This may be our largest single month book preview. But then again, this October looks like an unusually strong month for books, whether you’re looking for unsettling fiction in translation, incisive cultural histories, or speculative fiction that takes some of our current concerns to their logical ends. And it wouldn’t be October reading without a couple of glimpses into the uncanny as well. Read on for a glimpse of the books that have caught our attention for this month.
Patricide, D. Foy
(October 3, Stalking Horse Press)
Made to Break, D. Foy’s first novel, examined the tensions and fissures within a group of friends as they went on a trip that turned harrowing. For his second novel, Foy narrows the scope and shifts his lens to the topic of family–as the title suggests, a particularly wrenching father/son relationship, conveyed with a blend of visceral detail and philosophical nuance.
I’ll Tell You In Person, Chloe Caldwell
(October 4, Coffee House/Emily Books)
We’ve been fond of Chloe Caldwell’s writing for a while now, and so we’re eager to read her latest essay collection, I’ll Tell You in Person. Caldwell is deft at navigating questions of perspective, intimacy, and personal evolution, and her work is never less than fascinating.
The Wangs Vs. The World, Jade Chang
(October 4th, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
One of 2016’s most anticipated debuts that’s also an incredible family epic that takes the pulse of the American situation for immigrants and their children who grew up here and have all the advantages they never did. Straddling that line between funny and heartbreaking, this one is worth the hype.
Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places, Colin Dickey
(October 4, Viking)
Colin Dickey’s essays explore facets of the world that we might overlook, take readers to uncharted spaces, and delve into bizarre corners of history. And in his latest book, he ventures into a very logical place: haunted houses, our obsession with them, and what that means.
Music Is…, Brandon Stosuy, illustrated by Amy Martin
(October 4, Little Simon)
We are wholly in favor of cultivating a sense of music appreciation at all ages–and this book for young readers from Brandon Stosuy, who knows music better than almost anyone we know, fits that bill to a T.
Dog Years, Melissa Yancy
(October 5, University of Pittsburgh Press)
In this collection of short stories, Melissa Yancy (whose work has appeared in the likes of One Story and Zyzzyva) explores questions of the human body and how we relate to medicine. Also impressive: it was the winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize; past winners have includes the likes of Stewart O’Nan and Edith Pearlman.
Swift to Chase, Laird Barron
(October 7, JournalStone)
Laird Barron is equally at home exploring the outskirts of cosmic horror and playing with the tropes and themes of crime fiction. He’s written some of the most unsettling stories we’ve read in the last few years, and so the arrival of a new collection from him is cause of celebration–and the prospect of some sleepless nights.
The Hidden Keys, André Alexis
(October 11, Coach House Books)
André Alexis’s ongoing project of reviving seemingly archaic literary forms and exploring their relevance to modern literature continues with his latest novel, a kind of riff on Treasure Island. His previous book, Fifteen Dogs, was effective on both a cerebral and an emotional level, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he does here.
Reel, Tobias Carroll
(October 11, Rare Bird)
The guy who wrote this edits a literary website that you might have heard of. This novel has weird art, punk shows, and long drives to the middle of nowhere. We’re not exactly objective here, but we dig it.
The Red Car, Marcy Dermansky
(October 11, Liveright)
Marcy Dermansky’s previous novel, Bad Marie, brought together an indelible anti-hero as its protagonist, along with a host of complex personal relationships and memorably bad decisions. In The Red Car, Dermansky takes on the idea of the road novel, as its main character embarks on a journey in the aftermath of her mentor’s death.
A Spare Life, Lidija Dimkovska, translated by Christina Kramer
(October 11, Two Lines Press)
This densely-told novel tells the story of conjoined twins living in Skopje in 1984, in the tail end of the Cold War and of Yugoslavia’s existence before its collapse. Through this novel, Dimkovska tells both a very particular and personal story, while also evoking the shifting concepts of nationhood that suffused the era.
South Village, Rob Hart
(October 11, Polis Books)
Rob Hart’s crime novels each take protagonist Ash McKenna to a different locale, where he finds himself looking into mysterious crimes. The setting of South Village is a commune in rural Georgia; we’re looking forward to see Hart summon up an entirely different sense of place than he did in his first two books.
Sibilings and Other Disappointments, Kait Heacock
(October 11, Ooligan Press)
In 2013, we published Kait Heacock’s short story “Upstairs,” and have been fans of her work ever since. So we’re very pleased to see that this month will bring with it her first book, a collection of short stories with the hauntingly memorable title Siblings and Other Disappointments. Here’s to this being the first of many books from her.
Never Look an American in the Eye: A Memoir of Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the Making of a Nigerian American, Okey Ndibe
(October 11, Soho Press)
The new memoir from Okey Ndibe, author of the acclaimed novel Foreign Gods Inc., has an evocative subtitle that suggests that its scope is both broad and will venture into some unexpected territory. But really, Ndibe had us at “Flying Turtles.” How can that not pique your interest?
A Greater Music, Bae Suah, translated by Deborah Smith
(October 11, Open Letter)
Bae Suah’s atmospheric novel follows the story of a Korean woman living in Germany. It leaps through time to chart out two significant relationships in her life, and blends them with observations on aesthetics and music. It’s a deeply immersive experience; Suah is doing things with narrative that few others can approach.
My Life as an Animal: Stories, Laurie Stone
(October 15, TriQuarterly Books)
In this collection of linked stories, Laurie Stone examines the life of a writer as she looks back over several decades, taking in a host of questions of changes in politics, literature, and art over the course of her life.
Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos, Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton
(October 18, Bloomsbury)
The first collaboration between Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton, Pen & Ink, took readers inside the world of literary tattoos, accompanied by vividly drawn illustrations of the same. The duo’s followup goes to a logical place: the ink adorning the bodies of chefs, and the tales of how they came to be.
Everything Belongs to the Future, Laurie Penny
(October 18, Tor.com)
Laurie Penny is best-known for her astute and unpredictable writings on politics and society. With this short novel, however, she proves herself to be just as much of a force in the world of speculative fiction. Set in a future where the wealthy no longer age, Penny offers a different angle on questions of class and privilege, and tells a compelling story along the way.
Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction, Benjamin Percy
(October 18, Graywolf)
Benjamin Percy’s fiction has encompassed everything from gritty realism to horror-laced political commentary. (He’s also written for DC’s Green Arrow.) And with this new collection of essays, he shares what he’s learned about storytelling in all of its myriad forms.
States of Terror Vol. 3, edited by Matt E. Lewis, Keith McCleary, and Adam Miller
(October 31, Ayahuasca Publishing)
We’re always up for a good scary story, and this volume, focusing on regional horror, boasts an utterly fantastic lineup of writers. Exploring the unsettling creatures found in different states are the likes of Amelia Gray, Michael J. Seidlinger, Rios de la Luz, J. David Osbourne, Gabino Iglesias, and many more.
Bruja, Wendy C. Ortiz
(October 31, Civil Coping Mechanisms)
Wendy C. Ortiz follows up her very different memoirs Excavation and Hollywood Notebook with another exploration of life–this one through the prism of dreams. It’s been described as a “dreamoir,” and we’re very excited to see how Ortiz translates life onto the page this time around.