Four Favorite Fall Releases

Posted October 15, 2015 by LeahAdmin in Reviews / 11 Comments

Four Favorite Fall Releases

Although I’ve stepped back from reviewing new releases in the last few months, the fall books I have managed to read so far have been excellent! Here’s a quick look at four of my favorites:

Fortune Smiles by Adam JohnsonFortune Smiles by Adam Johnson

Publisher: Random House
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher

Fresh off the heels of his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Orphan Master’s Son, Anthony Johnson is back with an excellent short story collection. In “George Orwell Was a Friend of Mine,” a former warden of an East German Stasi prison denies the crimes of his past and tries to convince tourists that no wrong-doing was committed. In “Dark Meadow,” a pedophile grapples with his desires while using his computer skills to fight child pornography. Mixing humor with darkness and despair, Fortune Smiles is sometimes deeply uncomfortable to read but compelling nonetheless.

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Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill CleggDid You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg

Publisher: Gallery/Scout Books
Release Date: September 8, 2015
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher

The night before her daughter’s wedding, June Reid loses everyone she cares about in a horrific gas explosion. Devastated, she sets off across the country to heal and start anew. Although this story alone would make for a beautiful, gut-wrenching book, Did You Ever Have a Family isn’t just a portrayal of a woman dealing with tragedy; using a rotating cast of memorable characters, Clegg paints a portrait of a small Connecticut town with it’s tangled relationships, unique social dynamics, and racial tensions. One of my favorite books of the year, this novel is heartbreaking, poignant, and ultimately uplifting.

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Fates and Furies by Lauren GroffFates and Furies by Lauren Groff 

Publisher: Riverhead Books
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Pages: 392
Source: Publisher

One of the biggest books of fall, Fates & Furies is a dazzling portrait of a marriage. When the novel opens, Lotto and Mathilde are newly married and passionately in love — but as the decades pass, the cracks in their relationship, the secrets and resentments roiling beneath the surface, are revealed. Although the first half of the novel, told from Lotto’s perspective, is less than spectacular, the second half, presenting Mathilde’s point of view, blows it out of the water. Wildly inventive and poetically written, Groff’s newest novel takes on a legendary feel with its vibrant characters, unique format, and and mythological allusions.

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Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye WatkinsGold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins

Publisher: Riverhead Books
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher

In a near-future California devastated by drought, Luz and Ray squat in an abandoned mansion, avoiding evacuation to a camp for as long as possible. Living on love and rationed cola, the couple are content eking out a meager living until they cross paths with a baby with strange blue-gray eyes and translucent skin. To give the child a better life, they set out across the desert in search of greener pastures. Emily St. John Mandel‘s post-apocalyptic vision meets Karen Russell‘s sparkling sentences to make Gold Fame Citrus a stunning work of fiction. Although the ending doesn’t quite hit the right note, this is a gripping novel with heart-stopping twists and a hearty dose of environmentalism. It’s totally bonkers and crazy good.

What’s the best new book you’ve read this fall?

  • Well…this sure is a list! Family is in the running for my favorite book of the year….just grabbed me emotionally and I love when books do that. I agree with you that the first half of F&F left me wanting…but the second half was fantastic. But, the first half will probably keep it off my Best of the Year list, but I would like to try something from her backlist. And – I think I need to give Gold Fame Citrus a shot despite the fact that the premise doesn’t really grab me…but I do love some “sparkling sentences”.

    • The only other Lauren Groff book I’ve read is Arcadia, which was excellent. Gold Fame Citrus really has some of the most interesting language I’ve read recently!

  • Veronica

    I am currently reading Fates and Furies…your right Lotto’s part is not that interesting finding it hard…but will your review Im like I just gotta hang in there!!

  • I’ve been curious about Gold Fame Citrus. I have a copy, but haven’t been pushed to pick it up…I think I just need to go for it.

  • I kept shirking off the idea of the Clegg book, but now I kinda wanna read it! Fates and Furies is staring at me from my stack wanting me to pick it up for Readathon today.

  • Oh boy, all the biggies on this list! I *still* need to get to Clegg. This is especially embarrassing because it was in my house—in my house!—and I still didn’t read it. Oy.

    I’ve been intrigued by Gold Fame Citrus since my first peek at its beautiful cover, too.

  • I have to read Fates and Furies. I HAVE TO! Everyone is talking about– my own husband has read it… and he’s not even a reader. Ok, I’m committing to it now. 🙂 All of these sound great but also very intense in the emotion department.