We tend to think of summer as peak reading season, thanks to the long, carefree days we get to fritter away on the beach flipping pages, but fall is a great time of year to stock up on reading material. There are tons of new releases, the back-to-school vibes in the air probably have you feeling particularly ambitious, and as the temperature drops, there’s nothing nicer than curling up with a book and a warm beverage (preferably something spiked). With that autumnal image in mind, here’s our fall reading list, featuring everything from a history of Dior to Reese Witherspoon’s latest favorite and Katy Tur’s take on the Trump campaign. We’ll definitely need a drink for that last one.
Waters has been a pioneer of the organic and locally-grown food scenes through her Berkeley-based restaurant, Chez Panisse. In this memoir, which hit shelves earlier this month, she writes of coming of age amidst the counterculture of the 1960s. For her, this involved free love, activism, time spent studying abroad in France, getting kicked out of a sorority, and briefly teaching at a Montessori school. It also outlines her adventures in the culinary scene, including anecdotes from the likes of Julia Child, James Beard, and Bill Clinton.
Already lauded as a must-read examination of race, family, and American life, the novel follows Jojo, a 13-year-old boy traveling across Mississippi with his drug-addicted mother to collect his father from prison. Ward’s first novel since the National Book Award winner, “Salvage the Bones,” comes in the tradition of chroniclers of the American south, like Faulkner and Morrison.
Tuck’s seventh novel follows a woman who, like so many of us, has become obsessed with her husband’s ex, known only as “she.” The narrator spends her days imagining the life of this woman, engaging in familiar, toxic behavior like estimating how many times “she” would have made love to her husband. The novel, which is written in short, clipped chapters, explores modern marriage, fidelity, guilt and obsession. “Sometimes I wondered whether she had had boyfriends before they got married,” Tuck writes. “Or was she still a virgin? I also wondered whether men find deflowering a woman for the first time thrilling and satisfying? Or do they think it an onerous task?”
If you’re ever looking for something new to read, find out what Reese Witherspoon has her nose buried in. This A-lister has notoriously excellent taste in books, and I believe her when she says this one, which debuted just last week, “moved her to tears.” Ng’s second novel centers on the Richardson family, residents of the squeaky-clean Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, who become landlords to a mysterious mother-daughter duo. While the whole family is drawn to the newcomers, when a controversy threatens to tear the town apart, Mrs. Richardson finds herself standing in opposition to her charismatic tenant and eventually risks it all to expose her past.
Despite the fact that this memoir was released just last month, the reviews are already in, and everyone from Amazon readers to USA Today reviewers love Ms. Pat. The fifth child of a poor, alcoholic, single mother, Williams had two children of her own by age 15. She became a drug dealer, a career that gave her the means to provide for her family, but soon found herself behind bars. After being released from prison, she defied all odds and became a successful stand-up comedian. “I know a lot of people think they know what it’s like to grow up in the hood,” Williams writes. “Like maybe they watched a couple of seasons of The Wire and they got the shit all figured out. But TV doesn’t tell the whole story.”
When a software engineer befriends the two brothers who operate a small restaurant where she eats dinner every night, she has no idea her life is about to change forever. One day, the pair abruptly close up shop, gifting her the culture used to make their sourdough bread. She keeps it alive, learns to bake with it, and soon finds herself amidst a close-knit community of obsessive local bakers and chefs who are fusing food with technology.
You may remember Tur as the MSNBC correspondent repeatedly and openly harassed by both Trump and his supporters on the campaign trail to the point that the Secret Service had to step in and protect her. She spent more than 500 days covering Trump, and now, she’s telling her story “with one audience in mind: the American voter.” Full of insider-y gossip, confessions of professional self-doubt, and, of course, her own recollections of the truly unbelievable moments that defined Trump’s campaign, “Unbelieveable” feels poised to become must-read material.
Treat your coffee table to a celebration of 70 years of Dior, featuring glossy images of frothy creations by the seven designers that have helped shape the house’s inimitable legacy. The companion to an exhibition of the same name, the book also puts into perspective the importance of things like Dior’s 1947 New Look collection and the inauguration of Maria Grazia Chiuri, the brand’s first female designer.
Okay, so you’ve probably already seen this excerpted and criticized and quoted to death, but why not read it for yourself? Clinton’s take on the dramatic 2016 presidential collection—and on her historic role as the first mainstream female presidential candidate—has been accused of being too angry and playing the blame game, but it’s also been called raw, candid, and darkly funny. “In this book, I write about moments from the campaign that I wish I could go back and do over,” Clinton explains. “If the Russians could hack my subconscious, they’d find a long list.”
The kind of inseparable closeness possible only during girlhood is the base of Messud’s latest novel, which follows Julia and Cassie, best friends since nursery school. Once they enter their pre-teen years, the two begin to go their separate ways, with one of them embarking on a journey that will endanger both their life and this most precious of friendships.