We can hardly believe the end of summer is looming. The heat is ferocious and so are the soaking rain storms that turn our streets into canals. And who knows how many hurricane scares lie ahead?
But we’re so close to fall. The kids are complaining about heading back to school soon (parents, oddly, are not). We busted the budget with our tax-free shopping weekend. Traffic will soon be back to its regularly scheduled, miserable, soul-crushing disaster.
And the fall books are almost here.
Falls books are different from summer books (which you’re still probably trying to catch up on). They’re literary. They’re Important. But they are also often so, so good.
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So to get you ready for September a little early, we present the books you don’t want to miss this fall.
“Sourdough,” Robin Sloan (MCD/Farrar Straus and Giroux): In his novel “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” book, Sloan unraveled a mystery about a web designer who takes a job in a peculiar all-night Bay area book shop. New technology clashed, then melded, with classic history. “Sourdough” promises a similar sort of tech and analog mashup, in this case involving the food industry: a software engineer learns to bake bread and uncovers a secret underground market. We’re already hungry for it. Out Sept. 5.
“The Golden House,” Salman Rushdie (Random). “The Golden House” opens with the arrival in America of a mysterious foreign billionaire and his three grown sons, who settle in an exclusive neighborhood in Greenwich Village. Early buzz has compared Rushdie’s novel about the Obama years as a modern “Bonfire of the Vanities.” We’ll have to read it and see for ourselves. Rushdie appears at Books & Books in Coral Gables on Sept. 24. Out Sept. 5.
“Little Fires Everywhere,” Celeste Ng (Penguin): In her first novel, the devastating but beautiful “Everything I Never Told You,” Ng recounted the events leading up to the death of a teenage girl in 1970s Ohio. Ng, who excels at exploring the push and pull of family, culture and community, returns to the Cleveland suburbs in “Little Fires Everywhere,” about the Richardson family and their attraction to a mysterious mother and daughter who become tenants. Out Sept. 12.
“Forest Dark,” Nicole Krauss (Harper): Author of the haunting novel “The History of Love,” which ranges from Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe to contemporary Brighton Beach, Krauss lays out the story of an elderly lawyer and a young novelist whose paths cross in the Israeli desert. If it’s half as moving and lyrical as “The History of Love,” we will be pleased. Out Sept. 12.
“The Living Infinite,” Chantel Acevedo (Europa Editions): Miami novelist Acevedo, author of “The Distant Marvels” and an associate professor of English in the MFA Program at the University of Miami, revisits Spain’s Bourbon Court in this historical novel about the rebellious Spanish Princess Eulalia, who traveled to revolutionary Cuba and the Chicago World’s Fair. Out Sept. 12.
“Five-Carat Soul,” James McBride (Riverhead): McBride’s hilarious, National Book Award-winning novel “The Good Lord Bird” — about a freed slave boy who disguises himself as a girl and falls in with John Brown’s abolitionists — was a master class in narrative voice. The stories in “Five-Carat Soul” haven’t been published before, but we feel certain that McBride — also the author of nonfiction works “The Color of Water” and “Kill ’Em and Leave: The Search for James Brown and the American Soul” — will employ his satiric humor and prodigious ability to flesh out unforgettable characters in every story. Out Sept. 26.
“Here in Berlin,” Cristina García (Counterpoint): The city acts as a character in this new novel by the author of “Dreaming in Cuban,” “The Aguero Sisters and “King of Cuba.” García uses an unnamed narrator to reveal the stories of Berlin through its history and its people, examining how war, politics and their aftermath shape a place. Out Oct. 1.
“Fresh Complaint,” Jeffrey Eugenides (FSG): One word — “Middlesex” — makes this collection of short stories one of the most anticipated releases of the fall. Also the author of “The Virgin Suicides” and the underrated “The Marriage Plot,” Eugenides won the Pulitzer Prize for “Middlesex,” set in his hometown of Detroit. “Fresh Complaint” is his first story collection, and he’ll be at Miami Book Fair in November to talk about it. Out Oct. 3.
“Manhattan Beach,” Jennifer Egan (Scribner): The most anticipated novel of the fall comes from Egan, who won the Pulitzer in 2011 for her terrific novel-in-stories “A Visit from the Goon Squad” (read it now if you haven’t). “Manhattan Beach” is a complete turnaround from that post-modern masterpiece; it’s an historical novel that opens during America’s Great Depression and examines the effects of war on American lives. Egan will also attend Miami Book Fair. Out Oct. 3.
“We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy,” Ta-Nehisi Coates (One World): The followup to Coates’ National Book Award-winning “Between the World and Me” is made up of essays about the Obama era and how racial and cultural politics played out against it. Eight of the works are new, and a handful have been previously published in The Atlantic, including “The Case for Reparations.” Out Oct. 3.
“Ali,” Jonathan Eig (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt): He was loved. He was hated. He was the greatest, and yet until now there has not been a definitive biography of Muhammad Ali, who died in 2016. Eig, author of “Get Capone” and “The Birth of the Pill,” aims to remedy that oversight with his latest book about one of the most compelling American figures of the 20th century. Out Oct. 3.
“Grant,” Ron Chernow (Penguin): There’s no telling if an enterprising genius will turn Chernow’s latest historical biography into a smash Broadway musical, but stranger things have happened. After all, Lin-Manuel Miranda read Chernow’s last book and thought: “Hey, you know what, I’m going to write a hip-hop show based on the life of Alexander Hamilton.” Now Chernow follows up his monster bestseller with the aim of changing the bad reputation of our 18th president, Ulysses S. Grant. Will he succeed? Well, he did help keep Hamilton on the $10 bill. Out Oct. 10.
“Future Home of the Living God,” Louise Erdrich (Harper): Winner of the National Book Award for “The Round House,” Erdrich has spent her career weaving stories around the fascinating people of an Ojibwe reservation in Minnesota (we loved her last novel, “LaRose,” to distraction). Now she turns her hand to a dystopian novel about a young mother-to-be in a world in which women are giving birth to a primitive species. If that plot doesn’t give you chills, nothing will. Out Nov. 14.