Despite it feeling like a desert in Nashville this past weekend, I’m told fall is just around the corner. I’m still a little skeptical, but I’m excited for a new season nonetheless. With a new season, of course, comes a new set of books being released! I recently had a friend ask me what was on my to-be-read list, and I laughed because there are just so many books in the world I want to read. So, why not add seven more to the list? Some say I have a problem, I say I have goals. There are so many amazing books coming out this fall, but these are the top seven books I’m looking forward to reading when it finally starts to cool down. Let’s get started!
1. Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (October)
This collection of short stories tackles issues of injustice and violence that black men and women face in society today. One story features an amusement park where people can enter a virtual reality game to hunt terrorists while another story explores what can happen when a school shooting victim and the gunman are stuck in purgatory together. I’m drawn to this book for the way it promises to explore racial and societal issues in a unique way. It’s not just about black vs. white but about the larger issues facing us all and what it truly means to be “human.”
2. A Well Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts by Therese Anne Fowler (October)
This historical fiction novel features a prominent woman from the Gilded Age of New York City — Alva Vanderbilt. Alva, formerly a Smith, married into high society to improve her families standing and save the Vanderbilt’s from their sullied name. As a member of the elite in New York, Alva is driven by her passion (Or is it her insecurities?) to throw extravagant parties, found art museums, and donate to charities. Alva is constantly climbing the social ladder, but what happens if she lets herself fall? Readers are promised a story that shows what happens when we give up everything we believe in so we can eventually have it all.
3. Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs (September)
This newly released memoir has already caused quite the uproar from some of the claims Brennan-Jobs makes about her father. Everything from Steve Jobs was a bad father to claims that Brennan-Jobs memoir is inaccurate. Despite all the talk, Small Fry is still on my list of book releases I’m looking forward to reading. Brennan-Jobs is the daughter of the late Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, Inc. In this memoir, Brennan-Jobs talks about the changing dynamics in her family as she grew up, what it was like to have a father who was rarely around, and what it was like to be in Silicon Valley during the tech boom of the 70s and 80s. I’ve never read a Steve Jobs biography, but Steve Wozniak did come to my university when I was a freshman for a speaking engagement, and ever since, I’ve been interested in hearing other’s stories about the legend. Maybe it’s time to dip my toes further into the Apple, Inc. pool.
Image from Penguin Random House
4. What If This Were Enough?: Essays by Heather Havrilesky (October)
Another collection of short stories, Havrilesky’s What If This Were Enough? tackles the idea that, as a society, we are always searching for more in life — We want the next generation iPhone, a trip to Europe, or the entire new home decor line at Target. But what if what we had right in front of us was enough? This collection touches on topics like the misunderstanding of modern romance, the desire for material objects, the expectation to be perpetually happy, and more. Havrilesky is known for her work in various publications as well as her advice column “Ask Polly” in The Cut. Her work is said to inspire, incite change, and challenge our most ingrained beliefs, and I’m definitely ready to be challenged.
Image from HarperCollins Publishers
5. Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf (August)
I immediately knew I was putting this book on the list just from reading the title. Since I read so much, both digital and print, I’m fascinated with how our brains are processing information in the digital age. Wolf wrote Proust and the Squid ten years ago, which examined how reading effects the brain. She’s back, but this time with a book that explores how reading is changing in the digital age. Though she pulls on science and literature, Reader Come Home is more so a platform for Wolf to ask her own questions about the future of reading and the brain and pontificate rather than provide solid answers to readers. Either way, I’m interested to hear what Wolf has to say on this interesting topic.
6. Becoming by Michelle Obama (November)
I’m not as obsessed with the Obamas as some people, but I still think a book written by the First Lady (the first black First Lady at that) is worth picking up. I remember being an angsty pre-teen wondering why Michelle Obama was encouraging me to eat my veggies, but now, as a far less angsty adult, I’m intrigued by every single choice she made to get to where she is today. This book promises to be about the experiences Michelle went through before being the First Lady and during her time in the White House.
Image from HarperCollins Publishers
7. Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver (October)
Shifting perspectives. Changing cultural dynamics. And a story about friendship. Honestly, what more could I ask for? This sounds like the perfect book for me, and I’ve already mentioned how much I love Kingsolver’s work. In her latest book, Kingsolver follows Willa Knox as she begins to research her, hopefully, historic home in New Jersey. Knox is hoping to establish her home as a historic landmark to secure funding to refurbish it a bit for her family, but what she stumbles upon instead is Thatcher Greenwood. Greenwood was a science teacher that lived in the same town as Knox during the 1880s. Kingsolver switches between Knox and Greenwood’s perspectives as they both battle changing cultural dynamics in their own time. This is honestly a must read for me just from the brief description I read.
There you have it — my top seven books I’m looking forward to being released this fall. Are there any books you have on your list that I should check out during the best season of the year? Let me know in the comments below.
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