14 Books You Need to Read This Fall
As the seasons change and the long, sociable summer days filled with parties and vacations give way to more pensive evenings waiting for winter to roll in, is there any feeling more comforting than pulling a blanket around you and settling in for a few hours with a good book? Besides watching Netflix until your eyeballs fall out, of course.
Autumn brings with it a bevy of new titles that will help you rediscover the joys of reading, including heavy-hitting memoirs, new efforts from fiction legends, and thoughtful examinations of the global struggle to live a peaceful life. There's something for everyone.
Celebrity Books and Memoirs
Admissions: Life as a Brain Surgeon by Henry Marsh
Release date: October 3
Why we're excited: Neurosurgeon Henry Marsh cuts open people's brains while they're still awake, and while that alone would make for an interesting story, it's Marsh's thoughtfulness and seemingly flawless recall back to his days as a young doctor that allow him to consider the deeper meanings of performing surgery on the seat of consciousness. The result is work that puts Marsh in the company of other doctor-writers like Atul Gawande, Abraham Verghese, and the late Paul Kalanithi, all of whom bring their unique combination of medical expertise and poetic touch to perform the job of all writers: explore what it means to be a human.
Afterglow (a dog memoir) by Eileen MylesRelease date: September 12
Why we're excited: The poet, fiction writer, and memoirist blends genres with an ease that makes the reader feel as if she's on the receiving end of a late-night phone call from a friend with a particular talent for wielding stylish humor in the treatment of dark subjects. In lesser hands, a memoir about a beloved dog's death would come off as insufferably trite. Myles does not possess lesser hands.
Why we're excited: Normally, successful memoirs require a bit of time between the events they describe and their publication, but as anyone with cable news access will tell you, there was nothing normal about the 2016 US presidential election. You may remember Tur as the NBC reporter who found herself in the direct line of Donald Trump's personal criticism during his raucous rallies, and now you'll get to hear in her own words what that felt like. Probably: not great.
What Does This Button Do? by Bruce DickinsonRelease date: October 31
Why we're excited: He's not the most famous Bruce in rock 'n' roll, but he's the only Bruce who pilots his own band's charter plane. The Iron Maiden lead singer, now in his second stint with the band, is sure to entertain with tales of captaining Ed Force One -- that's seriously the name of the plane -- competitive fencing, singing, and more, in a book that was supposedly originally delivered as a handwritten manuscript.
The Golden House by Salman RushdieRelease date: September 5
Why we're excited: OK, so this book just came out, but while the British-Indian magical-realism master has never reached the heights of his 1980s success and fatwa-driven international fame/infamy, Rushdie continues to prove himself as one of the most nimble and thrilling writers of English.
Belladonna by Daša DrndicRelease date: October 31
Why we're excited: Bleak Croatian writer of memory-driven prose? Yes! Former Fulbright scholar Drndic tells the story of the post-WWII Balkans through the lens of Andreas Ban, a psychologist prone to obsessive mental meandering. If you've ever wondered what rats think about, or how it feels to die alone and impoverished, this book is for you.
Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier by Mark FrostRelease date: October 31
Why we're excited: It's canon. The finale of Twin Peaks: The Return may have left some scratching their heads, and the co-creator of David Lynch's television phenomenon likely isn't too concerned with clearing up any confusion... but it's more Twin Peaks. With promises to take readers "deeper into the mysteries raised by the new series," answers will be in short supply. But what would Twin Peaks be if it offered easy answers?
Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen KingRelease date: September 26
Why we're excited: Guy Fieri has a show in which he travels Europe, eating and drinking with his son. Rob Lowe has a show in which he hunts ghosts with his sons. AMC debuted a show CALLED The Son, in which Pierce Brosnan pretends his Irish accent is actually turn-of-the-century Texan. All of Donald Trump's sons have their fingers in thousands of politically relevant pies. The point is: 2017 is clearly The Year of the Son, so it makes sense that America's resident ultra-prolific pop-horror author would write a book with his son, Owen, whose full first name is half of Rob Lowe's son John Owen's full first name. If you came here expecting to learn more about Sleeping Beauties, I can't help you. But it's probably spooky.
Ali: A Life by Jonathan EigRelease date: October 3
Why we're excited: It's difficult to find an internationally famous American who also happens to embody the ideals we as a nation claim to espouse, but Muhammad Ali -- who died in 2016 -- is about as close as they come. Supremely gifted as a boxer, ridiculously intelligent, and politically active, Ali rose above the racially divided, war-torn morass of the 1960s to become one of the most revered figures in sports. Eig, who's working with Ken Burns on a documentary about Ali, puts the boxer in the full context he deserves, with former wives and managers weighing in on a man who lived so publicly, but was relegated to three years of his prime spent banned from his profession because he refused to be drafted into the military.
Bloodlines: The True Story of a Drug Cartel, the FBI, and the Battle for a Horse-Racing Dynasty by Melissa del BosqueRelease date: September 12
Why we're excited: Now that's a title! This almost-too-good-to-be-true story, meticulously reported by del Bosque, lives up to the intrigue promised by the title. It's (kind of) what it sounds like: Notorious drug cartel the Zetas funnels money through a horse-racing operation, but when the FBI gets a tip that the cartel's leader shelled out an absurd amount of cash for a horse, it's game on. Except the game involves drugs, murder, and money.
Why we're excited: Every once in a while, a social media campaign like #Kony2012 or #bringbackourgirls reveals to ordinary Westerners the kinds of extreme terror many people living across Africa face on a daily basis. But New Yorker staff writer Alexis Okeowo goes far deeper than the moral outrage cycle in her chronicling of everyone from kidnap victims of Joseph Kony himself, to a Somalian women's basketball team who continue to play despite constant death threats. It's a harrowing collection of stories, but it's worth putting a human face on atrocities that can be glanced at and ignored from afar.
Eat What You Watch: A Cookbook for Movie Lovers by Andrew ReaRelease date: October 3
Why we're excited: "A cookbook for movie lovers" basically begs to get placed on Thrillist's book recommendation list, and we will happily oblige. Whether or not you slice your garlic with a razor, you can surely pick up a tip or two from some of film's iconic movie moments, which (as you probably expect) are accompanied by recipes you can try out at home.
F*ck, That's Delicious: An Annotated Guide to Eating Well by Action BronsonRelease date: September 12
Why we're excited: Is Action Bronson an idiot? A savant? Both? Neither? The laconic rapper's style certainly won't suit everyone, but for fans, this part-memoir, part-cookbook, part-rambling lunacy will satisfy like braised pork belly with a side of mac & cheese.
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It!: Simple, Scrumptious Recipes for Crazy Busy Lives by Ree DrummondRelease date: October 24
Why we're excited: This book features two colons in its title. People love Ree Drummond; I know because two colleagues traveled to Pawhuska, Oklahoma to see how she's virtually singlehandedly propped up the town of Pawhuska economically, which is crazy considering that no one wants to go to Pawhuska -- or, at least, they didn't before Ree Drummond moved there. The point is that you should jump on the Pioneer Woman bandwagon by checking out her new book.