Wow. Apparently, this summer is over. September and back-to-school and all those markers heralding fall arrive next week. I wish I had a great book to wrap up my summer Monday reviews, but the high expectations I had for The Resurrection of Joan Ashby crashed and burned so I was left with nothing to review for today.
In lieu of my opinion (which can get exhausting, I know), I thought I’d share eight novels I’m really hoping give me some book love this fall.
Not too much I can say about these two. If you know my go-to authors at all, you know Ken Follett and Nelson DeMille are at the top of the list for immersive, damn-the-torpedoes reading. Follett does it with history while DeMille writes thrillers. This time Follett is going back to the 1500s in A Column of Fire and DeMille reveals a new protagonist in The Cuban Affair. John Corey has done a stellar job as the driving force behind 7 novels, but his last appearance, in Radiant Angel, was not one of his best. Now, John’s been retired and DeMille is introducing Dan MacCormick. I don’t ask for much, but please let him be as rudely charming and funny as Corey.
I’m counting on these two not because the page count of their novels leaves no time for anything but reading (A Column of Fire weighs in at 968!), but because their skills with plot leaves no brain space for paying attention to anything else.
This is a very scary category for me, because I have not had a lot of luck with the second novels of authors who knocked me over with their debut. I know everything in publishing these days is about getting a contract, but I feel as if the pressure to churn out novel number two is too much and sometimes the work suffers. With that said, I’m trying to stay confident about Celeste Ng’s new novel, Little Fires Everywhere (Goodreads synopsis) and Hannah Kent’s The Good People (Goodreads synopsis). In particular, Ng, because her debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, was not only my favorite debut of 2014, it was my favorite novel of the year.
The Heavy Hitters
Salman Rushdie has long been a favorite author for his seductive prose and magical storytelling gift so I’m always going to want to read what he writes. But when I heard the plot of The Golden House involves a real estate magnate who comes to Manhattan I was even more intrigued because if anyone can use literature to flay the current state of American politics it is Rushdie. The man had a death warrant written for him based on his writing which, I guess, could happen again if Fox News thinks this novel cuts too close to home.
I thought Janet Fitch’s novel, White Oleander, took the mother-daughter relationship to whole new level in a story and with prose I found riveting. She’s a heavy hitter with words, but in the case of The Revolution of Marina M., it’s also the book itself. It gives A Column of Fire a run for its money, coming in at a whopping 800 pages. Given that it’s one young woman’s story of life during the Russian revolution, I’m ready!
Oh, there are plenty of debuts I’ll read this fall, but this is the only one where I know the author. I won’t go so far as to say we’re friends, but I have attended numerous events hosted by Nancy Pearl or where I’ve had a chance to talk to and listen to her talk about books. She’s a well-known Seattle librarian and NPR book commentator who has written non-fiction, but George & Lizzie (Goodreads synopsis) is her first novel. I am so excited to see what she’s written!
The New-to-Me Author
I realize I’m late to the game, but I’ve never read any of Jesmyn Ward’s other books. That’s bad, I know! Maybe I’ll get to Salvage the Bones before I read her latest, but if not Sing, Unburied , Sing (Goodreads synopsis) will be my first foray into her world. In a way, this is one of the best experiences for a reader. It evokes that nervy, excited feeling of a first date—the anticipation vying with the nerves of meeting a new suitor. Yes, it can go oh-so wrong, but it could also be the beginning of something marvelous.
What books are you looking forward to this fall?!