BookPeople Fall 2012 Preview

Here’s a little look at those books we’re reading, craving and getting excited about for the Fall 2012 season. The list is by no means comprehensive. We read so much, we read everything, a never ending river of books. Here’s what we have for you today, this warm (so warm) day in early August. More books to come, surely, as the weeks wear on and the temperature dips down (oh please, please let it be seventy degrees again) and we keep on reading…and reading…and reading…..

Release dates are oh-so-subject to change. All the books you read about here are available for pre-order either via or by giving us a call (512-472-5050).


Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison
On Sale Aug 28

We got to know Jonathan Evison when he swung through town on tour for West of Here. He’s a fine man who knows how to rock a fine fedora. We’re pumped about this new novel, about a man at the end of hope who embarks on a road trip across the American West with an adolescent in the late stages of muscular dystrophy. Spencer read it and said, “Jonathan Evison pulled me along a crazy roller coaster of emotion, made me laugh, almost made me cry –out of empathy of course- and most of all drew me into the story and kept me speeding along, right to the very end. Lost-cause-of-a-man Benjamin Benjamin (yes, a Heller-esque double name!) takes one final road trip with client-turned-friend Trev who is quickly deteriorating from Muscular Dystrophy. The two set out to both escape -and ultimately reconcile with- their past, and along the way meet a series of comical, tragic, and lovable characters. So what is The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving? It’s heartbreak. it’s sorrow. It’s funny as H-E-Double-Hockey-Stick. But that’s not all, oh no.”

Every Love Story is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace by D. T. Max
On Sale August 30

We have many David Foster Wallace fans on staff. Many. And we are wary of posthumous books that attempt to define the man behind the work we hold so dear. This is the first full biography of DFW. Dave Eggers said of it, “‘This book is very well-researched, deeply sympathetic, and incredibly painful to read. We should feel grateful that this story was told by someone as talented and responsible as D.T. Max.” Even more reassuring, The Howling Fantods recently posted, “…I’m still stunned at how eye-opening I found it. It’s sensitively composed, emotionally powerful, and expertly researched (endnotes packed with extra details and pages and pages of additional sources – impressive).”



NW by Zadie Smith
On Sale Sept 4

The NW readers we received have been a hot commodity around here. A new novel by Zadie Smith? Gimme gimme gimme. This one delves into class, race and modern life in London. It’s her first in seven years, since On Beauty.



In Between Days by Andrew Porter
On Sale Sept 4

Andrew Porter is a writer’s writer. Beautiful prose, the endless shifting of the human heart; dig in. His collection of short stories The Theory of Light and Matter earned a Flannery O’Connor Award. Julie had this to say of his new novel, “Fans of Franzen and Eugenides will enjoy this fresh and absorbing examination of a modern American family coming to terms with itself in the long wake of its parents’ divorce. By inviting readers to view the family through its own intimate prism, shifting perspective from father to son to mother to daughter, Porter has achieved the holy grail of the modern novelist – he has written about a dysfunctional family in a way that is wholly original, with elegant prose that is a pure joy to read. ”

Look for a Q&A with Porter on our blog in early September and come out for his reading here on September 10.

Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Straub
On Sale Sept 4

Emma Straub is a fellow bookseller, slinging books way out yonder in the Brooklyn hemisphere. Her collection of short stories, Other People We Married, demonstrated she can sling words across the page just as well as she can across a sales counter. We’re looking forward to her first novel, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, set in Hollywood in the 1920s. How’s this for the coolest book tour ever: Straub’s hitting the road with The Magnetic Fields and opening their shows with a reading.

This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
On Sale Sept 11

A new short story collection from Junot Diaz.

I repeat: new fiction from Junot Diaz. You know. The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Yeah. So again: new fiction from Junot Diaz. Because the world is just awesome like that sometimes.


Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
On Sale Sept 11

Chabon is swinging by the Harry Ransom Center on October 17 to speak about & sign this new novel, which touches on the threat big corporate business poses to independent shops and store owners (in this case, a vinyl store on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley). In Spencer’s words, “…maybe it’s the bigger picture of the book, the struggle between small businesses –with their community of regulars who have become family to owners and town alike- and the encroaching societal degradation manifested in the form of homogenized corporate retail establishments, with their offer of aggregate pecuniary reward in exchange for the heart and soul of Main Street USA….but Michael Chabon (pronounced, in his words, “Shea as in Shea Stadium, Bon as in Bon Jovi”) has done marvelously what so many writers only hope to do: He has written a novel filled with places and characters -no matter how disparate or familiar- with whom we cannot help but empathize, and ultimately love.”

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
On Sale Sept 11

Read this book. No, really. If you have time to read one book the rest of the year, for the next few years, Read This Book. Stunning. Important. It’s like this, according to Julie: “I canceled dinner plans two nights in a row so I could stay home and read The Yellow Birds. From its powerful opening sentence to its last breathless paragraph, Powers gives us a devastating, vital look at the front lines of one of our nation’s longest wars. I closed this book and felt changed, like I’d been punched in the gut in a most necessary way. Powers’ poetic prose sets its cross hairs on a murky military mission, zeroing in on the confusion and frustration through one soldier’s eyes and the long lingering effects of the experience after the desert has receded and he returns to “real life”. I’ve read many nonfiction books about the Iraq war and none of them have hit home the experience the way The Yellow Birds does. This is The Things They Carried for a new war and a new generation. This book demands to be in readers’ hands, and I look forward to putting it there.”

San Miguel by T. C. Boyle
On Sale Sept 18

T. C. Boyle talked about this novel a bit when he was here earlier this year for When the Killing’s Done. It tells the stories of two families living on the same island off the coast of California fifty years apart. Moving from the 1880s to the 1930s, Boyle covers post-Civil War attitudes, the Depression, isolation, and more. He is indeed a prolific and master storyteller and a new novel from Boyle is always an occasion to look forward to.



Building Stories by Chris Ware
On Sale Oct 2

We’ll let Grace take it away on this one: “Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth is Chris Ware’s most famous graphic novel. It deals with the paralyzing fear of being disliked, something many people experience. His graphic style and the subject matter are an amazing pairing. His strips are really broken down in this communication of information that’s very geometric and sometimes comes off cold, but in terms of graphic design is really smart. He works in the true style of graphic novels, as a book read in pictures. Building Stories again deals with the isolation in Jimmy Corrigan, which is really exciting, but now in a city scape. The box set design of Building Stories uses Ware’s talents to the fullest. These cut-outs and advertisements he’s always worked with finally have a perfect vehicle. The story is ripe for his genius.”

Chris Ware & Charles Burns will be here at BookPeople with their new graphic novels on Thursday, October 25.

Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young
On Sale Oct 2

We had the great pleasure of being in the room to witness Neil Young and Patti Smith in conversation at BEA. He told a story about being the son of a writer, hearing his father tap away on the typewriter, his father who called him Windy. He talked about the way we listen to music these days, through tiny speakers that lose so much of the sound. He talked about writing the song Ohio in one shot, out in the California redwoods with David Crosby when he saw the cover of Newsweek with a photo of the tragedy at Kent State. This memoir will sell well, you’ll hear about it from a thousand different media mouths. Our two cents: if this book is anything like the stories he told to Patti Smith, this is a celebrity memoir we want on our personal bookshelves.

America Again by Stephen Colbert
On Sale Oct 2

You know what to expect from this one – that precious Colbert political humor. How would we get through a Presidential election without him?



The Twelve by Justin Cronin
On Sale Oct 16

This may very well be the most anticipated book among staff this season. A couple of readers are going around right now with a long queue of booksellers behind it. It’s a continuation of The Passage, the monumental bestseller about society’s dissolution in the face of a government experiment gone wrong and the rise of the virals. So far bookseller reviews have been positive. It’s tough to follow a mega-bestseller that won the imaginations of millions, and a relief to know that Cronin has, in fact, done it again.

Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe
On Sale Oct 23

A sprawling, panoramic new novel about Cuban exiles in Miami, from the author of Bonfire of the Vanities. Wolfe described his book to USA Today this way, “It is a wild scene, and when I say that I don’t mean in terms of South Beach.” Put on your white suits and settle in for a big read.


Astray by Emma Donoghue
On Sale Oct 30

From the author of Room comes a new collection of short stories about characters who have gone astray. Mandy read an early advance copy and said, “It’s a lot different than Room. It’s a whole new way of looking at historical fiction, done episodically and not as a novel.”

Donoghue will read from her new collection here at BookPeople on November 11.

Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman
On Sale Oct 30

Our buyers are particularly excited about this cookbook. They’re both fans of Deb Perelman’s blog, Smitten Kitchen, a site which caters to the everyday cook with the philosophy that there are no bad cooks, only bad recipes. You can bet we’ll be cooking out of this delightful, delicious book and posting our results on this blog. This will be THE gift for the cookbook lover in your life come the holidays.



Both Flesh and Not: Essays by David Foster Wallace
On Sale Nov 6

A collection of never-before-published (in book form) essays by DFW. Includes “Federer Both Flesh and Not,” “The (As it Were) Seminal Importance of Terminator 2,” and “Fictional Futures and the Conspicuously Young”.



Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
On Sale Nov 6

Some of us had the pleasure of hearing Kingsolver speak at BEA. She covered modern technology, the power of a book to transcend those technologies, and left us all feeling hopeful for the future of reading and books everywhere. Perfectly lovely speech, in other words. Kingsolver also talked to Kirkus Reviews about her new novel during BEA, offering this description, “It involves a very beautiful and probably disastrous biological event that has happened on a farm, and it creates a commotion in that little town that ripples out through the media and over the Internet to involve the community, the state, the nation and finally, the whole world. This protagonist, Dellarobia, finds her very limited and stifling little life exploding out into larger and larger spheres of influence.”

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
On Sale Nov 13

Set in 1972, Sweet Tooth features McEwan’s first female protagonist since Atonement. England’s intelligence agency sends her on a mission to infiltrate a literary circle in order to encourage a young writer to match the message of his stories with the government’s cultural Cold War attitude. Oooh, literary espionage! McEwan spoke to The New Yorker earlier this year about the new novel, saying of its setting, “It’s a very interesting period, I think—the Cold War—not only with respect to nuclear weapons and all the paranoia and suspicion in politics and the military but in the cultural sphere, too.”

Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro
On Sale Nov 13

A new collection from Alice Munro is nothing short of a major literary event. These stories are set in and around Lake Huron, the terrain Munro knows so well.



Woes of the True Policeman by Roberto Bolaño
On Sale Nov 13

This is the final novel by Roberto Bolaño. This was his work-in-progress when he passed away, which means it’s unfinished, however Bolaño worked on this story for more than twenty years (1980-2003), so it’s certainly fair to believe that while unfinished, the material won’t feel unprocessed.




(Technically Winter, yes, but you need to know about this.)

Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders
On Sale January 8

From Julie: “I started this book on the Long Island Railroad headed to JFK and finished it on the flight to Austin. Gobbled it right down. It’s everything you expect from George Saunders – original, sometimes bizarre, hilarious, moving. Read it. You won’t regret it.”

3 thoughts on “BookPeople Fall 2012 Preview

  1. Let BookPeople employees know that I will pay $20 a piece for 100 word reviews of Zadie Smith, Junot Diaz, David Foster Wallace, Barbara Kingsolver, and Alice Munro. Contact me at

    Will need confirmation by this Friday, August 24th and reviews by the following Friday, August 31st.

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