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11 Fantastic Reads for Fall

Get the jump on the new season with these bracing books

  • 'The Underground Railroad' by Colson Whitehead
    Courtesy Random House

    ‘The Underground Railroad’

    Colson Whitehead: Marrying history with fantasy, this novel has everyone talking. Oprah Winfrey chose it for her book club, and it was on President Obama’s summer reading list. The premise of this powerful, imaginative story: What if the Underground Railroad featured actual tunnels, engines and stations? A terrifying ride through the past. (Aug. 2)

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  • 'The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo' by Amy Schumer
    Courtesy Simon & Schuster

    ‘The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo’

    Amy Schumer: In this by turns hilarious and harrowing memoir, Amy Schumer chronicles the hard work and lonely travels to obscure clubs that led to her “overnight” success. She also shares tragic family ordeals with her boundary-challenged mother and her dad’s struggle with multiple sclerosis, always mining “poor decision” moments (that tattoo!) for laughs. (Aug. 16)

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  • 'Hidden Figures' by Margot Lee Shetterly
    Courtesy HarperCollins

    ‘Hidden Figures’

    Margot Lee Shetterly: This is the inspiring story of the courageous black female “computers” who filled a labor shortage at Virginia’s Langley Aeronautical Laboratory during World War II. After the war, they helped usher in NASA’s space age achievements — John Glenn’s orbit of Earth and the lunar landing — against the ever-present backdrop of the burgeoning civil rights movement. (Sept. 6)

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  • 'Best. State. Ever' by Dave Berry
    Courtesy Penguin Random House

    ‘Best. State. Ever.’

    Dave Barry: Although he catalogs Florida’s weirdnesses, Dave Barry claims to like it there because on any day, he could walk outside naked and “be perfectly physically comfortable until the police tasered me.” Also, Miami women are so smoking hot that “frequently, the tide, after coming in, refuses to go back out.” Hilarious — enjoy! (Sept. 6)

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  • 'Commonwealth' by Ann Patchett
    Courtesy HarperCollins


    Ann Patchett: This intriguing family saga begins with an illicit adult kiss at baby Franny’s christening party, throwing two sets of kids together as step-siblings. When a tragedy they share resurfaces years later in a novel written by Franny’s boyfriend, it forces a reckoning. A sensitive, timely meditation on the power — and ownership — of story. (Sept. 13)

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  • A middle aged caucasian couple look at a map outdoors with text that reads keep life fun and your calendar full.

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  • 'She Made Me Laugh: My Friend, Nora Ephron' by Richard Cohen
    Courtesy Simon & Schuster

    ‘She Made Me Laugh: My Friend Nora Ephron’

    Richard Cohen: The late, beloved writer Nora Ephron asked in her movie “When Harry Met Sally” whether men and women could be “just” friends. In this lovely, astute memoir, columnist Richard Cohen answers yes. Join in their travels and adventures as she takes him on the ride of his life. (Sept. 17)

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  • 'News of the World' by Paulette Jiles
    Courtesy HarperCollins

    ‘News of the World’

    Paulette Jiles: Capt. Jefferson Kidd travels the violent towns of post-Civil War Texas, reading newspapers to citizens who crave the distraction of news from afar. When he agrees to take a treacherous journey to return a 10-year-old white girl held captive by the Kiowa to her relatives, their harrowing adventure launches an epic friendship. (Oct. 4)

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  • 'Hagseed' by Margaret Atwood
    Courtesy Penguin Random House


    Magaret Atwood: His plans to direct The Tempest at the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival get stymied by his treacherous assistant, causing Felix to disappear for 12 years of self-imposed exile. Then, as a prison Shakespeare teacher, he stages an uproarious, fantastical production. Enchantingly multilayered, Hag-Seed is a play within a play within a play. (Oct. 11)

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  • Courtesy Simon & Schuster

    ‘The Girl From Venice’

    Martin Cruz Smith: In the waning days of World War II, the Venetian fisherman Cenzo finds a girl’s body floating — dead, or so he thought. Thus begins a strange mystery thriller of ever-shifting alliances and treachery between brothers and countrymen, as Cenzo embarks on a journey to help the wealthy young Jewish woman so dearly wanted by the Nazis. (Oct. 18)

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  • 'City of Dreams' by Tyler Anbinder
    Courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    ‘City of Dreams’

    Tyler Anbinder: This fascinating history of New York City begins in 1632, with Peter Minuit choosing Manhattan Island for the Dutch. English colonists quickly supervened; then came waves of Irish, German, Italian, Jewish, Chinese and Caribbean immigrants. The incredible sacrifices they endured to reach, build and prosper in the City of Dreams will make you appreciate being American — guaranteed. (Oct. 18)

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  • 'Moonglow' by Michael Chabon
    Courtesy HarperCollins


    Michael Chabon: The always talented Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union) draws on his family as inspiration for his new novel. In 1989, Chabon sat at the bedside of his dying grandfather, who shared previously unknown stories and memories. A tormented love story at its heart, it explores America before, during and after World War II. (Nov. 22)

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