On the Shelf
10 October books for your reading list
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Critic Bethanne Patrick recommends 10 promising titles, fiction and nonfiction, to consider for your October reading list.
Falls books come in hot through the end of September, not unlike an L.A. heat wave. But October is when the dust settles and the meatiest releases often hit late-career tomes from the likes of John Irving; bold departures from authors like Celeste Ng; thoughtful biographies of Bob Dylan and Samuel Adams and others. Open up the windows, steep some tea and dive in.
Our Missing HeartsBy Celeste NgPenguin Press: 352 pages, $29(Oct. 6)
The movement called Preserving American Culture and Traditions (PACT) in Ngs startling and beautiful new novel sounds so plausible readers might suspect for a moment that it actually exists. While a boy known as Bird seeks to find out what happened to his mother, a Chinese American poet and activist who disappeared years ago, he discovers sobering truths about racism and collaboration in a near-future dystopia different from ours only by degrees.
When We Were SistersBy Fatimah AsgharOne World: 336 pages, $27(Oct. 18)
Already longlisted for the National Book Award, Asghars debut shimmers with love in the midst of neglect. Three young Pakistani sisters, Noreen, Aisha and Kausar, wind up with a terrible uncle after they are orphaned in the United States. Over years spent in one cramped bedroom keeping to the uncles strict schedule, their bonds become almost too strong; each must leave to make her way to adulthood.
The Last ChairliftBy John IrvingSimon & Schuster: 912 pages, $38(Oct. 18)
Love Irvings work or not, you have to give him props for his sharp perspective on our countrys modern history in works ranging from Cider House Rules to The World According to Garp. His latest starts in 1941, when a young Aspen ski wiz named Ray falls pregnant with our protagonist, Adam. The plot loosely drapes around Adams quest to find his biological father, but as with most Irving plots, its really about how we form our own sorts of families in the late capitalist age.
Liberation Day: StoriesBy George SaundersRandom House: 256 pages, $28(Oct. 18)
While Saunders has written a novel (Lincoln in the Bardo) and literary essays about favorite short stories (A Swim in the Pond in the Rain) since publishing his 2013 collection, Tenth of December, die-hard fans have spent this near-decade waiting for more of the form in which he is an absolute genius. His new short stories will not disappoint; when it comes to finding the uncanny in the mundane or vice versa Saunders has no peers.
Signal FiresBy Dani ShapiroKnopf: 240 pages, $28(Oct. 18)
Shapiros first novel in 15 years tracks three generations on one suburban street through the prism of a drunk-driving accident that unearths several terrible secrets. The authors attention to craft is so detailed, so invisible, that 250 pages feel simultaneously taut and timeless, especially as a friendship between an elderly man and an adolescent boy allows many of the characters to attain something approaching closure.
Token Black Girl: A MemoirBy Danielle PrescodLittle A: 256 pages, $25(Oct. 1)
As fashion industry insider Prescod knows, toxic beauty standards arent just anti-feminist; theyre also racist. This candid and energetic memoir from the former director of style at BET follows a journey through chemical hair treatments and stringent diet-and-exercise routines and more, all of which was aimed at making herself into the opposite of who she is. But Prescod has come through the other side with wisdom to share about how to come into your true gorgeous self.
Life Is Hard: How Philosophy Can Help Us Find Our WayBy Kieran SetiyaRandom House: 240 pages, $27(Oct. 4)
Setiya teaches philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, so you might think he has the answers to all the existential questions. When it comes to weathering hardship and adversity, however, he readily admits there is no easy fix. Instead, philosophy contains equipment that can help you survive and find renewed hope, if you know how to use it.
Making a Scene: A MemoirBy Constance WuScribner: 336 pages, $29(Oct. 4)
The acclaimed comic actor (Crazy Rich Asians) debunks stereotypes of Asian Americans (and rumors of on-set chilliness) in a memoir about going from a well-behaved Virginia girlhood to Hollywood stardom and its own outsize expectations. It was when Wu channeled her own background into the role of the Taiwanese American mom in Fresh Off the Boat that she found her creative voice and began to understand its importance for others too.
Folk Music: A Bob Dylan Biography in Seven SongsBy Greil MarcusYale: 288 pages, $28(Oct. 11)
No man, not even the famously enigmatic Bob Dylan, can be an enigma to his biographer. From Blowing in the Wind to Murder Most Foul, Marcus mines the music of the artist from Minnesotas Iron Range for its deeply American soul. As in all his books, the heralded rock critic combines interviews, liner notes, research and criticism to provide a cultural biography that shows how closely Dylan has followed the news and the zeitgeist over his seven-decade career.
The Revolutionary: Samuel AdamsBy Stacy SchiffLittle, Brown: 432 pages, $33(Oct. 25)
Step aside, Thomas Jefferson; lets talk about the man whose devotion to resistance behavior makes him, for some, the most essential figure in the American Revolution. Samuel Adams comes to electrifying life through this Pulitzer Prize-winning historians meticulous research and dynamic storytelling as a man of principle and persuasion. There was also Adams devotion to stealth and secrecy, which may be why its taken so long to tease out his unusual story.
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10 books to add to your reading list in October 2022 - Los Angeles Times
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