There are so many new books out all the time, but these have particularly caught my eye. The publisher descriptions are included below, but have been shortened (considerably in some cases) for possible spoilers, and in the interest of brevity. Book covers and titles will take you to full information.
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell (October 3, Little, Brown and Company) Three thousand years ago on a battlefield in ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy felled a mighty warrior with nothing more than a stone and a sling, and ever since then the names of David and Goliath have stood for battles between underdogs and giants. David’s victory was improbable and miraculous. He shouldn’t have won. Or should he have? In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks.
The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson (October 1, Grove Press) – Set in seventeenth-century England during the reign of James I-the monarch who wrote his own book on witchcraft-The Daylight Gate is best-selling writer Jeanette Winterson’s re-creation of a dark history full of complicated morality, sex, and tragic plays for power. This is a world where to be Catholic is a treasonable offense. A world where England’s king vows to rid his country of “witchery popery popery witchery” and condemns the High Mass and Black Mass as heresies punishable by torture, hanging, and burning. Winterson’s literary suspense tale takes us deep into a brutal period of English history, centered on the notorious 1612 Pendle witch trials-an infection of paranoia that crossed the ocean with the Pilgrims and set the scene for the Salem witch hunt.
Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen (October 1, Gallery Books) – It is 1845, and Frances Osgood is desperately trying to make a living as a writer in New York; not an easy task for a woman—especially one with two children and a philandering portrait painter as her husband. As Frances tries to sell her work, she finds that editors are only interested in writing similar to that of the new renegade literary sensation Edgar Allan Poe, whose poem, “The Raven” has struck a public nerve. She meets the handsome and mysterious Poe at a literary party, and the two have an immediate connection. Poe wants Frances to meet with his wife since she claims to be an admirer of her poems, and Frances is curious to see the woman whom Edgar married. As Frances spends more and more time with the intriguing couple, her intense attraction for Edgar brings her into dangerous territory. And Mrs. Poe, who acts like an innocent child, is actually more manipulative and threatening than she appears. As Frances and Edgar’s passionate affair escalates, Frances must decide whether she can walk away before it’s too late…
The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane (October 1, Faber & Faber) – Ruth is widowed, her sons are grown, and she lives in an isolated beach house outside of town. Her routines are few and small. One day a stranger arrives at her door, looking as if she has been blown in from the sea. This woman—Frida—claims to be a care worker sent by the government. Ruth lets her in. Now that Frida is in her house, is Ruth right to fear the tiger she hears on the prowl at night, far from its jungle habitat? Why do memories of childhood in Fiji press upon her with increasing urgency? How far can she trust this mysterious woman, Frida, who seems to carry with her own troubled past? And how far can Ruth trust herself?
The October List by Jeffery Deaver (October 1, Grand Central) – Gabriela waits desperately for news of her abducted daughter. At last, the door opens. But it’s not the negotiators. It’s not the FBI. It’s the kidnapper. And he has a gun. How did it come to this? Two days ago, Gabriela’s life was normal. Then, out of the blue, she gets word that her six-year-old daughter has been taken. She’s given an ultimatum: pay half a million dollars and find a mysterious document known as the “October List” within 30 hours, or she’ll never see her child again. A mind-bending novel with twists and turns that unfold from its dramatic climax back to its surprising beginning, The October List is Jeffery Deaver at his masterful, inventive best.
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (October 1 , Viking Adult) – Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker—a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry’s brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father’s money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma’s research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction—into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist—but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life.
The Spy Mistress by Jennifer Chiaverini (October 1, Dutton Adult) – Born to slave-holding aristocracy in Richmond, Virginia, and educated by Northern Quakers, Elizabeth Van Lew was a paradox of her time. Van Lew’s skills in gathering military intelligence were unparalleled. She helped to construct the Richmond Underground and orchestrated escapes from the infamous Confederate Libby Prison under the guise of humanitarian aid. Her spy ring’s reach was vast, from clerks in the Confederate War and Navy Departments to the very home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. In Chiaverini’s riveting tale of high-stakes espionage, a great heroine of the Civil War finally gets her due.
The Tilted World by Tom Frankling and Beth Ann Fennelly (October 1, William Morrow) Set against the backdrop of the historic flooding of the Mississippi River, The Tilted World is an extraordinary tale of murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, and a man and a woman who find unexpected love. The year is 1927. As rains swell the Mississippi, the mighty river threatens to burst its banks and engulf everything in its path, including federal revenue agent Ted Ingersoll and his partner, Ham Johnson. Arriving in the tiny hamlet of Hobnob, Mississippi, to investigate the disappearance of two fellow agents who’d been on the trail of a local bootlegger, they are astonished to find a baby boy abandoned in the middle of a crime scene. Ingersoll, an orphan raised by nuns, is determined to find the infant a home, and his search leads him to Dixie Clay Holliver. When Ingersoll learns that a saboteur might be among them, planning a catastrophe along the river that would wreak havoc in Hobnob, he knows that he and Dixie Clay will face challenges and choices that they will be fortunate to survive.
I plan on picking up a few of these over the coming weeks. Anything you’re planning to read?