October (Literary) Surprises!

We made it through September, but as far as books go, we’re not out of the woods just yet. October’s got its own set of surprises, including, but not limited to, magical prequels, delectable meals, and savory treats from our literary favs. Read on for more and check out all the new releases we have on our shelves this week here!


9780062667632_f08f2Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

*LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD IN FICTION*

A magnetic novel about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong

Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe.

Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple—and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one other?

Suspenseful and provocative, Rumaan Alam’s third novel is keenly attuned to the complexities of parenthood, race, and class. Leave the World Behind explores how our closest bonds are reshaped—and unexpected new ones are forged—in moments of crisis.

9780385544009_ed007The Zealot and the Emancipator by H. W. Brands

Gifted storyteller and bestselling historian H. W. Brands narrates the epic struggle over slavery as embodied by John Brown and Abraham Lincoln—two men moved to radically different acts to confront our nation’s gravest sin.

John Brown was a charismatic and deeply religious man who heard the God of the Old Testament speaking to him, telling him to destroy slavery by any means. When Congress opened Kansas territory to slavery in 1854, Brown raised a band of followers to wage war. His men tore pro-slavery settlers from their homes and hacked them to death with broadswords. Three years later, Brown and his men assaulted the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, hoping to arm slaves with weapons for a race war that would cleanse the nation of slavery.

Brown’s violence pointed ambitious Illinois lawyer and former officeholder Abraham Lincoln toward a different solution to slavery: politics. Lincoln spoke cautiously and dreamed big, plotting his path back to Washington and perhaps to the White House. Yet his caution could not protect him from the vortex of violence Brown had set in motion. After Brown’s arrest, his righteous dignity on the way to the gallows led many in the North to see him as a martyr to liberty. Southerners responded with anger and horror to a terrorist being made into a saint. Lincoln shrewdly threaded the needle between the opposing voices of the fractured nation and won election as president. But the time for moderation had passed, and Lincoln’s fervent belief that democracy could resolve its moral crises peacefully faced its ultimate test.

The Zealot and the Emancipator 
is acclaimed historian H. W. Brands’s thrilling and page-turning account of how two American giants shaped the war for freedom.

History buffs, be sure to tune in for our virtual event with H.W. Brands tomorrow, at 7PM CDT! He’ll be in conversation with Big Wonderful Thing author, Stephen Harrigan. Registration is free, but we’re offering signed & personalized copies of The Zealot and the Emancipator for all orders made through BookPeople.

9780802157003_8d77bEarthlings by Sayaka Murata

From the beloved author of cult sensation Convenience Store Woman, which has now sold more than one million copies worldwide and has been translated into thirty-three languages, comes a spellbinding and otherworldly novel about a woman who believes she is an alien

Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman was one of the most unusual and refreshing bestsellers of recent years, depicting the life of a thirty-six-year-old clerk in a Tokyo convenience store. Now, in Earthlings, Sayaka Murata pushes at the boundaries of our ideas of social conformity in this brilliantly imaginative, intense, and absolutely unforgettable novel.

As a child, Natsuki doesn’t fit in with her family. Her parents favor her sister, and her best friend is a plush toy hedgehog named Piyyut, who talks to her. He tells her that he has come from the planet Popinpobopia on a special quest to help her save the Earth. One summer, on vacation with her family and her cousin Yuu in her grandparents’ ramshackle wooden house in the mountains of Nagano, Natsuki decides that she must be an alien, which would explain why she can’t seem to fit in like everyone else. Later, as a grown woman, living a quiet life with her asexual husband, Natsuki is still pursued by dark shadows from her childhood, and decides to flee the “baby factory” of society for good, searching for answers about the vast and frightening mysteries of the universe–answers only Natsuki has the power to uncover.

Dreamlike, sometimes shocking, and always strange and wonderful, Earthlings asks what it means to be happy in a stifling world, and cements Sayaka Murata’s status as a master chronicler of the outsider experience and our own uncanny universe.

9781984880659_17b83Missionaries by Phil Klay

In the modern world, everything is connected, including how we kill.

A group of Colombian soldiers prepares to raid a drug lord’s safe house on the Venezuelan border. They’re watching him with an American-made drone, about to strike using military tactics taught to them by U.S. soldiers who honed their skills to lethal perfection in Iraq. In his debut novel Missionaries, National Book Award-winning author and Iraq War veteran Phil Klay examines the globalization of violence through the interlocking stories of four characters and the conflicts that define their lives.

For Mason, a U.S. Army Special Forces medic, and Lisette, a foreign correspondent, America’s long post-9/11 wars in the Middle East exerted a terrible draw that neither is able to shake. Where can such a person go next? All roads lead to Colombia, where the US has partnered with local government to keep predatory narco gangs at bay. Mason, now a liaison to the Colombian military, is ready for the good war, and Lisette is more than ready to cover it. Juan Pablo, a Colombian officer, must juggle managing the Americans’ presence and navigating a viper’s nest of factions bidding for power. Meanwhile, Abel, a lieutenant in a local militia, has lost almost everything in the seemingly endless carnage of his home province, where the lines between drug cartels, militias, and the state are semi-permeable.

Drawing on six years of research in America and Colombia into the effects of the modern way of war on regular people, Klay has written a novel of extraordinary suspense infused with geopolitical sophistication and storytelling instincts that are second to none. Missionaries is a window not only into modern war, but into the individual lives that go on long after the drones have left the skies.

9780735224650_dd7e8The Searcher by Tana French

*SIGNED COPIES AVAILABLE*

A spellbinding, propulsive new novel from the bestselling mystery writer who “is in a class by herself.” (The New York Times)

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a bucolic Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens. But when a local kid whose brother has gone missing arm-twists him into investigating, Cal uncovers layers of darkness beneath his picturesque retreat, and starts to realize that even small towns shelter dangerous secrets.

“One of the greatest crime novelists writing today” (Vox) weaves a masterful, atmospheric tale of suspense, asking what we sacrifice in our search for truth and justice, and what we risk if we don’t.

9781982155551_84b6eCuyahoga by Pete Beatty

A spectacularly inventive debut novel that reinvents the tall tale for our times—“Cuyahoga defies all modest description…[it] is ten feet tall if it’s an inch, and it’s a ramshackle joy from start to finish” (Brian Phillips, author of Impossible Owls).

Big Son is a spirit of the times—the times being 1837. Behind his broad shoulders, shiny hair, and church-organ laugh, Big Son practically made Ohio City all by himself. The feats of this proto-superhero have earned him wonder and whiskey toasts but very little in the way of fortune. And without money, Big cannot become an honest husband to his beloved Cloe (who may or may not want to be his wife, honestly).

In pursuit of a steady wage, our hero hits the (dirt) streets of Ohio City and Cleveland, the twin towns racing to become the first great metropolis of the West. Their rivalry reaches a boil over the building of a bridge across the Cuyahoga River—and Big stumbles right into the kettle. The resulting misadventures involve elderly terrorists, infrastructure collapse, steamboat races, wild pigs, and multiple ruined weddings.

Narrating this “deliriously fun” (Brian Phillips) tale is Medium Son—known as Meed—apprentice coffin maker, almanac author, orphan, and the younger brother of Big. Meed finds himself swept up in the action, and he is forced to choose between brotherly love and his own ambitions. His uncanny voice—plain but profound, colloquial but surprisingly poetic—elevates a slapstick frontier tale into a screwball origin myth for the Rust Belt.

In Cuyahoga, tragedy and farce jumble together in a riotously original voice. Evoking the Greek classics and the Bible alongside nods to Looney Tunes, Charles Portis, and Flannery O’Connor, Pete Beatty has written a rollicking revisionist (mid)Western with universal themes of family and fate—an old, weird America that feels brand new.

9780804187060_a24fcModern Comfort Food by Ina Garten

A collection of all-new soul-satisfying dishes from America’s favorite home cook!

In Modern Comfort Food, Ina Garten shares 85 new recipes that will feed your deepest cravings. Many of these dishes are inspired by childhood favorites—but with the volume turned way up, such as Cheddar and Chutney Grilled Cheese sandwiches (the perfect match for Ina’s Creamy Tomato Bisque), Smashed Hamburgers with Caramelized Onions, and the crispiest hash browns that are actually made in a waffle iron!

There are few things more comforting than gathering for a meal with the ones you love, especially when dishes like Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas are at the center of the table. Old-fashioned crowd pleasers like Roasted Sausages, Peppers, and Onions are even more delicious and streamlined for quick cleanup. For dessert? You’ll find the best Boston Cream Pie, Banana Rum Trifle, and Black and White Cookies you’ll ever make. Home cooks can always count on Ina’s dependable, easy-to-follow instructions, with lots of side notes for cooking and entertaining—it’s like having Ina right there beside you, helping you all the way.

From cocktails to dessert, from special weekend breakfasts to quick weeknight dinners, you’ll find yourself making these cozy and delicious recipes over and over again.

And for any mega Ina Garten fans out there: Get your tickets today to see Ina, live on Zoom, with People magazine food editor, Shay Spence. The fun begins on Thursday, October 15th at 7PM CDT! Each ticket gets you a signed copy of Modern Comfort Food—but don’t wait too long, tickets are limited and are going fast!

9781982108847_278deMagic Lessons by Alice Hoffman

In an unforgettable novel that traces a centuries-old curse to its source, beloved author Alice Hoffman unveils the story of Maria Owens, accused of witchcraft in Salem, and matriarch of a line of the amazing Owens women and men featured in Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic.

Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Unnamed Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.

When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.

Magic Lessons is a celebration of life and love and a showcase of Alice Hoffman’s masterful storytelling.

9781982112691_31d84Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld

The first book in twenty-five years from Jerry Seinfeld features his best work across five decades in comedy.

Since his first performance at the legendary New York nightclub “Catch a Rising Star” as a twenty-one-year-old college student in fall of 1975, Jerry Seinfeld has written his own material and saved everything. “Whenever I came up with a funny bit, whether it happened on a stage, in a conversation, or working it out on my preferred canvas, the big yellow legal pad, I kept it in one of those old school accordion folders,” Seinfeld writes. “So I have everything I thought was worth saving from forty-five years of hacking away at this for all I was worth.”

For this book, Jerry Seinfeld has selected his favorite material, organized decade by decade. In page after hilarious page, one brilliantly crafted observation after another, readers will witness the evolution of one of the great comedians of our time and gain new insights into the thrilling but unforgiving art of writing stand-up comedy.

New in Paperback

Grand Union: Stories by Zadie Smith

Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melachor (Longlisted for the National Book Award in Translated Literature)

On the Plain of Snakes by Paul Theroux


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These titles and more are available for purchase in-store or online from BookPeople today.

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