I am a compulsive reader. It's the one activity in my life that's an absolute non-negotiable. I need to read every day. I am so obsessed, I actually have a spreadsheet devoted to the books I've read, what I want to read, and a spreadsheet dedicated to upcoming releases that I'm dying to check out. The great thing about books is that unlike films and television, new books come out all year long, and there's always something interesting to read. This year, fall is going to be huge. The most anticipated fall books, according to Goodreads, span a breadth of genres and include both well-known authors and those who may be new to you.
I've done a lot of book round-ups in my time writing, and they're always an interesting challenge. How do you balance what you love with what you think will resonate with other readers? For example, I am a huge fan of romance novels, but I also adore books on politics and science. I'm basically a big old nerd. However, I understand that while romance is the best selling genre of books by far, sexy scenes and strong women are far from the only things selling books. Mystery is huge, so is action and science fiction. That's the great thing about the most-anticipated fall books according to Goodreads — it's analytical. What are people adding to their "TBR" (to be read) piles? What are publishers really pushing? And let me tell you, this year's list is impressive, and I might wear out my one-click finger.
1. 'A Spark Of Light' by Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult is the mistress of emotional manipulation, and if you read her books, you love her for it. It's like she reaches into your soul, grabs the threads of your humanity, and then weaves them into words on pages. A Spark of Light focuses on a hostage crisis in a women's reproductive clinic, and what happens when the hostage negotiator realizes his daughter is a patient inside.
Releases Oct. 2.
2. 'Unsheltered' by Barbara Kingsolver
I think by now everyone and their uncle has read something by Kingsolver, and that's no surprise given her skill for telling stories that weave together the past, the future, and what it means to be a human. Unsheltered is a story of a woman at her wits' end who decides to take on the task of learning about her old home, and in doing so, finds the relatable story of a previous owner. If it's anything like her previous novels, you'll come away both amazed and refreshed in your view of humanity.
Releases Oct. 16.
3. 'Every Breath' by Nicholas Sparks
It's only a matter of time before this book gets made into a movie and the cover becomes two white people about to kiss, so get this one hot off the presses to prove your Sparks fandom.
If you are a Sparks fan, this has no doubt been on your list since it was announced. Most of us have read, or at least seen The Notebook, and Every Breath looks like it will be every bit as emotionally devastating. Seriously, it's about a 36-year-old woman whose father is dying of ALS, and a man whose mother died years before in Zimbabwe. Ostensibly, they fall in love. Of course I'm reading it.
Releases Oct. 16.
4. 'Nine Perfect Strangers' by Liane Moriarty
If you ever feel like your life is just too much, like you have too much going on, there's too much excitement, too much emotion, too much turmoil, do yourself a favor — read a Liane Moriarty book. Very quickly (because you won't put it down), you'll think to yourself, "You know what? My life? It's not that exciting. I'm good." Because the characters in her book go through some real crap, and someone may end up dead, or at least severely shamed, but no one is getting out unscathed. Nine Perfect Strangers takes place at a health resort which the protagonist notes that no attendant seems to need. I can only imagine it going downhill from there. In the best way.
Releases Nov. 6.
5. 'Becoming' by Michelle Obama
OK, can I tell a cute story first? My daughter was just a teeny one when she formed her first girl crush. It was on our then -First Lady, Michelle Obama. You see, she was on Sesame Street one morning and eating oatmeal — my daughter's favorite food. The next day, my daughter was playing while I was watching Mrs. Obama's WISE speech about educating young women. My daughter was shook. Fell head over heels for Mrs. Obama, calling her "Mombama." I can't wait to listen to this book with her. Yes, I will read it first, outline what's best for her to listen to with me, but I am overwhelmed by the joy this memoir, Becoming, is giving me, and it's not even out yet. Michelle Obama was a success long before her husband became a senator or The President, and she's continuing her work today. I want to hear all about it.
Releases Nov. 13.
6. 'Lethal White' by Robert Galbraith
Robert Galbraith, also known as JK Rowling, can do no wrong in my book, unless she's killing a Weasley, Remus Lupin, or Severus Snape. (Dumbledore had lived a good, long life, so I don't care. Don't @ me, it's true.)
Galbraith's Cormoran Strike novels, of which Lethal White is the fourth, have a tendency to make me pee myself a little bit. But, I've given birth vaginally a few times, so it's not all her fault — just mostly. This one looks to have a bit more going on between Strike and Robin, so I'm getting a bit excited about that possibility as I ship them so hard, they're basically one unit in my brain.
Releases Sept. 18.
7. 'The Witch Elm' by Tana French
Full disclosure: I received an ARC of The Witch Elm a while ago, and I plowed through that book so quickly.
It is a mystery lovers' mystery. It delves deep into the inner-workings of a deeply held ancestral secret, and examines what it means to be a part of something you had no idea was even possible. While there were parts of the book that read as ableist to me with the protagonist healing from injury, French ultimately overcomes that in the ensuing chapters and conclusion.
Releases Oct. 9.
8. 'What If It's Us?' by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
I love a back-and-forth chapter romance written in dual point of view by two separate authors. This book, What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, feels like it could be a more grown-up version of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and you know what? I am here for it. It says that it's YA, but looks more NA, so you might want to pre-read it for your younger teens. A real burden, I'm sure. It is a light LGBTQIAP romance about a boy from Broadway and a recently dumped cynic. What could be better?
Releases Oct. 9.
9. 'Transcription' by Kate Atkinson
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is one of my all-time favorite books. It's so gorgeous and heartbreaking. It's also full of amazing historical research, which totally tickles this grad student's inner nerdy librarian. This novel, Transcription, is set in WWII, and I'm going to say has a potentially nerve-wracking subplot. Doesn't matter though, because I have a box of tissues and a few hours of free time if I just ignore a child for a bit. They have another parent, it's totally OK.
Releases Sept. 25.
10. 'The Proposal' by Jasmine Guillory
When the world is going to absolute crap and you can't take it anymore, you need relief. That's what a Guillory book does. It's pure cotton candy confection in written form, and you deserve it. The Proposal seems to be based on my adolescent worst fear of a jumbotron proposal gone awry, and the man who saves the would-be-but-hell-no bride when the crap hits left field.
Releases Oct. 30.