October 2021 Prepub Alert: The Complete List

All the October Prepub Alert posts on one page.

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Mystery Most Cozy, Plus a Debut from Emmy Award Winner Tamron Hall

Andrews, Donna. The Twelve Jays of Christmas: A Meg Langslow Mystery. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. (Meg Langslow Mysteries, Bk. 30). Oct. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781250760180. $26.99. CD. MYSTERY/COZY

Meg's brother Rob and his beloved, Delaney, don’t want the splashy wedding their mothers would just love, so they throw a big party before Christmas with plans to elope afterward. But the partiers get snowed in, the mothers discover the couple's intentions to sneak away, and a dead body turns up. With a 40,000-copy first printing.

Beaton, M.C. with R.W. Green. Down the Hatch: An Agatha Raisin Mystery. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. (Agatha Raisin Mysteries, Bk. 32). Oct. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9781250816139. $26.99. MYSTERY/COZY

Walking in Mircester Park, Agatha Raisin encounters the distraught Swinburns standing over the body of “the Admiral," a prickly park gardener known for his drinking. The police think he died after imbibing weedkiller stored in a rum bottle (surely he would have noticed), but soon suspicion falls on the Swinburns themselves, who hire Agatha to discover what really happened. Next and perhaps last in the popular series from the recently deceased Beaton; with a 75,000-copy first printing.

cover of Bowen's God Rest Ye, Royal GentlemenBowen, Rhys. God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen. Berkley. (Royal Spyness Mystery, Bk. 15). Oct. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780440000082. $26. MYSTERY/HISTORICAL

Lady Georgiana Rannoch’s dream of spending her first Christmas as a married woman in her new home is not to be. Aunt Ermintrude has invited Georgie and husband Darcy to her home near the royal Sandringham estate, and there’s no saying no; it’s implied that Ermintrude is merely conveying the queen’s wish. Not only is Georgie to keep an eye on the troublesome Wallis Simpson, but several gentlemen of the royal household have met untimely deaths, and there’s a distinct feeling that someone in the royal family is in danger.

Childs, Laura. Twisted Tea Christmas. Berkley. (Tea Shop Mystery, Bk. 23). Oct. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780593200865. $26. MYSTERY/COZY

In Charleston, tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley, are catering a Victorian Christmas party for the absurdly wealthy Drucilla Heyward, who’s got something up her haute couture sleeve. At the event, she intends to announce that she will donate her wealth to various charities. Alas, her plans are waylaid when someone neatly sticks a syringe in her neck, and Theodosia has her hands full of more than mince pies.

Hall, Tamron. As the Wicked Watch: The First Jordan Manning Novel. Morrow. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780063037038. $27.99. lrg. prnt. MYSTERY

Fresh from Texas, crime reporter Jordan Manning eagerly takes on Chicago, where she is often the only woman of color in the newsroom, always arrives first on the crime scene (in her trademark stilettoes), and frequently covers the murder of Black women. Sadly, these cases often don’t get the attention they deserve, but Jordan plunges into the case of a 15-year-old discovered in an abandoned lot and follows it to the end. From Emmy Award–winning journalist Hall; with a 100,000-copy first printing.

Higashino, Keigo. Silent Parade. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. (Detective Galileo, Bk. 4). Oct. 2021. 304p. tr. from Japanese. ISBN 9781250624819. $27.99. MYSTERY/POLICE PROCEDURAL

In this latest from Edgar finalist Higashino, Chief Inspector Kusanagi of the Tokyo Police confronts two remarkably similar murders, committed decades apart. The suspect is the same in both cases but for lack of concrete evidence has never been indicted. When he is himself dispatched during a local parade, Kusanagi seeks help from physics professor and sometime police consultant Manabu Yukawa, famously known as Detective Galileo. With a 35,000-copy first printing.

Lovesey, Peter. Diamond and the Eye. Soho Crime. (Detective Peter Diamond Mystery, Bk. 20). Oct. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781641293129. $27.95. MYSTERY

Claimant to Gold, Silver, and Diamond CWA Daggers, Lovesey returns with another tale starring Chief Superintendent Peter Diamond of Bath, England, who’s investigating the disappearance of a local antiques dealer. Alas, the dealer’s daughter has complicated matters by hiring hopeless private eye Johnny Getz to look into the case, and the dead body in the storeroom doesn’t make things any easier.

McCall Smith, Alexander. The Joy and Light Bus Company. Pantheon. Oct. 2021. (No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Bk. 22). 240p. ISBN 9780593315736. $26.99. MYSTERY

Mma Ramotswe has another mystery to solve, and it proves to be a knottier knot than any she has had to untie in the past. Plus, Charlie and his new bride and Mma Makutsi and her talking shoes are giving Mma Ramotswe headaches. More fun in a long-running, much-loved series.

Priest, Cherie. Grave Reservations. Atria. Oct. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781982168896. $26. MYSTERY

Travel agent Leda Foley’s inconsistent psychic abilities surface just enough to compel her to rebook Seattle PD detective Grady Merritt’s flight. That’s good news for Grady, whose previous flight blows up on takeoff, convincing him that Leda has what it takes to offer insights on a cold case he can’t conquer. Leda readily agrees because she’d like to figure out who murdered her fiancé. Might these cases be somehow linked? From the Locus Award–winning Priest, treading mystery territory; with 50,000-copy first printing.

Qiu Xiaolong. Inspector Chen and the Private Kitchen Murder. Severn House. (Inspector Chen Mystery, Bk. 12). Oct. 2021. 224p. ISBN 9780727850713. $28.99. MYSTERY

In his next outing, Chen Cao is no longer chief inspector; he’s been made director of the Shanghai Judicial System Reform Office, then put on convalescence leave to curb his interfering ways. But he jumps right in when Min Lihau, who runs one of Shanghai’s private kitchens, is accused of murdering her assistant in circumstances bearing resemblance to an historic case involving the famous Judge Dee. Dee (or Di) is based on Tang dynasty chancellor Di Renjie, who inspired the 18th-century Chinese crime novel Di Gong An and, later, mysteries, comics, TV shows, and films by a variety of creators, including the popular film starring Andy Lau. 

Rader-Day, Lori. Death at Greenway. Morrow. Oct. 2021. 448p. ISBN 9780062938039. $27.99; pap. ISBN 9780062938046. $16.99. MYSTERY/HISTORICAL

As World War II descends, nurse-in-training Bridey Kelly is sent to Greenway House, Agatha Christie’s holiday home near the English Channel, to watch over children evacuated from London during the Blitz. When a body washes up on the nearby beach, she and colleague Gigi immediately recognize that murder and not warfare has caused this death. Now they must deal with closed-in villagers and their own well-kept secrets. From the Edgar-nominated Rader-Day; with a 75,000-copy paperback and 30,000-copy hardcover first printing.

Rosenfelt, David. Best in Snow. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. (Andy Carpenter Novel, Bk. 24).Oct. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781250257178. $25.99. CD. MYSTERY

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Paterson, NJ, with more than two feet of snow suddenly dumped by a passing December storm. As the snow melts, the dead body of nasty businessman Thomas Lansing is discovered. When it’s also discovered that the local reporter Lansing had fired for libel is missing, lawyer Andy Carpenter gets busy, with golden retriever Tara at his side. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Tursten, Helene. An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed. Soho Crime. Oct. 2021. 272p. tr. from Swedish by Marlaine Delargy. ISBN 9781641291675. $14.99. MYSTERY/SHORT STORIES

Back after her best-selling short story collection, An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good, 88-year-old Maud is still up to no good. With dead bodies accumulating around her, she’s got the Gothenburg police vexed, so she decides on a little vacation in South Africa. Of course, trouble follows—just nothing she can’t handle. From popular Swedish crime author Tursten.


Eggers, Kumar, Towles, Verble, Yanique & More Literary Stars

Bajaber, Khadija Abdalla. The House of Rust. Graywolf. Oct. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9781644450680. pap. $16. LITERARY

Inaugural winner of the Graywolf Press Africa Prize, this intriguing debut features Aisha, a Hadrami girl from Mombasa, Kenya, who sets out on a magical boat crafted from a single skeleton to rescue her father, lost at sea. Along the way, she’s aided by a talking scholar’s cat and other wise animals and encounters the terrifying Baba wa Papa, father of all sharks. Her mission accomplished, she returns home and is caught between her grandmother’s wish to marry her off safely and her own desire for adventure, as exemplified by the fantastical House of Rust.

Chambers, Clare. Small Pleasures. Custom House: Morrow. Oct. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9780063094727. $27.99. LITERARY

In late 1950s England, nearly 40 Jean Swinney is resigned to her scant opportunities as a reporter at a local paper in London’s southeastern suburbs and the ongoing burdens of caring for a querulous widowed mother. Then young Gretchen Tilbury contacts the paper, claiming that her daughter resulted from a virgin birth, and Jean senses a career-making story. Soon, she’s intimately involved with the Tilbury family as well. A huge hit in the UK; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

Eggers, Dave. The Every. Knopf. Oct. 2021. 496p. ISBN 9780593320860. $28. Downloadable. LITERARY

The Every: it’s a globally dominant, immeasurably rich, ominously powerful, yet wildly embraced new company that resulted from the merger of the world’s largest search engine/social media company and the top e-commerce site. Former forest ranger Delaney Wells wangles an entry-level job there with a secret purpose: she wants to take down the Every from within. More sharp social commentary from Eggers.

Huisman, Violaine. The Book of Mother. Scribner. Oct. 2021. 240p. tr. from French by Leslie Camhi. ISBN 9781982108786. $27. LITERARY

To daughter Violaine, her Maman, Catherine, is fabulously larger than life, extravagantly engaged in living and loving, smoking and laughing. Then Maman is hospitalized after a third divorce and a breakdown and returns home difficult and disruptive, soon revealing to Violaine and her sister her own traumatized upbringing. A former curator of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s distinguished literary series, Paris-born Huisman first published this debut in France, where it racked up some big awards (e.g., the Prix Françoise Sagan). A ferocious look at the mother-daughter bond; with a 60,00-copy first printing.

Kawaguchi, Toshikazu. Tales from the Café. Hanover Square: Harlequin. Oct. 2021. 224p. ISBN 9781335630988. $19.99. LITERARY

In Kawaguchi’s internationally best-selling Before the Coffee Gets Cold, a LibraryReads pick, an underground café in Tokyo allows customers to travel back in time—they just have to sit in a particular seat on a particular day, and the journey will last only as long as it takes to down a cup of coffee. This follow-up introduces us to four more time travelers, from a man who revisits a friend deceased for over two decades to a detective who regrets having never given his wife a special gift. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Kumar, Amitava. A Time Outside This Time. Knopf. Oct. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9780593319017. $26. Downloadable. LITERARY

In this timely work from the author of Immigrant, Montana, a New York Times Notable Book, Satya is in residence at an eminent artists’ retreat but cannot escape the world: COVID-19 rages, President Trump rants, and the media purvey what are often falsities 24 hours a day. Other residents shy from these painful truths as distractions, but Satya uses them to help clarify a new novel he’s writing about the lies we tell ourselves and others. Formally inventive with its blend of narrative and newspaper clippings, the president’s tweets, and meditations on key artworks; I’m betting on this one.

Mattson, James Han. Reprieve. Morrow. Oct. 2021. 416p. ISBN 9780063079915. $27.99. lrg. prnt. LITERARY

In 1997, four contestants have managed to make it to the final cell of a booby-trapped, chills-for-everyone escape room called Quigley House without shrieking the safe word, reprieve. It’s a rare feat defeated when someone breaks into the cell and kills one of the contestants. Those remaining—teenager Kendra Brown, who has lost her father and consequently her childhood home; Leonard Grandton, caught in a series of poisonous relationships; and international student Jaidee Charoensuk, hoping to reconnect with a beloved former teacher—reflect on their part in the tragedy. From Iowa Writers’ Workshop grad Mattson ( The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves), literary horror for readers of all stripes (except the easily unsettled); with a 150,000-copy first printing.

Onuzo, Chibundu. Sankofa. Catapult. Oct. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781646220830. $26. LITERARY

Her husband gone, her daughter grown, and her white English mother dead, the biracial Anna goes on a quest to learn what she can about the African father she never knew. Soon she discovers that after engaging in radical politics in 1970s London, he became the president (and perhaps dictator) of a small, imaginary nation in West Africa. What’s more, he is still alive. Roughly translated as “to return and get it,” the term Sankofa comes from the Akan people of West Africa and is symbolized by a mythological bird turning its neck to retrieve an egg off its back. Multi-award-winning British Nigerian author Onuzo follows up the acclaimed Welcome to Lagos.

Pride, Christine & Jo Piazza. We Are Not Like Them. Atria. Oct. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781982181031. $27. LITERARY

Publishing veteran Pride joins forces with best-selling author Piazza ( Charlotte Walsh Likes To Win) to tell the story of two women, one Black and one white, who have been best friends since kindergarten. Jen marries young, while Riley becomes one of the first Black female anchors at a top-drawer news station in Philadelphia. Finally, Jen is happy to be pregnant after much struggle, but the relationship between the two friends suffers a terrible blow when Jen’s policeman husband shoots an unarmed Black teenager. With a 150,000-copy first printing.

Solomon, Asali. The Days of Afrekete. Farrar. Oct. 2021. 208p. ISBN 9780374140052. $26. LITERARY

After her husband, Winn, fails in his run for the state legislature, Liselle Belmont suffers through the dinner party she’s holding to thank key supporters while confronting the knowledge, gleaned from an FBI agent, that Winn is corrupt. She’s so distant from socially engaged college friend Selena that they barely spoke when encountering each other after Barack Obama’s election. But the women may come together yet. From National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 honoree Solomon (Disgruntled), inspired by Mrs. Dalloway and Sula.

Stine, Alison. Trashlands. Mira: Harlequin. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780778311270. $27.99. CD. LITERARY

In an environmentally wrecked near-future, plastic is the main currency, and migrant workers like Coral survive by harvesting it from the fields and streams to sell. Coral herself is saving money to rescue her son, kidnapped by child labor traffickers seven years previously, while creating sculptures from refuse that she places anonymously in the woods. (Such is the enduring value of art.) When an accident takes all her savings, Coral must decide whether to become a dancer at Trashlands, the strip joint dominating the garbage dump where she lives. Following the LJ-starred Road out of Winter; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

Towles, Amor. The Lincoln Highway. Viking. Oct. 2021. 416p. ISBN 9780735222359. $30. CD/downloadable. LITERARY

In June 1954, when 18-year-old Emmett Watson is dropped back home by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served 15 months for involuntary manslaughter, he expects simply to grab his little brother and skedaddle to California. His mother is long gone, his father recently dead, and the farm foreclosed. Then he spots two friends from the farm who surreptitiously hitched a ride on the warden’s truck and plan to steer him toward New York instead. Clearly, the author of the New York Times best sellers Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow aims never to write the same book twice.

cover of Verble's Two Feathers Fell from the SkyVerble, Margaret. When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky. Houghton Harcourt. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780358554837. $27. LITERARY

In 1926 Nashville, Cherokee horse-diver Two Feathers has temporarily left a Wild West show to work at the Glendale Park Zoo, where one of her best friends is Hank Crawford, another horse lover haling from an established, land-owning Black family. After catastrophe strikes one of her shows, followed by unsettling events that include apparitions from the past and the hippo’s mysterious illness, Two Feathers joins with other park workers and even stakeholders to discover what’s really happening. From Pulitzer Prize finalist Verble, an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma; with a 35,000-copy first printing.

Watkins, Claire Vaye. I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness. Riverhead. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780593330210. $27. LITERARY

Trying to shrug off postpartum depression, a writer named Claire travels to a speaking engagement in Reno and stays longer than anticipated, reconnecting with old friends and confronting the death of her first love, her father’s cult-member notoriety, and her mother’s steady dwindling down to focus on her addiction. What Claire is really doing: struggling with how she feels about marriage and motherhood and, in the sun-swept Mojave Desert, trying to figure out where she belongs in the world. Following the multi-award-winning Battleborn (e.g., Story Prize, NYPL Young Lions Award) and the multi-best-booked Gold Fame Citrus.

Yanique, Tiphanie. Monster in the Middle. Riverhead. Oct. 2021. 240p. ISBN 9781594633607. $27. Downloadable. LITERARY

Catholic science teacher Stela arrives in New York from the Caribbean ready to commit herself to love, while Black American musician Fly comes from a mixed religious background and is ready to get over heartbreak. They launch a relationship that appears to be the real thing, but its course will be shaped by family histories going back decades to their parents’ first loves and stories that move between the U.S. Virgin Islands and Ghana. From National 5 Under 35 honoree Yanique (Land of Love and Drowning).


Spotlight: A Hillary Clinton/Louise Penny Thriller

Clinton, Hillary Rodham & Louise Penny. State of Terror. S. & S./St. Martin's. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781982173678. $30. CD. THRILLER

What do you do when you’ve had a long, strong run in the political and public service arenas and decide you want something different? Write a book, of course, and especially a juicy thriller. Here, former presidential candidate/secretary of state/senator Clinton joins forces with top-notch mystery writer Penny to craft a story featuring a woman politician who joins a rival’s administration as—you guessed it—secretary of state in a world undermined by the previous administration’s bumbling. Terrorist attacks are breaking out everywhere, and the new secretary of state must put together a team to ferret out a conspiracy aimed directly at the U.S. government. With a one-million-copy first printing.


Child, Connolly, Nesbø, Rosenfield, Unger & More Thrillers

Child, Lee & Andrew Child. Better Off Dead: A Jack Reacher Novel. Delacorte. Oct. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9781984818508. $28.99. CD/downloadable. THRILLER

Jack Reacher is back, ready to fight the good fight against a bunch of criminals who only think they can best him, and Andrew Child is back in the franchise’s handover from brother Lee. The brothers’ first collaboration, Better Off Dead, was a No. 1 New York Times best seller.

Connolly, John. The Nameless Ones: A Thriller. Emily Bestler: Atria. Oct. 2021. 432p. ISBN 9781982176976. $28. CD. THRILLER

Four associates of the notorious assassin known only as Louis are found brutally slaughtered in a house along a quiet Amsterdam canal, and the culprits—Serbian war criminals—scurry back home with the conviction that they will never be apprehended. Louis easily tracks down five of the killers, but there’s a sixth to uncover—and somehow Connolly stalwart Charlie Parker gets dragged into this chase. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

French, Nicci. The Unheard. Morrow. Oct. 2021. 464p. ISBN 9780063137769. $27.99; pap. ISBN 9780063137745. $16.99. THRILLER/PSYCHOLOGICAL

Having shut down the popular Frieda Klein series in 2018, French (the wife-and-husband team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French) have gone the stand-alone route. Here, Tess is concerned when daughter Poppy returns from a weekend with her father and his new wife and draws a crude, violent picture, proclaiming “He did kill her.” Poppy’s father insists that it was a placid visit, but Tess is not convinced. With a 50,000-copy paperback and 30,000-copy hardcover first printing.

Grant, Kimi Cunningham. These Silent Woods. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Oct. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781250793393. $27.99. THRILLER

For eight years, Cooper has been on the run with a dark secret, living in the remote recesses of Appalachia with his young daughter, Finch. No one knows they are there but the somewhat intrusive hermit Scotland and Cooper’s friend Jake, who brings supplies each winter. But one year Jake fails to arrive, even as Finch begins resisting their extreme isolation, and Cooper must decide whether he should finally confront his past. From an award-winning poet who has published fiction and memoir with small presses and is breaking out here with a 75,000-copy first printing.

Howard, Catherine Ryan. 56 Days. Blackstone. Aug. 2021. 450p. ISBN 9781982694654. $24.99. CD. THRILLER

In this timely thriller, Ciara and Oliver meet at a Dublin supermarket just as COVID-19 descends and, once lockdown is imposed, decide to move in together. Fifty-six days after they first meet, the police arrive at their apartment to find a rapidly decomposing body. Who’s dead, and why? From CWA John Creasy short-listed, Edgar finalist Howard.

Laskowski, Tara. The Mother Next Door: A Novel of Suspense. Graydon House: Harlequin. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781525804700. pap. $16.99. THRILLER

A bunch of take-charge neighborhood mothers dubbed the Ivy Five always plan the annual block party for the suburban cul-de-sac Ivy Woods Drive. But for years there have been only four of them, and therein hangs a tale. After a new mother moves in and is invited to round out the group, anonymous missives start arriving that threaten to reveal secrets about the neighborhood implicating our do-gooding moms. Laskowski won Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity first-book honors for One Night Gone; with 75,000-copy first printing.

Nesbø, Jo. The Jealousy Man and Other Stories. Knopf. Oct. 2021. 560p. tr. from Norwegian by Robert Ferguson. ISBN 9780593321003. $28.95. lrg. prnt. SHORT STORIES

A No. 1 New York Times best-selling author with an unparalleled capacity for freezing our blood, Nesbø offers a packed story collection. A man may have murdered his twin in a fit of jealousy, a woman decides to stare down deep-seated personal issues after an encounter with a male voyeur, a grieving father considers the role of vengeance in a post-pandemic world, and two passengers on a flight to London instantly bond—but bonds can strangle. Be prepared; Hollywood has already grabbed three of these stories.

Patterson, James & Candice Fox. 2 Sisters Detective Agency. Grand Central. Oct. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9781538704592. $31; pap. ISBN 9781538704585. $17.99. CD/downloadable. CRIME

The coauthors of the “Harriet Blue” series bring on something new: the story of two sisters who join the family business—chasing down killers—that they never knew existed. Like Hush, the last “Harriet Blue” title, this one comes in two formats; a 400,000 copy paperback and 25,000-copy hardcover first printing.

cover of Rosenfield's No One Will Miss HerRosenfield, Kat. No One Will Miss Her. Morrow. Oct. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780063057012. $27.99. THRILLERS/PSYCHOLOGICAL

When town outcast Lizzie Oullette is found dead and her husband missing, the trail leads detectives from rural Maine to big-city Instagram influencer Adrienne Richards, blonde, beautiful, and the wife of a media-sullied billionaire. Adrienne has been renting Lizzie’s downscale lake house as an escape, and as Lizzie relates from beyond the grave, the two women forged a darkly competitive connection. Coauthor with Stan Lee of the New York Times best-selling A Trick of Light and an Edgar finalist YA mystery writer, Rosenfield breaks into the adult mystery market with a 100,000-copy first printing.

Schulman, Alex. The Survivors. Doubleday. Oct. 2021. 240p. tr. from Swedish by Rachel Wilson-Broyles. ISBN 9780385547567. $25. Downloadable. THRILLERS/PSYCHOLOGICAL

After their mother’s death, three brothers retreat to a lakeside cottage at Midsommar, though they find no comfort: two decades previously, a tragic accident occurred there that has forever altered their lives. The eldest brother, Nils, fled the family when he could; the youngest, Pierre, copes with having been bullied; and in-the-middle Benjamin, ever watchful amid the competition for parental love, now seems stuck in the past. There’s a fuse here that’s about to be lit. Best-selling author Schulman, co-host of Sweden’s most popular podcast, makes his international debut with a book already sold to 30 countries.

Unger, Lisa. Last Girl Ghosted. Park Row: Harlequin. Oct. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9780778311041. $27.99. CD. THRILLER/PSYCHOLOGICAL

A woman meets a man she spotted on a dating app, quickly falls for him, but later finds herself ghosted—his phone has been disconnected, and his profile has vanished like smoke. Then she learns about other women who have had the same experience she did—and have since vanished as well. Now she’s investigating. With a 100,000-copy first printing; Unger was an Edgar finalist in 2019 for her paperback original Under My Skin and her story “The Sleep Tight Motel,” and 2020’s Confessions on the 7:45 was an international and USA Today best seller.


Fiction That Lights Up the Holidays

Carr, Robyn. A Virgin River Christmas. Mira: Harlequin. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780778312178. $28.99. CD. ROMANCE

Given the crowds swarming to watch the Netflix Original Virgin River, the publisher is reissuing the series on which it is based, and here’s a Christmas-set entry appearing just in time for Season Three. During the holidays, a year after losing her husband, Marcie Sullivan comes to Virgin River to find the man who saved his life four years previously in Fallujah. But Ian Buchanan was left emotionally scarred by his war experiences, and getting him to reach out to others isn’t easy. With a 400,000-copy paperback and 10,000-copy hardcover first printing.

Colgan, Jenny. The Christmas Bookshop. Morrow. Oct. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9780063143258. $27.99; pap. Morrow Paperbacks. ISBN 9780063141674. $16.99. WOMEN’S FICTION

Colgan, who’s had Christmas hits for four years running, introduces us to Carmen, just out of a job and not exactly thrilled to be moving in with has-it-all sister Sofia in Edinburgh. Sofia isn’t thrilled either, but with another baby on the way, she could use the help, and she’s got a client who needs a retail assistant for his backwater bookstore. Can Carmen bring sparkle to the store in time for the Christmas sales rush, and what about that classic good boy–bad boy decision she must make regarding romance? With a 100,000-copy paperback and 30,000-copy hardcover first printing.

Gray, Shelley Shepard. A Christmas Courtship. Gallery: S. & S. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781982183776. $28; pap. ISBN 9781982148492. $16. CD. AMISH

During the holidays, 42-year-old Amish bachelor Atle Petersheim turns to bookmobile librarian Sarah Anne Miller for courting advice when widowed Sadie Mast, whom he’s been crushing on for years, asks him to help build a room in her barn for grown son Cale. What better way to learn about love than through romance novels, and Sadie—struggling with memories of an abusive first husband—is bemused and finally impressed by Atle’s approach. With a 50,000-copy paperback and 7,500-copy hardcover first printing.

Jackson, Brenda. One Christmas Wish. HQN. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781335529084. $28.99. CD. ROMANCE/AFRICAN AMERICAN

Christmas is a time for healing—and romance—for two people who have just returned to Catalina Cove with burdened hearts. Vaughn Miller’s Wall Street career was wrecked by a wrongful conviction and two years in prison, while Sierra Crane is escaping a painful marriage with her five-year-old daughter in tow and is looking to start over, opening a soup café. Let the sparks fly! With a 150,000-copy paperback and a 10,000-copy hardcover first printing.

cover of Lalli's Holly Jolly DiwaliLalli, Sonya. A Holly Jolly Diwali. Berkley. Oct. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9780593100950. pap. $17. Downloadable. ROMANCE

Laid off from the analyst’s job she pursued for security’s sake and tired of feeling obliged to stick close to her family while dating seemingly appropriate men who just don’t thrill her, Niki Randhawa leaps on a last-minute flight for her friend Diya’s wedding in India. She arrives just in time for Diwali, the Festival of Lights, held annually in November. At the wedding, she meets London musician Sameer Mukherji, who sets her heart vibrating while reawakening her passion for the arts, and soon she needs to choose between Sam and a job offer back home—a decision that carries her into the Christmas holiday. 

Macomber, Debbie. Dear Santa. Ballantine. Oct. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9781984818812. $21. lrg. prnt. CD. ROMANCE

Lindy Carmichael is home in Wenatchee, WA, for the holidays but not full of Christmas cheer; the man she loved has cheated on her with her best friend, and her graphic design job is going nowhere. When her mother tries to brighten her mood by reminding Lindy of an old family tradition of reading through the letters she wrote to Santa, Lindy decides to write herself a letter in an act of healing. Meanwhile, she runs into a handsome former classmate, and that could be a real holiday gift.

Morgan, Sarah. The Christmas Escape. HQN. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9781335529053. $28.99; pap. ISBN 9781335462817. $16.99. CD. ROMANCE

Though she and Christy are close-as-breathing best friends, Alix is dismayed when Christy asks her to take bubbly daughter Holly on a Lapland holiday just days before Christmas. She’s not much experienced with children, and the enticing Zac, the best friend of Holly’s dad, will be there to see how badly she stumbles. But it’s for a good cause: Christy is trying to rebuild her crumbling relationship with her husband, and maybe Alix will be doing some relationship building as well. With a 100,000-copy paperback and 10,000-copy hardcover first printing.

Roberts, Nora. Christmas Everlasting. Harlequin. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781335231000. pap. $16.99. ROMANCE

In the giving spirit, Roberts reissues two beloved holidays classics. “Local Hero” stars frantic single mother Hester Wallace, especially burdened now that the holidays are here, who takes up neighborly comic book writer Mitch Dempsey on his offer to look after her nine-year-old son with romantic results. In “All I Want for Christmas,” music teacher Nell is charmed by her students Zeke and Zack, identical six-year-old twins, but their single-minded single dad doesn’t seem to understand that all they want for Christmas is Nell as a mom. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Ryan, Anne Marie. Christmas by the Book. Putnam. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780593331248. pap. $16. Downloadable. HOLIDAYS

A Hachette Children’s Books editor in the UK and the pseudonymous author of several children’s books, Ryan goes adult with the story of booksellers Nora and Simon, whose delightful English-village bookshop may be facing its last Christmas. Inspired when an elderly gentleman purchases a book for his ill grandson, they decide to deliver books to six residents who could use some cheering up, from an overworked single father to a retired teacher who finds living on her own difficult. And maybe the bookstore will have a Christmas miracle after all.

Shipman, Viola. The Secret of Snow. Graydon House: Harlequin. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9781525806445. pap. $16.99. CD. HOLIDAYS

In Shipman’s first holiday novel, 50-year-old Southern California–based meteorologist Sonny Dunes throws an on-air tantrum when she learns that she is about to be replaced by an AI meteorologist, and the only job she can now land is in her very chilly northern Michigan hometown. Despite painful family memories and a fake-friendly boss from her past, Sonny commits herself wholly to Michigan winters, and meeting the director of the Winter Ice Sculpture Contest could deliver the love and warmth she needs. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Thayne, RaeAnne. Sleigh Bells Ring. HQN. Oct. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781335529060. $28.99. CD. ROMANCE

During the 30 months that Annie McCade has been caretaker of beautiful Angel's View Ranch for the Sheridans, no one in the family has ever visited, so it’s a real surprise when Tate Sheridan drops in before Christmas and announces that the entire family is arriving soon. Even with Annie’s niece and nephew there in her temporary custody, Tate wants Annie to stay and help him—as long as she pretends to be his long-lost love to keep his matchmaking grandmother at bay. After all, she and Tate were friends once…and maybe they’ll be more than friends again. With a 125,000-copy paperback and 10,000-copy hardcover first printing.

Wilde, Lori. Second Chance Christmas. Avon: HarperCollins. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780062953223. $27.99. ROMANCE

In Twlight, TX, a setting beloved by Wilde fans, best friends Joel and Jana are organizing the church’s Nativity scene when they discover a live baby in the crib with a note saying that the mother will return soon. But how soon? Jana takes the baby home, and they both start to fall in love with the sweet little bundle—while soon realizing that they are in love with each other. With a 300,000-copy paperback and 25,000-copy hardcover first printing.


Historical Fiction Titles

cover of Morris's Three SistersFeldman, Suzanne. Sisters of the Great War. Mira: Harlequin. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780778311225. pap. $16.99. CD. HISTORICAL/WORLD WAR I

Hoffman, Alice. The Book of Magic. S. & S. Oct. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9781982151485. $27.99. CD. HISTORICAL

Miller, Nathaniel Ian. The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven. Little, Brown. Oct. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780316592550. $28. Downloadable. HISTORICAL/NATURE

Morris, Heather. Three Sisters. St. Martin’s. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781250276896. $28.99. CD. HISTORICAL/WORLD WAR II

Saab, Gabriella. The Last Checkmate. Morrow. Oct. 2021. 432p. ISBN 9780063143388. $27.99; Morrow Paperbacks. ISBN 9780063141933. $16.99. lrg. prnt. HISTORICAL/WORLD WAR II

Williams, Beatriz. The Wicked Widow. Morrow. Oct. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9780063144736. $27.99; pap. Morrow Paperbacks. ISBN 9780063142442. $16.99. HISTORICAL

In Sisters of the Great War, Missouri Review Editors’ Prize winner Feldman crafts the story of ambitious young American Ruth Duncan—she wants to be a doctor—and her shy sister, Elise, who volunteer their services in war-torn 1914 Europe and discover love, nurse Ruth with an Englishman in the medical corps and Elise with another woman in the ambulance corps (50,000-copy first printing). In The Book of Magic, which concludes Hoffman’s “Practical Magic” series, three generations of Owens women and a long-lost brother attempt to break the curse that has bound their family since Maria Owens practiced the Unnamed Art centuries ago (200,000-copy first printing). Launched with lots of in-house love, multi-AP-award-winning Miller’s The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven features a young man who seeks adventure by moving to an Arctic archipelago in 1916, then withdraws further to an isolated fjord, where he’s sustained by a loyal dog and letters from home until the arrival of an unexpected visitor (50,000-copy first printing). In a follow-up to Morris's multi-million-best-selling The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka’s Journey, Three Sisters—Livia, Magda, and Cibi—survive Auschwitz and escape the Germans during the 1945 death march from the camp (500,000-copy first printing). In Saab’s debut, Polish resistance fighter Maria is imprisoned in Auschwitz and forced by brutal camp deputy Fritzsch to play chess for his entertainment—and her life; the war’s approaching resolution brings Maria closer to The Last Checkmate and a chance to avenge the deaths of her family (150,000-copy paperback and 30,000-copy hardcover first printing). Following up The Wicked Redhead with The Wicked Widow, Williams zigzags between 1925 New York, where brassy, flashy flapper Geneva “Gin” Kelly happily settles into a high-society marriage to (of all things) a Prohibition agent, and 1998, with troubled Ella Dommerich relying on Gin’s ghostly help when her aunt pushes her to discover anything nasty she can about an old family enemy running for president (75,000-copy paperback and 30,000-copy hardcover first printing).


Another Trip to Oz, Plus SF, Fantasy, Horror & Dystopia Titles

cover of Brooks's Child of LightBrooks, Terry. Child of Light. Del Rey: Ballantine. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780593357385. $28. Downloadable. FANTASY

Big new here: post-Shannara, Brooks is launching an all-new fantasy series. For four years, 19-year-old Auris Afton Grieg has been locked away in a dank, nasty prison with little memory of her past and will soon age out into the reputedly horrific adult prison. She manages to escape before being transferred and is rescued by a Fae, who claims she is one, too, and takes her to a magical land. Brooks got the idea for this story while working on something else and poured it out in fourth months; here’s betting it will grab readers, too.

Carson, Scott. Where They Wait. Emily Bestler: Atria. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9781982104627. $27. CD. HORROR

Hustling for some money after he’s laid off from his newspaper, war correspondent Nick Bishop accepts a job profiling a new mindfulness app called Clarity. It features white noise, guided meditations, and eerily delivered Sleep Songs less calming than agitating, which brings Nick nightmares and begins upending his waking life. Then he learns that Clarity’s creators are less interested in his article than in him. From the pen-named Carson, a New York Times best-selling author and screenwriter; with a 60,000-copy first printing.

Dalcher, Christina. Femlandia. Berkley. Oct. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780593201107. $27. Downloadable. DYSTOPIAN

When her husband brutally abandons her even as their homeland descends into economic chaos and violence, Miranda Reynolds does the unthinkable: she moves with her 16-year-old daughter to Femlandia, a women-only colony founded by Miranda’s mother. Decidedly off the beaten path, the colony is safe and thriving but presents an increasingly disturbing mystery for Miranda: with no men allowed, how are babies being born, and why are they all girls? Readers of linguist Dalcher’s attention-getting Vox and Master Class will appreciate the ongoing themes of women and children’s rights and issues of control.

Ellis, Lindsay. Truth of the Divine. St. Martin’s. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9781250274540. $28.99. SF

In fan-mobbed, Hugo-nominated video essayist Ellis’s follow-up to her New York Times best-selling Axiom’s End, aliens have arrived amid humans but are not forthcoming about where they are from or why they are here. Then something else vividly crash-lands on Earth, and curious Cora and her father’s friend, two-time Pulitzer prize finalist Kaveh Mazandarani, end up bonding when they are taken hostage and pulled into an interstellar battle. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Maguire, Gregory. The Brides of Maracoor. Morrow. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780063093966. $28.99. lrg. prnt. FANTASY

Ten years after the “Wicked Years” waved good-bye with Out of Oz, Maguire sends us spinning back to those wizardly lands with a new trilogy set 25 years after Wicked first landed. Here, Elphaba’s emerald-skinned granddaughter, Rain, washes up on a foreign island and is taken in by a community of single women with secret religious practices of their own. Did her arrival lead to the subsequent assault by a mysterious navy? What kind of magic is at work? With a 125,000-copy first printing.

Starling, Caitlin. The Death of Jane Lawrence. St. Martin’s. Oct. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9781250272584. $27.99. HORROR

All Jane Shoringfield wants is a marriage of convenience that will allow her to live as independently as possible, and she believes she’s found the perfect husband in handsome if decidedly solitary doctor Augustine Lawrence. His only condition is that she never visit him at Lindridge Hall, his tumbledown family manor in the sticks. But circumstances land her at his door in a thunderous downpour on a dark, dark night, and what she discovers there should be worthy of a Bram Stoker and Locus Award nominated author. With a 60,000-copy first printing.


From Banville to Steel: Last of the Top Pop Fiction

Banville, John. April in Spain. Hanover Square: Harlequin. Oct. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781335471406. $27.99. CD. MYSTERY

Dublin pathologist Quirke is vacationing on the Spanish coast with his wife when he’s spooked by the sight of someone in a bar made dusky by twilight. The woman he spots appears to be April Latimer, murdered years ago by her brother in a crime that rocked one of Ireland’s most prominent political families to its roots, and a puzzled Quirke soon has Det. St John Strafford winging down from Ireland to investigate. With a 150,000-copy first printing.

Hadfield, Chris. The Apollo Murders. Mulholland: Little, Brown. Oct. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780316264532. $28. THRILLER

Having made his mark with best-selling science titles and juvenile fiction, astronaut Hadfield turns to adult fiction with a Cold War thriller that vivifies the Space Race. In 1973, Houston flight controller Kazimieras “Kaz” Zemeckis is struggling to keep his NASA crew focused as it competes with a Soviet team to get to the Moon, but someone aboard Apollo 18 has bloody intentions, as the title suggests. With a 150,000-copy first printing.

Hausmann, Romy. Sleepless. Flatiron: Macmillan. Oct. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781250824790. $26.99. THRILLERS

Nadja Kulka committed a crime and paid the price. Now she’s out of prison, with an apartment, a decent job, and a couple of friends, including her boss’s alluring, wild-hare wife Laura. When Laura kills her lover and grabs Nadja’s hand for help, Nadja can’t say no, but somewhere deep in the woods she begins to suspect that she’s being used. From the author of the multi-starred Dear Child; with a 150,000-copy first printing.

cover of Horowitz's A Line To KillHorowitz, Anthony. A Line To Kill. Harper. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780062938169. $27.99. lrg. prnt. MYSTERY

It’s not all fun and games when former detective inspector Daniel Hawthorne and his trusty sidekick, author Anthony Horowitz, attend an exclusive literary festival on Alderney, a blissful, salt-swept island off England’s south coast. The oddball guests range from a French poet to a blind psychic to a war historian, and the suspicious death of high-up local puts the island in lockdown. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Steel, Danielle. The Butler. Delacorte. Oct. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9781984821522. $28.99. lrg. prnt. WOMEN

Raised by a devoted German mother in Buenos Aires, Joachim has left his twin brother behind and is training to be a butler in Paris, where he accepts a job to help Olivia White set up an apartment. Olivia, whose magazine has failed, is in the City of Light to reinvent herself and discovers that she and Joachim work well together. Then Joachim learns some dark family secrets: his grandfather died in prison, his rich father abandoned him, and his brother is now a dangerous criminal.



Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

Borrell, Brendan. The First Shots. Houghton Harcourt. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780358569848. $28. SCIENCE

Cuomo, Chris. Deep Denial. Custom House: Morrow. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780062887719. $28.99. lrg. prnt. POLITICAL SCIENCE

Gupta, Sanjay. World War C: Lessons from the Pandemic and How To Prepare for the Next One. S. & S. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781982166106. $28. HEALTH & FITNESS

Patterson, James & others. E.R. Nurses: True Stories from America’s Greatest Unsung Heroes. Little, Brown. Oct. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780759554269. $29. lrg. prnt. MEDICAL

An Outside magazine correspondent whose award-winning journalism has appeared in venues ranging from the Atlantic to Wired, Borrell draws on exclusive emails and insider emails to track the race to produce The First Shots to protect against COVID-19; look for an HBO limited series. In Deep Denial, multi-award-winning CNN anchor Cuomo reflects on the fault lines in American society revealed by the pandemic—from a hobbled public health care system to a failure to commit to equality and racial justice—and more personal thoughts on home and family after he contracted COVID-19 and kept reporting from his basement (150,000-copy first printing). CNN chief medical correspondent, who’s also been in the thick of COVID-19 reporting, Gupta gives us World War C, answering major questions on how the pandemic unfolded and what happens next, e.g., can we obliterate the virus and, if not, how do we live with it? (250,000-copy first printing). The pandemic has shown us the crucial work done in our communities by E.R. Nurses, and the mega-best-selling Patterson joins forces with Walk in My Combat Boots coauthor Matt Eversmann and Edgar finalist Chris Mooney to reveal the extent of our indebtedness.



Antiracism, Global Migration, the Housing Crisis & Other Current News

Baxley, Traci. Social Justice Parenting: How To Raise Compassionate, Anti-Racist, Justice-Minded Kids in an Unjust World. Harper Wave. Oct. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9780063082366. $27.99. FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS/PREJUDICE

An education professor who created the Social Justice Parenting® program and the mother of five biracial children, Baxley draws on 30 years’ experience to help parents understand how to raise compassionate, socially conscious children. She further aims to persuade them to recognize their own biases and think more broadly in terms of what’s good for all the children in their community, not just their own children. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Bunn, Curtis & others. Say Their Names: How Black Lives Came To Matter in America. Grand Central. Oct. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781538737828. $30. POLITICAL SCIENCE/CIVIL RIGHTS

In America’s long history of racist oppression, the 2020 killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others seem to be a turning point. Blending personal insight with decades worth of sharp reporting, five journalists provide historical context, show what the protests stemming from the killings have accomplished, and outline the considerable work yet to be done. The authors include the award-winning, No. 1 Essence best-selling Bunn; Nick Charles, managing director of Word in Black, a national collaborative of 10 Black-owned media companies; NBCU Academy Program Editor Michael H. Cottman; Patrice Gaines, a noted memoirist formerly with the Washington Post, where she was part of a Pulitzer Prize finalist team; and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Keith Harriston.

Cullors, Patrisse. An Abolitionist’s Handbook: 12 Steps to Changing Yourself and the World. St. Martin’s. Oct. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781250272973. $26.99. CD. POLITICAL SCIENCE/CIVIL RIGHTS

How to be an abolitionist in this day and age? Ask Cullors, cofounder of the Black Lives Matter movement. Here she draws on personal experience, the history of abolition, and meditations on what reparations might look like to offer 12 steps toward bettering both ourselves and this world. Among the steps she pronounces are Courageous Conversations, Practice Accountability, and Fight the U.S. State Rather Than Make It Stronger. With a 250,000-copy first printing.

cover of della Volpe's FightDella Volpe, John. Fight: How Gen Z Is Channeling Their Fear and Passion To Save America. St. Martin’s. Oct. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781250260468. $28.99. POLITICAL SCIENCE

From 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis to mass school shootings and COVID-19, members of Generation Z (born from the late 1990s to early 2000s) have experienced considerable stress—something Della Volpe well knows. As Director of Polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, he has met regularly with young Americans nationwide and documented their distress, which statistics show outpaces that of previous generations. But they’re not caving in. As he shows, they are organizing around issues like gun safety and racial and environmental justice to challenge the status quo and outshine their elders in terms of political engagement. With a 40,000-copy first printing.

Khanna, Parag. Move: The Forces Uprooting Us. Scribner. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9781982168971. $30. POLITICAL SCIENCE/GEOPOLITICS

Migration is a defining aspect of human history, with people forever on the move as they seek out greater safety, greater resources, and a better way of life. And migration will only increase in a world fraught with warfare, climate change, and political and economic uncertainty. Eventually, argues FutureMap founder Khanna, we will all be impacted, and key questions loom: what areas will people leave, where will they go, what countries will accept them, what resources and technologies are needed, and how do we reconsider our nomadic roots as we build a more secure future for the planet? With a 75,000-copy first printing; Parag was named one of Esquire’s “75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century.”

Kim, Daniel Dae. Untitled. Harper. Oct. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780062991744. $26.99. MEMOIR

Born in Korea and raised in blue-collar communities in New York and Pennsylvania, award-winning actor/producer Kim was a high school football player and both smart and popular enough to be elected student body president, but casually racist comments were still tossed his way regularly. Hollywood has proved no better. Here he meditates on race and identity, art and assimilation as he reveals unassailable truths about the Asian American experience and the desire to be seen as he is. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Moore, Anne Elizabeth. Gentrifier: A Memoir. Catapult. Oct. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9781646220700. $26. MEMOIR

Granted a free house by a Detroit arts organization, the Eisner Award–winning Moore happily moved in—and became a white woman living in a majority Black city and a majority Bangladeshi neighborhood. She made friends in the neighborhood but began to consider crucial issues of capitalism, gentrification, and the housing crisis, even as she learned the unsettling history of her new abode. And she began to wonder how far Woolf’s “room of one’s own” really extends—to her as a queer woman with a chronic illness, to her Bangladeshi neighbors, to Black youth in the larger city? A different kind of memoir.

Oppenheimer, Mark. Squirrel Hill: The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Neighborhood. Knopf. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780525657194. $28.95. RELIGION

One of this country’s oldest and most durable Jewish neighborhoods, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, was shattered on October 27, 2018, by shots from a gunman that killed 11 Jews worshipping at the local Tree of Life synagogue. It was the bloodiest anti-Semitic attack in American history. A former religion columnist for the New York Times, currently director of the Yale Journalism Initiative, Oppenheimer spoke to Squirrel Hill residents and nonresidents, Jews and Gentiles, survivors and witnesses to delineate how one community grieved and healed, even as painful conversations stemmed from the shootings.

Pitner, Barrett Holmes. The Crime Without a Name: Combatting Ethnocide and the Erasure of Culture in America. Counterpoint. Oct. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781640094840. $26. SOCIAL SCIENCE

The crime does have a name: ethnocide is a term first coined in 1944 by Jewish exile Raphael Lemkin, who also coined the term genocide. It references the effort to destroy a people’s ancestral culture, as seen in the suppression of African culture in America, beginning with the transatlantic trade and enslavement of Africans; the term has taken on new urgency in light of recent Black Lives Matter protests. Journalist Pitner examines the history of ethnocide in this country, then explains what it’s like to endure the erasure of one’s culture and how we can all combat its consequences, especially through how we use language.

Ross, Andrew. Sunbelt Blues: The Failure of American Housing. Metropolitan: Holt. Oct. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781250804228. $27.99. SOCIAL SCIENCE/HOMELESSNESS

Forget Manhattan, the least likely place to find affordable housing in America is Osceola County, FL, where Route 192 once served to sweep people toward the sparkly magic of Disney World. Now, absentee investors have grabbed foreclosed properties along that route to create lavish vacation homes for the rich, while the less fortunate—including meagerly paid Disney theme park workers—crowd into crappy motels and even tents by the roadside. NYU professor Ross uses Osceola County to examine the extraordinary housing crisis washing over America. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Samaha, Albert. Concepcion: An Immigrant Family’s Fortunes. Riverhead. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780593086087. $28. Downloadable. HISTORY

Using the skills he’s honed as a Whiting-honored investigative reporter at BuzzFeed News, Samaha examines his family’s decision to leave the Philippines and come to America in 1965 after immigration quotas were relaxed; his mother was close to the age he is now when she made the journey. Samaha traverses both past and present, considering how Spanish colonialism, Japanese occupation, and American intervention shaped the Philippines, then recounting his family’s sometimes difficult immigrant experience and asking whether it was worth it to have left behind their middle-class existence for a new country.

Shellenberger, Michael. San Fransicko: Why the Left Ruins Cities. Harper. Oct. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780063093621. $28.99. POLITICAL SCIENCE/URBAN DEVELOPMENT

A Time magazine “Hero of the Environment,” Shellenberger (Apocalypse Never) has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for three decades and fought for affordable housing, alternatives to prison, and the decriminalization of drugs. With the city experiencing unprecedented homelessness and overdose deaths in the state rapidly multiplying over 20 years, he got worried enough to investigate. His conclusion: The homelessness crisis is really an addiction and mental illness crisis not just tolerated by West Coast cities from Los Angeles to Seattle but encouraged by putatively progressive policies that are failing everyone. Bound to stir controversy; with a 75,000-copy first printing.

Stewart, Danté. Shoutin’ in the Fire: An American Epistle. Convergent: Crown. Oct. 2021. 224p. ISBN 9780593239629. $25. Downloadable. MEMOIR/RELIGION

Not so long ago, Stewart was an emerging leader at his mostly white evangelical church in Georgia and was excited to become its first Black preacher. Then Donald Trump was elected president, and Stewart and his family began facing uncomfortable microaggressions that escalated to more overt racism. Stewart soon journeyed from the white church in search of a faith that embraces Blackness and represents the genuine love exemplified by Jesus himself. Currently, he is studying at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology.


Personal Perspectives on Social Justice

Bowen, Sesali. Bad Fat Black Girl: Notes from a Trap Feminist. Amistad: HarperCollins. Oct. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9780063028708. $24.99. SOCIAL SCIENCE

Entertainment journalist Bowen here delineates Trap Feminism, a term she coined to explain how feminism intersects with hip-hop, thus encompassing the range, nuance, and bad-assed edginess she couldn’t find in standard-issue, upscale white feminist discussions. She also blends in memoir, going back to her Chicago roots to explain how she steered her way through Blackness, queerness, fatness, friendship, poverty, and sex work and how she found self-love. With a 35,000-copy first printing.

cover of Cordell's Her HonorCordell, LaDoris Hazzard. Her Honor: My Life on the Bench…What Works, What’s Broken, and How To Change It. Celadon: McMillan. Oct. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781250269607. $28. MEMOIR

The first Black woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California, now retired and a legal commentator familiar to audiences of CNN, MSNBC, and NPR, Cordell blends memoir with keen professional insight to explain how the U.S. judicial system works—and how it doesn’t, as it has always been distorted by bias. She’s got recommendations for change. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Dogon, Mondiant with Jenna Krajeski. Those We Throw Away Are Diamonds: A Refugee’s Search for Home. Penguin Pr. Oct. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781984881281. $28. MEMOIR

“Those we throw away are diamonds,” proclaims a poem written by human rights activist and refugee ambassador Dogan, a Bagogwe Tutsi born in Congo whose family was forced to flee Hutu threats of murder, escaping to Rwanda and settling in a UN tent city where the violence continued. Dogon managed to push himself through school and eventually entered the University of Rwanda with the highest national examination grades in his county; in 2019, he received a master’s degree in international education from the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. His aim? To help refugees everywhere get the education they want. 

Stewart, Matthew. The 9.9 Percent: The New Aristocracy That Is Entrenching Inequality and Warping Our Culture. S. & S. Oct. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781982114183. $28. SOCIAL SCIENCE

Today, those claiming the top .1 percent of wealth in America are flying high, while the bottom 90 percent are doing worse than ever. What about the 9.9 percent? Says Stewart, an independent scholar who acknowledges that as a former management consultant he once belonged to their ranks, these money mongers control more than half of the wealth in the country—and their desire to hang on to their wealth and their status works to the detriment of the poorly paid underclass on whom they rely. With a 60,000-copy first printing.

Stockman, Farah. American Made: What Happens to People When Work Disappears. Random. Oct. 2021. 432p. ISBN 9781984801159. $28. POLITICAL SCIENCE/LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

Jobs mean security, self-worth, and quite obviously the means of survival, so what happens when they are lost? To show us, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Stockman considers the recent closure of Indianapolis’s Rexnord steel-bearings manufacturing plant, with operations moved to Mexico and Texas. Stockman relates the story through the experiences of three workers: a Black man named Wally who had dreamed of opening his own barbeque business; white machinist John, whose family has deep roots in the union; and Shannon, a single white mother who had been the first woman to run the fearsome furnaces.


Reassessing the Past

Dolnick, Edward. The Writing of the Gods: The Race to Decode the Rosetta Stone. Scribner. Oct. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781501198939. $28. CD. HISTORY

Discovered in 1799, the Rosetta Stone bears an inscription in three languages—Egyptian hieroglyphics, Egyptian Demotic, and ancient Greek—that in 196 BCE disseminated a decree on behalf of Ptolemy V. With all three texts the same, it thus allowed hieroglyphics finally to be deciphered. A former chief science writer at the Boston Globe and Edgar Award winner for The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece, Dolnick tells the story. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

French, Howard W. Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War. Liveright: Norton. Oct. 2021. 464p. ISBN 9781631495823. $35. HISTORY

Enlightenment ideals, European economic firepower, American democracy: all were achieved by the exploitation of Black Africans and the African diaspora, whose history and accomplishments were consciously blotted out. Pulitzer Prize finalist French here forefronts 600 years of African history and historical figures, first introducing medieval African emperors who traded with Asia, then moving through Kongo sovereignty’s challenge to European colonizers and the liberation of Haiti to more recent events during World War II. Woven throughout is the story of international trade in gold, tobacco, sugar, cotton, and, horrifically, human beings.

cover of Graeber's The Dawn of EverythingGraeber, David & David Wengrow. The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. Farrar. Oct. 2021. 608p. ISBN 9780374157357. $35. HISTORY

For centuries, history—at least as told by the West—has portrayed humanity’s early ancestors as either wide-eyed innocents or nasty brutes, with both needing correction if society were to flourish. But with current challenges to Eurocentrism, that view is getting a makeover. Here, the recently deceased Graeber (anthropology, London School of Economics) and Wengrow (comparative archaeology, University College London) argue that in the 18th century, Europeans took exception to criticism directed at them by non-Europeans and concocted a self-serving story. So what really happened? The authors have some ideas. With a 75,000-copy first printing; note that Graeber, who was a caustic critic of economic and social inequality, is credited with coining the slogan “We are the 99 Percent.”

Holton, Woody. Liberty Is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution. S. & S. Oct. 2021. 800p. ISBN 9781476750378. $37.50. HISTORY

Bancroft Award winner Holton draws on over 1,000 eyewitness accounts to offer a revisionist history of the American Revolution. In particular, he shows how women, Indigenous peoples, Black Americans, and religious dissenters shaped the American Revolution, even as they clashed with the Founding Fathers, and how these stories have been suppressed. He also addresses how overlooked factors like weather, geography, propaganda, and especially disease played key roles. With a 40,000-copy first printing.

Indyk, Martin. Master of the Game: Henry Kissinger and the Art of Middle East Diplomacy. Knopf. Oct. 2021. 672p. ISBN 9781101947548. $30. HISTORY

A former U.S. ambassador to Israel and special envoy to the 2013 Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Indyk considers America’s ongoing and ever challenging participation in Middle East diplomacy by returning to the politician who launched the process: Henry Kissinger. Indyk draws on interviews with Kissinger, newly available documents from American and Israeli archives, and his own experiences with key players to help us understand what happened and how—and how not—to make peace.

Jones, Dan. Powers and Thrones: A New History of the Middle Ages. Viking. Oct. 2021. 656p. ISBN 9781984880871. $35. HISTORY

Author of the New York Times best-selling The Plantagenets and The Wars of the Roses, plus the popular presenter of television’s four-part Britain’s Bloodiest Dynasty (those Plantagenets again), Jones offers a thoroughgoing reappraisal of the 1,000-plus years that unfolded from the 410 sack of Rome to the early 1500s to offer a new history of the European Middle Ages. Along the way, readers meet everyone from Attila the Hun to Eleanor of Aquitaine while visiting the great cities of antiquity and the Islamic West. Climate change, pandemic, mass migration, and technological revolutions: all shaped this time and place as they shape the world today.

Loyn, David. The Long War: The Inside Story of America and Afghanistan Since 9/11. St. Martin’s. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781250128423. $29.99. HISTORY

An Orwell Prize short-listed foreign correspondent for the BBC with 30 years’ experience, Loyn has visited Afghanistan every year since 1994. As such, he is well situated to write about America’s longest war. His account unfolds from the perspective of eight generals (seven American, one British) with the aim of showing why the seemingly endless fighting turned out to be inevitable.

McCalman, George. Illustrated Black History: Honoring the Iconic and the Unseen. Amistad: HarperCollins. Oct. 2021. 432p. ISBN 9780062913234. $35. HISTORY

Crafted by award-winning designer McCalman, this celebration of Black Americans ranges from Frederick Douglass, Nina Simone, and Audre Lorde to Dr. Eliza Ann Grier, born into slavery and the first Black woman to practice medicine in America, and Guion S. Bluford, the first Black person to travel into space. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

O’Meara, Mallory. Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol. Hanover Square: Harlequin. Oct. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781335282408. $27.99. HISTORY

Never mind those men-only bars and gender-specific “girly drinks.” As this feminist take on women and drinking attests, from the ancient Sumerian beer goddess Ninkasi to iconic 1920s bartender Ada Coleman and countless female distillers and brewers in between, women have played a key role in the consumption of alcohol throughout history. From the cohost of the literary podcast Reading Glasses; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

Pearl, Matthew. The Taking of Jemima Boone: The True Story of the Kidnap and Rescue That Shaped America. Harper. Oct. 2021. 240p. ISBN 9780062937780. $27.99. lrg. prnt. HISTORY

Shortly after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Daniel Boone’s daughter, 13-year-old Jemima, and friends Betsy and Fanny were kidnapped from their Kentucky outpost by a Cherokee-Shawnee raiding party challenging the settlers’ theft and decimation of their land. Hanging Maw, the raiders’ leader, soon recognized Jemima’s value as a bargaining chip, and she planned to use Jemima to secure a peaceful resolution of tensions. As New York Times best-selling novelist Pearl argues in his nonfiction debut, Jemima’s rescue in an ambush led by her father upended Hanging Maw’s plans—and possibly changed how America’s colonists and its original peoples would interact in the future. With a 150,000-copy first printing.

Picardie, Justine. Miss Dior: A Story of Courage and Couture. Farrar. Oct. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9780374210359. $35. BIOGRAPHY

Former editor in chief of the British edition of Harper's Bazaar and author of the Sunday Times best-selling Coco Chanel, Picardie here tells the story of French designer Christian Dior’s sister, Catherine, whose rose gardens inspired the popular perfume Miss Dior. As Picardie reveals, Catherine’s story goes way beyond fashion. A Resistance fighter during World War II, Catherine was captured by the Gestapo and sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp. She survived to influence the work of her famous brother, who eventually bequeathed her his chateau, La Colle Noire. With a 25,000-copy first printing.

Pomfret, John. From Warsaw with Love: Polish Spies, the CIA, and the Forging of an Unlikely Alliance. Holt. Oct. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9781250296054. $29.99. HISTORY

In 1990, the newly elected democratic government of Poland sent a veteran spy to rescue six American officers trapped in Baghdad, which launched an era of significant intelligence cooperation between Poland and America. Agents who once spied on the West now spied for the West in locales from Havana to Tehran, and the CIA even based a “black site” program for suspected terrorists in Poland after 9/11. A Pulitzer Prize finalist for his reporting at the Washington Post and author of the award-winning The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom, Pomfret highlights changing alliances in an ever-changing world. With a 40,000-copy first printing.

Veidlinger, Jeffrey. In the Midst of Civilized Europe: The Pogroms of 1918–1921 and the Onset of the Holocaust. Metropolitan: Holt. Oct. 2021. 480p. ISBN 9781250116253. $35. HISTORY

Between 1918 and 1921, over 100,000 Jews were killed by both civilians and soldiers in the Ukraine and Poland, with houses burned to the ground and Torah Scrolls shredded in violence that made world headlines. This study draws on newly unearthed trial records, official orders, and eyewitness testimonies to show how these pogroms set the stage for the Holocaust. From the award-winning Veidlinger (In the Shadow of the Shtetl); with a 75,000-copy first printing.

von Tunzelmann, Alex. Fallen Idols. Harper. Oct. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9780063081673. $26.99. HISTORY

From America to New Zealand to Bangladesh, from Gen. Robert E. Lee to Belgian king Leopold II, monuments worldwide have been defaced or toppled in recent years by protestors objecting to the oppressive histories they represent. Busy essayist/author/tweeter von Tunzelmann, based in London, offers context by examining 12 statues famously shoved down in the more distant past. Pointing out that these statues typically represented so-called great men whose actions are now deemed unacceptable, she also asks whether such public statuary has had its day. With a 30,000-copy first printing.


Couric, Harjo, Ruhl, Sedaris & More Memoirs 

cover of Harjo's Poet WarriorCouric, Katie. Going There. Little, Brown. Oct. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9780316535861. $30. lrg. prnt. MEMOIR

Harjo, Joy. Poet Warrior. Norton. Sept. 2021. 240p. ISBN 9780393248524. $25. MEMOIR

Love, Bobby & Cheryl Love. The Redemption of Bobby Love: A Story of Faith, Family, and Justice. Houghton Harcourt. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780358566052. $28. MEMOIR

Ruhl, Sarah. Smile: The Story of a Face. S. & S. Oct. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9781982150945. $27. CD. MEMOIR

Sedaris, David. A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries (2003–2020). Little, Brown. Oct. 2021. 560p. ISBN 9780316558792. $32. lrg. prnt. CD. MEMOIR

Sharif, Omar, Jr. A Tale of Two Omars: A Memoir of Family, Revolution, and Coming Out During the Arab Spring . Counterpoint. Oct. 2021. 224p. ISBN 9781640094987. $26. MEMOIR

Wassef, Nadia. Shelf Life: Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller. Farrar. Oct. 2021. 240p. ISBN 9780374600181. $27. MEMOIR

The first woman to solo anchor a network evening newscast, winner of multiple honors (including numerous Emmys and two Edward R. Murrow awards), and cofounder of Stand ​Up To Cancer, Couric discusses her personal and professional lives in Going There (750,000-copy first printing). The current U.S. Poet Laureate and a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Harjo relates how she came to be a Poet Warrior whose verse bespeaks compassion and demands justice. As revealed in Brandon Stanton’s photoblog Humans of New York—and now in The Redemption of Bobby Love—at age 14 Love was charged with disorderly conduct in the Jim Crow South, subsequently drawn into a band of thieves, and facing a 30-year prison sentence when he escaped to New York, changed his name, and led the model life of a family man with multiple jobs, church, and Little League until the FBI and NYPD came calling after decades (150,000-copy first printing). After successfully negotiating the high-risk birth of twins, two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Ruhl came down with Bell’s palsy—a condition paralyzing half the face—and unlike most patients did not recover quickly; Smile relates how she spent a decade searching for a cure while grappling with her suddenly inexpressive face (100,000-copy first printing). Picking up directly after Theft by Finding, Sedaris’s previous volume of diaries, A Carnival of Snackery brings us up to the present (750,000-copy first printing). Told by Egyptian Canadian actor Sharif, A Tale of Two Omars relates his life as the grandson of the famed actor on his father’s side and Holocaust survivors on his mother’s while also reflecting on his life as a gay man in the Arab (and larger) world. Featured on the Forbes List of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the Middle East in 2014, 2015, and 2016, Wassef is the founder and manager of the Cairo-based Diwan, Egypt’s first modern bookstore, which now has ten locations, 150 employees, countless loyal customers, and a book of its own with Shelf Life (25,000-copy first printing).


Voices from Prison

Hedges, Chris. Our Class: Trauma and Transformation in an American Prison. S. & S. Oct. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9781982154431. $26.99. SOCIAL SCIENCE

Since 2013, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Hedges has taught drama, literature, philosophy, and history in the college degree program offered by Rutgers University at East Jersey State Prison. Here, he returns to his first class there, where 28 students read plays by authors including Amiri Baraka and August Wilson, then wrote scenes crafted over the years into a play. Called Caged, it is credited to the New Jersey Prison Theater Cooperative and expresses the inmates' suffering, frustrations, and dreams. In 2018, it had a sold-out run at Trenton's Passage Theatre and was published in 2020 by Haymarket Press. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

cover of Poor and Woods's This Is Ear HustlePoor, Nigel & Earlonne Woods. This Is Ear Hustle: Unflinching Stories of Everyday Prison Life. Crown. Oct. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780593238868. $28. SOCIAL SCIENCE

Poor, a white visual artist and photography professor at California State University, Sacramento, and Woods, a Black former inmate whose 31-year prison sentence was commuted by California Governor Jerry Brown in 2018, are cocreators and cohosts of the podcast Ear Hustle, a Pulitzer Prize finalist also nominated for Peabody honors. Woods is currently its full-time coproducer and also founded CHOOSE1, which aims to repeal the California Three Strikes Law under which he was sentenced. First created and produced entirely within San Quentin State Prison, the podcast allowed prisoners to share their thoughts and experiences about incarceration and the paths that led them there; it now tell post-incarceration stories as well. Here, the coauthors offer almost all-new stories (only two podcasts are excerpted) while framing these narratives with their own perspectives; with 40 original black-and-white illustrations.


Consciousness, Octopuses & More STEM Titles

cover of Foster and Frylinck's Underwater WildDamasio, Antonio. Feeling & Knowing: Making Minds Conscious. Pantheon. Oct. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9781524747558. $25. COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE

Foster, Craig & Ross Frylinck. Underwater Wild: My Octopus Teacher’s Extraordinary World. Houghton Harcourt. Oct. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780358664758. $50. MARINE LIFE

Habib, Rodney & Karen Shaw Becker. The Forever Dog: Surprising New Science to Help Your Canine Companion Live Younger, Healthier, and Longer. Harper Wave. Oct. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9780063002609. $27.99. PETS

Helberg, Jacob. The Wires of War: Technology and the Global Struggle for Power and Order. Avid: S. & S. Oct. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781982144432. $28. COMPUTERS

Hossain , Anushay. All in Your Head: How Sexism in Healthcare Kills Women. Tiller: S. & S. Oct. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781982177775. $26.99. WOMEN’S STUDIES

Offerman, Nick. Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American in Search of the Real Dirt. Dutton. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781101984697. $28. CD/downloadable. HUMOR

Orlean, Susan. On Animals. Avid: S. & S. Oct. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781982181536. $27. NATURE

Paul, Pamela. 100 Things We’ve Lost to the Internet. Crown. Oct. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9780593136775. $27. SOCIAL SCIENCE

Quave, Cassandra Leah. The Plant Hunter: A Scientist’s Quest for Nature’s Next Medicines. Viking. Oct. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781984879110. $26. BOTANY

Reisman, Jonathan. The Unseen Body: A Doctor’s Journey Through the Hidden Wonders of Human Anatomy. Flatiron: Macmillan. Oct. 2021. 224p. ISBN 9781250246622. $27.99.

Rhodes, Richard. Scientist: E. O. Wilson: A Life in Nature. Doubleday. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780385545556. $30. BIOGRAPHY

Seth, Anil. Being You: A New Science of Consciousness. Dutton. Oct. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781524742874. $28. COGNITIVE SCIENCE

From world-famous neuroscientist Damasio (it all started with Descartes’ Error), Feeling and Knowing relies on recent discoveries in neurobiology, psychology, and AI to explain what consciousness really is (originally scheduled for March 2021). Foster and Frylinck, creators of the documentary phenom My Octopus Teacher—one of Netflix’s top 10 films of 2020—swam through South Africa’s jaw-droppingly beautiful kelp forests without benefit of wetsuits or oxygen masks (but aided by their favorite octopus) to bring us Underwater Wild, illustrated with over 200 full-color photographs (100,000-copy first printing). A multi-award-winning blogger and founder of Planet Paws, Facebook’s most popular pet health page, Habib joins forces with world-renowned veterinarian Becker to explain that dogs suffer from the same chronic illnesses as humans, then introduces a wealth of science-based information ensuring that The Forever Dog in your household will stay alive and well for a long time (150,000-copy first printing). In The Wires of War, Helberg, the former news policy lead at Google, limns the growing cyber conflict piting the West  against primarily Russia and China over both software (e.g., news information and social media platforms) and hardware (e.g., cell phones and satellites (100,000-copy first printing). Having grown up in Bangladesh, which she describes as having minimal women's health care, Hossain expected expert maternal care in wealthy America—and nearly died in childbirth; All in Your Head is her impassioned critique of sexism in U.S. health care. Offerman humorously explores the great outdoors as he takes us where The Deer and the Antelope Play. New Yorker staffer Orlean, perhaps best known for The Orchid Thief, here writes On Animals, which explores the animal-human relationship in stories she has written throughout her career. Editor of the New York Times Book Review, Paul offers 100 never-before-published essays (with witty illustrations by Nishant Choksi) to explore 100 Things We’ve Lost to the Internet, from punctuation and good manners to the ability to entertain ourselves. In The Plant Hunter, enthnobotanist Quave relates her search for plants that can improve or save our lives. Having practiced medicine worldwide, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, Reisman takes us inside The Unseen Body to describe its functions by relating them to the world—the Arctic taught him the value of fat, for instance, while the Himalayas revealed the border between brain and mind (75,000-copy first printing).  A prolific author of science titles, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Rhodes profiles Harvard biologist and naturalist O. Wilson—noteworthy for promoting sociobiology and biodiversity—in Scientist. In Being You, the codirector of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science at the Universitiy of Sussex, explains that we do not view the world objectively but through a series of constant predictions that are rooted in biological mechanisms we can now measure. 


Spotlight: Jane Goodall Gives Us Hope

cover ofGoodall, Jane & Doug Abrams. The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times. Celadon: Macmillan. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781250784094. $28. CD. SELF-HELP

At a time of pandemic, political divisiveness, and panic over climate change, is it possible to have hope? World-renowned naturalist Goodall joins with internationally best-selling author Abrams ( The Book of Joy) to argue in the affirmative. Drawing on her work and her life, Goodall enunciates “Four Reasons for Hope”: the Amazing Human Intellect, the Resilience of Nature, the Power of Young People, and the Indomitable Human Spirit. Her own story of hope begins in the early years as she lived through World War II, then continues with her years in Gombe studying chimpanz ees and the realization that she had to go out into the world as an advocate for environmental justice. With a 300,000-copy first printing.


Essential Fall Poetry Previews

cover of Gluck's Winter RecipesAkbar, Kaveh. Pilgrim Bel: Poems. Graywolf. Aug. 2021. 80p. ISBN 9781644450598. pap. $16. POETRY

Bidart, Frank. Against Silence: Poems. Farrar. Sept. 2021. 80p. ISBN 9780374603519. $25. POETRY

Glück, Louise. Winter Recipes from the Collective: Poems. Farrar. Oct. 2021. 64p. ISBN 9780374604103. $25. POETRY

Smith, Tracy K. Such Color: New and Selected Poems. Graywolf. Oct. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9781644450673. $26. POETRY

Young, Kevin. Stones: Poems. Knopf. Sept. 2021. 96p. ISBN 9781524732561. $27. POETRY

Recently appointed poetry editor at the Nation, Iranian American poet/scholar Akbar follows up his corrosively beautiful debut, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, with Pilgrim Bell, a courageous spiritual journey that captures the addict’s ongoing struggle and the challenges of being Muslim in an Islamophobic nation. Bidart, whose multiple awards include a Pulitzer, tops off five decades of writing with a book arguing Against Silence in its embrace of the world. In Winter Recipes from the Collective, her first collection since winning the Nobel Prize, Glück joins voices together in a sort of chamber work to investigate loss, memory, and the quiet stride toward mortality (50,000-copy first printing). Former U.S. Poet Laureate, Smith offers her first retrospective with Such Color, selecting works from four previous volumes while continuing to push boundaries with her new poems. Andrew W. Mellon Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, previously director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and poetry editor at The New Yorker, Young revisits places and people leaving holes in his life in Stones.


Literature, Film, Music: Arts Previews 


cover of Auster's Burning BoyAuster, Paul. Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane. Holt. Oct. 2021. 800p. ISBN 9781250235831. $35. LITERARY BIOGRAPHY

The life of distinguished American author Stephen Crane embraced political controversy, an ill-fated affair with a married woman, common-law marriage to the proprietress of a bawdy house, near-drowning after a shipwreck, reportage from the front lines of the Spanish-American War, relocation to England and friendship with the likes of Joseph Conrad, and a veritable tsunami of short fiction, long fiction, and poetry—all by age 28, when he died of tuberculosis. Booker Prize short-listed and New York Times best-selling Auster should have the brio to report this remarkable story; with a 75,000-copy first printing.

Cohen, Josh. How To Live. What To Do: In Search of Ourselves in Life and Literature. Pantheon. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780593316207. $28. Downloadable. LITERATURE

A psychoanalyst and professor of Modern Literary Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London, Cohen uses literary characters to clarify human experience throughout life. The figures he explores range from Alice and Scout Finch in childhood and Jane Eyre as a student; through John Baldwin’s John Grimes, Goethe’s Young Werther, and Sally Rooney’s Frances; to Gatsby’s frustrated ambition and Dorothea Brookes’s frustrated marriage; and finally to late-life disappointments in Marilynn Robinson’s Gilead and Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s The Leopard.

Massini, Stefano. The Book of Nonexistent Words. HarperVia. Oct. 2021. 272p. tr. from Italian by Richard Dixon. ISBN 9780063004771. $28.99. LITERATURE

As an award-winning novelist, essayist, and playwright (e.g., the hit Broadway play The Lehman Trilogy), Massini apparently often felt the frisson of not having exactly the right word to express that particular feeling (don’t I know it). He finally concluded that w ords are meant to be invented, and here he relies on his distinguished storytelling ability to create a catalog of new words inspired by stories of real people, from French kings to American gangsters. With visual input from illustrator/filmmaker Magda Wel; a 25,000-copy first printing.

Prendergast, Catherine. The Gilded Edge: Two Audacious Women and the Cyanide Love Triangle That Shook America. Dutton. Oct. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9780593182925. $28. Downloadable. LITERARY BIOGRAPHY

In early 20th-century Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA, explosive and highly regarded poet Nora May French meets the Sterlings: newbie poet George and his put-upon wife, Carrie. Soon they form an unstable love triangle that ends in Nora May’s suicide and the deaths of both Sterlings. Prendergast (English, Univ. of Illinois) tells a dramatic story, in particular investigating why French—so prominent at the time that her death inspired numerous copycat scenarios across the nation—is so little known today.

Solnit, Rebecca. Orwell’s Roses. Viking. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780593083369. $28. Downloadable. LITERATURE

Can talking about George Orwell’s passion for gardening yield a greater understanding of his literature and politics? If the author is blazingly brilliant author Solnit (Recollections of My Nonexistence), the answer is yes. Inspired by roses Orwell planted in 1936, Solnit draws on photographer Tina Modotti’s roses, Stalin’s obsession with growing lemons in frigid Russia, Orwell’s slave-owning ancestors in Jamaica (with acid commentary from Jamaica Kincaid), and Colombia’s brutal rose industry for a one-of-a-kind book.

Tomalin, Claire. H.G. Wells: Changing the World. Penguin Pr. Oct. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781984879028. $28. LITERARY BIOGRAPHY

The consummate biographer of Thomas Hardy, Samuel Pepys, and Charles Dickens, with too many awards to list, Tomalin tackles H.G. Wells, revealing both a painfully cramped childhood and how his early, profoundly influential accomplishments resonate more than his later works. Yet as she shows, those early works shaped his reputation and ongoing work through the decades—and he’s not just a star of the sf realm.

Wolk, Douglas. All of the Marvels: A Journey to the Ends of the Biggest Story Ever Told. Penguin Pr. Oct. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780735222168. $28. Downloadable. LITERATURE/GRAPHIC NOVELS

The superhero comic books released by Marvel Comics since 1961 constitute over a half million pages and have inspired 18 of the 100 highest-grossing movies of all time. How to assess their impact on popular culture and provide an overview? Read all 27,000+ Marvel superhero comics, which is exactly what Eisner Award–winning Wolk (Reading Comics) did.


Baumgartner, Brian & Ben Silverman. Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office. Custom House: Morrow. Oct. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9780063082199. $29.99. TELEVISION

To provide a behind-the-scenes oral history of the ragingly popular The Office, actor/director Baumgartner (who played Kevin Malone in the show) and Silverman (its Emmy and Golden Globe Award–winning producer) conduced exclusive interviews with actors, writers, producers, executives, and fans. With a 150,000-copy first printing and lots of photos.

Copperfield, David. David Copperfield’s History of Magic. S. & S. Oct. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781982112912. $35. CD. ENTERTAINMENT

One of the greatest illusionists of all time, with 21 Emmy Awards he’ll never let vanish, Copperfield here chronicles 28 magicians who greatly influenced the art. He starts with a 16th-century magistrate who wrote the first book on the subject, moves up to a trickster to tricked Houdini, and ends with a woman who caught bullets in her teeth. With a 150,000-copy first printing and more than 100 never-before-seen photographs.

Haygood, Wil. Colorization: One Hundred Years of Black Films in a White World. Knopf. Oct. 2021. 464p. ISBN 9780525656876. $30. FILM

From D.W. Griffith's infamous The Birth of a Nation through significant figures like Hattie McDaniel, Sidney Poitier, Alex Haley, Spike Lee, Richard Pryor, Halle Berry, Ava DuVernay, and Jordan Peele, Haygood—a Pulitzer finalist as a journalist whose The Butler was the basis of the Lee Daniels film—chronicles a century of filmmaking to explore Black history and the struggle for civil rights in America.

Krieger, Robby. Set the Night on Fire. Little, Brown. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780316243346. $29. Downloadable. MEMOIR/MUSIC

Doors guitarist Krieger reflects on his life, his career, and his memories of the great Jim Morrison, whose story still captures the imagination of music lovers everywhere; the band’s official website receives over 37 million impressions monthly. With a 60,000-copy first printing.

Milano, Alyssa. Sorry Not Sorry: Stories I Have Lived. Dutton. Oct. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9780593183298. $28. Downloadable. FILM

Actress/activist Milano here offers a series of essays that revisit her life and career, ranging from family to friendship to celebrity. Actively involved in the #MeToo movement, she has a lot to say about politics, too.

Sachs, Harvey. Ten Masterpieces of Music. Liveright: Norton. Oct. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781631495182. $29.95. MUSIC

High-profile music historian Sachs (Toscanini) discusses what he considers the ten most enduring works of classical music, composed in the years between 1784 and 1966 by greats ranging from Beethoven to Berlioz to Stravinsky. It will be interesting to see why he chose these pieces; music fans, get ready to argue.

Sanneh, Kelefa. Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres. Penguin Pr. Oct. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9780525559597. $28. MUSIC

Former pop music critic for the New York Times and currently a New Yorker staffer, Sanneh sums up 50 years’ worth of popular music with a drilled-down study of its major genres, from rock to punk to hip-hop. We get lots of subgenres as well, an understanding of how those genres have morphed over the decades, and how this music can both unite and divide us.

Seal, Mark. Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli: The Epic Story of the Making of The Godfather. Gallery: S. & S. Oct. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781982158590. $28. CD. FILM

In 2009, Vanity Fair writer Seal drew attention with a big retrospective chronicling the making of the 1972 classic The Godfather, a work he expands on here for the film’s 50th anniversary. Freshly minted interviews with the cast and crew; a 100,000-copy first printing.

Stevens, Dana. Camera Man: Buster Keaton, the Dawn of Cinema, and the Invention of the Twentieth Century. Atria. Oct. 2021.288p. ISBN 9781501134197. $28. FILM

More than a biography of famously sober-faced actor/comedian/director Buster Keaton, this study by the chief film critic of Slate tracks the growth and development of film from the silent era to the early 1940s. With a 40,000-copy first printing.

Tucci, Stanley. Taste: My Life Through Food. S. & S. Oct. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781982168018. $28. CD. MEMOIR

Since he’s the winner of two Golden Globes and two Emmys, plus claimant to Academy Award and Tony nominations, you would think Tucci would tell his life through film. But no, he’s chosen food—not so surprising as he’s the author of two cookbooks and learned his love of eating early from his Italian American family. With a 150,000-copy first printing.

White, Richard Antoine. I’m Possible: A Story of Survival, a Tuba, and the Small Miracle of a Big Dream. Flatiron: Macmillan. Oct. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781250269645. $27.99. MUSIC

Growing up with an alcoholic mother on the streets of West Baltimore, White was taken in young by his grandparents, joined the school band, and exhibited a talent for tuba playing that got him accepted at the prestigious Baltimore School for the Arts. Now he’s principal tubist of the Santa Fe Symphony and the New Mexico Philharmonic and the first Black musician to earn a doctorate in music for tuba performance. Bravissimo! With a 40,000-copy first printing.


Sweet, Quick & Classic: New Cookbooks

cover of Greenspan's Baking with DorieBastianich, Lidia Matticchio & Tanya Bastianich Manuali. Lidia’s a Pot, a Pan, and a Bowl: Simple Recipes for Perfect Meals. Knopf. Oct. 2021. 224p. ISBN 9780525657408. $29.95. COOKING

Greenspan, Dorie. Baking with Dorie: Sweet, Salty & Simple. Houghton Harcourt. Oct. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9780358223580. $35. BAKING

Jinich, Pati. Pati Jinich Treasures of the Mexican Table: Classic Recipes, Local Secrets. Rux Martin: Houghton Harcourt. Oct. 2021. 416p. ISBN 9780358086765. $35. COOKING

Ramsay, Gordon. Dinner in 10. Grand Central. Oct. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9781538707814. $32. COOKING

Ray, Rachael. This Must Be the Place: Dispatches and Recipes from the Home Front. Ballantine. Oct. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9780593357217. $32. COOKING

As the title implies, James Beard Award–winning Bastianich’s Lidia’s a Pot, a Pan, and a Bowl will get you cooking Italian with just a few ingredients and a few utensils (skillet lasagna, anyone?). Baking with Dorie—the dream of every fan of five-time James Beard award winner Greenspan—offers more than 150 recipes that include twisty classics like a s’mores ice cream cake (60,000-copy first printing). Even if you're new to Mexican food (really?), you’ll want to investigate Pati Jinich Treasures of the Mexican Table; Epicurious and Bon Appétit have named her one of the "100 Greatest Cooks of All-Time" (40,000-copy first printing). A three-Michelin-star chef with millions of social media and television fans and over 34 restaurants worldwide, Ramsay shows you how to do Dinner in 10—no more than ten minutes to prep and ten minutes to cook. During the pandemic, Ray broadcast her cooking show not from her New York City television studio but from her home kitchen in upstate New York; This Must Be the Place plays off her shelter-in-place experience with 125 homey recipes and personal essays on coping.


Jelani Cobb, Fiona Hill & More: Last of the September Nonfiction

cover of Hill's There Is Nothing for You HereChafkin, Max. The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power. Penguin Pr. Sept. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9781984878533. $28. Downloadable.

Cobb, Jelani & David Remnick, eds. The Matter of Black Lives: Writing from The New Yorker. Ecco. Sept. 2021. 464p. ISBN 9780063017597. $35.

Hill, Fiona. There Is Nothing for You Here: Opportunity in an Age of Decline. Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780358574316. $30.

Pinker, Steven. Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters. Viking. Sept. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9780525561996. $32. CD/downloadable.

Srinivasan, Amia. The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century. Farrar. Sept. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780374248529. $28.

Streep, Abe. Brothers on Three: A True Story of Family, Resistance, and Hope on a Reservation in Montana. Celadon: Macmillan. Sept. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781250210685. $28.99.

Features editor and a tech reporter at Bloomberg Businessweek, Chafkin tells the story of The Contrarian, that is, billionaire venture capitalist and entrepreneur Peter Thiel, who has significantly influenced the course of Silicon Valley. Columbia history/journalism professor Cobb and New Yorker editor Remnick illuminate The Matter of Black Lives in pieces collected from the magazine, starting with Rebecca West’s account of a lynching trial and James Baldwin’s “Letter from a Region in My Mind” and moving on to embrace works by Toni Morrison, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Zadie Smith, Hilton Als, Jamaica Kincaid, and Henry Louis Gates Jr., among others (100,000-copy first printing). Having left behind her hometown in England’s declining coal-mining region when her father declared There’s Nothing for You Here, Brookings senior fellow Hill—now an American citizen and a former member of the National Security Council—draws on her extensive national intelligence work in Russia to warn that America’s rocky situation today mirrors circumstances that led to Russia's socioeconomic decline (100,000-copy first printing). Rejecting the view that humans are irredeemably off-the-wall in their thinking (we have elucidated the laws of nature, for instance), two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Pinker argues in Rationality that we don’t avail ourselves of logic in many everyday situations because we don’t really need to. But we can learn how to think more logically, even as we recognize that some rational acts (he cites self-interest) can lead to damaging irrationality for society. Oxford professor Srinivasan’s The Right to Sex talks about talking about sex in the #MeToo era, stating, for instance, that we need to deepen the prevailing concept of consent into something more nuanced (50,000-copy first printing). Award-winning journalist Streep’s Brothers on Three revisit the players, families, and community that celebrated when the Arlee Warriors brought home the high school basketball state championship title to the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana (75,000-copy first printing).

The October 2021 Prepub Alert posts are also available as:

An index linking to individual posts

A downloadable spreadsheet of titles

A print-ready PDF of all Prepub Alert posts

Author Image
Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Book Review; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president of the National Book Critics Circle, to which she has just been reelected.

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