Readers, get ready. School is starting, fall is coming, and as the seasons change, so do the books.
You know I adore summer reading, but I’m excited about the change of seasons. If you’re anything like me, your heart warms at the thought of a cup of tea, a cozy blanket, and a big stack of books. (We’re months away from that around here, but a girl can dream.)
But which titles should go in that stack? That is the question.
The crop of Fall 2018 novels looks especially good, so get your TBR list ready, open that library browser, load up your local bookstore website … and let’s get reading.
Check these out, decide which ones sound like they might be for you, and stay tuned—because I’m sure we’ll see these titles again in future posts and What Should I Read Next? episodes! I’ve read about a third of them so far, and I will certainly update you here—especially in Quick Lit—as I tick these books off my own reading list.
(UPDATING to say: the new Cormoran Strike book by Robert Galbraith aka J. K. Rowling, Lethal White, is coming soon—September 18! That is all. – Anne)
24 much-anticipated new titles to add to your fall To Be Read list
Kubica has earned quite the reputation for compulsively readable edge-of-your-seat thrillers with her bestsellers like The Good Girl and Pretty Baby. Her new book has a killer premise: Jessie sets out to find herself again after spending years caring for her sick mother. She gets a new place to live and applies for college ... and when she does, the college informs her that there's a problem with her social security number. Jessie soon learns that this isn't some bureaucratic mistake, as the details she discovers lead her to question her very identity. Publication date September 4. More info →
Of course I had to include this! (Preorder now to get those great bonuses!) For so many people, reading isn't just a hobby or a way to pass the time--it's a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can't imagine life without them. I'd Rather Be Reading leads readers to remember the book that first hooked them, the place where they first fell in love with reading, and all of the moments afterward that helped make them the reader they are today. Publication date September 4. More info →
I've already gotten to read this and recommended it to Jen Hatmaker on episode 135 of What Should I Read Next. This campus novel, set at Ole Miss, is hitting shelves just in time for back-to-school—and football season. First line: "I work for four hundred and thirty-eight white ladies in a three-story mansion, not a one of them over the age of twenty-two." The beautiful cover promises an intriguing, easy-reading novel about sorority life, and it is that—but many readers have been surprised to discover how serious and timely the story is, and how necessary and overdue the changes advocated for in Rush are. Publication date August 21. More info →
I enjoyed Guillory's debut The Wedding Date (a Summer Reading Guide pick!) and am excited to read more. Guillory brings back her character Carlos, and this time instead of handsome sidekick he gets the starring role, beginning with one heck of a meet-cute: he rescues a stranger from total humiliation after she's the recipient of a most unwelcome and extremely public (hello, Jumbotron) proposal at a Dodgers game. If you're looking for a lighthearted romance featuring a diverse cast of characters, add this to your TBR immediately. Heads up: The Wedding Date is pretty racy; expect more of the same. Publication date October 30. More info →
If you loved last year's domestic thriller Lie to Me, don't miss this new standalone suspense. Competitive skier Mindy Wright just needs one good race to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team, but on the downhill run she suffers a spectacular crash. The cause is quickly determined to be neither athlete error, nor overtraining, but leukemia—and Mindy is to survive, she needs to find a stem cell donor, and quickly. Her parents are eager to donate, but the test results reveal that they're not a match—because Mindy is not their daughter. A tightly-wound pageturner built around competitive skiing, family secrets, and a long-ago visit to a psychiatric hospital. Publication date August 28. More info →
Kate Atkinson has become one of my must-read authors. Her new historical sticks to the WWII setting of Life After Life and A God in Ruins but stands on its own. It's 1940, and an eighteen-year-old girl named Juliet, in search of a job, is surprised to find herself plunged into the world of espionage. Confession: I read this at the beach this summer and loved its droll British voice (though it took me more than a few chapters to get oriented). September 25. More info →
The YA debut from the younger Vlogbrother, the other being John Green. April May (really) is living the starving artist life in NYC, until one night she stumbles upon what may very well be an alien on the streets of Lower Manhattan. When a video capturing the moment goes viral, April gets swept up in an international mystery. Who are these aliens (because hers has company), and what are they doing here? Green says he was inspired to write the story based on his own strange experience with internet fame and the anxiety it brings him. Early reviews say the cliffhanger ending means a sequel is surely in store. Publication date September 25. More info →
If you're still looking for a book in translation for your 2018 Reading Challenge, this might be for you. Europa's first YA release, translated from the French bestseller. Kirkus says this novel stars "an endearingly bookish and clumsy antiheroine," whose life is turned upside-down when she's betrothed, in a potential marriage whose purpose is diplomacy. First in a planned quartet. Publication date September 25. More info →
I loved Enger's first novel Peace Like a River, which was published almost ten years ago. Our title character is a Midwestern movie theater owner who drives his car into icy Lake Superior, and isn't the same after the experience (and ensuing concussion). The accident affected his language and memory, and he cannot navigate the world as before. This may not be a bad thing. Knowing that Enger loves his symbolism, I'm particularly intrigued by the title, and expecting a novel about seeking. But what his characters will find remains to be seen. (Or rather, read.) Publication date October 2. More info →
Jodi Picoult's particular talent is taking hot-button contemporary issues and giving them flesh through the lives of her characters. In her new novel, set at a Mississippi women's reproductive health services clinic, she begins with the end: everyone is reeling in the aftermath of a mass shooting inside the clinic. Hostages were taken; not all have been released. One person is dead. Moving backwards through the day, Picoult reveals the stories behind the people at the clinic that day—who are they, and why are they here? Kirkus compares this to The Jungle, calling it "not necessarily art ... but necessary." Mind your triggers. Publication date October 2. More info →
Chamberlain is known for writing contemporary Southern fiction featuring strong female characters and not shying away from sensitive subjects. Without giving away too much: her next book is about the lengths a mother will go to to save her unborn child. The doctor's have told her she will be born with a fatal heart defect, and in 1970, nothing further can be done. But her mysterious physicist brother-in-law has an idea. Time travel may be involved. I did not expect this from Diane Chamberlain, but I'm excited to read it. Publication date October 2. More info →
You may know the outlines of this story from Shadowlands: In her new biographical novel, Henry tells the story of poet Joy Davidman, and how she became the wife of C.S. Lewis. Henry has said she was fascinated by how Davidman, a fascinating woman in her own right, completely transformed her life at a time when it was incredibly difficult for a woman to do such a thing. Henry portrays how a robust correspondence turned into friendship, and then something more. I've read this, and while I thought I was familiar with the story, I learned something new on every page. Publication date October 2. More info →
After more than a decade, a new book from the author of The Book Thief! The story centers around Clay Dunbar, one of five now-parentless brothers, the only brother who agrees to fulfill the wish of their deceased father by by building a bridge on their property after he died. Zusak has said the idea for this story first came to him when he was 19, and he started writing it 12 or 13 years ago. I'm glad we finally get to read it. Publication date October 9. More info →
I'm so excited to read another book from Shannan Martin! In fiction and nonfiction, I love reading about the significance of ordinary things and everyday events. Shannan's new book is about paying attention to these very things, and I can't wait to read it. I LOVE that the cover photo is of Shannan's very own collection of coffee mugs. Publication date October 9. More info →
A new series from Nantucket author Elin Hilderbrand—that's set in St. John! In this first book in a planned series, Irene Steele receives a devastating phone call: her husband has suddenly died. This is shocking news, especially because he's found dead on St. John island, a place she didn't know he'd been. And when she flies down to tend to his affairs, the surprises just keep getting worse. First in a planned series. Publication date October 9. More info →
I'm always up for a new Kate Morton. I read this one at the beach this summer and found it so unlike her others—would you please hurry and read it so we can discuss? Set at an eerily charming home in the Oxfordshire countryside, the story follows two timelines, 150 years apart, linked by a priceless jewel—and one remarkable woman. I found this strikingly different from Morton's previous work, and would especially like to discuss the narrative voice, please. Publication date October 9. More info →
I've loved Anne Lamott's last few books, and am so excited about her next one (which is in my hot little hands as I type, and flipping through the book makes me think I'll walk away from the computer and read the whole thing right now). The guiding principle here, as she expresses in Chapter 3 ("Humans 101") is: "Almost everything is screwed up, broken, clingy, scared, and yet designed for joy." Anne advocated "joy training" to combat the irrational fears, and I am more than ready for her to lead the way. Publication date October 16. More info →
Barbara Kingsolver is another must-read author for me. I love her work, especially The Poisonwood Bible. At 466 pages, this is a long book, but I inhaled it. Kingsolver writes that she is explicitly addressing the events of her time, but she does that in part by looking back: her double narrative follows the life-changing decisions and uncertain times experienced by two separate families, one hundred years apart, who both live in the same home in Vineland, New Jersey. Kingsolver found one heck of a subject for the historical element, an American scientist I'd previously never heard of named Mary Treat. I loved the clever linking of the chapter titles—pick up the book and you'll see what I mean. Publication date October 16. More info →
When the news first dropped about the subject of McCoy's next book, the common refrain from readers went like this: "I'm so excited! And I'm so scared!" But if there's anyone I can entrust my beloved characters to, it's Sarah McCoy. This is Marilla's story, beginning at age 13—long before Anne came to Green Gables—and continuing till she and Matthew decide to adopt Anne. I'm with the readers on this: scared, but excited to read. Publication date October 23. More info →
I've been looking forward to this essay collection for a long time, curated by Glory Edim, founder of the Well-Read Black Girl book club. Contributors write about how important it is that we all see ourselves in literature, and include Jesmyn Ward, Lynn Nottage, Jacqueline Woodson, Gabourey Sidibe, Morgan Jerkins, Tayari Jones, Rebecca Walker, and more. Publication date October 30. More info →
In Liane Moriarty's latest, nine strangers spend ten days at a luxurious health resort. Seeing as it's a Liane Moriarty novel, something is clearly about to go terribly wrong. Nicole Kidman's already snatched up the film rights. Publication date November 6. More info →
I've looked at Elizabeth Berg's work differently ever since Liane Moriarty said this author changed her life—and not just her writing life. Her new novel begins with a link to Arthur Truluv; many of the same characters reappear in her new novel, again set in the small town of Mason, Missouri. Berg writes warmly of sympathetic characters facing uncertain times, and leaning on each other (and a little big of magic) to find their way. Publication date November 13. More info →
A NEW LOUISE PENNY NOVEL. That's all I really need to know, but if you'd like the details: this one resumes six months after Glass Houses, with Gamache suspended in the midst of the devastating opioid crisis. Penny hadn't initially planned to release a novel this fall, and I'm thrilled about the November date. Publication date November 27. More info →
I can't wait to get my hands on this new memoir-of-sorts from Knox McCoy, who makes up one half of The Popcast with Knox and Jamie. Knox has been talking about his book on his show and on social media (his instagram stories are HILARIOUS) and they have me even more excited to read. Knox and Jamie say their podcast is devoted to "the things that entertain but do not matter," but here Knox explains how and why pop culture has been such a significant influence in his life. More info →