October Is Going To Be A Fantastic Month For Feminist Fiction — Here's What To Read

by Melissa Ragsdale

As October rolls in, the leaves are changing, the air is filled with pumpkin spice, and a flurry of great fiction is being released. There's nothing like a crisp new book in your hands to make your autumn complete — except for perhaps these 10 new books out in October.

Fall is an especially great time to read books that make you think. These books ask a lot of questions about identity that will certainly get the gears in your head turning. Each book is doing so in its own unique way, from speculative fiction that plays with the rules of our universe, to novels set in the aftermath of real world disasters, to books that dive head-on into characters' inner lives. Plus, they manage to do all of this through incredible stories that you won't be able to put down.

There are some amazing debut works coming out this month, but we also have a few names on this list you might recognize, including Jennifer Egan, Isabel Allende, and (if you can believe it) Tom Hanks. Whether you're reading a favorite author, or trying out a fresh new voice, there's plenty to get excited about. So get ready to stuff your shelves with these great October new releases.

'An Unkindness of Ghosts' by Rivers Solomon (October 3; Akashic Books)

Rivers Solomon's debut novel An Unkindness of Ghosts takes place on the HSS Matilda —  space ship organized like the antebellum South, on a mission to take the last of humanity to the "Promised Land." Aster is a dark-skinned sharecropper, enslaved by the upper classes. As she retraces the circumstances of her mother's suicide, she discovers secrets that may change everything. This book thoughtfully explores race, gender, and much more, while delivering a story that you won't be able to put down.

Click here to buy.

'Her Body and Other Parties' by Carmen Maria Machado (October 3; Graywolf)

Carmen Maria Machado's short stories are straight-up fantastic — so much so, she's already been longlisted for a National Book Award. In this, her debut collection, she delivers some incredible genre-bending stories that "map the realities of women's lives and the violence visited upon their bodies." You can read "The Husband Stitch" in Granta for a taste of her brilliant style.

Click here to buy.

'Manhattan Beach' by Jennifer Egan (October 3; Scribner)

This is Egan's first novel since her wildly successful A Visit from the Goon Squad, and she's hit it out of the park again. (Egan is also nominated for a National Book Award.) Set in Brooklyn during the Great Depression and World War II, Anna (working as the first female diver at the Brooklyn Navy Yard) tries to get to the bottom of her father's mysterious disappearance, drawing her into the dangerous world of organized crime.

Click here to buy.

'Dogs at the Perimeter' by Madeline Thien (October 3; W. W. Norton and Company)

Thien's Man-Booker nominated novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, is one of my favorite novels, so I was over-the-moon to learn that Dogs at the Perimeter was coming to the U.S. As a child living in Cambodia, Janie lost her family in the violent genocide brought on by the Khmer Rouge regime. Decades later, she's living in Montreal, and attempting to come to terms with the trauma as she investigates the disappearance of a friend.

Click here to buy.

'The Power' by Naomi Alderman (October 10; Little, Brown and Company)

After making waves in the U.K., this outstanding book is finally coming stateside. Alderman imagines a world much like ours, with one difference: teenage girls suddenly have the ability to electrocute people. This is the perfect read if you've been itching for something to get you through to season two of The Handmaid's Tale.

Click here to buy.

'Here in Berlin' by Cristina García (October 10; Counterpoint)

Told from the point-of-view of an unnamed visitor, this exquisite book brings to life the worlds of a number of characters living in Berlin. García is a talented writer, and she delivers a thought-provoking and immersive portrait of the city.

Click here to buy.

'As Lie Is to Grin' by Simeon Marsalis (October 10; Catapult)

In Marsalis's remarkable first novel, readers follow David, a freshman at the University of Vermont, who is mourning the loss of his girlfriend and trying to define himself at a school that is predominately white.

Click here to buy.

'The Floating World' by C. Morgan Babst (October 17; Algonquin Books)

Set in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, this wrenching and hypnotic book will give you chills with its descriptions of the flooding. The book follows the Boisdorés family, whose eldest daughter, Cora, refuses to evacuate, forcing them to leave her behind. When Cora's sister, Del, returns to New Orleans from New York, she finds her hometown and her family in ruins.

Click here to buy.

'Uncommon Type' by Tom Hanks (October 24; Knopf)

That's right, seemingly perfect human Tom Hanks is also apparently a gifted writer. One of my favorite fun facts about Hanks is that he's obsessed with typewriters, and in this, his debut book, he brings us a collection of stories, each featuring a typewriter. For a sample of Hanks's writing, read "Alan Bean Plus Four" in the New Yorker.

Click here to buy.

'In the Midst of Winter' by Isabel Allende (October 31; Atria)

When a legend like Isabel Allende publishes a new book, it's time to get pumped. After they meet in a minor car accident, Evelyn, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, turns to Richard, a human rights scholar, for help. When he asks his tenant, Lucia, a lecturer from Chile, for advice, the three are tied together in a sweeping story that spans from Brooklyn to Guatemala to 1970s Chile and Brazil.

Click here to buy.