A self-published sci-fi novel that became a bestseller tops our selection of paperbacks on sale today:
By Andy Weir
Broadway • $15 • ISBN 9781101903582
Who wants to see Matt Damon in the role of an astronaut stranded on Mars, using his scientific smarts and ingenuity to survive? Or Kristen Wiig as the snarky NASA spokeswoman trying to explain what went wrong with the botched Mars mission? In a film adaptation directed by Ridley Scott? Picture me wildly waving my hand. This new movie tie-in edition of Weir’s absorbing and thoroughly convincing SF tale should give you plenty of time to enjoy the book before the film hits theaters on Oct. 2.
By Bryan Stevenson
Spiegel & Grau • $16 • ISBN 9780812984965
In a powerful memoir that was included on several best books of the year lists in 2014, the Harvard Law grad and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative recounts his efforts to represent the poor and wrongly condemned, focusing on the disturbing case of a young black man sentenced to death for the murder of a white woman in Monroeville, Alabama (Harper Lee's hometown).
The Moor's Account
By Laila Lalami
Vintage • $15.95 • ISBN 9780804170628
A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction, Lalami's searing historical novel was also named a Top 10 Book of the Year by the Wall Street Journal. The Moor of the title is Mustafa, who is sold into slavery and sent on a mission to the Americas in 1527 with the Spanish explorer Narváez. Lalami brings the conflicts of the era to life through extensive research and an entirely new perspective.
A best-selling novel that’s sure to appeal to book clubs and two short story collections by Southern masters of the form top the list of new paperbacks on sale today:
Big Little Lies
By Liane Moriarty
Berkley • $16 • ISBN 9780425274866
Attention, book clubs: The latest novel from the author of The Husband's Secret is out in paperback, with a page-turning plot and a juicy satire of suburban scandal. Book clubs will find plenty to talk about, from cliques and bullying to parenting and infidelity. The paperback includes a list of discussion questions worthy of an AP English exam.
By Tony Earley
Back Bay • $14.99 • ISBN 9780316246149
In his first collection in 20 years, the author of the lluminous novel Jim the Boy offers a novella and six short stories that showcase his talent for capturing the rhythms and characters of Southern life. Many of the stories explore the poignant complexities of relationships, including the moving title story in which a newly married mountain woman has a fateful encounter with a grieving neighbor. The paperback includes a reading group guide.
Something Rich and Strange
By Ron Rash
Ecco • $16.99 • ISBN 9780062349354
If I had to choose one word to describe Rash's stories, it would be "powerful." Set mostly in the mountains of western North Carolina, the 34 stories here constitute a "best of" collection drawn from his four previous volumes of stories. (Rash is also the author of five novels, including Serena and The Cove). Spare, poetic and compelling, many of these stories will take your breath away. As evidence, we refer you to "The Trusty," first published in The New Yorker in 2011.
From humor to memoir to history, the fall publishing season promises an exciting slate of new books for nonfiction readers. Elizabeth Gilbert and Patti Smith will deliver their latest musings, while figures as diverse as former Fed chair Ben Bernanke and musician John Fogerty plan to release their first memoirs. Here are 10 upcoming nonfiction titles we can't wait to dive into:
Kaling's fans at BookPage are dying to get their hands on this one, described by her publisher as an account of "her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life." But, alas, no advance copies are available. We've tried to glean what we can from Kaling's appearance at BookCon, but we'll have to wait along with the rest of you to find out if her second effort is as funny and charming as book one (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?).
We've come to expect big things from the author of Eat Pray Love, and Gilbert promises something very big indeed in her inspirational new book: "Creative Living Beyond Fear." Using examples from her own life, she offers sincere and concrete advice on "bring[ing] forth the treasures that are hidden within you." (read more)
Leave it to The Bloggess to find humor in such decidedly downbeat topics as severe depression, crippling anxiety and the coming zombie apocalypse. Lawson's 2012 memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, soared to the number-one spot on the New York Times bestseller list, earning her legions of new fans and a 300,000-copy first printing for this follow-up.
As he did so masterfully in April 1865, Winik focuses on one crucial period and illuminates the ways in which that time affected the course of American history. Here he looks at FDR and his wartime decisions, in particular whether the ailing president failed to react to mounting evidence of the Holocaust.
The former chair of the Federal Reserve, who now works at the Brookings Institution and has taken up blogging, recalls the perilous days of the 2008 financial crisis and the Fed's unpopular decision to rescue some of Wall Street's biggest firms.
In a long-awaited memoir, the former frontman for Creedence Clearwater Revival looks back on a career marked by memorable hits ("Proud Mary," "Born on the Bayou") bitter and prolonged litigation with his record label and bandmates, comeback efforts and finally (we hope) a measure of peace.
Since her first book, Just Kids, was a stunning success that won the National Book Award for nonfiction, it's safe to say that Smith's second memoir is one of this fall's most anticipated releases. On this trip, she takes readers around the world, offering impressionistic portraits of 18 places that have played an important role in her life.
The best-selling author (Unfamiliar Fishes, Assassination Vacation) brings her unconventional and entertaining style to the story of the French aristocrat who joined forces with General Washington and the Continental Army—and returned for a sentimental tour of America almost 50 years later. Expect to find Vowell's trenchant comments on our current political problems tucked into the historical narrative.
The Salem witch trials are an evergreen topic in American culture, with writers from Arthur Miller to Kathleen Kent finding fictional inspiration in the hysteria that swept the Puritan community in 1692. Schiff, author of a best-selling biography of Cleopatra, digs into the everyday details of colonial life to determine what sparked this infamous cataclysm of paranoia and retribution.
Stiles, who won both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for The First Tycoon, his 2009 biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt, offers a deeply personal portrait of George Armstrong Custer, the enigmatic and controversial figure who has long been more caricature than man.
This fall is shaping up to be one of the biggest seasons in recent memory for fiction. From big names like Franzen and Atwood to up-and-coming talents like Claire Vaye Watkins or Garth Risk Hallberg, there's no shortage of ambitious and thought-provoking releases for the discerning reader to sample. Here are the 10 novels we're most eager to be able to discuss (and debate) with friends, coworkers and enemies alike.
Some short story collections run together as you're reading them—similar themes, characters and settings. Not so in this wide-ranging book, which features six tales that are all startlingly, blazingly original. An author who can wring out sympathy for protagonists ranging from a pedophile to a widower is one who will definitely have readers talking. (read more)
Has Franzen's outsized persona cast too great a shadow over his literary work? Can he convincingly write in the voice of a 20-something woman, the titular Purity Tyler? Will that cover look better in person? Will there be a scatalogical set piece in this one? So many questions; can't wait to talk about the answers with other readers. (read more)
I have it on good authority that when I finish this book, I'll be dying to have someone to talk about it with. Perhaps that's why I've been savoring the last 100 pages—or maybe it's just the deliciousness of Groff's turns of phrase. Honest and at times shocking, this story of what goes on behind the scenes in a marriage is an ambitious new direction for this talented young writer. (read more)
Boyd has already proven himself adept at telling the story of the 20th century from the male point of view, in the underrated 2002 masterpiece Any Human Heart. Now, he does the same from a different perspective: that of a talented female photographer born in the early days of the 20th century. Blending found photos with his easy storytelling, this is a novel that flows from (and to!) the heart. (read more)
I've interviewed Brooks twice for previous books, and her work never fails to intrigue. This time, she's imagining the life of King David, who is both a historical figure and one of much religious significance. Can't wait to see how she handles the story of a man who is at the confluence of three faiths. (read more)
Watkins' first novel (after an acclaimed story collection, Battleborn) is set in a near future California where water is a disappearing resource. Luz and her boyfriend, Ray, are getting by—barely—but when a toddler joins their makeshift family, they are driven to push to make a better life. Unfortunately, a charismatic cult leader could be standing in their way . . .
Speaking of dark, dystopian futures, in Atwood's latest the economy has collapsed. Stan and Charmaine are living in their car and struggling to make ends meet no matter how much they work. When they're offered a spot in the community of Consilience, it seems like an answer to prayer. But in exchange for a comfortable life, Stan and Charmaine must alternate: One month in suburbia, the next in prison. No one does a scarily plausible dystopia like Atwood, and adding in the complicated dynamics of marriage makes this a no-brainer addition to your To Be Read list.
This is probably the fall's most buzzed-about debut, and at more than 900 pages, it demands a significant time investment. But early word has it that the story, set in 1970s New York City and told by multiple narrators, is one that's worth getting lost in. Hallberg, a longtime contributor to the Millions blog, sold the manuscript for seven figures.
Have you read Skippy Dies yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Run out and grab a copy now, and you'll see why I am eagerly checking the mail for my ARC of this fall release, which claims to be the "funniest novel ever written about the financial crisis." I mean, if anyone can do it, it's Murray. (read more)
Known for her provocative books about women, society and sexuality (the film Secretary was based on one of her short stories), Gaitskill is turning her talents this time to the subject of family and surrogate motherhood. Comfortable in their Upstate New York suburb, Ginger and Paul never had children. But when they agree to sponsor the horseback-riding lessons of an underprivileged young girl, a life-changing relationship begins to unfold. (read more)
A selection of the best new paperbacks on sale today:
Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good
By Jan Karon
Berkley • $16 • ISBN 9780425276211
The 10th installment of Karon's beloved series finds Father Tim back in Mitford, trying to figure out his place in the village since his retirement as parish priest.
The Ogallala Road
By Julene Bair
Penguin • $17 • ISBN 9780143127079
In this compelling and beautifully written memoir, Bair recounts the rewards and challenges of returning to her family's farm on the Great Plains, where she finds both a promising new romantic relationship and a troubling legacy of environmental transgressions.
The Boston Girl
By Anita Diamant
Scribner • $16 • ISBN 9781439199367
Diamant offers a tour of 20th-century American history through the eyes of her novel's narrator—a spunky Jewish woman relating the gripping events of her life story to an adoring granddaughter.
The Secret Place
By Tana French
Penguin • $17 • ISBN 9780143127512
The latest entry in French's acclaimed Dublin Murder Squad series revolves around a deliciously twisted murder case at a prestigious Irish girls school.
By Cecilia Galante
Morrow • $14.99 • ISBN 9780062363510
The author of several popular YA and children's books makes her adult fiction debut with the moving story of four young women—close friends when they lived together at a group home for teens—who reunite 15 years later and confront the troubles from their past.
By Paul Ham
Picador • $20 • ISBN 9781250070050
A journalist and historian, Ham investigates the World War II nuclear bombings of two Japanese cities, which claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people, and concludes that the bombings did little to change the course of the war.
It's been nearly six years since Janice Y.K. Lee made her fiction debut with The Piano Teacher, an "exceptional first novel" set in postwar Hong Kong where Allied occupiers and the native people negotiate an uneasy peace and a brittle, stratified society (read our review). The novel was favorably reviewed and a national bestseller, so we're pleased to hear that a follow up, The Expatriates, will be coming in January from Viking.
Also set in Hong Kong and featuring a cast of expatriates, this novel is set in the modern day, and "explores with devastating poignancy the emotions, identities, and relationships of three very different American women living in the same small expat community in Hong Kong," according to the publisher.
Will you read it?
Here's an after-hours summer reading plan—open a bottle of wine and curl up with one of these new paperbacks, on sale today:
By Elizabeth Little
Penguin • $16 • ISBN 9780143127369
Little made a big splash—and earned (inevitable) comparisons to Gone Girl—with this debut mystery narrated by a sassy socialite convicted of killing her mother. When her conviction is overturned 10 years later, Jane leaves prison with one goal: finding the real killer.
The Long Way Home
By Louise Penny
Minotaur • $15.99 • ISBN 9781250022059
The 10th entry in Penny's acclaimed series finds Chief Inspector Gamache happily retired in the Québec village of Seven Pines—until a neighbor solicits his help in solving the mystery of her husband's disappearance.
The Story Hour
By Thrity Umrigar
Harper Perennial • $15.99 • ISBN 9780062259318
In her sixth novel, the author of The World We Found captures the emotional turmoil of two very different women—African-American psychologist Maggie and her patient Lakshmi, an Indian immigrant—and the crisis that ensues when their friendship crosses professional lines.
Shadows in the Vineyard
By Maximillian Potter
Twelve • $16 • ISBN 9781455516094
Expanding on a story he first reported for Vanity Fair, Potter travels to a legendary vineyard in Burgundy to ferret out the intriguing details of a plot to poison some of the region's most valuable grapevines. For oenophiles, Francophiles and true crime fans, this suspenseful story is a well-balanced summer diversion.
Mary Gaitskill returns to fiction with a long-awaited third novel, The Mare, on November 3.
Her two earlier novels (Two Girls, Fat and Thin and Veronica) were edgy explorations of the challenges women face in the world—and this time, she's turning her focus to cultural differences and the complicated bonds that can arise when a childless couple tries to mentor a teen from a different background. Comfortable in their Upstate New York suburb, Ginger and Paul never had children. But when they agree to sponsor the horse-riding lessons of an underprivileged young girl, a life-changing relationship begins to unfold.
Will you read it?
RELATED CONTENT: Read more about this year's fall fiction releases.
A highly anticipated sequel and two promising debut novels are on sale in paperback today:
The Rosie Effect
By Graeme Simsion
Simon & Schuster • $15.95 • ISBN 9781476767321
This sequel to Simsion's 2013 hit The Rosie Project (which is set to be adapted to film with Jennifer Lawrence in the starring role) follows odd couple Rosie and Don to New York City as they begin married life—and await the birth of their first child. This winning look at the anxieties of fatherhood was the BookPage Top Pick in fiction in January when it was released in hardcover.
The Story of Land and Sea
By Katy Simpson Smith
Harper Perennial • $15.99 • ISBN 9780062335951
Smith's powerful and poetic debut, set in the South during the Revolutionary War era, drew considerable critical acclaim when it was published in hardcover last year. The paperback includes an essay by the author about the novel's origins and her research into 18th-century events and figures.
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake
By Amy E. Reichert
Gallery • $16 • ISBN 9781501100710
What happens when a talented Milwaukee chef finds herself falling for the very reviewer who skewered her restaurant? In this paperback original, Reichert cooks up a tasty mix of comedy and romance as the two take the first steps toward an unlikely relationshlp. The book includes a readers group guide—and a recipe for coconut cake.
There are few things that cause as much excitement and trepidation as a beloved book making its way to the big screen. Whether you're usually inspired to see the screen adaptation after reading the book, or are compelled to go to your favorite library or bookstore after seeing the film, we've rounded up the biggest releases to look forward to through the end of this year.
After the blockbuster success of the 2014 screen adaptation of Green's The Fault in Our Stars, it's safe to bet that Paper Towns will be a huge hit with teens and adults alike. In theaters July 24, this story follows Quentin "Q" Jacobsen as he finds a series of clues that lead him to take a winding road trip that hopefully ends wherever the love of his life, Margo Roth Spiegelman, has run off to.
If the critically-acclaimed adaptation of Flynn's best-selling Gone Girl is any indicator, then Dark Places—starring Charlize Theron—is sure to boast some shocking twists along with scenes you'll want to watch through your fingers. This time, the mystery surrounds a 25-year-old case involving a family murder and a Satanic cult in rural Kansas. Catch it in theaters on August 20, before someone spoils it for you.
Bryson, beloved nonfiction author, travel humorist and memoirist, chronicled his hilarious and inspiring journey along the Appalachian Trail in 1998. After years of script and production delays, Robert Redford is finally making good on his promise to star as Bryson in the long-awaited film adaptation, which arrives in theaters September 2.
The second book in Dashner's dystopian Maze Runner series hits theaters September 18, and it's sure to continue delivering huge doses of edge-of-your-seat action as 16-year-old Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) and the rest of the Gladers discover that their escape from the maze was just the beginning. A menacing group of adults sends them running for their lives yet again, and this time they must band together to survive the desolate site of the apocalypse—the "Scorch."
Krakauer's firsthand account of the disastrous 1996 "rogue storm" that caused the death of nine climbers on Mount Everest is a heart-wrenching, yet incredibly detailed story of bravery and the unimaginably difficult choices that sherpas, guides and climbers were faced with during that second week in May. The film version is called Everest, and the star-studded cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley and Josh Brolin.
Colm Tóibín is the consummate Irish author, and his book about about Ellis, a young Irish woman who leaves behind her family for the promise of finding work in Brooklyn, New York, is a moving tale of immigration in the 1950s. Although Ellis quickly settles in to life in New York and even finds love, news of tragedy in Ireland forces her to choose between her past and a promising future. Starring Saoirse Ronan and with a screenplay written by best-selling author Nick Hornby, this is sure to be a heartbreaking but powerful film.
Following in the grand tradition of chopping the final installment of a book’s movie franchise two parts, Mockingjay Part II, the last movie in the Hunger Games series, will be coming to theaters on November 20. The Katniss Everdeen led coup against the Capital has finally turned into a full-blown revolution, and by the looks of the teaser trailer, things are about to get (even more) deadly during the final showdown.
Self-described "space nerd" Andy Weir's debut novel was the breakout hit of 2014. A little over a year after its first publication, this story of a completely stranded member of a NASA crew's struggle for survival on Mars is already making its way to the big screen. Masterful sci-fi director Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) takes the reins with Matt Damon starring as Astronaut Mark Watney.
Nathaniel Philbrick's In the Heart of the Sea is a terrifying and true account of the sinking of a New England whaling ship in 1820. But the ship didn't go down due to pirates or a perfect storm: The ship's attacker was an enraged sperm whale, and the aftermath later served as inspiration for Herman Melville's classic novel, Moby Dick. The film version is directed by Ron Howard and sports an all-star cast that includes Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy and Ben Whishaw. After being pushed back earlier this year, the release date is now scheduled for December 11.
Did you know that a revenant is "one that returns after death or a long absence?" Well, now you have some idea of what you can expect from Punke's chilling historical novel. While mountain man and fur trapper Hugh Glass is out on a hunt in 1823, his two partners set him up for certain death. But after surviving a brutal grizzly bear attack, Glass sets his sights on exacting revenge, and he must survive a journey through unforgiving, uncharted and dangerous Western territory in order to do so. Directed by Academy Award winner Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman) and starring Hollywood heavyweight Leonardo DiCaprio, this film will be in theaters December 25—just in time for the next award season.
Which adaptations are you most excited to watch this year?