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Yes, it’s only August, but in my mind, that means summer is basically over. Labor Day will be here faster than we know it, beginning the roll into the end of the year. Soon it’ll be autumn—the best time of year for cuddling up with a cozy throw and a good book.
I’ve put together a lengthy list of books that will keep you company during sunny Sundays on the couch and get you through the doldrums of late fall. From highly anticipated releases to classics perfect for sleepy autumn nights, here’s HealthyWay’s fall 2018 reading list.
Books With Buzz
Each of these books has had a certain amount of press surrounding its release. Hop on the train before everyone else to give yourself endless cocktail party conversation topics.
Killing Commendatore: A Novel by Haruki Murakami
Murakami is back with a two-part novel about a painter whose wife divorces him. He goes to stay in another artist’s house where he discovers a painting in the attic, setting strange adventures in motion. The book, which pays homage to The Great Gatsby, is so controversial it’s been censored in Hong Kong…so of course that means we’ll be picking it up as soon as it drops.
Pre-order your copy now or get it on Oct. 9.
Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini
From the author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns comes an illustrated short work that speaks to the refugee crises raging around the world. The book takes the form of a letter a father writes to his son the night before they escape Syria. Hosseini was inspired by the photo of Alan Kurdi, the Syrian boy who washed up on a Turkish beach, and is donating all proceeds to the UN Refugee Agency and the Khaled Hosseini Foundation.
Pre-order your copy now or get it on Sept. 18.
In Her Bones: A Novel by Kate Moretti
Can’t do a fall book list without a horror story. In Her Bones is a thriller following Edie Beckett, the daughter of a murderer, as she comes to terms with her mother’s crimes. When a man is found murdered, Edie’s the main suspect and has to figure out what happened. Moretti, a New York Times–bestselling author, has already received high praise for this novel; we can’t wait to get started.
Pre-order your copy now or get it on Sept. 4.
Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents by Pete Souza
If you loved Obama: An Intimate Portrait by former official White House photographer Pete Souza, you’ll love his next photo book. Born from Souza’s shady (and beloved) Instagram posts, the book contrasts photos of Obama during his administration with Trump’s tweets and headlines from his first 500 days in office. Souza, who estimated he took 1.9 million photos during Obama’s eight years in office, has a photo for everything—and it’s delicious.
Pre-order your copy now or get it on Oct. 16.
Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
This memoir was actually released in February 2018, but it’s been making waves all year. Westover, who grew up in an isolated Mormon family in Idaho, didn’t have a birth certificate and didn’t attend school until she was 17. Nevertheless, she went on to graduate with a PhD in history from Cambridge University. It’s a book about family, education, privilege, access, and shame—and a definite must-read.
The Outsider by Stephen King
Okay, fine, this one was also published earlier this year (in May), but if Stephen King doesn’t make an appearance on your autumn book list, you’re doing it wrong. It’s the perfect time of year to be downright terrified, and King is a master of the craft. The novel follows an Oklahoma detective’s investigation of a murder case, moving from standard procedural to a true horror story. The tale is set to become a miniseries, which leads us to our next category…
Before They Hit the Big Screen
Because Hollywood has apparently run out of ideas, big (and small) screens are full of remakes, superhero blockbusters, and…optioned novels. Luckily for us book lovers of the world, that gives us a leg up when everyone’s talking about these films come awards season—we read the book, you know.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Ng, who knocked it out of the park with Everything I Never Told You, did it again with 2017’s Little Fires Everywhere. So much so that Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington (queens!) are making it into a miniseries on Hulu (and they’re both executive producers and stars of the show).
Boy Erased: A Memoir by Garrard Conley
Conley’s powerful memoir about growing up gay in fundamentalist Christian Arkansas talks about his experience in gay conversion therapy and the immense harm it caused him. Joel Edgerton wrote, directed, and acts in the film, which also stars Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, and Russell Crowe; it premieres Nov. 2, 2018.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
This 2012 novel is written from the perspective of a 15-year-old girl whose agoraphobic mother, Bernadette, goes missing before a family trip. Cate Blanchett and Billy Crudup are just two members of the star-studded cast of this film, which is set to premiere on March 22, 2019.
My Heart Is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots by John Guy
This historical fiction novel (heavy on the fiction) follows Mary, Queen of Scots, and her often-contentious relationship with her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. The two queens never met in person, but their relationship—and its outcome—shaped the course of English and Scottish history for centuries. I am what some may call a fanatic about early modern English history, so this novel—and its upcoming film adaptation titled Mary Queen of Scots, starring Saoirse Ronan as Mary and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth—is right up my alley. Regardless of historical accuracy, I can’t wait to dig in.
Stay Informed (and Inspired)
When the weather turns a little colder and a little grayer, it’s easy to get complacent about, well, everything. Do something different this year with these books that will feed your brain—and your soul.
Invisible: How Young Women With Serious Health Issues Navigate Work, Relationships, and the Pressure to Seem Just Fine by Michele Lent Hirsch
It’s a long title, to be sure, but the topic is an important one: 117 million adults have one (or more) chronic health conditions. Women especially are conditioned to zip their lips and stop complaining, even when they’re racked with pain. Hirsch combines her experience with stories from other women, culminating in an important work on misogyny, disability, and trusting your own body.
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
This nonfiction work from January 2018 covers the reality of racial issues in America today. From police brutality to institutionalized white supremacy, Oluo makes serious issues accessible, offering clarity that can be hard to find in the 24-hour news cycle and heated social media posts.
Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality by Sarah McBride
McBride’s memoir follows her decision to come out as trans to her work as a transgender activist to her personal stories of—as the title notes—love and loss. The foreword from Joe Biden(!) is the cherry on top of an important book that proves that trans rights are human rights.
Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neale Hurston
Literary giant Zora Neale Hurston died in 1960, but her legacy—that lives on in classrooms across the world—was fortified this May with the release of Barracoon. Starting in 1927, Hurston interviewed Cudjo Lewis, the last African man alive to be taken across the Atlantic in the American slave trade.
In years of interviews, Lewis described his African childhood, the Middle Passage, and his years in slavery before the Civil War. Hurston’s manuscript faded from memory during the Great Depression, was re-discovered in 1977, and was published with the Zora Neale Hurston Trust in May 2018.
How to Get Sh*t Done: Why Women Need to Stop Doing Everything So They Can Achieve Anything by Erin Falconer
With a title like that, I’m definitely in—who doesn’t need a kick in the ass every once in a while? This nonfiction book, focused on productivity and women, looks at why we feel like we don’t have it all when it actually seems like we’re busier than ever. Falconer gives advice and tips for women who want to feel more productive—and do what they really want.
Gmorning, Gnight! Little Pep Talks for Me and You by Lin-Manuel Miranda
The guy who brought Hamilton to life in his award-winning play has earned millions of Twitter followers, thanks in part to his “gmorning” and “gnight” tweets that are full of encouragement, humor, and warmth. Now, in collaboration with Twitter-famous artist Jonny Sun, Miranda is releasing a book of feel-good affirmations to give you comfort morning and night.
Pre-order your copy here or get it on Oct. 23.
The Illustrated Herbiary by Maia Toll
This recommendation comes from Linsey Stevens, herbalism devotee and HealthyWay’s own Associate Editor, who says, “The Illustrated Herbiary is the perfect fall pick because it invites you to get in sync with nature’s ever-changing beauty while tapping into your own aspirations and needs. It doesn’t require a lengthy time commitment; just flip open to any page and enjoy the mystical illustrations and plant-powered wisdom—plus epigraphs from great women including Elizabeth Gilbert, Dolly Parton, and Brené Brown. Once you’re acquainted with the Herbiary, cozy up with some girlfriends and indulge in a little autumnal soothsaying as you put the Herbiary deck (similar to tarot cards) that comes with the book to good use.”
I’m all for a brand-new book that’s making the rounds in literary circles and book clubs the world over. But there’s nothing quite like snuggling up with an old classic you’ve read a dozen times—one with well-worn pages and memories of high school English classes past. These are my favorite picks for rainy autumn nights on the couch.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Dreary English moors. Intense love stories. Tortured, brooding men. Sounds like a slow-burning crime drama on the BBC. But actually, it’s just Brontë’s 19th-century classic. It’s the ultimate in gothic tragedy, and Brontë’s exploration of social class, gender, and morality continues to be relevant 170 years later.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
If you’ve never read Dracula, do yourself a favor and read it. And if you haven’t read Dracula since high school, I recommend it all the same. The book that launched a thousand Twilight fan fiction pieces, Dracula is the fundamental vampire novel. Around Halloween this year, dig into Jonathan Harker’s travels from Transylvania to Whitby, England—it’s way better than trick-or-treating.
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
Did you know Frankenstein was written by a woman? And, even better, it was written as a contest entry. In the summer of 1816, Lord Byron challenged his friends, writers John Polidori, Mary Shelley, and her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, to a ghost story–writing competition. Mary Shelley’s entry, Frankenstein (which won that contest, btw) has become one of the most enduring horror stories of history. There’s far more depth to the novel than you’ll get out of any film adaptation (though Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein is a delightful follow-up when you’ve had enough horror for one evening).
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
True, this selection isn’t quite on the same playing field as the previous three, but it’s a classic nonetheless. Re-reading as an adult, you might be surprised by how childlike it is—after all, Rowling was writing for young children (at the beginning of the series anyway). But it’s an easy read should you need to kill an afternoon. Plus the combination of back-to-school vibes and fantastical magic are a great trip down memory lane.