Once again, summer comes to an unwelcome end. Here are a few book recommendations, from a major literary release to an old classic, to help you get through autumn.
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
Egan’s last novel — A Visit From the Goon Squad — came out in 2010 and made a significant literary impact. That’s probably understating it. The novel, which connected multiple interrelated stories, won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. The only award she’s missing is the Nobel. In the seven years since, Egan’s been pretty quiet, releasing one short story in 2012. On October 3, we’re finally getting another Egan novel. Manhattan Beach, set during World War II, follows a woman working at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, taking on work that was once done exclusively by men. Living up to the hype after Goon Squad will be hard, but if Manhattan Beach does, it’ll rock the literary world.
The Familiar, Volume 5 by Mark Z. Danielewski
Mark Danielewski shot to fame in 2000 when he released the terrifying experimental novel House of Leaves. Few books like House of Leaves exist, and now Danielewski is working on a 27-volume series loosely structured like a television show. Each volume is about 800 pages and chock full of intricate designs and textual tricks. The first four volumes, telling the story of a young girl finding a mysterious kitten, have been intense, challenging and engrossing. This new one, out on the October 31, is the final part of this massive project’s first “season,” and it promises to be a stunner.
Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier by Mark Frost
In a wild twist, this is the second book by a guy named Mark set to be released on October 31. Maybe this is part of a widespread conspiracy of the Marks, involving doppelgangers and otherworldly dimensions full of backward-talking giants. Probably not, but that sounds like the perfect story line for the hit television show Twin Peaks, which is the inspiration for TV co-creator Mark Frost’s new novel, the specifics of which are still under wraps. His first Twin Peaks novel — The Secret History of Twin Peaks — was released one year ago before the revival season of the show. Now that the show is finished, this new novel might provide some sought-after answers to the enigmatic finale, and will give you one more chance to visit that mythical northwest town.
The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler
This one is already on shelves and is the perfect choice for a Wisconsinite: Butler lives in Eau Claire and attended UW-Madison, and his first novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, was set in a small Wisconsin town. His new novel, set in a northern Wisconsin Boy Scout camp, tells the story of a group of young boys during a transformative summer in the woods. For those of you who get nostalgic about childhood trips up north, this sounds like the perfect book for you. It might bring back aching memories of summers gone by while you’re sitting inside on a cold November day, but it’s worth it.
A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
This short story collection might be old, but the decades haven’t made it any less powerful. O’Connor writes vivid, disturbing, and revelatory stories that have influenced writers for generations. They’ll stick in your brain, especially the next time you take a rural road trip with your family.