Books of the Month: October 2023

October 2023 books

And now it’s October; we’ve entered the home stretch of the year. In other news, one of our editors is still unsure of whether or not they should be writing “2022” on checks, so — it’s been that kind of year. But hey, at least there are books. What follows is a look at some of the titles due out this month that we’re most excited about — ranging from cosmic horror to meditations on the nature of essays. Whether you’re seeking intellectual stimulation or visceral thrills, this list of new books has plenty to offer.

"The Dead Take the A Train"

Cassandra Khaw and Richard Kadrey, The Dead Take the A Train
(Oct. 3, Tor Nightfire)

Both Cassandra Khaw and Richard Kadrey have written plenty of unsettling, thrilling fiction on their own. (We spoke with Khaw earlier this year on this very subject.) Now this duo has teamed up for an unsettling take on life in New York City. (A location you may have guessed featured prominently in here from the novel’s title.) Add sinister gods and a magical underworld to the mix and you have some seasonally-appropriate reading.

"Deliver Me"

Elle Nash, Deliver Me
(Oct. 3, Unnamed Press)

In a recent interview with the Chicago Review of Books, Elle Nash said, “The human experience is prismatic. Even all the ugly, horrific things. I’m really interested in that. I don’t know why, but I am.” Deliver Me follows the story of a woman working at a meat-packing plant whose everyday exposure to violence coexists uneasily with a fraught personal life — making for another memorable psychological foray to add to Nash’s growing bibliography.

"Furniture Music"

Gail Scott, Furniture Music
(Oct. 3, Wave Books)

Gail Scott may be best known for her writing about Montreal, but in Furniture Music she turns her gaze on a different city entirely — namely, New York. This book chronicles Scott’s time living in NYC during the Obama administration — and turns familiar elements of the city’s political and cultural landscape into something new and revelatory.

"My Death"

Lisa Tuttle, My Death
(Oct. 10, NYRB Classics)

If you have an abiding fondness for fiction that eludes easy classification, might we suggest NYRB Classics’ new edition of Lisa Tuttle’s short novel My Death? Tuttle’s novel follows a writer in search of a new project, who finds herself inspired by the tale of another writer and artist whose life is shrouded in mystery. Things take some unexpected turns from there, taking this book into uncharted territory.

"Songs For Olympia"

Tomoé Hill, Songs For Olympia
(Oct. 15, Sagging Meniscus Press)

We’ve published writing from Tomoé Hill in these pages before, and we’re thrilled to read Hill’s latest book — a work that encompasses both the visual art of Édouard Manet and Michel Leiris’s book The Ribbon at Olympia’s Throat. Alina Stefanescu called this book “an extraordinary conversation between Michel Leiris’s ekphrasis in The Ribbon at Olympia’s Throat and Tomoe Hill’s own” — which has our interest piqued.

"Rotten Evidence"

Ahmed Naji, translated by Katharine Halls, Rotten Evidence
(Oct. 17, McSweeney’s)

Subtitled “Reading and Writing in an Egyptian Prison,” Ahmed Naji’s Rotten Evidence chronicles his experience after being incarcerated following the publication of one of his novels. In a 2017 interview with The Guardian, Naji called the experience “a sign for me to believe in my literature more” — and now, he’s gone a step further and written a chronicle of his experiences.

"The Hurricane Book"

Claudia Acevedo-Quiñones, The Hurricane Book
(Oct. 24, Rose Metal Press)

How do you best tell the history of the last century or so in Puerto Rico? In Claudia Acevedo-Quiñones’s new book, the formally inventive The Hurricane Book, the answer involves combining disparate literary forms, then assembling them on a structure based on six of the storms that have struck the island since 1928. The result is an unforgettable, moving portrait of a place and the people who inhabit it.

"Pay As You Go"

Eskor David Johnson, Pay As You Go
(Oct. 24, McSweeney’s)

Do you like your debut novels with an abundance of ambition? Following a recent arrival to the fictional city of Polis, Eskor David Johnson’s Pay As You Go abounds with bold flourishes; it also prompted Publishers Weekly to note that it “runs in circles of accelerating grandiosity and lunacy.” We are eminently here for a sprawling novel that can inspire that description.

"Midnight Self"

Adrian Van Young, Midnight Self
(Oct. 27, Black Lawrence Press)

We’ve long been admirers of Adrian Van Young’s fiction, which blends a meticulous attention to detail with a penchant for the uncanny that takes his characters to a series of unsettling places. Midnight Self is his new collection, following characters under extreme circumstances in settings ranging from wartime to a colony in a distant corner of space.


Dorothea Lasky (ed.), Essays
(Oct. 31, Essay Press)

It’s looking like a busy month for Dorothea Lasky; October will also see the publication of her book The Shining, which guides readers through landscapes inspired by a certain famous horror narrative. Lasky is also the editor of this anthology, which features the likes of Fred Moten, Brandon Shimoda, and Wayne Koestenbaum weighing in on the very concept of the essay.

"Black Punk Now"

James Spooner and Chris L. Terry (eds.), Black Punk Now
(Oct. 31, Soft Skull Press)

James Spooner co-created the Afro-Punk Festival; Chris L. Terry explored the role race plays in the punk scene in his novel Black Card. What happens when the two join forces to edit an anthology? The result is a wide-ranging book that chronicles the Black experience in the world of punk rock from an array of contributors with their own unique takes on the book’s theme.


Note: all release dates and cover artwork are subject to change.

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