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a line of open books spreads across a field covered in fall leaves
by
Nina Collins
,
August 30, 2022

Ten Novels For Fall 2022

I hope some of you will read along with me!

You’ll notice some trends here i.e. that I basically only read books by (and usually about) women.

Happy Labor Day Weekend, all! I’ve had an amazing summer of reading, and I hope you did too. I devoured much of my Summer List, plus some classics. I finally read Middlemarch, long an ambition, re-read Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady (join us to discuss!), and discovered the pure ironic bliss of Barbara Pym

Now it’s September and I’m looking ahead to my must-read books for fall. You’ll notice some trends here i.e. that I basically only read books by (and usually about) women. If that appeals, I hope some of you will read along with me and start conversations in our communities on Revel!

The Birdcatcher by Gayl Jones 

I read (and was mesmerized by) Corregidora 30+ years ago as a college student, and was thrilled last year when Jones was a finalist for the Pultitzer for Palmares. Now she’s back with what Publisher’s Weekly calls a “gloriously demented story of an artist who keeps trying to kill her husband.” Who wouldn’t want to read that? Set in Ibiza, no less.

How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz

By the author of Dominicana (finalist for the Women's Prize in Fiction and the inaugural GMA Book Club pick), a novel about one unemployed middle aged woman who shares her darkest secrets and regrets, along with the funny and complicated story of her life over twelve visits with an employment counselor.

The Deceptions by Jill Bialosky

The life of an unnamed narrator, a teacher and poet, is unraveling. Her only child has left home, and her twenty-year marriage is strained. Described as a page-turning and seductively told exploration of female sexuality and ambition, with sections spent in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this sounds very up my alley. By celebrated poet, memoirist, and novelist Jill Bialosky, whose work I’ve never read, so we chose this as the Revel Book Club pick for December.

Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout

It seems like just yesterday I read (and loved) Oh, William! but here comes the fourth novel in Strout’s Amgash series, which follows Lucy Barton, a writer freighted with deep childhood trauma. Lucy by the Sea finds Lucy fleeing New York for Maine at the beginning of the pandemic to stay with, guess who? William. 

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste NG

In her first novel since Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng ventures into speculative fiction with the story of 12-year-old Bird Gardner, who lives with his father in a near future governed by laws written to “preserve American culture.” Bird’s mother, a Chinese American poet whose work has been banned from libraries, left the family when he was nine. When a mysterious drawing spurs a quest to find her, Bird relies on an underground network of librarians and ancient folktales to guide him. 

The Hero of This Book by Elizabeth McCrakcken

I’ve been a huge McCracken fan since reading her first novel, The Giant’s House, a million years ago. This, her newest, sounds wonderful: a story of grief that has at its center the relationship between the narrator and her recently deceased mother. Set in London as the daughter wanders the streets of her mother’s favorite place. Sure to be funny, as McCracken always is. 

Dinosaurs by Lydia Millet

Lydia Millet’s books are super interesting and odd — often about the ties between people and animals and the crisis of extinction —  and this is a follow-up to her excellent 2020 A Children’s Bible. An accidental millionaire who walks from New York to Arizona, a house with one wall made of entirely of glass, a castle next door (where the millionaire lives), a lot of beguiling wildlife, a Friendly Man, an outrageous request, and a nighttime confrontation in which one party is dressed as a bat. She asks the question: Can a person be good? 

When We Were Sisters by Fatimah Asghar

Fatimah Asghar is a South Asian American poet and screenwriter and the co-creator and writer for the Emmy-nominated webseries Brown Girls. This, her first novel, focuses on three Muslim-American sisters who take care of one another after the death of their parents. A sad, to be sure, but tender, coming-of-age story.

Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro

Dani Shapiro’s (Inheritance, Slow Motion)  first work of fiction in fifteen years. Signal Fires tells the story of two families whose lives are forever entwined by a horrible car accident. Set over 25 years and with detours into how various characters’ lives might have gone if things had turned out differently. She’s a terrific writer and I have great hopes for this.

We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman

I can’t wait to read this. Pitched as a funny, joyful book about dying and friendship. Edith and Ashley have been best friends for over forty-two years. They’ve shared the mundane and the momentous together, but now the unthinkable has happened: Edi is dying of ovarian cancer and spending her last days in hospice.  

 

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