By Ashly Moore Sheldon • September 30, 2020
The cozy days of fall are descending and it's a perfect time for reading! (Admittedly, we always seem to feel this way.) Autumn is the traditional season for Big Books—and this year is no exception. Here are ten of the books that have us buzzing. Five of these were released in September, so they're already available! (But don't worry, we'll still include a previously published suggestion as well.)
Transcendent Kingdom (Sept. 1)
Yaa Gyasi's second book is markedly different from her celebrated debut Homegoing, a sprawling saga. This emotionally searing novel is deeply focused and ruminative. Gifty, a young neuroscientist endeavors to understand the forces that have leveled her Ghanaian-American family.
What Are You Going Through (Sept. 8)
In this moving and provocative novel, a woman agrees to a startling request from a terminally ill friend: To help her end her life. Sigrid Nunez brings wisdom, humor, and insight to a quietly profound story about the unusual ways one person can help another.
What to read first: The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
Homeland Elegies (Sept. 8)
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Ayad Akhtar explores the intersection of identity and politics with a story that may resemble his own experiences as the son of Muslim Pakistani immigrants living in the U.S. The novel's narrator, also named Ayad Akhtar, struggles to find his place in post-9/11 America.
Piranesi (Sept. 15)
More than 15 years since the publication of her bestselling last book, Susanna Clarke returns with an intoxicating, hypnotic new novel set in a dreamlike alternative reality. Piranesi's house is no ordinary building: it's an infinite stone labyrinth where an ocean is imprisoned.
Jack (Sept. 29)
Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson returns to the world of Gilead, Iowa with the fourth installment of her acclaimed series. This blistering story about a deeply felt, tormented interracial romance is another gorgeous exploration of the intricacies and complications of American life.
What to read first: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
Leave the World Behind (Oct. 6)
For his third novel, Rumaan Alam delivers a provocative psychological thriller about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong. Netflix won a heated bidding auction for film rights and Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington are set to star.
What to read first: That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam
The Searcher (Oct. 6)
Dublin Murder Squad author Tana French offers up this gripping stand-alone novel about an ex-cop looking for an escape from the mean streets of Chicago by moving to a sleepy Irish village. But when a local kid whose brother has gone missing talks him into investigating, he begins to uncover dangerous secrets.
What to read first: Broken Harbor by Tana French
Plain Bad Heroines (Oct. 20)
From award-winning author Emily M. Danforth comes a highly original horror-comedy set at a cursed New England boarding school for girls. It's a wickedly whimsical celebration of the art of storytelling, sapphic love, and the rebellious female spirit.
Memorial (Oct. 27)
In Houston, two young men—one Black, one Japanese-American—are lovers, but it's complicated. Bryan Washington's funny, profound novel is about family in all its strange forms, hard-won vulnerability, and the limits of love. It's a refreshing modern take on an age-old theme.
What to read first: Lot: Stories by Bryan Washington
The Cold Millions (Oct. 27)
From bestselling author Jess Walters comes a propulsive, absorbing historic novel about two scrappy brothers struggling to make it in an early twentieth-century America where the chasm between rich and poor looms large. One brother craves stability, while the other becomes an activist, fighting for fair pay.
What to read first: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters
The Office of Historical Corrections (Nov. 10)
This wise, clever collection from Danielle Evans adeptly explores the racial landscape in contemporary America. Examining second chances and no-win situations, the stories are transformative and deep—especially the ghostly thriller novella of the title.
Hopefully there's something here that piques your interest! If not, let us know which new books you're most excited about this fall. And be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for daily book recommendations, literary tidbits, and more.