30 Fantastic New Books to Curl Up With This Fall

After a summer of beach reads filled with romance and enviable travel, fall marks a new wave of literary clout, feminist musings and rich, poetic prose. To get you ready for those rainy days when all you want to do is curl up under a blanket with a good book and a hot beverage, we've curated a list of fall's most anticipated new releases. Here are the books worth pre-ordering now: 

1. 'The Bone Clocks' by David Mitchell (Sept. 2)


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The New York Times bestselling author of Cloud Atlas returns with a novel just as rich in character and possibilities. Fifteen-year-old Holly Skyes runs away from her family, but she can't escape her personal affliction: She has psychic abilities. But these abilities aren't under her control; instead, the voices she hears form a living nightmare that divides her from reality. Simultaneously, a shocking disappearance shakes her family, and the mystery haunts Holly's life as she begins to be noticed by mystics and their enemies. Mitchell again creates a world that's both compelling and full of imagination.

2. '10:04' by Ben Lerner (Sept. 2)



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10:04 stars a narrator who has had a hectic year. He rose to literary fame, received a possibly deadly medical diagnosis and has been asked to help his friend get pregnant. The novel questions how thoroughly one can ever understand the future, as the narrator faces both his own mortality and the unexpected possibility of becoming a father. Both Jonathan Franzen and Jeffrey Eugenides have praised Lerner's novel for its originality and its sense of wit in the face of weighty topics. 

3. 'Women in Clothes' by Sheila Heti (Sept. 4)


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Heiti wrote the genre-bending book How Should a Person Be? that redefined what it meant to write a memoir or a novel. Now she has paired with editors Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton to create another convention-challenging book. The editors wrote 50 questions examining the deeper meanings behind women's fashion choices, and then compiled answers from hundreds of women of differing nationalities, including some from famous names like Lena Dunham. The end result explores the links between women's clothing choices and their deeper preferences.

4. 'How We Learn' by Benedict Carey (Sept. 9)


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Carey is an award-winning science reporter for the New York Times in addition to being one of the newspaper's most emailed reporters. In his third book, he explores the mysteries of mind and memory, and how we learn and retain information. He argues that forgetting, sleeping and daydreaming are all natural learning tools and that many of our most common learning strategies aren't necessarily making us any smarter. His counter-intuitive techniques compare the brain less to a muscle than to a mood as he explores how we can take advantage of the brain's quirks to learn more efficiently. 

5. 'Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking)' by Christian Rudder (Sept. 9)


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The Internet exploded in shock this summer when the founder of dating site OkCupid, Christian Rudder, announced they have been running behind-the-scenes experiments on the sites' users. In this book, we find out what he's learned. Instead of worrying about big data, he focuses on what we can learn from it. Rudder explores how people portray themselves publicly and privately and how this reflects historical human trends of global exploration. Rudder makes numbers into a narrative in this clever research on how we interact online and what it reveals about who we are offline. 

6. 'The Children Act' by Ian McEwan (Sept. 9)


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McEwan is the bestselling author of 15 books, including Atonement. In this novel, he writes about Fiona Maye, a High Court judge in family court. Renowned for her intelligence and sensitivity in the courtroom, her private life is riddled with complications. Torn up by the regret of not having children, she finds her emotions begin to affect her work. When she must rule over a case concerning a boy refusing lifesaving medical treatment for religious reasons, she faces questions of faith and life.  

7. 'Station Eleven' by Emily St. John Mandel (Sept. 9)


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It's rare to find an apocalyptic novel that doesn't become a rolling list of stereotypes, but hopes are high for this book. Station Eleven starts with the death of a Hollywood star in the middle of his performance of King Lear, at the beginning of the collapse of the world. When a Russian flight crashes in America, a virus it contains starts to spread across the country. Those who survive form wandering tribes, the most fascinating of which is the Traveling Symphony. This is Mandel's first novel, and it promises a refreshing take on art in an apocalyptic society. 

8. 'Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory' by Caitlin Doughty (Sept. 15)


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If you've ever been curious about the secret lives of morticians, you're in luck. Doughty is a mortician who writes about all the fascinating and morbid details of her job. This memoir is a unique coming-of-age story, as Doughty becomes familiar with the dead and learns the strange funeral practices of different cultures. Written candidly, with plenty of self-deprecating humor, she manages to make a macabre topic approachable. She also elegantly touches on more serious issues, from our fear of death to our mourning practices. 

9. 'Stone Mattress' by Margaret Atwood (Sept. 16)


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Atwood, famous for both her short stories and her novels such as A Handmaid's Tale, is at her best when she focuses on individual, idiosyncratic personalities — which she does in this collection. In her first short story collection since 2006, the first three stories are interconnected and all from the perspective of a sardonic famous author dreading a visit from a graduate student who is supposedly writing about his works. These three stories set the tone for the other six in the collection, which are equal parts hilarious and dark. 

10. 'I'll Give You the Sun' by Jandy Nelson (Sept. 16)


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Hopes are high for this young adult novel that critics have compared to works by John Green and Rainbow Rowell. It follows twins Jude and Noah, who at 16 are barely speaking to one another. The story jumps in time back to when they were 13 and still friendly, though opposites, and Noah was silently falling in love with the boy next door and Jude was taking enough risks for the both of them. Each twin tells half of the story, not realizing all the gaps that they're missing on their own. Nelson previously wrote the widely praised The Sky Is Everywhere.

11. 'How to Build a Girl' by Caitlin Moran (Sept. 23)


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For anyone else still trying to figure out who they want to be and who embarrassed themselves on that same mission in their teenage years, this is for you. Moran, feminist author of comedic memoir How to Be a Woman, is back with her first novel. Teenager Johanna Morrigan embarrasses herself on TV and decides that the solution is to reinvent herself completely as Dolly Wilde, a drinking, smoking rebel who writes pornographic letters to rock stars. The novel is self-described as "The Bell Jar written by Rizzo from Grease." Given Moran's legacy, it's likely she can pull it off. 

12. 'A Deadly Wandering' by Matt Richtel (Sept. 23)


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Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Richtel makes his book debut in this ambitious tracking of technology's impact on our lives. Through the lens of a car crash caused by texting while driving that killed two rocket scientists in 2006, Richtel explores how the human attention span has been impacted by technology. A mixture of narrative concerning the driver at fault and scientific information about our brains, A Deadly Wandering addresses how technology is affecting us and how we can move forward, both personally and as a society. 

13. 'Not That Kind of Girl' by Lena Dunham (Sept. 30)


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We're used to Dunham as the hilarious and wise creator and star of Girls. Now she's launching into the literary scene with this smart and sassy memoir. Dunham writes in the beginning of Not That Kind of Girl, "If I could take what I've learned and make one menial job easier for you, or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine was worthwhile." For fans of Dunham's typical witty candor, this book is a must. 

14. 'Belzhar' by Meg Wolitzer (Sept. 30)


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Jam Gallahue has a great life, complete with a fantastic British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield — that is, until Reeve dies. Jam tries to recover from her grief through a journal-writing assignment, but she uncovers hidden truths about her relationship and herself along the way. Wolitzer takes a refreshing look at first love and grief as she speaks elegantly to young adult readers. Wolitzer is already a literary genius as the author of bestselling books like The Interestings, so expectations are high for her first stab at young adult writing. 

15. 'The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher' by Hilary Mantel (Sept. 30)


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Mantel is a two-time winner of the Man Booker Prize for her bestselling novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. The author of 13 books total, this is a collection of contemporary stories that display all of the qualities of Mantel's writing that have defined her career. The stories traverse many topics — marriage, class, family fracture — but all cut to the core of human experience. 

16. 'A Sudden Light' by Garth Stein (Sept. 30)


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Stein shocked everyone with his last book, The Art of Racing in the Rain, by telling a compelling story from the perspective of a dog. Now he's is back with another remarkable story of emotional truth. Trevor Riddell visits his family's ancient Riddell House, just as his parents are separating and his father is trying to send his grandfather to a nursing home. The house is full of secrets, and as Trevor explores, he finds spirits as well — the kind that could reveal a way to reunite his family.  

17. 'The Innovators' by Walter Isaacson (Oct. 7)


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The newest book from the author of Jobs, the Steve Jobs biography, this book explores "How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution." The Innovators is a history of the digital revolution and how certain entrepreneurs managed to innovate how our entire society works. From Ada Lovelace, a computer programming pioneer, to Bill Gates, Isaacson tracks the minds of inventors and the ways they collaborated to create a new era. 

18. 'Lila' by Marilynne Robinson (Oct. 7)


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Robinson returns to the Iowa setting of her Pulitzer Prize-winning book Gilead in this new novel. Lila, a homeless woman, enters a small-town church and begins a relationship that leads to her marrying the minister and entering an ongoing debate. At the same time, she is trying to come to terms with her childhood of neglect and her makeshift family in order reconcile that life with the judgment her religious new husband places on her past.  

19. 'Leaving Time' by Jodi Picoult (Oct. 14)


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A #1 New York Times bestselling author of 22 novels, Picoult is back with her typical complex characters and poetic prose in another heart-wrenching story. Ten years ago, Jenna's mother mysteriously disappeared, but Jenna has never believed she was abandoned. Jenna partners with a psychic and a private detective to find her mother, who was a scientist studying grief among elephants. Both Jenna's memories and her mother's journal entries speed the novel to its gripping conclusion.

20. 'Choose Your Own Autobiography' by Neil Patrick Harris (Oct. 14)


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Harris has written what is undoubtedly one of the most unique autobiographies. Deciding that he was too young to write his life story, he instead created a second-person adventure story. He positions readers in his shoes, as a television star about to reveal to the world that he's gay. 

"I came upon this conceit of 'choose your own adventure,' to allow readers to choose which autobiography they were interested in," Harris said about the book. "You can have poignancy; you can have funny remembrances, or whatever path you want to follow."

21. 'The Republic of Imagination' by Azar Nafisi (Oct. 21)


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Nafisi wrote the #1 New York Times bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran about teaching literature in Iran during a time of political chaos. This follow-up focuses on America, rather than Iran, makes a point about how necessary fiction is to a democratic society. Part memoir, part close reading of classic American novels, her words will inspire creative passion and a love of literature in any reader. 

22. 'Yes Please' by Amy Poehler (Oct. 28)


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We're used to seeing Poehler as the comedian and actress who rose to fame on Saturday Night Live and took over television with her Parks & Recreation, and now she enters a new realm as author. Her first book is expected to be along the lines of friend Tina Fey's Bossypants. It includes personal stories and advice (both joking and serious) about friendship, sex and parenthood. Poehler's hilarious yet genuine voice has come across in every project she's done so far, and this book is sure to be no exception.  

23. 'The World of Ice and Fire' by George R. R. Martin (Oct. 28)


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This release date is probably already on any Game of Thrones fan's calendar. The World of Ice and Fire is a prologue to the events that have already taken place in the series, complete with lavish illustrations of all the rebellions that led to A Song of Ice and Fire and the HBO show. The book also includes over 170 pieces of original artwork, full family trees, explorations of the history and culture of Westeros and all-new written material. 

24. 'Atlantia' by Ally Condie (Oct. 28)


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For anyone still busy re-reading The Hunger Games, this newbie should be next in line. Author of the #1 New York Times bestselling young adult dystopian trilogy Matched, Condie is back with what promises to be a captivating fantasy novel. Twin sisters Rio and Bay are sirens who live underwater. When Bay leaves, Rio turns to a dangerous mentor and begins to question both her mother's death and the corrupt government that divides the land and the sea. Another novel about a powerful young woman taking on oppressive forces, Atlantia is guaranteed to make waves in the YA world. 

25. 'Prince Lestat' by Anne Rice (Oct. 28)


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Fans of Rice's vampire world will be delighted with the next book set in The Vampire Chronicles world. This mystery-thriller opens with chaos for the vampires, as they are hunted down across the world. New characters and familiar faces from the previous book return around Prince Lestat, a rebel who is the greatest hope for the undead. Prince Lestat is a can't-miss for any vampire fiction lover. 

26. 'Mermaids in Paradise' by Lydia Millet (Nov. 3)


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Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet's genre-bending 13th book depicts a whirlwind of a honeymoon, complete with mermaids, kidnappers and mercenaries. When newlyweds Deb and Chip meet a marine biologist on a Caribbean island, the last thing they expect her to say is that she's sighted mermaids. They go out to explore before the corporate resort they're staying at can gain a monopoly on the creatures and turn the reef into a theme park. Funny and mesmerizing, this is a must-read for anyone who wants to laugh out loud (and be transported back to the beach).

27. 'Ugly Girls' by Lindsay Hunter (Nov. 4)


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As Hunter's first novel after focusing her writing on flash fiction, Ugly Girls keeps the same urgent speed as her short stories. The page-turning story focuses on the friendship between Perry and Baby Girl and how that friendship breaks apart as they lose their senses of identity. Their friendship is built on a power struggle, from a trade of ugliness from one to another. But when the girls meet a man who poses a real threat, they must bond together to protect themselves. 

28. 'The Laughing Monsters' by Denis Johnson (Nov. 4)


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After 10 years, protagonist Roland Nair returns to Sierra Leone, where he once made money during the country's civil war. As he travels the country with an old friend, the travelers are shadowed by Interpol and MI6, all while keeping dangerous secrets from each other. In a world where post-9/11 loyalties can't be trusted, this novel is full of suspense and mystery. Johnson won the National Book Award in 2008 for his novel Tree of Smoke, and this literary spy thriller promises to live up to expectations. 

29. 'A Map of Betrayal' by Ha Jin (Nov. 4)



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A Map of Betrayal delves into espionage and politics between China and the United States through the perspective of Lilian Shang. After her parents die, American-born Lilian discovers her father's diary and learns about his history as a Chinese spy in the CIA. She decides to return to China to discover her father's abandoned other family, and she begins to understand the difficulties of betrayal and secrecy between countries and between generations. Jin is the author of six novels, including Waiting, winner of the PEN/Faulkner award. 

30. 'Revival' by Stephen King (Nov. 11)


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King is back with yet another thriller, this one set half a century ago in small town New England. The story spans five decades, following protagonist Jamie from his childhood, when he had a deep bond with the town Reverend until a scandal causes the preacher to be expelled from the community. In his mid-thirties, desperate and addicted to drugs, Jamie runs into the Reverend once more, and the revival of their bond has disturbing consequences. 

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Rachel Grate

I'm an avid reader, an enthusiastic eater, a slow but determined runner, and a proud feminist. And a smiler. I'm a big fan of smiles. @RachelSGrate austenfeminist.wordpress.com

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