Patrick deWitt’s “French Exit” comes at just the right moment. This comic tale of scandal and wealth in NYC puts the guilty right where you want them: in their place.

“The Dependents,” by Katharine Dion is a great read for a lazy weekend. Absorbing and true, this story of a man taking stock of his life will resonate for just about everyone.

Barbara Kingsolver returned to the literary world with “Unsheltered.” Once again she proves herself deserving of all of her accolades with warm, true-to-life characters swept up in a compelling family saga.

“Welcome to Lagos” by Chibundu Onuzu, manages to find the humor in the horror of politics and war. This book offers a nearly surreal look into a kind of hell that feels not nearly as far off as it should.

Anne Younson’s “Meet Me at the Museum” finds a bucketful of charm in this star-crossed lovers story. With a delicate touch, the author finds love in the unexpected.

“My Year of Rest and Relaxation,” by Ottessa Moshfegh, is my favorite book this fall. Strange and strangely addictive, the main character turns to hibernation as a way to cope with the world we live in.

Vanessa Hua’s “A River of Stars” tells the story of an “anchor” baby, or a child born in America with immigrant parents. The topical storyline comes to life, populated by vivid people you won’t soon forget.

“The Shortest Way Home,” by Miriam Parker follows Hannah, a woman who has everything she thought she ever wanted, as she discovers a world beyond her own imagination. A great twist on a modern romance.

The cool book of the season, “Flights,” by Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk, weaves fiction with a touch of magical realism to haunting effect. The existential meditations on who we are and why we are will stay with you long after you have finished the novel.

Gary Shteyngart’s “Lake Success” finds humor in the quotidian and you will too. A fun and readable road trip that you’ll want to stay on as long as possible.

“Bitter Orange,” the new novel by British writer Claire Fuller, is one part intrigue, one part romance and one part nostalgia. The result is a thoroughly enchanting read.

“The Adults,” by Caroline Hulse, takes a crazy scenario and makes it all too real. Imagine being divorced, and then imagine going on vacation with your ex, your kid and the new significant others. Did you picture chaos? Exactly.

Andre Dubus III continues to radiate intelligence and insight on every page he writes. The characters in “Gone So Long,” will haunt you long after you pass the book along to a cherished friend.

Liane Moriarty has singlehandedly put thriller-chick lit on the map with her soapy twisty plots detailing middle class life. Her latest, “Nine Perfect Strangers,” is the epitome of the beach read, updated for the 21st Century.


When Ruth Ware’s “The Death of Mrs. Westaway” showed up in my mailbox I felt a wave of glee. This story of a woman wrongly named in a will, but compelled to assert her righteousness, fulfills everyone’s latent fantasy.

The father-son writing duo, Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman bring the heat in “A Measure of Darkness.” Follow Deputy Coroner Clay Edison through the mean streets of the East Bay, looking to find the true identity of a Jane Doe.

“The Last Mrs. Parrish,” by Liv Constantine has the stamp of Reese’s Book Club on it. A reliable barometer as it turns out, especially If you like a sensational thriller.

Emma Healey’s “Whistle in the Dark” presses the bruise of motherhood, and the idea of unconditional love and faith. Surprisingly plotted, the story of a missing daughter and her questionable whereabouts makes for a fascinating read.

“A Double Life,” by Flynn Berry, fictionalizes the true story of a British aristocrat who allegedly got away with murder. Berry’s take on the material uses just the right amount of psychology and imagination to get into the heads of her characters.

Caz Frear’s “Sweet Little Lies” will keep you twisting and turning as you read at a potentially breakneck pace. Thrills keep on coming a la Liane Moriarty.

I nearly squealed with glee on finding the new Tana French in my mailbox. The author’s first stand-alone book, "The Witch Elm," is a great place to dive in if you’ve never read one of her books before.

Don’t let the title “An Elderly Lady is Up To No Good,” by Helene Tursten, fool you, this chick is badass. Oh yeah, there’s a murder involved.

Told from three different perspectives, Joann Chaney’s “What You Don’t Know,” shifts like sand beneath your feet. Read it with your lights on, preferably during the day.


A sui generis author of speculative fiction, Andy Duncan gives us a beautiful new collection of stories in “An Agent of Utopia.” Hopping from Thomas More’s England to Flannery O’Connor’s South to Hell, Duncan’s charmingly colorful stories blur the lines between history, alternate history and the subtly fantastic.

Best known for his excursions into the Lovecraftian, Nick Mamatas shows his full range in the short story collection “The People's Republic of Everything.” From a steampunk A.I. Karl Marx to Berkeley anarchists to a father and son who build a nuclear garden gnome and secede from the U.S., Mamatas dazzles with a singular, satirical wit.


As timely as “Sicario,” Jean Guerrero’s “cross-border” memoir, “Crux,” follows her on a quest to uncover the truth about her father, a man with a lot of questionable stories to tell.

Almost too raw, Kites Laymon’s “Heavy,” recounts stories of carrying extra physical and psychic weight. Luckily for us, the author’s humanity coats each and every word.

Beck Dorey-Stein’s “From the Corner of the Oval” follows her progress, from unemployed, to finding a job on Craigslist. And not just any job, but one that takes her into the White House.

Topical and heartbreaking, Diane Guerrero’s “My Family Divided,” chronicles the author’s own experience of having her parents deported. This tale takes a political talking point and turns it into something deeply personal.

A sort of modern scrapbook/graphic memoir, “Belonging,” by Nora Krug, explores the reality of growing up German in post-Nazi Germany. With great insight and sensitivity, the author probes into a very complicated, personal past.

“Crave,” by Christine S. O’Brien combines food and personal tales with ease. Unlike the bulk of foodie memoirs, O’Brien’s tales radiate sadness and hunger.


“Meaty,” by Samantha Irby finds the humor in places great and small. Read it when you need a friend, a pep talk, or a dose of honesty.

Lane Moore’s “How to Be Alone: If You Want To, and Even If You Don’t” is a funny and smart collection of essays that provides strives to tell the dirty secrets everyone keeps close to the vest. Read them and feel, paradoxically, less alone.

Billed as a “covert memoir,” John McPhee’s “The Patch” is a collection of essays on an array of subjects. Follow the author as he fly fishes for pickeral, visits Mount Denali and talks with Joan Baez.


“Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret,” by Craig Brown is such a quirky take on the traditional biography, almost like a biography for the social media age. The short chapters, and chatty tone make for a breezy read.


Activism is always inspiring and Elizabeth Barlow Rogers’ plunge into “Saving Central Park” is no exception. This memoir of one person’s journey puts life into focus. Drop that phone and do something!

A terrific read, Graham Robb’s “The Debatable Land,” looks into the mysterious happenings in a borderland, caught between England and Scotland. Delving into a much forgotten history, the author’s personal connection to the material makes it sing.

Michael Scott Moore’s “The Desert and the Sea” recounts the author’s true tale of abduction by Somali pirates. Written with heart, delicacy and a great deal of courage, this memoir reads like a modern, very twisted, very dark fairy tale.

“Library Book,” by Susan Orlean tells the story of the L.A. library fire in the ‘80s that burned or damaged over a million books. If you know the author, you also know she she zigs and zags her way toward a million digressions, in the best way possible.

History buffs will appreciate Max Hastings’ “Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy.” This exhaustive deep dive begins in 1945 and goes through to the end, in 1975.


Funny like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” James Patterson and Joey Green’s “Not So Normal Norbert” will please middle-schoolers. It will also please those who revel in their own arrested development.

A man who may go down in history as the Last True Republican, Senator John McCain gets memorialized to perfection in Elaine S. Povich’s “John McCain: American Maverick.” The forward by Ken Burns puts it all in perspective.

With a title like, “Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas,” I think you know what you’re getting. Still, Dav Pilkey’s graphic novel series provides even more pleasures than you might imagine.

If you know a school-age kid, or just feel like one, Max Brallier’s “The Last Kids on Earth” series is for you. The fourth installment keeps up the thrills and chills.

Both Picador and Dutton, an imprint of Random House, have deliciously adorable mini books that make for terrific stocking stuffers. Dutton’s version highlights YA fave John Green and are to be read sideways, like flip books. Picador’s version highlights shorter classics, like Hermann Hesse’s “Steppenwolf and Marilynne Robinson’s “Housekeeping.” Both styles highlight the beauty of books as objects, to have, to hold, and to admire.

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown,” by Jeff Kinney is number thirteen in a series that keeps on giving. Funny and oddly poignant, Greg Heffley makes for a very relatable protagonist.

Peter Brown’s “The Wild Robot Hardcover Gift Set” includes “The Wild Robot” and “The Wild Robot Escapes.” This robot adventure series will thrill elementary school kids, and it turns out grown ups like it just as much.

Sometimes silly is the best medicine, and Matt Phelan’s “Knights vs. Dinosaurs” brings the silly. Adventurous as well, this tale will tickle young boys.

Terrific for young readers transitioning into chapter books, Mac Barnett’s “Kid Spy” series is bursting with fun. “Mac Undercover” begins with a call from The. Queen. Of. England. Wicked.

James Patterson writes for just about everyone these days and his books for younger readers are a true delight. “Dog Diaries,” told from a dog’s perspective is chock full of giggles.