10 Fall 2020 Releases to Watch For
With every change of season comes a huge list of new books being published. It can be tough to keep up, and even more difficult to know which ones are worth the buzz.
To help you navigate all that, here’s my list of books coming out this fall that are worth looking forward to!
10 Fall 2020 Releases to Watch For
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Publication date September 8th
Backman’s novels are always highly anticipated and this new one lives up to the expectation. This is a story about an attempted bank robbery that turns into an unintentional hostage situation. The majority of the book takes place in a single day, over the course of several hours. Backman is a master at writing characters that are fully human, with flaws and positive attributes all on display at once. Ultimately this story is about connection, and the way we interact (or choose not to) with strangers on a daily basis. It’s about how finding something in common with a stranger forges connection and understanding. Backman fans will enjoy this story. It’s emotional and full of quirky characters, as is his standard.
One by One by Ruth Ware
Publication date September 8th
Ware’s novels seem to get better with each one. She’s a modern master of suspense. This latest is another classic who-done-it style mystery. A group of colleagues are snowed in together at a rustic mountain chalet. The company retreat meant to promote mindfulness and collaboration goes off the rails after an avalanche. The corporate hierarchy is meaningless once they all become focused on their own survival. We get the story from two points of view, is a chalet employee, the other an employee and shareholder of the company at the retreat. The question is, when Monday Morning finally rolls around, how many attendees will still be alive?!
Monogamy by Sue Miller
Publication date September 8th
Miller has such great skill when it comes to capturing the emotion of day to day life. Graham and Annie have been married for almost thirty years when he dies suddenly. Graham was a gregarious man, full of life, whose absence leaves a whole in his family. Annie is lost without him, unsure she can go on. While she’s grieving, she discovers Graham was unfaithful to her, which forces her to question their entire life together as she knew it. The novel explores the question of if we can ever truly know someone? It’s a story about marriage, loss, and family.
The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult
Publication date September 22nd
Picoult’s novels are hit or miss for me. Her last two have been misses so I’m hoping this one goes the other way, though I haven’t read it yet. Dawn miraculously survives a plane crash. As she braced herself for the impact, it wasn’t her current life and husband that flashed thorough her mind, but a man from more than fifteen years ago. As Dawn recovers from the crash, two possibilities lie before her: to return to her good life with her husband, daughter, and career. Or to explore a previous path not taken and find the man from her past.
The End of the Day by Bill Clegg
Publication date September 29th
Clegg’s second novel explore the bonds and breaking points of friendship. Three seemingly unconnected people cross paths, and decades of secrets begin to surface. Capturing sixty years within the framework of one fateful day, the story explores how the choices we make become who we are.
The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey
Publication date September 29th (I have this one pre-ordered and can’t wait for it!)
From Goodreads: It took me a lifetime to have the courage and the clarity to write my memoir. I want to tell the story of the moments – the ups and downs, the triumphs and traumas, the debacles and the dreams, that contributed to the person I am today. Though there have been countless stories about me throughout my career and very public personal life, it’s been impossible to communicate the complexities and depths of my experience in any single magazine article or a ten-minute television interview. And even then, my words were filtered through someone else’s lens, largely satisfying someone else’s assignment to define me.
This book is composed of my memories, my mishaps, my struggles, my survival and my songs. Unfiltered. I went deep into my childhood and gave the scared little girl inside of me a big voice. I let the abandoned and ambitious adolescent have her say, and the betrayed and triumphant woman I became tell her side.
Writing this memoir was incredibly hard, humbling and healing. My sincere hope is that you are moved to a new understanding, not only about me, but also about the resilience of the human spirit.
Memorial by Bryan Washington
Publication date October 6th
Benson and Mike are gay men of color living in Houston. They’re at a crossroads in their relationship, not sure why they’ve stayed together this long. Mike’s mom comes to visit and tells him his estranged father is dying back home in Japan. Mike packs up and travels across the world for a chance to say goodbye. This leaves his mom with Benson for the time being. While apart, both men change in profound ways. This will either bring them back together or end everything.
Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
Publication date October 20th (I also pre-ordered this one and might be looking forward to it even more than Mariah’s!)
From Goodreads: I’ve been in this life for fifty years, been trying to work out its riddle for forty-two, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last thirty-five. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me.
Recently, I worked up the courage to sit down with those diaries. I found stories I experienced, lessons I learned and forgot, poems, prayers, prescriptions, beliefs about what matters, some great photographs, and a whole bunch of bumper stickers. I found a reliable theme, an approach to living that gave me more satisfaction, at the time, and still: If you know how, and when, to deal with life’s challenges—how to get relative with the inevitable—you can enjoy a state of success I call “catching greenlights.”
So I took a one-way ticket to the desert and wrote this book: an album, a record, a story of my life so far. This is fifty years of my sights and seens, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls. Graces, truths, and beauties of brutality. Getting away withs, getting caughts, and getting wets while trying to dance between the raindrops.
Hopefully, it’s medicine that tastes good, a couple of aspirin instead of the infirmary, a spaceship to Mars without needing your pilot’s license, going to church without having to be born again, and laughing through the tears.
It’s a love letter. To life.
It’s also a guide to catching more greenlights—and to realizing that the yellows and reds eventually turn green too. Good luck.
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily Danforth
Publication date October 20th
Our story begins in 1902, at The Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it The Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, The Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way.
Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer, Merritt Emmons, publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded-Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, opposite B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern heroines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.
A story within a story within a story and featuring black-and-white period illustrations, Plain Bad Heroines is a devilishly haunting, modern masterwork of metafiction that manages to combine the ghostly sensibility of Sarah Waters with the dark imagination of Marisha Pessl and the sharp humor and incisive social commentary of Curtis Sittenfeld into one laugh-out-loud funny, spellbinding, and wonderfully luxuriant read.
Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
Publication date November 24th
This is the sequel to Cline’s 2011 debut novel, Ready Player One. Penguin Random House hasn’t revealed a plot for the novel yet. The presumption I’ve found all over the internet is that it will pick up where RPO left off, and follow the adventures of Wade, Aech, and Art3mis now that they’re in charge of the OASIS. It’s expected to be packed with more pop-culture and tech nerd references too!
Which of these fall releases are you most looking forward to? Or maybe it’s something else?