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15 October Book Releases We're Excited About

And What You Can Read in the Meantime

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • September 26, 2021

Reading Ahead

No matter how crowded our TBR shelves are, we just keep browsing (and buying!) more. October's most anticipated list is packed with must-reads! Here are fifteen volumes available for preorder, plus a previously published book with a similar vibe you can enjoy in the meantime.

October 5

Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen

It's December 23, 1971, and heavy weather is in the forecast for Chicago. In the meantime, powerful storms are brewing within the family at the center of this novel, the first in a planned trilogy from the author of The Corrections.

What to read first: Find Me by André Aciman

A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow

It's Zinnia Gray's twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it's the last birthday she'll ever have. In this subversive, feminist reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, the girl at the center suffers from a rare, deadly condition.

What to read first: The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Reprieve by James Han Mattson

It's 1990s Nebraska, and four contestants make it to the final room of a notorious haunted escape room. But when an intruder breaks in and kills one of them, the survivors are left to reckon with their own culpability.

What to read first: The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

This stylish, propulsive historical novel from the author of A Gentleman in Moscow follows a teenager determined to rebuild his life after serving a sentence for involuntary manslaughter. But his best-laid plans are disrupted.

What to read first: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins

In this darkly funny soul-rending novel, an author (also named Claire Vaye Watkins) leaves behind her husband and newborn for a book event in Reno that mutates into an extended escape from the confines of marriage and motherhood.

What to read first: Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Smile: The Story of a Face by Sarah Ruhl

With a show opening on Broadway and newborn twins, the MacArthur winning playwright discovered that the left side of her face was completely paralyzed. This memoir recounts her long journey with Bells' palsy.

What to read first: My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor

Fight Night by Miriam Toews

A compassionate, darkly humorous, and deeply wise novel about three generations of women. "You're a small thing," Grandma writes, "and you must learn to fight." Swiv's Grandma, Elvira, has been fighting all her life.

What to read first: Women Talking by Miriam Toews

October 12

The Pessimists by Bethany Ball

A biting and darkly funny new novel that follows a set of privileged, jaded Connecticut suburbanites whose cozy, seemingly picture-perfect, lives begin to unravel amid shocking turns of fate and revelations of long-held secrets

What to read first: What to Do About the Solomons by Bethany Ball

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Two boys fell in love in a border town. Now in the highly anticipated sequel to the award-winning series starter, the story continues as the pair discovers what it means to keep love alive in a world that seems to challenge their very existence.

What to read first: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

October 19

Monster in the Middle by Tiphanie Yanique

Fly's a Black American musician reeling from heartbreak. Stela's a Catholic science teacher from the Caribbean, looking for lasting love. This electric novel maps the emotional inheritance of the two New Yorkers as they meet and fall in love.

What to read first: Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

The Judge's List by John Grisham

Florida Board of Judicial Conduct investigator Lacy Stoltz returns in this new thriller. In her latest case, the crimes are even worse than before. Instead of taking bribes, a corrupt judge may be taking lives with his own hit list.

What to read first: The Whistler by John Grisham

Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

Although they've been divorced for years, Lucy and William have remained close. Still, she's surprised when he asks her to join him on a trip to explore a recently uncovered family secret that has impacted their closest relationships.

What to read first: My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

A Shadow in the Ember by Jennifer L. Armentrout

In this new series starter, Seraphena's future has never been hers. Chosen before birth to uphold the desperate deal her ancestor struck to save his people, she is bound to offer herself to the Primal of Death as his consort.

What to read first: Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Days of Afrakete by Asali Solomon

Two women at midlife rediscover themselves—and perhaps each other—in this tender, surprising novel. Liselle and Selena fell in love as students at Bryn Mawr. Now years later, they both find themselves at a crossroads in life.

What to read first: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

October 26

As the Wicked Watch by Tamron Hall

The first in a new series from the Emmy Award-winning TV host and journalist, this thriller follows a reporter as she unravels the disturbing mystery around the deaths of two Black girls: the work of a serial killer terrorizing Chicago.

What to read first: Field of Blood by Denise Mina

Hopefully there's something here that captures your fancy! Let us know which new books you're most excited about this month. And be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for daily book recommendations, literary tidbits, and more.

Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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