As September arrives, the hot fall book titles tend to be on the minds of readers and booksellers alike. For this month’s blog, I want to share what Gramercy Books book buyer, Debbie Boggs, is most excited about, and what fall books are on my TBR list as well!
From the first moment I met Deb, I knew that her favorite book of all time was A Prayer for Owen Meany. John Irving is one of our greatest living authors—we can’t forget The World According to Garp, can we? So, Irving’s upcoming novel, at age 80, The Last Chairlift, out on October 18, will likely be his last. Publishers Weekly says, “His enormous imagination, his storytelling gifts, and his intelligence are all on display.” Deb says, “Hallelujah! For me, reading Irving’s new novel will be like going to church!”
Other adult fiction Deb is excited about include the two-volume series by bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Road, Cormac McCarthy. The first novel, The Passenger, comes out October 25th and is a breathtaking novel of morality and science, the legacy of sin, and the madness that is human consciousness. Then, on December 6, Stella Maris arrives, an intimate portrait of grief and longing, as a young woman in a psychiatric facility seeks to understand her own existence. “We haven’t had a new work by Cormac McCarthy in more than fifteen years,” Deb says. “I’m excited that, while each book will be published separately, the two will be available in a gorgeous, boxed set on December 6th.”
Deb is our children’s books guru at Gramercy as well. She highly recommends these three books for young people.
- Green is for Christmas: For ages 4 to 7, this latest picture book from Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers is a “must have for the holiday season,” and a “cause for celebration,” Deb says. Publication date, October 18.
- Odder: For ages 7 to 12 from Newbery Award winner for The One and Only Ivan, Katherine Applegate. “This is a sweet and lyrical story about an orphaned otter pup. First, nothing is cuter than an otter. Second, bring your tissues,” Deb advises. Publication date, September 20.
- I Was Born for This: For ages 14 and up, Deb calls Alice Oseman’s new novel “a funny and deeply moving exploration of identity, friendship, and fame.” The author’s Heartstopper graphic novels have flown off the shelves and Deb predicts teens will be eager to try out Oseman’s latest book. Publication is October 18.
There are a lot of books on my fall list. I’ll offer half a dozen of them here, in order of their publication dates.
First, available on September 13, is Like A Rolling Stone, the highly anticipated memoir from the man who revolutionized music journalism, Jann Wenner. Founder of Rolling Stone magazine, Jann has been called the greatest editor of his generation. This is a beautifully-written portrait of not just one man’s life, but the life of an entire generation. Gramercy Books is honored to host a virtual conversation with Jann and music promoter/devotee Alec Wightman on October 11.
Scheduled for release on September 27, Lark Ascending is acclaimed and bestselling author Silas House’s seventh novel, a moving and unforgettable story of friendship, family, and healing set in the not-too-distant future. As fires devastate most of the United States, Lark and his family secure a place on a refugee boat headed to Ireland, the last country not yet overrun by extremists and rumored to be accepting American refugees. I’ve been told that fans of Station Eleven and Migrations will love this novel. Silas will be at Gramercy Books to co-moderate a discussion of this novel, selected for a Special Edition of our Book Club program on October 19th!
Named one of the most anticipated books of literary fiction for fall by TIME, The Associated Press, The Millions, LitHub, Goodreads, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and more is Celeste Ng’s Our Missing Hearts, to be released on October 4th. “As lyrical as it is chilling,” says the starred review in Booklist, this is a deeply suspenseful and heartrending novel about the unbreakable love between a mother and child in a society consumed by fear. Ng is the number one bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere and her latest is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can ignore the most searing injustice. Gramercy Books is excited to bring Celeste Ng to Columbus on October 28 when she’ll be in conversation with poet and essayist Maggie Smith!
Another memoir I cannot wait to get my hands on is the raw, candid, unvarnished memoir of American icon, Paul Newman: The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man, to be released on October 18th. The greatest movie star of the past 75 years covers everything: his traumatic childhood, his career, his drinking, his thoughts on Marlon Brando, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, John Huston, his greatest roles, acting, his intimate life with Joanne Woodward, his innermost fears and passions and joys. Included are thoughts and comments throughout from Joanne Woodward, George Roy Hill, Tom Cruise, Elia Kazan and many others. What began as an oral history project in 1986 and culled from thousands of pages of transcripts, the memoir is filled with Newman’s powerful voice, sometimes funny, sometimes painful, but always meeting that high standard of searing honesty.
I received an advanced copy of Ross Gay’s Inciting Joy and already dug in. Reading the essays in this essential collection, to be published on October 25th, is about finding hope, wisdom, compassion, support, community, inspiration, and love, all wrapped up in a vivid voice and lucid, lyrical prose. Ross calls joy a sanctuary and in Inciting Joy, he seeks to discover what incites joy and what it is that joy incites. The result is this wonderful gift he gives to all of us! I can’t wait to welcome Ross back to Gramercy Books for a conversation with fellow poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib on November 29th.
Finally, for poetry lovers, Billy Collins has a wonderful collection coming out on November 15th called Musical Tables. Called “America’s favorite poet” by the Wall Street Journal, Collins has an amiable voice, a light touch, and then that sudden turn at the end. He "puts the ‘fun’ back in profundity,” says poet Alice Fulton. In his own words, Billy’s poems tend to “begin in Kansas and end in Oz.” In this latest collection, Collins has found a new form for his unique poetic style: the small poem. Here he writes about his trademark themes of nature, animals, poetry, mortality, absurdity, and love—all in a handful of lines.
There are so many fabulous books I haven’t mentioned. On September 6th, from Maggie O’Farrell, the author of Hamnet, comes The Marriage Portrait. That same day, Stephen King’s highly imaginative, Fairy Tale, will be released. On September 27th, the long-awaited conclusion to Fredrik Bachman’s Beartown series, The Winners, hits the shelves. On October 4th comes a soul-stirring and suspenseful novel, Mad Honey, by Jody Piccoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan. Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Jon Meacham has written a captivating new book, And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle, to be released on October 25th. And on November 15th, The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times, Michelle Obama’s inspiring follow up to her critically-acclaimed Becoming, will be available.
All these titles are available for pre-order by calling 614-867-5515 or on-line at www.gramercybooksbexley.com.
Happy fall reading, everyone!!
Written by Linda Kass
About the author: I began my career as a magazine writer and correspondent for regional and national publications and am now an assistant editor for Narrative, an online literary magazine. My debut novel, Tasa’s Song, was inspired by my mother’s early life in eastern Poland during the Second World War. My second historical novel, A Ritchie Boy, was inspired by my immigrant father's role as a military intelligence office in World War II. My third novel, Bessie, a fictional portrait of the early life of Bess Myerson, will be released in September of 2023. I am also the proud owner of Gramercy Books, serving all of central Ohio!
Learn more about me on my personal website.