Summer gets all the credit for being the good reading season, but truthfully, wouldn't you rather read by a fire with a cup of tea than by pool — where water, sunshine, and fruity drinks all get in the way of things? Over the next four months, the 36 best new books of fall 2019 on the list below will make the perfect companions on the chilly nights of autumn ahead.
Many notable sequels will hit bookstores this season, including The Testaments, the sequel to The Handmaid's Tale; Find Me, the sequel to Call Me By Your Name; and Olive, Again, the sequel to Olive Kitteridge. Plus, two beloved authors will release their first new novels in years: Erin Morgenstern, the author of The Night Circus, is back with The Starless Sea; and The Perks of Being a Wallflower author Stephen Chbosky returns with Imaginary Friend.
There are also plenty of fiction debuts out this fall that will turn you on to new authors and leave you desperate for more of their work, including The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott, Who Put This Song On? by poet Morgan Parker, and Gideon the Ninth by Tasmyn Muir.
Like that sound of all that? Check out all 36 picks below, and start prepping your stacks of autumn books:
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott (Sept. 3)
Lara Prescott's debut novel comes with Reese Witherspoon's stamp of approval, but if you need another push, here it is. This novel juxtaposes two equally alluring storylines: The tale of two CIA secretaries who are recruited to smuggle Boris Pasternak's classic novel of love and revolution, Doctor Zhivago, out of Soviet Russia, where it cannot be published; and the love story of Pasternak and his mistress and muse, Olga Ivinskaya, who inspired the main character of his novel.
My Time Among the Whites by Jennine Capó Crucet (Sept. 3)
A slim memoir in essays, My Time Among The Whites is an excellent primer on privilege and power, and the ways in which one can be both marginalized by whiteness and benefitted by it. This is a must-read for all white Latinx, and everyone else in the U.S., too.
Cantoras by Carolina de Robertis (Sept. 3)
Cantoras centers on five queer women in the midst of the Uruguayan dictatorship, all of whom find love, friendship, family, and reprieve in the hearts of the other and in the isolated cape they claim as their own and hold secret from the rest of the world.
The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup (Sept. 3)
Written by the creator of The Killing, The Chestnut Man is poised to be one of the spookiest books of fall. The stage is Copenhagen, and the action begins when a serial killer strikes, leaving behind a homemade "chestnut man" — a doll made of chestnuts and matchsticks — with the body. Now, the detectives in charge of this case must figure out who the murderer is, before they strike again.
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (Sept. 10)
Already shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Margaret Atwood's The Testaments is sure to make a splash when it lands on bookstores in September. Few details are known are about the sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, but readers can expect that it will take place in Gilead, 15 years after the events of the first novel. It remains to be seen whether or not the current epilogue still stands as canon.
Gideon the Ninth by Tasmyn Muir (Sept. 10)
Tasmyn Muir's weird, wonderful debut is impossible to explain in a few sentences, but here it goes: Gideon has spent her entire life in indentured servitude to the Ninth House, and she's tired of it. Her only way out? To help the heir of the Ninth, a bone witch, in her quest to become the right-hand woman of the Emperor's necromancer.
Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera (Sept. 17)
Originally released in 2016, Gabby Rivera's groundbreaking young adult novel Juliet Takes A Breath is being republished this fall with a vibrant new cover that mirrors the brilliant, dazzling story within it. Juliet Palante is in a state of transition: She has just come out to her conservative Puerto Rican parents, and she's about to move across the country for an internship with the feminist writer Harlowe Brisbane. Over the course of one life-changing summer, she'll learn so much about herself, about feminism, and about the people who will surround her with love — and those who won't.
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson (Sept. 17)
The latest Jacqueline Woodson novel — her first for adults since Another Brooklyn — traces the lives, loves, and losses of three generations of a family. All their stories orbit around one pivotal event: the coming-of-age party of 16-year-old Melody, who is wearing the dress her mother, Iris, would've worn for her own party 16 years prior, had she not been pregnant with her daughter. But Iris had plans beyond being a mother — and she left behind her daughter with the father to go to school and pursue a romance with a woman.
Heaven, My Home (A Highway 59 Mystery Book #2) by Attica Locke (Sept. 17)
Attica Locke, the winner of the Edgar Award, is the queen of searing mysteries about race and the realities of U.S. society and politics. In her latest novel, a sequel to Bluebird, Bluebird, Texas Ranger Darren Mathews is on the hunt for a missing boy, who just might have the information needed to bring down a prominent family of white supremacists in Texas.
Know My Name by Chanel Miller (Sept. 24)
She was know as Emily Doe when she wrote the victim impact statement, published on Buzzfeed, that rocked the world. Now, Chanel Miller, who was sexually assaulted on the Stanford's campus by Brock Turner, reveals her name and shares her story in Know My Name.
Make It Scream, Make It Burn by Leslie Jamison (Sept. 24)
In her first essay collection since The Empathy Exams, Leslie Jamison writes about being a stepmom, getting eloped in Las Vegas, traveling to Sri Lanka in the wake of a civil war, and learning about the loneliest whale in the world. Jamison's keen observations and stunning writing make this a collection you will return to again and again.
Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker (Sept. 24)
Loosely based on the journals and real-life experiences of its author, Morgan Parker, Who Put This Song On? is a journey through one teenager's experiences with high school, mental health, self-love, and more, written by a poet who understands the lyricism of everyday life.
Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith (Sept. 24)
Patti Smith's latest memoir, Year of the Monkey, focuses on one specific year in the rockstar and memoirist's life, when she embarked on a solo journey fueled by signs — literal and metaphorical — and with the aim of tracking her own personal shifts, and those of America at large.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (Sept. 24)
Newly rich, Cyril Conroy buys The Dutch House as a present for his wife, who hates it and promptly leaves. His next wife, however, loves it — and will do anything, including disinherit his children, to keep it. Narrated by Cyril's son, The Dutch House is an exquisite look at family and the meaning of home.
Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory (Oct. 1)
The second romance novel from Jasmine Guillory in 2019, Royal Holiday is inspired by the mother of Meghan Markle, Doria Ragland. In this (completely fictional) story, Vivian Forest accompanies her daughter to England on a work trip and falls in love with Malcolm Hudson, the private secretary to the Queen. If you loved Red, White & Royal Blue this summer, try Royal Holiday this fall.
Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was A Girl by Jeannie Vanasco (Oct. 1)
Jeannie Vanasco's memoir Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was A Girl is a firecracker of a book — a hot, burning account of her own sexual assault by a close friend and her endeavor, decades later, to talk to him about what happened. Through a combination of narrative nonfiction and transcripts of their conversation, Vanasco expertly dissects the nuances of sexual assault, especially at the hands of someone you know and love.
Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky (Oct. 1)
Stephen Chbosky — the author of The Perks of Being A Wallflower – makes his return to the literary world with Imaginary Friend, a horror novel about a young boy who mysteriously disappears and returns with an incredible, cursed ability: He hears voices in his head, and he must do what they say.
Grand Union by Zadie Smith (Oct. 8)
The first short story collection from beloved writer Zadie Smith, Grand Union is filled with 19 capsules of the writer's genius. These stories run the gamut in genre and topic, and it's the perfect collection for the fall nights ahead.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (Oct. 8)
Ninth House, the first adult novel by acclaimed fantasy author Leigh Bardugo, is not a book for the faint of heart. Its story centers upon Alex (short for Galaxy, not Alexandra), who is recruited to attend Yale and serve as a guardian of the university's eight secret societies, whose members — who have too much power and too little regard for the lives of others — wield magic dubious ends. Ninth House is a compelling, macabre tale of power, privilege, and the dark side of the occult.
Burn it Down: Women Writing About Anger by Lilly Dancyger (Oct. 8)
There has been no shortage of books on women's anger: Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister, Rage Becomes Her by Soraya Chemaly, and Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper, to name a few. But the anger hasn't dissipated, and Lilly Dancyger's collection — featuring essays by Leslie Jamison, Melissa Febos, and more — is more necessary than ever.
Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church by Megan Phelps-Roper (Oct. 8)
Westboro Baptist Church represents the worst of political polarization in the modern age. In Unfollow, Megan Phelps-Ropers, the granddaughter of its founder, writes about her awakening, her departure from the church, and what everyone needs to know about the dangers of the angry, combative, black-and-white thinking of Westboro Baptist Church.
Written in the form of letters to her two daughters, Dear Girls is a refreshing, hilarious, and honest account of making a career in a male-dominated field, dating, being a mom, growing up, and so much more. Yes, this book is addressed to Wong's daughters, but every reader will find a nuggets of wisdom and inspiration and, most importantly, something to laugh at.
Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout (Oct. 15)
Olive Kitteridge was a #1 New York Times bestseller, the winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, and the basis for an Emmy-winning HBO mini-series, so it makes sense that Elizabeth Strout would want to return to her beloved character. In Olive, Again, Strout aims the spotlight on her wry heroine and the characters of Crosby, Maine, in another book that's sure to have you flipping pages long into the night.
Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur (Oct. 15)
If you loved the antics of Gossip Girl, but prefer your drama to be set on the winsome coast of Cape Cod, Wild Game is the book for you. In her memoir, Adrienne Brodeur weaves the complicated story of her mother, Malabar, who engaged in a decades-long affair and relegated her daughter to the role of co-conspirator, a responsibility Brodeur initially cherished but which later led to resentment, guilt, and depression. The twists-and-turns of this true story make it the perfect antidote to your own family drama this upcoming holiday season.
All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg (Oct. 22)
All This Could Be Yours is a family tale for the ages — a story about three generations of Tuchmans, all of whom are influenced profoundly by the death of their stern, emotionally — and sometimes physically — abusive patriarch, Victor Tuchman. In the wake of his passing, his wife, his children and their partners, and his grandchildren must decide who they are when they're free from his orbit.
Astro Poets: Your Guides to the Zodiac by Alex Dimitrov and Dorothea Lasky (Oct. 29)
If you follow the Astro Poets on Twitter (over 500,000 people do), then you're likely already familiar with their tweets about poetry, astrology, dating, and just being alive and a person in the world. In Astro Poets: Your Guides to the Zodiac, the published poets behind the account — Alex Dimitrov and Dorothea Lasky — break down each of the 12 signs with their signature blend of dry wit, effervescent romanticism, and pop culture references. There's also an original poem for each Zodiac sign. Read it alone, read it with your friends, read it with your Tinder dates (but not if they're a Sagittarius).
Find Me by Andre Aciman (Oct. 29)
Fans of Call Me By Your Name might be disappointed by the first (rather long) section of this novel, which focuses exclusively on Elio's father. But Find Me picks up in its second section, about twenty-something Elio, and third section, about middle-aged Oliver.
The Beautiful Ones by Prince (Oct. 29)
When Prince died in April 2016, he left with the intention to write a memoir, titled The Beautiful Ones. The memoir, co-written by Dan Pipenbring, was finished after his passing, and comes out this October, just in time for celebrations of the dead and all the art and beauty they've left behind.
The Witches are Coming by Lindy West (Nov. 5)
No surprises here: Shrill author Lindy West's new essay collection is extremely funny, extraordinarily smart, and very critical of Adam Sandler's entire film repertoire. (Don't read it if you don't want to be reminded that Little Nicky exists!) In all seriousness, West deftly dissects the problems of rape culture, toxic masculinity, and modern politics in a way that will have you shouting "F*CKING YES" in the coffee shop as you read.
The Crying Book by Heather Christle (Nov. 5)
Heather Christle's new book is a combination of personal musings about depression, childbirth, and motherhood, and fascinating researched tidbits about crying — its history, its use in literature and pop culture, its politics, and the science behind it all. Basically, it's Maggie Nelson's Bluets, but about crying, and it's every bit as dazzling as the stars that dot its cover.
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado (Nov. 5)
Each section title of In the Dream House begins with the words "Dream House as...," a literary device as disorienting as the contents of the book. Carmen Maria Machado's memoir is a telling of a relationship gone sour and psychological abuse, and it's every bit as powerful, dark, and haunting as her story collection, Her Body and Other Parties.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (Nov. 5)
The Night Circus author Erin Morgenstern turns her whimsy to the world of literature in The Starless Sea, about a graduate student named Zachary who stumbles upon something unusual in the library of his Vermont university: a book with a story from his own childhood. Zachary embarks on a quest for the truth, and uncovers a series of clues that lead him to masquerade parties, secret clubs, and a magical library where the worlds of books come alive.
Little Weirds by Jenny Slate (Nov. 5)
It's hard to describe Jenny Slate's new book. It's a collection of essays, short musings... and well, little weirds. You can pick it up and read one or two "little weirds" about Valentine's Day, heartbreak, dating, death, and a haunted house, and set the book down feeling a little bit brighter about the world.
Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge by Sheila Weller (Nov. 12)
She was Hollywood royalty: an actress, an author, a screenwriter, a talented, one of a kind woman whose life was cut short before anyone was ready to say goodbye. Carrie Fisher's story is available to be read in her words, in the form of the four memoirs she wrote over the course of her lifetime, but if you want a more expansive view of her life, pick up Carrie Fisher, written by the biographer of Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon.
Queen of Nothing by Holly Black (Nov. 19)
Holly Black's thrilling Folk of the Air trilogy comes to its conclusion in The Queen of Nothing. Jude, exiled to the mortal world after becoming queen of the Faerie realm, wants nothing more than to return to the Fae — and get revenge on King Cardan, who tricked her, betrayed her, and vanquished her from his world.
Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi (Dec. 3)
In the much-anticipated sequel to Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi returns to the land of Orïsha, where Zélie and Amari have succeeded in bringing back magic. But now they have a new problem on their hands: civil war.
For more fall reading recommendations, see what 20 authors recommended as their favorite book of autumn.