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    A whopping twenty-seven new tomes for your October reading pleasure.

    Gabrielle Bellot

    October 3, 2023, 5:00am

    It’s officially October, a month that can mean many things to many people. It may represent a turn in the wheel of the year, when the seasons once again shift, and there is a curious mix of abundance and loss, the bright on a tree’s leaves before they fall. It may represent Samhain, when we meditate on the living and the dead. It may represent spooky season, when we meditate on how best to scare the living by donning the costumes of the not-quite-dead. It may represent cooling temperatures and fire pits beginning to be lit.

    If nothing else, it’s a brilliant time to pick up a new book, and you’ll find a whopping twenty-seven new tomes to consider below. Some are frightening; some are explorations of magic in fiction and real life alike; and, of course, there are many others that chronicle those perennial themes that we should reflect on at any time of year. You’ll find a deluxe rerelease of Practical Magic, a memoir of modern witchery, and haunting novels; you’ll also find powerful new fiction from Lydia Davis, Jonathan Lethem, Gauz’, and many others, as well as striking nonfiction from Viet Than Nguyen, Athena Dixon, and many more; and, of course, a wide range of beautiful, complex poetry collections, including a startling offering from mimi tempest. Whatever October means to you, I suggest checking out one, or many, of the exciting new books below to accompany it.


    Our Strangers: Stories - Davis, Lydia

    Lydia Davis, Our Strangers
    (Bookshop Editions)

    “Translator and essayist Davis (Essays One and Two) returns to fiction with this lovely collection, which will be available only in libraries and independent bookstores. It combines super-short pieces—some could be jokes, or poems, even haiku; some have titles nearly as long as the stories themselves—with longer stories, and invites readers to revel in the magic of the mundane….Throughout, Davis revels in the glory of well-wrought details….[S]pot-on depictions of life’s low-key moments.”
    Publishers Weekly

    Brooklyn Crime Novel - Lethem, Jonathan

    Jonathan Lethem, Brooklyn Crime Novel
    (Ecco Press)

    “The levels of mystery here astound. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts and then the parts decide to act alone and challenge the whole. Lethem is not only interrogating the form of the crime novel, but the venture of storytelling itself. All of this while remaining a joy to read, full of strange characters and expertly rendered place. This brilliant, genre-defying work will leave certainly a mark.”
    –Percival Everett

    A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens - Palma, Raul

    Raul Palma, A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens

    “Raul Palma’s novel, A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens, offers us hilarity and heartbreak in equal measure. With lush prose and an unerring eye, Palma chronicles the substrata of Miami—the human costs of immigration, poverty, debt, discrimination, and, yes, ghosts—beneath the city’s breezy, tropical surface. A pitch-perfect debut.”
    –Cristina García

    A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, a History, a Memorial - Nguyen, Viet Thanh

    Viet Thanh Nguyen, A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, A History, A Memorial
    (Grove Press)

    “Collage may be an apt word to describe this genre-bending memoir from Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur fellow Viet Thanh Nguyen. Weaving together forms that include exquisite prose, verse and photographs, this masterful memoir follows the author and his family from their home country of Vietnam as they resettle in San Jose, including explosive revelations about family, memory and loss.”
    –Hannah Bae

    There Is No Blue - Baillie, Martha

    Martha Baillie, There Is No Blue
    (Coach House Books)

    “This triptych of essays, which exquisitely unfolds the ‘disobedient tale’ of the lives and deaths of her mother, her father, and her sister, is a meditation on the mystery and wonder of grief and art making and home and memory itself. It made me think of kintsugi, the Japanese art of repair, in which the mending is not hidden but featured and beautifully illuminated. Baillie’s variety of attention, carved out of language, is tenderness, is love.”
    –Maud Casey

    The Delicacy of Embracing Spirals - Tempestt, Mimi

    mimi tempest, the delicacy of embracing spirals
    (City Lights Books)

    “mimi has honed her super power as a dynamic writer who is able to swiftly insert oneself into her art in a rhythmically unique and immortal kinda way….the delicacy of embracing spirals is an astonishing creation that will be to the times what Lorraine Hansberry’s Young, Gifted and Black was in the 70’s and beyond. This work of art spirals from the page to the stage. From the personal (innerspace) to the universal (outerspace). mimi tempestt is truly out of this world!”
    –Leelee Jackson

    Standing Heavy - Gauz'

    Gauz’, Standing Heavy (trans. Frank Wynne)

    “This book is about the anti-flâneurs: not the rich white men who roam the boulevards of Paris but poorly paid Black men whose jobs require them to stand still. As a security guard, the protagonist of Standing Heavy is invisible but sees everything. Told in a fragmentary style—as if from different camera angles–this is the story of colonialism and consumerism, of the specifics of power, and of the hope of the sixties diminishing as society turns cynical and corrupt.”
    –International Booker Prize Judges’ citation

    The MANIAC - Labatut, Benjamin

    Benjamin Labatut, The MANIAC

    “After…When We Cease to Understand the World, Labatut returns with a sensational epic of the Hungarian American physicist and computer scientist John von Neumann….Labatut mesmerizes in his accessible depictions of complex scientific material….In his previous book, Labatut grappled with the ways in which scientific breakthroughs offered new means of experiencing reality; this one succeeds at showing how acts of genius might break the world forever. Readers won’t be able to turn away.”
    Publishers Weekly

    The Loneliness Files - Dixon, Athena

    Athena Dixon, The Loneliness Files: A Memoir in Essays
    (Tin House)

    “With lyrical, memorable prose, Dixon cracks open the fear of not being remembered….Her story is not only relatable, but significant, as she creates a sense of comfort for anyone who feels a little lonely sometimes. An honest and captivating investigation into human connection within an increasingly digital world.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    Unruly: The Ridiculous History of England's Kings and Queens - Mitchell, David

    David Mitchell, Unruly: The Ridiculous History of England’s Kings and Queens
    (Crown Publishing Group)

    “David Mitchell brings a delightfully contrary and hilariously cantankerous eye to the history of the English monarchy, offering a jewel of an insight or a refreshing blast of clarifying wit on every page. Unruly is informative, illuminating, and very, very funny.”
    –Jesse Armstrong

    Out There Screaming: An Anthology of New Black Horror - Adams, John Joseph

    Jordan Peele, John Joseph Adams, Out There Screaming: A New Anthology of Black Horror
    (Random House)

    “[An] electrifying anthology….These tales are all both gruesomely imaginative and firmly rooted in the realities of anti-Black racism and brutality—and there isn’t a weak one in the bunch. This is essential reading for any horror fan.”
    Publishers Weekly

    Fire in the Canyon - Gumbiner, Daniel

    Daniel Gumbiner, Fire in the Canyon
    (Astra House)

    “Daniel Gumbiner is fast becoming a sort of twenty-first-century Steinbeck, authoritatively illuminating life in California, with all its glories and calamity. Filled with vivid characters and deep knowledge of the land, this is a commanding second novel.”
    –Dave Eggers

    The Fears - Prufer, Kevin

    Kevin Prufers, The Fears
    (Copper Canyon Press)

    “A gothic extravaganza featuring alligators, avalanches and medical devices left inside bodies, delivered largely in long, musical free verse lines. Poetry at full boil, poured with deliberate abandon.”
    The New York Times Book Review

    Removal Acts - Lynch, Erin Marie

    Erin Marie Lynch, Removal Acts

    “Critical, capacious, and ingenious turn after turn, Removal Acts honors and embodies fraught complexities while maintaining keen aim and propulsive momentum. These poems are absolutely remarkable in their arrangements and conjurings….With Removal Acts, Erin Marie Lynch has given us a gift of extraordinary proportions. I look forward to learning from this collection’s rigorous heart and marvels of form for the rest of my life.”
    –Gabrielle Bates

    The List - Adegoke, Yomi

    Yomi Adegoke, The List
    (William Morrow)

    “Clever and intricately plotted, The List examines the dark side of social media and its influence on even the closest of our personal relationships. Weaving in anonymous allegations and the way they call into question our responsibility and loyalty, this is a book that’s just right for our times.”
    Harper’s Bazaar

    Mary and the Birth of Frankenstein - Eekhout, Anne

    Anne Eekhout, Mary and the Birth of Frankenstein

    “A beautiful, hallucinatory dream of a novel, Anne Eekhout’s Mary and the Birth of Frankenstein brings Mary Shelley back to life with a brilliant intensity. This is a marvelous book about desire, and love, and the dark mysteries of the creative act.”
    –J. M. Miro

    The Night House - Nesbo, Jo

    Jo Nesbø, The Night House

    “Nesbø deftly guides readers on a journey much larger than many will expect from the slim volume….Expectations of genre, setting, and mood are subverted as a simple horror novel unfolds into a story that encompasses grief, mid-life crises, and more.”
    Library Journal

    This Exquisite Loneliness: What Loners, Outcasts, and the Misunderstood Can Teach Us about Creativity - Deming, Richard

    Richard Deming, This Exquisite Loneliness: What Loners, Outcasts, and the Misunderstood Can Teach Us about Creativity

    This Exquisite Loneliness is a transformative book for understanding this moment of collective isolation. Through his sharp-edged personal reflections, Deming interrogates powerfully and openly his own sense of aloneness as he weaves his discoveries with fellow writers, artists, and thinkers from Walter Benjamin to Zora Neale Hurston….Deming’s brave and searing prose…builds an eloquent case for staying with the discomfort as darkness becomes the passageway toward illumination.”
    –Terry Tempest Williams

    Alfie and Me: What Owls Know, What Humans Believe - Safina, Carl

    Carl Safina, Alfie and Me: What Owls Know, What Humans Believe

    “An award-winning ecologist examines his transformative connection to a bird….As Safina lyrically recounts his observations of and interactions with Alfie, he reflects on spirituality, reverence, and the contrast between Indigenous, traditional Asian, and Western ways of being and knowing….A fervent homage to a dynamic, interdependent universe.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    To the Temple of Tranquility...and Step on It!: A Memoir - Begley, Ed, Jr.

    Ed Begley Jr., To the Temple of Tranquility…and Step on It!: A Memoir

    “[A] rollicking memoir….Begley’s tone is smart, self-deprecating, and mordantly witty….Begley’s inside perspective on Tinseltown is humorous and revealing. The result is a captivating Hollywood picaresque.”
    Publishers Weekly

    The Refugee Ocean - Toutonghi, Pauls

    Pauls Toutonghi, The Refugee Ocean
    (Simon & Schuster)

    “Two musicians. Two countries. Two conflicts. Two time periods. Pauls Toutonghi’s breathtaking new novel, The Refugee Ocean, presents two narratives that are equally engrossing yet so far removed from one another that one of the book’s central questions becomes how exactly Toutonghi will ever manage to weave the two storylines together. When he eventually does…[t]he sound is so loud and so clear and so powerful it reverberates in your ears long after you’ve turned the last page.”
    –Rachel Beanland

    Mister, Mister - Gunaratne, Guy

    Guy Gunaratne, Mister, Mister
    (Pantheon Books)

    “Brilliantly evocative of the effects of recent horrors many people are all-too keen to forget, Gunaratne’s latest affirms that they are a writer with a unique voice and a magnificent ear for dialogue.”

    Company: Stories - Sanders, Shannon

    Shannon Sanders, Company: Stories

    Company is a story collection that eats like a novel. Each story feels like a completely different vision of the same majestically sprawling family, as these neurotic high achievers struggle to balance the duties of kinship, social appearances, and honesty to their true selves. Reading Shannon Sanders makes me want to visit home.”
    –Tony Tulathimutte

    Practical Magic: Deluxe Edition - Hoffman, Alice

    Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic: Deluxe Edition

    “Witches and ghosts, spells and sleight-of-hand weave a fanciful atmosphere in Alice Hoffman’s tender comedy about clairvoyance, spells, and family ties.”
    The Miami Herald

    In the Form of a Question: The Joys and Rewards of a Curious Life - Schneider, Amy

    Amy Schneider, In the Form of a Question: The Joys and Rewards of a Curious Life
    (Avid Reader Press)

    “Let Amy Schneider explain absolutely everything to you. This brazen, fearless book shows how curiosity and a nose for weirdness can literally change your life—and true to form, instead of telling you the answers, it’ll help you find better questions.”
    –Charlie Jane Anders

    The Witching Year: A Memoir of Earnest Fumbling Through Modern Witchcraft - Helmuth, Diana

    Diana Helmuth, The Witching Year: A Memoir of Earnest Fumbling Through Modern Witchcraft

    “Diana is a fearless and fun guide in The Witching Year, delightfully bumbling through the occult, engaging the questions we’re scared to admit we’ve been asking, too. I laughed out loud many times and felt a kindred connection to Diana’s earnest search for a larger meaning. She demonstrates that magic is made in the process of seeking.”
    –Lorraine Monteagut

    Differ We Must: How Lincoln Succeeded in a Divided America - Inskeep, Steve

    Steve Inskeep, Differ We Must: How Lincoln Succeeded in a Divided America

    “Abraham Lincoln’s ambidextrous political acumen is the focus of journalist and public radio personality Inskeep (Imperfect Union)….The energetic narrative and intriguing cast of characters keep things moving….Lincoln buffs will relish this unique account.”
    Publishers Weekly

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