated The Odyssey. The depth of knowledge and empathy she brings to these ancient texts is truly astounding.
The Vulnerables by Sigrid Nunez (Nov. 7)
The New York Times’ Alexandra Alter calls this one an “oddball roommate book.” It takes place during the early days of COVID when a woman is asked to house-sit and take care of a friend’s parrot. Like many pandemic novels, it covers a lot of ground on topics we’re all still processing. “It’s about loss, it’s about grief, it’s about solitude,” Elizabeth says.
Family Lore by Elizabeth Acevedo (Aug. 1)
Cleyvis Natera, the author of Neruda on the Park, was ecstatic to read Elizabeth Acevedo’s first novel for adults. It’s about the women in a Dominican-American family, some of whom have magical gifts. “I love this idea that, you know, regardless of what you are born with into a family, you have to find your way.” (And for those of you who like a steamy read, Cleyvis adds that “there are some very sexy bits!”)
North Woods by Daniel Mason (Sept. 19)
This book spans centuries, but its framing is very simple; it explores the inhabitants of one house in Western Massachusetts in short stories that overlap and interweave. “You really come to identify with this structure and its inhabitants,” Alexandra Alter says.
Miwa Messer, the host of the Poured Over podcast, also loves this one. “I could not believe the connections that he was making between his characters, between the setting, between our history.”
The Unsettled by Ayana Mathis (Sept. 26)
Miwa also says she can’t stop thinking about this multi-generational novel about a mother’s fight for survival in 1980s Philadelphia. “We are in a moment in America where I can draw a straight line between where we are and the 1980s.”