If You’re Going to Read One Book In October, Make It This One

published Oct 10, 2022
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Boo! Did I scare you? No? Well, one of these new October reads just might. Of course, not all of them are about things that go bump in the night, but you’ll still find plenty of thrills — whether they be chilling or gut-wrenching. 

Take The Storyteller’s Death” by Ann Dávila Cardinal, for example. This delightful debut is both haunting and touching. In it, you follow Isla, a Puerto Rican teenager who finds she has an odd skill: When someone in her family dies, she is transported into a vision from their past. “The Storyteller’s Death,” drenched in magic and woven together with a string of generations-old secrets, makes for a rich, compelling tale perfect for spooky season. With the turn of each page, you peel back more layers of Isa’s history while discovering more of Cardinal’s masterful storytelling. “The Storyteller’s Death” is a must-add to your October reading list.

A few other October releases for your consideration:

A finalist in the 2022 National Book Awards for Translated Literature, “Seven Empty Houses,” originally published in Spanish, is a collection of seven short stories that itch and bite yet prove to be addicting. But, beware, the houses in these stories aren’t as empty as they first appear. 

Those who watched the TV sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat” or the book-to-movie film hit “Crazy Rich Asians” will most likely recognize the name Constance Wu. Those breakout roles catapulted her into the stoplight, but before that, Wu was just a young suburban Richmond. Va., girl told that her feelings were too big. Her memoir-in-essays, “Making a Scene,” shares her journey — one filled with love and heartbreak, sexual assault and harassment — from that scolded little girl to Golden Globe Award-nominated star with both humor and earnestness. Readers also get a peek into life as an Asian-American in an entertainment industry where diverse representation is extremely limited. 

Claudia Lux’s debut “Sign Here” literally takes you to Hell. Protagonist Peyote Trip, who works in the deals department in Hell, discovers a wealthy, secretive family back on Earth who has the power to make his next promotion. That is, if he can get just one of them to sign their soul away. A wild, dark tale, “Sign Here” perfectly combines “The Good Place’s” absurdist take on the afterlife as a workplace, with the suspense, family secrets, and New England wealth of Revenge.

From the author of “Last Night at the Telegraph Club” comes another sweeping queer coming-of-age story. It’s summer 2013, and Aria Tang West is sent to California to stay with her grandmother, artist Joan West. After dreaming about a summer in Martha’s Vineyard with her friends, this situation pales in comparison — until Aria comes across her grandmother’s gardener, Steph. Expect love to swirl in this touching young adult novel.

On the surface, Erin E. Adams’s “Jackal” is a horror/thriller narrated by Liz Rocher, a 32-year-old Black woman who returns to her rust-belt hometown to attend her best friend’s wedding. The normally joyous event turns dark, however, when the husband- and wife-to-be’s 9-year-old daughter, Caroline, goes missing. Underneath the crime tale is a commentary on racism, inequality, and the violence and fear born from hatred; an excellent choice for fans of Black horror tales like “Get Out” and “When No One Was Watching.” 

One Goodreads review said it best: “[A] vibe somewhere between ‘1984’ and ‘The Hunger Games.’ It’s the story of the fall of a dystopian surveillance state from the point of view of someone who had grown up pampered by the system — only to find out that life wasn’t so great for everyone else in their world.”