The Season of Bated Breath

“Names, names, NAMES!”

If you were a fan of Absolutely Fabulous, you may remember Edina’s highest praise for an event — it was filled with names, names, NAMES! If Edina liked books (doubtful), she’d LOVE the Fall ’09 book season.

But, even more than being chock-a-block with names, this is a season when the words “highly anticipated” will dominate review coverage. Many authors are releasing their first book in several years and others are following up on an enormous, sometimes surprise, success.

Pat Conroy’s South of Broad, out now, belongs in the first category. We are also looking forward to books by Lorrie Moore (eleven years since her last), E. L. Doctorow, Margaret Drabble, Jill McCorkle, A.S. Byatt, John Irving and Barbara Kingsolver’s first novel since 2000 (her 2007 title, Animal, Vegetable Mineral, was nonfiction).

Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol is the major example of a book that follows on the heels of an enormous success, but there are many more:

Sue Monk Kidd (Secret Life of Bees) and her daughter team up on a memoir:

Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story
Sue Monk Kidd, Ann Kidd Taylor
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult – (2009-09-08)
ISBN / EAN: 0670021202 / 9780670021208

Diane Ackerman follows her surprise hit, The Zookeeper’s Daugher, with a book of personal meditations.

Dawn Light: Dancing with Cranes and Other Ways to Start the Day
Diane Ackerman
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co. – (2009-09-28)
ISBN / EAN: 0393061736 / 9780393061734


Scribner has a lot riding on their $5 million bet on Audrey Niffenegger’s second novel after The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Her Fearful Symmetry: A Novel
Audrey Niffenegger
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Scribner – (2009-09-29)
ISBN / EAN: 1439165394 / 9781439165393

Jeannette Walls, follows the huge success of her memoir, The Glass Castle, with a “true-life novel” about her grandmother.

Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel (True Life)
Jeannette Walls
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Scribner – (2009-10-06)
ISBN / EAN: 1416586288 / 9781416586289

Mary Karr, one of the pioneers of the ongoing craze for memoirs, publishes her third memoir after Liar’s Club and Cherry.

Lit: A Memoir
Mary Karr
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2009-11-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0060596988 / 9780060596989

Greg Mortensen, publishes a sequel to Three Cups of Tea.

Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Greg Mortenson
Retail Price: $25.95
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult – (2009-12-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0670021156 / 9780670021154

Elizabeth Gilbert’s follow-up to Eat, Pray Love arrives in January (while most of us don’t think of January as the Fall, publishers do).

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage
Elizabeth Gilbert
Retail Price: $26.95
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult – (2010-01-05)
ISBN / EAN: 0670021652 / 9780670021659

Elizabeth Kostova made history in 2005 with The Historian. It’s the only debut novel to hit the NYT bestseller list at #1 during its first week on sale.

The Swan Thieves: A Novel
Elizabeth Kostova
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company – (2010-01-12)
ISBN / EAN: 0316065781 / 9780316065788

To help you keep it all straight, we’ve put together a spreadsheet of the big names coming this fall, click here to download it.

We are also adding links to other previews of the season as they appear (see “Books of Fall ’09 — Previews” at right).

One Response to “The Season of Bated Breath”

  1. Tamar Arslanian Says:

    I got my hands on a galley of New World Monkeys from Shaye Areheart books. This is author Nancy Mauro’s debut novel; it’s surprising, twisted and full of bravado from cover to cover.