You’ve been hearing about the onslaught of books coming this fall, and this week is one of those where there’s piles and piles of good reads to get lost in. From an eerily-timed novella from Don DeLillo to paperback standouts, you’ll be clamoring to get your hands on more than one these literary treats. Scroll down for more!
The Silence by Don DeLillo
From one of the most dazzling and essential voices in American fiction, a timely and compelling novel set in the near future about five people gathered together in a Manhattan apartment, in the midst of a catastrophic event.
Don DeLillo completed this novel just weeks before the advent of Covid-19. The Silence is the story of a different catastrophic event. Its resonances offer a mysterious solace.
It is Super Bowl Sunday in the year 2022. Five people, dinner, an apartment on the east side of Manhattan. The retired physics professor and her husband and her former student waiting for the couple who will join them from what becomes a dramatic flight from Paris. The conversation ranges from a survey telescope in North-central Chile to a favorite brand of bourbon to Einstein’s 1912 Manuscript on the Special Theory of Relativity.
Then something happens and the digital connections that have transformed our lives are severed.
What follows is a dazzling and profoundly moving conversation about what makes us human. Never has the art of fiction been such an immediate guide to our navigation of a bewildering world. Never have DeLillo’s prescience, imagination, and language been more illuminating and essential.
The Dead Are Arising by Les Payne & Tamara Payne
*National Book Award Finalist*
An epic biography of Malcolm X finally emerges, drawing on hundreds of hours of the author’s interviews, rewriting much of the known narrative.
Les Payne, the renowned Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist, embarked in 1990 on a nearly thirty-year-long quest to interview anyone he could find who had actually known Malcolm X—all living siblings of the Malcolm Little family, classmates, street friends, cellmates, Nation of Islam figures, FBI moles and cops, and political leaders around the world. His goal was ambitious: to transform what would become over a hundred hours of interviews into an unprecedented portrait of Malcolm X, one that would separate fact from fiction.
The result is this historic biography that conjures a never-before-seen world of its protagonist, a work whose title is inspired by a phrase Malcolm X used when he saw his Hartford followers stir with purpose, as if the dead were truly arising, to overcome the obstacles of racism. Setting Malcolm’s life not only within the Nation of Islam but against the larger backdrop of American history, the book traces the life of one of the twentieth century’s most politically relevant figures “from street criminal to devoted moralist and revolutionary.”
In tracing Malcolm X’s life from his Nebraska birth in 1925 to his Harlem assassination in 1965, Payne provides searing vignettes culled from Malcolm’s Depression-era youth, describing the influence of his Garveyite parents: his father, Earl, a circuit-riding preacher who was run over by a street car in Lansing, Michigan, in 1929, and his mother, Louise, who continued to instill black pride in her children after Earl’s death. Filling each chapter with resonant drama, Payne follows Malcolm’s exploits as a petty criminal in Boston and Harlem in the 1930s and early 1940s to his religious awakening and conversion to the Nation of Islam in a Massachusetts penitentiary.
With a biographer’s unwavering determination, Payne corrects the historical record and delivers extraordinary revelations—from the unmasking of the mysterious NOI founder “Fard Muhammad,” who preceded Elijah Muhammad; to a hair-rising scene, conveyed in cinematic detail, of Malcolm and Minister Jeremiah X Shabazz’s 1961 clandestine meeting with the KKK; to a minute-by-minute account of Malcolm X’s murder at the Audubon Ballroom.
Introduced by Payne’s daughter and primary researcher, Tamara Payne, who, following her father’s death, heroically completed the biography, The Dead Are Arising is a penetrating and riveting work that affirms the centrality of Malcolm X to the African American freedom struggle.
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily Danforth
The award-winning author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post makes her adult debut with this highly imaginative and original horror-comedy centered around a cursed New England boarding school for girls—a wickedly whimsical celebration of the art of storytelling, sapphic love, and the rebellious female spirit
Our story begins in 1902, at the Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it the Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, the Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way.
Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer Merritt Emmons publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, opposite B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern heroines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.
A story within a story within a story and featuring black-and-white period-inspired illustrations, Plain Bad Heroines is a devilishly haunting, modern masterwork of metafiction that manages to combine the ghostly sensibility of Sarah Waters with the dark imagination of Marisha Pessl and the sharp humor and incisive social commentary of Curtis Sittenfeld into one laugh-out-loud funny, spellbinding, and wonderfully luxuriant read.
Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira by Lou Diamond Phillips
Two worlds at war will bring them together… or tear them apart…
Everson didn’t want to be a soldier. His parents forced him to serve, as all good Indiran men should. The only problem? His first battle against their mortal enemies goes horribly wrong and he winds up stranded on the enemy planet.
Now, Everson has to survive in this strange new land where everyone is out to get him. Not to mention, the planet Mano is covered in unforgiving desert. And he’s the target of traitors who want to use him in a dastardly plot to overthrow their mad king, Xander the Firm, by having him retrieve a piece of mysterious and powerful ancient technology known as the Tinderbox.
But everything changes during a chance encounter with the king’s daughter, Allegra. Despite her station, she’s in as grave of danger from her own people as Everson is. And though their peoples have been at odds for centuries, an unlikely spark forms between them.
As their worlds come crashing down around them, their forbidden love might be the only chance to end this war forever. Or, it might just be the doom of everyone…
Imagine the intrigue of Game of Thrones mixed with the star-crossed romance of Romeo and Juliet… but in space Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale of the same name, Soldier of Indira is perfect for fans of Dune, Aurora Rising, and Stardust.
Accidentally Wes Anderson by Wally Koval
*Signed bookplates available*
Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
From the Academy Award®–winning actor, an unconventional memoir filled with raucous stories, outlaw wisdom, and lessons learned the hard way about living with greater satisfaction
“Unflinchingly honest and remarkably candid, Matthew McConaughey’s book invites us to grapple with the lessons of his life as he did—and to see that the point was never to win, but to understand.”—Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
I’ve been in this life for fifty years, been trying to work out its riddle for forty-two, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last thirty-five. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me.
Recently, I worked up the courage to sit down with those diaries. I found stories I experienced, lessons I learned and forgot, poems, prayers, prescriptions, beliefs about what matters, some great photographs, and a whole bunch of bumper stickers. I found a reliable theme, an approach to living that gave me more satisfaction, at the time, and still: If you know how, and when, to deal with life’s challenges—how to get relative with the inevitable—you can enjoy a state of success I call “catching greenlights.”
So I took a one-way ticket to the desert and wrote this book: an album, a record, a story of my life so far. This is fifty years of my sights and seens, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls. Graces, truths, and beauties of brutality. Getting away withs, getting caughts, and getting wets while trying to dance between the raindrops.
Hopefully, it’s medicine that tastes good, a couple of aspirin instead of the infirmary, a spaceship to Mars without needing your pilot’s license, going to church without having to be born again, and laughing through the tears.
It’s a love letter. To life.
It’s also a guide to catching more greenlights—and to realizing that the yellows and reds eventually turn green too.
New York Times opinion writer and bestselling author Lindy West was once the in-house movie critic for Seattle’s alternative newsweekly The Stranger, where she covered film with brutal honesty and giddy irreverence. In Shit, Actually, Lindy returns to those roots, re-examining beloved and iconic movies from the past 40 years with an eye toward the big questions of our time: Is Twilight the horniest movie in history? Why do the zebras in The Lion King trust Mufasa-WHO IS A LION-to look out for their best interests? Why did anyone bother making any more movies after The Fugitive achieved perfection? And, my god, why don’t any of the women in Love, Actually ever fucking talk?!?!
From Forrest Gump, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and Bad Boys II, to Face/Off, Top Gun, and The Notebook, Lindy combines her razor-sharp wit and trademark humor with a genuine adoration for nostalgic trash to shed new critical light on some of our defining cultural touchstones-the stories we’ve long been telling ourselves about who we are. At once outrageously funny and piercingly incisive, Shit, Actually reminds us to pause and ask, “How does this movie hold up?”, all while teaching us how to laugh at the things we love without ever letting them or ourselves off the hook.
Shit, Actually is a love letter and a break-up note all in one: to the films that shaped us and the ones that ruined us. More often than not, Lindy finds, they’re one and the same.
Knockout by Mia Kang
An intimate and unﬂinching memoir exploring Mia Kang’s journey from self-loathing to self-love
Mia Kang is many things: a sought-after model, an immigrant, an eating disorder survivor, and a Muay Thai ﬁghter. Her ﬁrst book, Knockout, is the story of how she eschewed normative body standards and learned to use martial arts to redeﬁne her sense of self-worth. In a charming, ﬁerce, and intimate voice, Kang invites readers into her world. She once lived and died by her weight, but she is now deﬁned by her conﬁdence in being a woman who lives outside the mold of what we’re taught is “feminine.” After dealing with bullying, addiction, body dysmorphia, anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts, Mia acknowledges that she is lucky to still be alive to tell readers what she’s learned: to not let anyone else dictate who you are supposed to be.
Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda
From Tomoko: “I’m always so excited when I see more translated fiction making its way onto our shelves, and this latest by Aoko Matsuda is a treasure. Interconnected stories describe a community populated by ghosts and yokai–or sometimes just the ideas of both. My favorite kinds of stories invite a world of wonder to coexist with the mundane, and Matsuda provides bountifully. In charming and down to earth vignettes, almost as if we’re peering into the journals of these characters (each with a distinct voice), Matsuda reveals a world beside our own and the lovely, mysterious, surreal ways it extends its influence into ours. Stories that once felt just like recitations of tragedy and vengeance—something to fear–take on new life under Matsuda’s brush with spirit and empowerment—legacies that inspire contemporary women to take what is theirs and live fully in their bodies, love, happiness, death, work, art. I love this collection and I can’t wait to share it with others. Try some ghost stories that will make you smile rather than scared this October!”
Now in Paperback
J R by William Gaddis
The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
These titles and more are available for purchase in-store or online from BookPeople today.