Last month we focused pretty heavily on fiction, so this month we’ve mixed in a few memoirs and some quirky history for good measure. The big book this month with likely be the latest from J.K. Rowling/Career of Evil (October 20), but there are plenty more great looking releases to take note of. If you’ve opened up any spots on your to-be-read list of late, consider one of these as their replacement.
Once They Were Hats: In Search of the Mighty Beaver by Frances Backhouse (October 1). I will admit it’s possible I have only included this book because I like the title, but I am keen to hear more about the 15 000-year relationship between humans and the beaver. This type of in-depth history of a single focused topic has been called a microhistory and it feels somewhat patriotic to see this Canadian icon under the lens.
My History: A Memoir of Growing Up by Antonia Fraser (October 13): Known as a pre-eminent author of both history and historical fiction, Antonia Fraser turns her skill at examining the past to her own life. This will be a must-read for her legions of fans.
Departure by A.G. Riddle (October 20). The back story of this speculative thriller is one that is becoming more and more familiar: originally self-published, it gained internet attention from vocal fans, was purchased by a major publishing house with a wide release and film rights already have already been sold. Is Departure publishing’s 2015 version of The Martian? “En route to London from New York, Flight 305 suddenly loses power and crash-lands in the English countryside, plunging a group of strangers into a mysterious adventure that will have repercussions for all of humankind.”
Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (October 20): Canadian author Shipli Somaya Gowda burst on to the scene in 2010 with her first novel The Secret Daughter. In the Secret Daughter, she told the story of a mothers and daughters, in her latest she moves to the story of a son. ” Anil is the cherished son of a large family in rural India. As the eldest boy, he is expected to inherit the role of leader of his clan and arbiter of its disputes, dispensing wisdom and good advice. Leena is his closest companion, a fiercely brave girl who loves nothing more than the wild terrain they inhabit and her close-knit family. As childhood friends, they are inseparable – but as adulthood approaches, they grow apart.”
The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone (October 20): Need something a little lighter this month? This book — which is reminiscent of Lisa Lutz’ Spellman Files crossed with a 21st century Bridget Jones Diary — sounds like just the thing. “Meet Dahlia Moss, the reigning queen of unfortunate decision-making in the St. Louis area. Unemployed broke, and on her last bowl of ramen, she’s not living her best life. But that’s all about to change. Before Dahlia can make her life any messier on her own she’s offered a job. A job that she’s woefully under-qualified for. A job that will lead her to a murder, an MMORPG, and possibly a fella (or two?).” Turns out unfortunate decisions abound, and she’s just the girl to deal with them.
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir by Carrie Brownstein (October 27): I’m so excited about this book I don’t really even know where to start. Whether you know Carrie Brownstein as a musician (Sleater Kinney, Wild Flag) or an actor/comedian (Portlandia), or are just someone interested in the creative process or the trajectory of a certain type of American pop culture, this book will be one to keep an eye out for: “Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl is an intimate and revealing narrative of her escape from a turbulent family life into a world where music was the means toward self-invention, community, and rescue. … Accessibly raw, honest and heartfelt, this book captures the experience of being a young woman, a born performer and an outsider, and ultimately finding one’s true calling through hard work, courage and the intoxicating power of rock and roll.”
Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World’s Superpowers by Simon Winchester (October 27): We’ll finish off the month with another bit of historical writing from a well-respected name. Simon Winchester, known for his histories of dictionaries, maps, volcanoes and more turns his power of observation to the great Pacific ocean with a look both forward and back. in 2010, Winchester already brought us the stories of our closest ocean in Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories, this new volume will make great companion reading.