This Is the One Book You Should Read in October

published Oct 1, 2021
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From nonfiction to romance and a novel in verse, these new October books will have you dreaming all day about grabbing a blanket, lighting a candle, and getting cozy for an all-night reading binge.

October’s must-read is “What Storm, What Thunder” by Myriam J. A. Chancy. Seven years in the making, this compelling novel is a fictional account of the earthquake that struck Haiti’s island of Hispaniola in January 2010. The devastating natural disaster killed over a quarter million Haitians, drastically changing the Haitian population and their country. 

Told through multiple perspectives, Chancy skillfully maps the inner lives of eight characters affected by the disaster, telling a singular story of strength, sorrow, heartbreak, and love. “What Storm, What Thunder” isn’t a feel-good story, but it’s an important and powerful one. 

In celebration of Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15-Oct. 15, as well as Filipino American History Month that is commemorated in Oct., these other must-read picks are all new literature penned by those voices.

“The One You Want to Marry (and Other Identities I’ve Had)” by Sophie Santo

The fearless comic and host of “The Lesbian Agenda” brings you an earnest story about finding one’s authentic voice in this awkward and funny memoir. As the only child of a constantly transferring Filipino-Spanish US Army officer and nurse, Sophie Santos spent her early years starting over again and again in majority-white communities. She learned to conform and adapt with those around her, never fully embracing her own identity. Luckily in her late twenties, Santos began an unexpected lesbian puberty and found her true self: “more tomboy misfit than Southern belle.” This is a book for anyone who has ever felt out of place.

“Dreaming of You” by Melissa Lozada-Oliva*

Just in time for spooky szn, thismacabre novel in verse follows a poet who resurrects pop star Selena Quintanilla from the dead. Yes, you read that right. *Cue “Dreaming of You,” the book’s namesake.* Sparkling and haunting all at once, the poems in this novel read like a fever dream and masterfully combines topics of millennial angst, womanhood, and celebrity obsession. A séance narrated by a Greek chorus of gossiping spirits kicks off this eerie journey, so grabs some snacks, maybe a warm sweater, and strap yourself in for this strange ride.

*Disclaimer: The author of this article is employed by Astra House, the publisher of “Dreaming of You.”

After Perfect by Maan Gabriel

Nothing helps ease thoughts of impending doom (i.e., the ongoing pandemic, climate change, this list goes on) like getting lost in a bit of rom-com. In thisheartfelt debut from Maan Gabriel, 36-year-old Gabriella Stevens is totally fine living as a devoted housewife to her husband, Simon. It’s the life she was raised to believe she wanted by her traditional Filipino mother. Until, after sixteen years of marriage, Simon tells Gabriella that he wants a divorce. Sexy and absorbing, “After Perfect” shows the complexities of relationships and chronicles a woman’s journey of finding both herself and love after heartbreak—outside of cultural expectations.

Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed edited by Saraciea Fennell

This anthologyfeaturing 15 voices from the Latinx diaspora doesn’t release until Nov. 2, but I’d be remiss not to include it (and it’s available for pre-order!). So instead, think of this as a little preview. An all-star cast of contributors — bestselling and award-winning authors as well as new, up-and-coming voices — come together in “Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed” to interrogate the different myths and stereotypes about the Latinx community. The essay topics range from colorism to beauty, alcoholism, mental health, relationships with men, and more. The purpose of this important and beautifully crafted collection is to give a platform to voices not traditionally represented on the shelves.