50 of the Best Books to Read This Fall

Kate Scott |
9 months ago

Fall is nearly upon us and with it, a barrage of amazing new books from authors like Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, Ta Nehisi-Coates, Stephen King, Jacqueline Woodson, Ann Patchett, Zadie Smith, Bill Bryson, and more. If you’re looking for something to read as the weather turns, there’s something here for every taste.

Fiction Books 2019

Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis

September 3 | Knopf

Uruguay, 1977. The military regime rules with brutal force and hundreds of citizens are disappeared to be tortured or killed. In this dangerous climate where homosexuality is transgression worthy of cruel punishment, five cantoras–women who “sing”–find refuge on an uninhabited cape.

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie

September 3 | Random House

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, this modern day retelling of Cervantes’s classic tale follows the adventures of Quichotte, a salesman who falls in love with a TV star and sets off on a quest across America to prove himself worthy of her love, as seen through the eyes of his creator, a mediocre writer named Sam DuChamp.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

September 10 | Nan A. Talese

In this highly anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood continues the story of Gilead–15 years after Offred steps into the unknown–with the testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

Akin by Emma Donoghue

September 10 | Little, Brown & Co.

From the acclaimed author of Room comes this novel about a retired chemistry professor who returns to his hometown in the South of France with his 11-year-old nephew in tow. There, they uncover troubling secrets about their family’s past.

Out of Darkness, Shining Light by Petina Gappah

September 10 | Scribner

This novel tells the story of the men and women who carried 19th century missionary Dr. Livingstone’s body 1500 miles across the African continent so that he could be buried at home in England.

The Institute by Stephen King

September 10 | Scribner

Luke Ellis has special gifts. One night, his parents are murdered and he wakes up at The Institute, a sinister operation where children with gifts—telekinesis and telepathy—undergo brutal experiments to extract the source of their power. Luke knows he must find a way out…but no one has ever escaped from The Institute.

Three-Fifths by John Vercher

September 10 | Agora Books

Pittsburgh, 1995. Twenty-two-year-old Bobby Saraceno has passed for white his entire life. Then, his best friend, Aaron, is released from prison with newly acquired white supremacist ideology swarming in his head. Bobby’s world comes crashing down when he witnesses Aaron assault a black man with a brick the night of their reunion.

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

September 17 | Riverhead

Red at the Bone is the multi-generational story of two families from different social classes who are joined by the birth of a child.

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

September 24 | One World

Born into slavery, Hiram Walker’s world is torn apart when his mother is sold to another plantation. Her forced departure robs Hiram of all memory of her but leaves him with a mysterious power. When this power saves him from drowning, Hiram resolves to escape the bondage of slavery and reunite with his lost family.

The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman

September 24 | Simon & Schuster

Under the growing threat of the Nazi regime, Hanni Kohn seeks safe passage for her daughter, Lea, out of Berlin. Ettie, the daughter of a renowned rabbi, offers hope when she brings to life a golem named Ava, sworn to protect Lea from harm.

The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste

September 24 | W. W. Norton

The Shadow King tells the forgotten story of how women rose up to defend Ethiopia against Mussolini’s advance through the eyes of Hirut, a young woman who becomes a leader and warrior in a world that wants to keep her in her place.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

September 24 | Harper

From the award-winning author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder comes this story about two siblings raised in the wealth of their real estate magnate father and cast back into poverty by their stepmother, and the sprawling estate outside of Philadelphia known as the Dutch House at the center of it all.

Grand Union by Zadie Smith

October 8 | Penguin Press

This collection includes 11 never-before-published stories and short works previously published in The New Yorker and elsewhere. Ranging in genres from historical fiction to dystopian, Grand Union has something for everyone.

Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha

October 15 | Ecco

After the shooting of a black teenager by police, L.A. is as tense as it’s been in decades. But Grace Park, the daughter of Korean immigrants, has other things to think about, and Shawn Matthews doesn’t want to get involved. But when another shocking crime is committed, both the Park and Matthews families must face their own history.

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

October 15 | Random House

It’s been more than a decade since Elizabeth Strout published the Pulitzer Prize–winning story collection Olive Kitteridge, its title character a prickly middle-aged woman navigating life’s triumphs and pitfalls in the small town of Crosby, Maine. Now, in this sequel, Strout returns to Crosby.

Find Me by André Aciman

October 29 | Farrar, Straus & Giroux

From the author of the beloved novel Call My by Your Name comes this sequel, which revisits Elio and Oliver decades after the events of the first book.

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

November 5 | Atria Books

Libby Jones is 25 years old when she finally learns the identity of her birth parents—and that she is the sole heir to their estate, an abandoned mansion worth millions. But what she doesn’t know is that 25 years ago, police discovered a baby in a bedroom at 16 Cheyne Walk and three dead bodies in the kitchen downstairs.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

November 5 | Doubleday

Zachary Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book containing a number of strange tales—including one from his own childhood. A series of clues leads him to a magical library buried deep within the earth and a cast of characters sworn to protect it—and others bent on destroying it.

The Book of Lost Saints by Daniel José Older

November 5 | Imprint

Prompted by the foul-mouthed ghost of a long-dead aunt who vanished during the Cuban Revolution, Ramon launches an investigation into his family history.

The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

November 5 | Counterpoint

Alternating between 1925 and today, The Revisioners follows the story of Josephine, a woman who established a successful farm after freeing herself from slavery, and Ava, her descendant. Josephine befriends her white neighbor who is also drawn to the Ku Klux Klan. Ava moves in with her white grandmother but realizes she must escape when the woman’s behavior becomes erratic and threatening.

Nonfiction Books 2019

The Economists’ Hour by Binyamin Appelbaum

September 3 | Little, Brown, & Co.

The Economists’ Hour traces today’s economic inequality crisis back to its origin in the ideas of a handful of economists who shaped the modern global marketplace after the post–World War II boom.

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? by Caitlin Doughty

September 10 | W. W. Norton

From the bestselling author and mortician who brought you Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and From Here to Eternity comes this hilarious book that answers every question your kid (and you) could possibly have about death, such as “Why do corpses groan? Do people poop when they die?” and “Can Grandma have a viking funeral?”

The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri

September 3 | Catapult

Dina Nayeri fled Iran when she was just 8 years old and eventually sought asylum in the United States. In The Ungrateful Refugee, Nayeri weaves her own story in with the stories of other refugees to paint a vivid picture of what it means to flee home in hope of a better life.

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

September 10 | Little, Brown & Co.

“How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler?” In this thought-provoking book, Malcolm Gladwell argues that there is something “very wrong” with how we seek to understand strangers—and it has profound negative consequences for us and the world.

The Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett M. Graff

September 10 | Avid Reader Press

Comprised of never-before-published transcripts, declassified documents, interviews, and oral histories from hundreds of first responders, witnesses, survivors, friends, family members, and government officials, The Only Plane in the Sky is an account of 9/11 as told by those who experienced it first-hand.

For the Love of Men by Liz Plank

September 10 | St. Martin’s Press

How are we going to solve the problem of toxic masculinity? In For the Love of Men, Liz Plank lays out a plan for men and the women who love them.

Poisoner in Chief by Stephen Kinzer

September 10 | Henry Holt

In this disturbing biography, Stephen Kinzer introduces readers to Sidney Gottlieb, head of the CIA’s MK-ULTRA mind control project.

The Undying by Anne Boyer

September 17 | Farrar, Straus & Giroux

The Undying is an exploration of cancer—from the greed of the pharmaceutical industry and hypocrisy of “pink ribbon” culture to the ecological costs of chemotherapy and the “many little murders of capitalism”—as told through the eyes of an acclaimed poet who was diagnosed with aggressive triple-negative breast cancer at the age of 41.

The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls by Mona Eltahawy

September 17 | Beacon Press

“To be angry, ambitious, profane, violent, attention-seeking, lustful, and powerful.” These are the seven sins feminist author and activist Mona Eltahawy says every girl should commit in this kickass manifesto, transgressing the patriarchal rules that keep women and girls silent and submissive.

We Are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer

September 17 | Farrar, Straus & Giroux

“Will future generations distinguish between those who didn’t believe in the science of global warming and those who said they accepted the science but failed to change their lives in response?” In this deeply personal book, Eating Animals author Jonathan Safran Foer asks the hard questions and challenges readers to reckon with our own unwillingness to sacrifice immediate comfort for the future of the planet.

Think Black by Clyde W. Ford

September 17 | Amistad

Think Black tells the story of John Stanley Ford, IBM’s first black software engineer, whose relationship with his son (the author) was deeply affected by the racist persecution he was subjected to on the job.

On Fire by Naomi Klein

September 17 | Simon & Schuster

In this collection of essays both old and new, environmental activist Naomi Klein makes the case for a green new deal, going beyond the science to probe the philosophical implications of the climate crisis.

The Soul of Care by Arthur Kleinman

September 17 | Viking

In this powerful book, esteemed Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Arthur Kleinman records the lessons he learned about the practical, emotional, and moral aspects of caregiving when he became the primary caregiver for his wife after she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

The Program by Toni Natalie with Chet Hardin

September 24 | Grand Central Publishing

Toni Natalie was the girlfriend of NXIVM’s creator, Keith Raniere; the first woman indoctrinated with the cult’s twisted methodology; and the first woman to escape from his control. In this memoir, she finally tells her story of survival.

The Slow Moon Climbs by Susan Mattern

September 24 | Princeton University Press

This book takes readers on a journey through time and culture to discover the history, science, and meaning of menopause.

Civilized to Death by Christopher Ryan

October 1 | Avid Reader Press

From the author of Sex at Dawn comes this prescient book about the nature of progress. Is civilization humankind’s greatest accomplishment or a liability to our species? Are we really lucky to be living in the modern era? Civilized to Death will make you see our so-called progress in a whole new light.

Troubled Water by Seth M. Siegel

October 1 | Thomas Dunne

Flint, Michigan was just the tip of the iceberg. All over the country, water supplies are contaminated with chemicals that are linked to cancer, heart disease, birth defects, and a number of other maladies. How did we get here and how can we fix it? In Troubled Water, Seth Siegel answers these two critical questions.

Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl by Jeannie Vanasco

October 1 | Tin House Books

Mark was one of Jeannie’s best friends in high school—until he raped her. In this powerful memoir, Jeannie writes about her friendship with Mark before and after the assault. She also does something astonishingly bold—she interviews Mark 14 years after he assaulted her.

This Is Your Brain on Birth Control by Sarah Hill

October 8 | Avery

How does the pill impact women’s biology? Birth control liberated women from being slaves to our own reproductive systems, but it’s also had unintended consequences, impacting everything from attraction and sexual motivation to emotional regulation and mood. This Is Your Brain on Birth Control reveals the larger impact of hormonal birth control on women and society.

Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper

October 8 | Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Indoctrinated from birth in the Westboro Baptist Church, Megan Phelps-Roper picketed and tweeted homophobic vitriol with the rest of her church family. In this memoir, she recounts growing up in an extremist Evangelical sect and how an encounter with a man online ultimately led to her moral awakening and departure from the church of hate.

Human Compatible by Stuart Russell

October 8 | Viking

Will AI prove to be the death of humanity or a promising new beginning? In this book, AI researcher Stuart Russell argues that AI can be an asset to humanity—if we build it right. The question then becomes, will we use AI for good or abuse it like so many other technologies, bringing about our own destruction?

The Body by Bill Bryson

October 15 | Doubleday

With his trademark humor and an astonishing array of fun facts, Bill Bryson serves as tour guide to the wonders and mysteries of the human body.

Open Season by Ben Crump

October 15 | Amistad

From the president of the National Bar Association comes this deeply disturbing account of how the justice system is used to maintain a system of inequality and justify the murder of black Americans.

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

October 15 | Little, Brown & Co.

In this memoir that reads like a thriller, reporter Ronan Farrow tells the story of the investigation that led to the fall of Harvey Weinstein and sparked the beginning of a movement.

In Defense of Elitism by Joel Stein

October 22 | Grand Central Publishing

How did Trump win the 2016 presidential election? Joel Stein argues that anti-elitist populism is to blame and argues that we should embrace academia, the mainstream press, and other institutions of elitism that keep our democracy from backsliding into the kind of chaos unhinged populists like Trump thrive on.

Shadow Network by Anne Nelson

October 29 | Bloomsbury

In 1981, a coalition of Republican operatives, Evangelical leaders, oil barons, and gun lobbyists gathered to form the Council for National Policy, an elite invitation-only club hellbent on attacking civil liberties and the social safety net. In this exposé, Anne Nelson uncovers the true extent of their influence from the Reagan era up to the present day.

Don’t Be Evil by Rana Foroohar

November 5 | Currency

“Don’t be evil” was Google’s mantra back in the late ’90s when it was founded. Today, of course, big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon have spectacularly failed to live up to that promise. In this book, Financial Times global business columnist Rana Foroohar delves into the short history of these monolithic corporations to find out where it all went wrong.

The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West

November 5 | Hachette

In this hilarious and sharply insightful book, Lindy West unpacks the “dark lies at the heart of the American mythos” that led to the election of Donald Trump and results, again and again, in “while male mediocrity” being allowed to maintain its “death grip on American culture and politics.”

Highway of Tears by Jessica McDiarmid

November 12 | Atria

Since 1969, countless indigenous women and girls have vanished along a 450-mile stretch of Canada’s Highway 16 known as the Highway of Tears. This book shines a light on the horrifying violence and lack of justice that has afflicted the indigenous community for so long.

Why We’re Wrong About Nearly Everything by Bobby Duffy

November 26 | Basic Books

In this fascinating book, Bobby Duffy reveals his research on public perception. The results? We get a lot wrong. Why are humans so deluded? How does society contribute to this problem? And will we ever be able to break through our misperceptions?


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