New Releases: 14 Must-Read Books for Autumn 2019

Mon, 30 September 2019
autumn-reading-list-books-2019

There’s a back-to-school vibe that demands a new book haul each autumn, and certainly nothing welcomes the changing seasons like cosying up with a good cuppa and a great title. 2019’s literary harvest includes Margaret Atwood’s long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale and the thought-provoking story behind #MeToo. Treat yo’shelves.

Cosy up with these new titles this autumn

1. The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy

Shortlisted for this year’s Booker Prize, Levy’s seventh novel is narrated by Saul Adler, who is knocked down on Abbey Road’s zebra crossing (twice) and foresees the fall of the Berlin Wall. Set in a world of cameras and surveillance, this is a book about seeing, about being seen, and about what we fail to see both in ourselves and others.

2. Quichotte by Salaman Rushdie

What is the difference between fact and fiction? This modern pastiche of Don Quixote follows television-obsessed salesman Quichotte and his (imaginary) son as they travel across the US in pursuit of love. Quichotte is, however, the fictive creation of spy novelist Sam DuChamp, who’s in the throes of a midlife crisis.

3. Dominicana by Angie Cruz

It’s 1965 and Dominican teenager Ana Cancion has just married a man twice her age and moved to Washington Heights. As Ana wrestles between her new life and her duties to her family back home, this book considers how immigration shapes lives.

4. Whose Story is This? Old Conflicts, New Chapters by Rebecca Solnit

We are “moving on to a future with more people, more voices and more possibilities” concludes Solnit in this provocative social commentary. Surveying our fragmented world, she assesses the stories of those – women, people of colour, queer people – who are making themselves heard, and why their counter-narrative matters.

5. She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story that Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey

The tale behind #MeToo is one of power. In this anticipated book, the Pulitzer-winning reporters who broke the Weinstein story share an insider account of their investigative practices and the genesis of the global movement against sexual harassment.

6. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Picking up 15 years after Offred was whisked away in a van, The Testaments continues the tale of totalitarian Gilead, the too-close-for-comfort world which Atwood first introduced in her 1985 dystopia, The Handmaid’s Tale. Praise be.

7. Red at the Bone by Jaqueline Woodson

Tracing the impact of an unplanned teenage pregnancy on three generations of an African American family in Brooklyn, this slim tome moves through time, exploring the forces – class, education, ambition, race, desire, family – that divide and define us.

8. On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal by Naomi Klein

In this call to arms against the climate crisis, Klein reports from the front lines of natural and man-made disasters across the world and makes a critical case for the rising political movement that demands a global Green New Deal.

9. Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self Love by Jonathan Van Ness

Our favourite member of the Fab Five (apologies Tan) has written a book. Granted this title may not be shortlisted for the Booker Prize, but between hard-hitting reads Van Ness’s inspiring journey towards self-acceptance and positivity is something guaranteed to brighten up even the gloomiest of autumn days.

10. The Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith

From one queen to another, this meditation on ageing, loss, politics and the American dream is the latest memoir from rock icon Patti Smith. Fusing fact and fiction, Smith’s outward solo journey becomes a poetic search for meaning in times of turbulence.

11. The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson

After decades of globetrotting, Bill Bryson is turning his attention inwards. Bursting with extraordinary facts (did you know 1,458 types of bacteria “unknown to science” have been found in our belly buttons?), this eye-opening exploration of the body leaves us in awe at the miracle of human life.

12. Grand Union by Zadie Smith

This collection of witty yet perceptive stories – some new, some previously published – run the gamut in terms of genre and topic, featuring historic, contemporary and dystopian tales. Through them, Smith ruminates on ideas of identity, inheritance, politics, rebirth and more.

13. Find Me by André Aciman

Does true love ever die? This sequel to Call Me By Your Name continues the tale of Elio and Oliver, picking up decades after they first met in Italy. Readers also join Sami, Elio’s father, for whom a chance encounter on a train leads to a life-changing sexual awakening.

14. The Topeka School by Ben Lerner

Diving deep into Midwest America’s culture of toxic masculinity at the turn of the 21st century, this novel asks: how can you raise a good son? Following high-school senior Adam Gordon who befriends loner Darren Eberheart, this narrative weaves together tales of adolescence, transgression and the conditions that have given rise to the New Right.

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