The fall is coming: the leaves change, football’s on TV, publishers trot out their big books. Some of the writers on this list are giving us more of what we love and expect from them (including a few exciting sequels to look forward to); some are branching out. Here’s our guide to the new offerings from this fall’s legendary fiction and nonfiction writers.
By Donna Tartt
Tartt’s much-anticipated third novel—released October 22—tells the Dickensian story of a young man named Theodore Decker who is forced to grapple with the world alone after his mother—brilliant, beautiful and a delight to be around—is felled in what would seem to be an accident.
DARLING: A SPIRITUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY
By Richard Rodriguez
Rodriguez’s new memoir moves from Jerusalem to Silicon Valley, from Moses to Liberace, from Lance Armstrong to Mother Teresa. The first book in a decade from the Pulitzer Prize finalist—a meditation on religion, sexuality and place—is set to release October 3.
By Margaret Atwood
Atwood closes her post-apocalyptic trilogy—on sale September 3—with a study of a small camp of survivors, and she remains an expert thinker about human foibles and how they might play out on a grand scale.
By Robert Stone
The death of a star student—a privileged young woman enveloped by a cloud of danger and collapse—at an upper-crust university unsettles friends, faculty and family in a piercing novel from the veteran writer. An unusual but poised mix of noir and town-and-gown novel, bolstered by Stone’s well-honed observational skills, it will be out on November 12.
MAD ABOUT THE BOY
By Helen Fielding
In Fielding’s third installment of the Bridget Jones series, a whole new enticing phase of Bridget's life unfolds as she attempts to maintain sex appeal as the years roll by and grapples with the nightmare of drunken texting, skinny jeans and other marks of a youthful life. Mad About the Boy publishes October 15.
KANSAS CITY LIGHTNING: THE RISE AND TIMES OF CHARLIE PARKER
By Stanley Crouch
The veteran cultural critic and jazz historian tells the simultaneous stories of the rise of jazz and the emergence of one of its brightest comets, Charlie Parker (1920–1955). Kansas City Lightning, a story rich in musical history and poignant with dramatic irony, publishes on September 24.
A PERMANENT MEMBER OF THE FAMILY
By Russell Banks
This is Banks’ sixth story collection but his first since 2001; four of the 12 stories haven’t been published before, though the others have appeared in Harper’s, Esquire and other publications. Expect his usual empathetic, penetrating style. Look for it starting November 12.
By Jhumpa Lahiri
The Lowland—released September 24—is the story of two brothers in India who are exceptionally close to each other and yet completely different. The narrative proceeds from the simplicity of a fairy tale into a complex novel of moral ambiguity and aftershocks, with revelations that continue through decades and generations until the very last page.
LEVELS OF LIFE
By Julian Barnes
A book about the death of a spouse that is unlike any other—book or spouse—and thus illuminates the singularity as well as the commonality of grieving. Barnes’ book will release September 24.
THE WOLVES OF MIDWINTER: THE WOLF GIFT CHRONICLES
By Anne Rice
This is the second in Rice’s series featuring a cultured pack of do-gooder werewolves. Reuben, a newly minted Man Wolf, has moved into the Northern California mansion he inherited from the lovely, mysterious and now late Marchent. The mansion, situated in a vast woodland, is also home to several older (in some cases ancient) men who are, when the occasion requires, werewolves. Look for it starting October 15.
By Jonathan Lethem
A dysfunctional family embodies a dysfunctional epoch, as the novelist continues his ambitious journey through decades, generations and the boroughs of New York. In “a city gone berserk,” pretty much every character struggles with identity, destiny and family. Not Lethem’s tightest novel, but a depth of conviction underlies its narrative sprawl. The book releases September 10.
AN APPETITE FOR WONDER: THE MAKING OF A SCIENTIST
By Richard Dawkins
This is Dawkins’ first memoir (despite the fact that his fans feel as if they know much about him because of his avowed atheism). In An Appetite for Wonder, Dawkins reveals, among other things, the thinking that led him to write The Selfish Gene, his landmark book that changed the way we think of evolution. Look for it starting September 24.
THE BULLY PULPIT: THEODORE ROOSEVELT, WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT AND THE GOLDEN AGE OF JOURNALISM
By Doris Kearns Goodwin
Goodwin recounts the progressive reforms under Theodore Roosevelt, the falling out between the president and his successor, William Howard Taft, and the muckraking journalists who led the charge of change—on sale November 5.
By Stephen King
He-e-e-e-r-e’s Danny! Dan Torrance, the alcoholic son of the very dangerously alcoholic father who came to no good in King’s famed 1977 novel The Shining, finds his rock bottom. Satisfying at every level. Doctor Sleep is out on September 24.
WHO ASKED YOU?
By Terry McMillan
More than 20 years after the publication and success of her sophomore novel, Waiting to Exhale, best-seller McMillan will publish her eighth novel on September 17. The title is a response to the opinionated masses, "because people are always voicing their opinions when nobody asked for it," McMillan says. "It's millions of them out there. And most of them are in your family," she adds.
THE MAP AND THE TERRITORY
By Alan Greenspan
The former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board—whose book is out October 22—offers his take on the 2008 financial crisis and outlines a map for better predicting economic trends.
By Thomas Pynchon
Pynchon makes a much-anticipated return, and it’s trademark stuff: a blend of existential angst, goofy humor and broad-sweeping bad vibes. There’s paranoia aplenty to be had in Pynchon’s novel, coming out September 17, served up in the dark era of the 9/11 attack, the dot-com meltdown and the Patriot Act.
THE MEN WHO UNITED THE STATES
By Simon Winchester
Using a nifty structure around the five classic elements of wood, earth, water, fire and metal, Winchester celebrates the brains and brawn that forged America. The history of Manifest Destiny and the men who made it happen releases October 15.
THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT
By Amy Tan
Tan, who made her name with The Joy Luck Club (1989), blends two favorite settings, Shanghai and San Francisco, in a tale that spans generations. The story of two women’s intertwined lives on a search for identity publishes November 5.
DAVID AND GOLIATH: UNDERDOGS, MISFITS, AND THE ART OF BATTLING GIANTS
By Malcolm Gladwell
Drawing upon psychology, history, science, business and politics, Gladwell's new book unearths insights others have missed; in this case, regarding underdogs, cancer researchers, war, and successful versus unsuccessful classrooms, among other topics. Look for it starting on October 1.