The majority of the Fall Preview lists are out, providing an overview of the reading season. In addition to the lists we have already covered, USA Today recently released their Fall Preview, as did Lit Hub, which rounded up eclectic picks from indie booksellers. Even the fashion magazines joined the game, with Glamour, Elle, and Vogue issuing lists and putting to good use all the extra editorial pages that come along with the fat September issues.
We’ve set up links to the various lists to the right. You can also browse our catalog of Fall consumer media picks. Reading through them is a quick way to get to get a leg up on books people will be asking about.
Several titles emerge as clear favorites including Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth (Harper; HarperAudio). All the annotations emphasize that this novel about blended families feels very personal. Indeed, the WSJ says it “recalls elements of her own experiences as a child of divorce” and quotes the book’s publisher Jonathan Burnham, saying it is “probably the most commercial novel Ann has written yet.”
Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) is on most of the lists, including Glamour‘s, but with a dismissive recommendation, “For Keeping Prominently on Your Bedside Table or Bookshelf to Thumb Through Once in a While and Feel Smart for Owning, Even Though You Never Get Around To Actually Reading It.”
On the other hand, Glamour is over the top about another much-anticipated title, Zadie Smith’s Swing Time (PRH/Penguin Press; Penguin Audio/BOT; Nov. 15): “Book club, over wine, on a date, on the phone, online…there’s never a wrong time to gush about the latest Zadie Smith, so inoculate yourself against spoilers by reading it the moment you can.”
Even the fashion magazines tend to focus on literary titles, leaving USA Today as the only source to mention Nicholas Sparks’s latest, Two by Two (Hachette/Grand Central; Blackstone Audio) or Stephenie Meyer’s The Chemist (Hachette/Little, Brown) saying she “channels her inner Jason Bourne in her first adult thriller.” The Amazon Editors, of course, also mention some expected big sellers, including John Grisham’s The Whistler (PRH/Doubleday; RH Audio/BOT; RH Large Print) and Jojo Moyes’s Paris for One and Other Stories (PRH/Pamela Dorman; Penguin Audio/BOT;RH Large Print).
Oprah’s latest pick, Love Warrior, isn’t on any of these lists, but two memoirs that many thought were worthy candidates for the nod are, Anuk Arudpragasam’s The Story of a Brief Marriage (Macmillan/Flatiron Books; OverDrive Sample) and iO Tillett Wright’s Darling Days (HarperCollins/Ecco).
By their nature, these lists tend to focus on authors with proven track records, but several debuts appear on multiple lists:
Annotation That Grabbed Us — Vogue — “explores a love triangle in a Southern California beach town, and the ways in which women often nurture, and sometimes betray, one another.”
Annotation That Grabbed Us — Lit Hub — “If you read one book this year, prepare to be swept away by this luminous story of twins surviving the horrors of Auschwitz … The sisters are forced to endure the experiments of Josef Mengele and yet they survive—participating in camp events, plotting the death of Mengele and finding hope in despair. The pace is so beautiful that you must take your time with her words—imaginative, humorous, and transcendent. –Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop
The Wangs vs. the World, Jade Chang (HMH).
Annotation That Grabbed Us — New York magazine — “In Jade Chang’s highly entertaining debut novel The Wangs vs. the World, Taiwanese-born American businessman Charles Wang loses his fortune to the 2008 recession and must unite his children to start fresh in China. Along with their stepmother Barbra, the Wangs set off on a road trip across the country, all the way struggling to deal with their new financial situation — and each other. A meditation on what it means to be an immigrant in America, The Wangs vs. the World shows the often surprising ways hardship can bring a dysfunctional family closer together.”
We’ll be watching to see which of these titles make the transition to the end-of-the-year bests lists.