6 Fall Books to Curl Up with All Season Long

published Sep 10, 2020
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I am extremely unclear what the state of television and movies will be in fall and beyond, but novels aren’t going anywhere. Despite all of the things that have changed in the last six months, the books continue to print, and there’s something beautiful in that.

Fall’s crop of new books is incredibly exciting, and includes some of my favorite authors whose next novels I’ve long awaited. You may have thought you had no plans for the next few months, but hey, now you do.

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Given the success and beauty of Gyasi’s first novel (one of my all-time favorites), her second book had big shoes to fill—and while different, “Transcendent Kingdom” turns out to be just as brilliant. It’s a story of Gifty, a bright young woman studying neuroscience while struggling against immense grief from both the loss of her brother and her mother’s immovable depression. Gifty’s ambitions come up against her faith, her sadness, and her duty to her family in a stunning sophomore novel.

The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld

My other recipe for a perfect novel (in case you’re keeping track): multigenerational plus sisterhood plus some light witchery. “The Bass Rock” provides all of that, following the stories of three women between the 1700s and present day. Their lives are linked by the Scottish mainland, its haunting Bass Rock, and each woman’s distinct journey toward independence. 

Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine’s powerful storytelling takes many forms in this book—from poetry, to academic research, to conversation transcripts, to imagery—in an effort to jumpstart conversations around our culture’s silence and complicity in fostering a white supremacist society. And that system can only begin to break once we are willing to discuss, question, and eventually dismantle the system our silence built. Before diving into “Just Us: An American Conversation,” I recommend reading or revisiting Rankine’s novel “Citizen.”

Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation by Anne Helen Petersen

Where were you when you read the burnout article, the one that spawned thousands of others? That piece struck a nerve with many, and it was only the tip of the iceberg for the work that Petersen was beginning to do to understand burnout and its cultural implications for young adults who are cracking under the pressure. To better understand your own exhaustion, particularly since it has likely been exacerbated by the immense stress and uncertainty of a global pandemic, pre-order Petersen’s latest.

Unseen City by Amy Shearn

A librarian, a ghost, and New York city walk into a book—and there you have a recipe for what I never realized is my perfect novel, “Unseen City.” What can be described as a love letter to New York, Amy Shearn’s novel serves as a romantic, haunting story that weaves together the metropolitan behemoth’s past and present.

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

Amanda and Clay, a white couple, head out to a rental home with their family for a long weekend when Ruth and G.H., a black couple and the owners of the house, show up in a panic after a blackout has darkened New York City. “Leave the World Behind” tells the story of these two couples and how they navigate race, class, and each other’s secrets as they try to determine whether or not the house is safer than the supposed apocalypse outside.