Fall books a broad mix of literary and commercial favorites
NEW YORK (AP) — Anticipation for one of the fall’s likeliest bestsellers has been growing all year.
For months, Colleen Hoover’s millions of fans on TikTok, Instagram and elsewhere have been talking up and posting early excerpts from her novel “It Starts With Us.” By summer, the author’s sequel to her bestselling “It Ends With Us” had already reached the top 10 Amazon.com. It might have climbed higher but for competition from other Hoover novels, including “Ugly Love,” “Verity” and, of course, “It Ends With Us,” the dramatic tale of a love triangle and a woman’s endurance of domestic abuse that young TikTok users have embraced and helped make Hoover the country’s most popular fiction writer.
Hoover’s extraordinary run on bestseller lists, from Amazon.com to The New York Times, has been Beatle-esque for much of 2022, with four or more books likely to appear in the top 10 at a given moment. “It Starts With Us” had been so eagerly desired by her admirers — CoHorts, some call themselves — that she broke a personal rule: Don’t let “outside influences” determine her next book.
“I never allowed myself to entertain a sequel, but with the amount of people emailing me every day and tagging me in an online petition to write about (those characters), their story began to build in my head in the same way my other books begin,” she told The Associated Press in a recent email. “Eventually I craved telling this story as much as I did my other stories, so I owe the readers a big thank you for the nudging.”
Hoover’s new book should help extend what has been another solid year for the industry. Booksellers are looking forward to a mix of commercial favorites such as Hoover, Anthony Horowitz, Beverly Jenkins and Veronica Roth alongside what Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt calls a “really strong” lineup of literary releases, including novels by Ian McEwan and Kate Atkinson.
The fall also will feature new fiction from Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk and Pulitzer Prize-winners Elizabeth Strout and Andrew Sean Greer. Celeste Ng’s “Our Missing Hearts” is her first novel since “Little Fires Everywhere.” Story collections are expected from George Saunders, Andrea Barrett and Ling Ma, along with novels by Percival Everett, Barbara Kingsolver, Kevin Wilson, N.K. Jemisin, Lydia Millet and Yiyun Li.
Cormac McCarthy, 89, has new fiction coming for the first time in more than a decade with “The Passenger,” and its companion “Stella Maris.” John Irving, who turned 80 this year, is calling the 900-page “The Last Chairlift” his last “long novel,” a description which could apply to much of his career.
Russell Banks, 82, has completed the elegiac novel “The Magic Kingdom,” and former U.S. poet laureate Robert Pinsky, 81, has written the autobiography “Jersey Breaks,” in which he addresses what he calls the “tribalism” and “nationalism” of the current moment by reflecting on his childhood in Long Branch, New Jersey.
“I realized that I am not a great sociologist or political sage, but I thought I could deal with this by going back to growing up in a town that was segregated, biracial and lower middle class,” Pinsky says. “I felt that whatever answers I might have would be found there.”
Joe Concha’s “Come On, Man!: The Truth About Joe Biden’s Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Presidency” is the most colorfully named of the latest round of books attacking an incumbent president — a long and profitable publishing tradition. But the most high-profile works of political reporting dwell on Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, among them “Confidence Man,” by The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, and “The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017–2021,” by Peter Baker of the Times and Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.
Michelle Obama’s “The Light We Carry” is her first entirely new book since her worldwide bestseller from 2018, “Becoming.” Benjamin Netanyahu’s “Bibi” is the first memoir by the former Israeli Prime Minister, while American politicians with new books include Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke.
The fall will feature numerous posthumous releases, from the letters of John le Carré and the diaries of Alan Rickman to fiction by Leonard Cohen and memoirs by Michael K. Williams and Paul Newman, whose “The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man” restores a project the actor abandoned years before his death in 2008.
“Victory Is Assured” compiles essays by the late critic and novelist Stanley Crouch, and “Ain’t But a Few of Us: Black Music Writers Tell Their Story” includes the influential Greg Tate, who died last year. Assorted works by Randall Kenan, the award-winning fiction writer who died in 2020, are collected in “Black Folk Could Fly.” His friend Tayari Jones, author of the acclaimed novel “An American Marriage,” wrote the introduction.
“Reading over the manuscript pages, I sometimes spoke to him, asking why he never told me this or that thing,” Jones told the AP. “Sometimes I laughed out loud and said, ‘Randall you are so crazy!’ — as though we were having a drink — boulevardiers! — and he had just related a hilarious anecdote. Other times, his brilliance underscored the breadth and depth of our loss, and I sat at my kitchen table and wept.”
Celebrity books include Bono’s “Surrender,” Matthew Perry’s “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing” and Geena Davis’ “Dying of Politeness.” Bob Dylan reflects upon an art form he helped reinvent in “The Philosophy of Modern Song,” while the title of Jan Wenner’s memoir invokes the Dylan classic that helped inspire the name of the magazine he founded, “Like a Rolling Stone.”
Memoirs also are scheduled from Steve Martin, Linda Ronstadt, Constance Wu and Brian Johnson. Patti Smith’s “A Book of Days” builds upon the words and images of her widely followed Instagram account, on which she might post anything from a statue of Leonardo da Vinci to her cat staring at the cover of Dostoevsky’s “The Idiot.”
“I love doing my Instagram; it’s the only social media I really engage in,” Smith says. “The book was actually quite laborious. It takes time to write a short caption. You have to find a way to impart a lot in a few sentences.”
In poetry, one notable release is a work of narrative prose: Nobel laureate Louise Glück’s “Marigold and Rose” is a brief exploration into the minds of infant twins, inspired by the author’s grandchildren. It’s the first published fiction by the 79-year-old Glück, whose previous releases include more than 10 poetry collections and two books of essays.
New poetry includes works by Pulitzer-winners Jorie Graham and Sharon Olds, Saeed Jones, Jenny Xie, former U.S. poet laureates Billy Collins and Joy Harjo, Linda Pastan and Wang Yin, the Chinese poet whose “A Summer Day in the Company of Ghosts” is his first work to come out in English.
History books will cover the famous and the overlooked. Among the former are Pulitzer-winner Jon Meacham’s “And There Was Light,” the latest entry into the canon of Abraham Lincoln scholarship, and Pulitzer-winner Stacy Schiff’s biography of Samuel Adams, “The Revolutionary.” Fred Kaplan, who focused on Lincoln’s prose in “Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer,” now assesses Thomas Jefferson in “His Masterly Pen: A Biography of Jefferson the Writer.”
Releases highlighting those less remembered include Kevin Hazzard’s “American Sirens: The Incredible Story of the Black Men Who Became America’s First Paramedics,” and Katie Hickman’s “Brave Hearted: The Women of the American West.” With the overturning last summer of Roe v. Wade, Laura Kaplan’s “The Story of Jane” is a timely reissue of her 1995 book about the underground abortion counseling service founded in Chicago in 1969, four years before the Supreme Court’s historic Roe ruling.
Bruce Henderson’s “Bridge to the Sun” centers on the recruitment of Japanese-Americans, some of whom had been in internment camps, to assist in U.S. intelligence gathering during World War II.
“It was really hard to research because many of them had been working on top secret projects, and, even after they had been discharged, were reminded that they were under the National Security Act and that military secrets had to be kept,” Henderson says. “We had to do a lot of digging and contact families and see what the veterans had left behind. Of the six guys that I follow in my book, only one was still alive.”
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