Books

fall arts preview

Curl up with a new book this fall. There are a lot of good ones.

FICTION

Marquee names

Commonwealth

by Ann Patchett

Harper

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A drunken kiss in 1960s Los Angeles implodes two families, then twines them together for life in this big-hearted, gimlet-eyed domestic epic.

(September)

Moonglow

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by Michael Chabon

Harper

His own grandfather’s deathbed storytelling was the inspiration for Chabon’s latest tale, which careens through a 20th century whose Greatest Generation wasn’t always that.

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(November)

Swing Time

by Zadie Smith

Penguin Press

The childhood friendship of two girls from Smith’s beloved North West London, both biracial, both eager to dance, propels this novel about race and where we’re rooted.

(November)

Splashy debuts

The Mortifications

by Derek Palacio

Crown/Tim Duggan

Soledad leaves Cuba in 1980 to make a new life with her children in the alien environs of Hartford, even as her husband, Uxbal, insists on staying behind.

(October)

The Mothers

by Brit Bennett

Riverhead

A summer romance, an unintended pregnancy, and the secrecy that tests the bond between two young women figure in this much talked about first novel, set in Southern California.

(October)

all about the stories

Virgin and Other Stories

By April Ayers Lawson

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Sex mingles with Southern Christianity in this debut, whose title piece — about the intimate anxieties of a pair of newlyweds — won The Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize for Fiction.

(November)

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?: Stories

by Kathleen Collins

Ecco

An obscure African-American artist and filmmaker, who died at 46 in 1988, gets her long-delayed moment with this slender, previously unpublished collection of stories.

(December)

Stage-struck

The Lesser Bohemians

by Eimear McBride

Hogarth

This second novel from the author of the bruising debut “A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing” tells the story of a troubled entanglement between a young Irish drama student and an older actor in 1990s London.

(September)

Hag-Seed

by Margaret Atwood

Hogarth

No Shakespeare play has been harmed in the making of this novel, which reworks “The Tempest” with a betrayed and exiled theater director at its center. Part of the excellent Hogarth Shakespeare series.

(October)

Holed up

Shelter in Place

by Alexander Maksik

Europa

A young man’s bipolar disorder and his mother’s imprisonment for murder shape this story of a family in the Pacific Northwest, from the author of “A Marker to Measure Drift.”

(September)

The Terranauts

by T.C. Boyle

Ecco

In the Arizona desert, a group of 1990s scientists live out an in-vitro experiment inside a prototype for the kind of colony humans might need to consider if climate change ruins the planet.

(October)

Cue laughter

A Gambler’s Anatomy

by Jonathan Lethem

Doubleday

The career of a globetrotting backgammon hustler, who may or may not be telepathic, hits the skids just as some unsightly health trouble sends him back to Berkeley, Calif.

(October)

Today Will Be Different

by Maria Semple

Little, Brown

A stressed-out heroine resolves to change her rather plush life in this comedy, whose precious Seattle setting is as ripe a target for Semple’s satire as it was in “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”

(October)

War stories

The Gustav Sonata

by Rose Tremain

Norton

Growing up in postwar Switzerland with his widowed, bitterly anti-Semitic mother, a lonely boy named Gustav forms a deep friendship with a new child at school, a Jewish pianist named Anton.

(September)

Perfume River

by Robert Olen Butler

Atlantic Monthly Press

Butler drew on his army experience in the Vietnam War to write his Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain.” Here, he traces the legacy of that war inside one Florida family.

(September)

In translation

Reputations

by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean,

Riverhead

A political cartoonist, whose pen holds great moral sway in his country, is jostled into questioning his own past. From the Colombian author of “The Sound of Things Falling.”

(September)

Memoirs of a Polar Bear

by Yoko Tawada, translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky,

New Directions

The Tokyo-born, Berlin-based Tawada weaves a tale of three generations of circus-performer celebrity polar bears, each with a talent for literary autobiography.

(November)

Mysteriously

The Big Book of Jack the Ripper

edited by Otto Penzler,

Vintage

Crime/Black Lizard

More than 40 classic and contemporary tales about the elusive serial killer appear in this anthology, alongside grisly nonfiction elements including autopsy reports and witness statements.

(October)

The Trespasser

by Tana French

Viking

Most of the others on the murder squad would like Detective Antoinette Conway to go away, and the hostility is getting to her. Also, why does the latest corpse look so familiar?

(October)

Chaos: A Scarpetta Novel

by Patricia Cornwell

William Morrow

A dead body on the banks of the Charles River. Lightning that couldn’t have struck. A cyber-poet who refuses to stop. Kay Scarpetta will put it all together and figure it out.

(November)

LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES

NONFICTION

Lives, Past and Present

Born to Run

by Bruce Springsteen

Simon & Schuster

In one of the most highly anticipated musical memoirs in years, the New Jersey troubadour tells his own story with all the grit and grace of his songs’ lyrics.

(September)

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life

by Ruth Franklin

Liveright

Book critic Franklin presents a fresh look at one of our most underrated writers, “The Lottery” author Jackson, as well as a portrait of her midcentury milieu.

(September)

Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs

by Robert Kanigel

Knopf

The first biography of Jacobs, an icon of urban design and perhaps the most important voice in helping Americans understand and appreciate cities, published to coincide with the centennial of her birth.

(September)

Mary Astor’s Purple Diary: The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936

by Edward Sorel

Liveright

This vintage treasure captures a Depression-era tabloid sensation in gorgeous cartoon form.

(October)

The Feud: Vladimir Nabokov, Edmund Wilson, and the End of a Beautiful Friendship

by Alex Beam

Pantheon

Great artists can be both passionate and petty, as Globe columnist Beam demonstrates in this engaging account of the falling out between two of the 20th century’s most fearsome literary lions.

(December)

Arts and ideas

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders

by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton

Workman

Richly illustrated, delightfully strange, this compendium of off-beat destinations should spark many adventures, both terrestrial and imaginary.

(September)

Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear . . . and Why

by Sady Doyle

Melville House

In this smart, funny, and fearless debut, Doyle examines society’s obsession with punishing women who break the rules.

(September)

John Derian Picture Book

by John Derian

Artisan

Gorgeously wordless, a collection of favorite images curated by the designer whose career began in the thrift shops and flea markets of Massachusetts.

(October)

Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World

by Steven Johnson

Riverhead

Popular PBS and BBC host Johnson (“How We Got to Now’’) is a master storyteller; the tale he spins is about how nearly every important human creation sprang from the very human need to have fun.

(November)

Here and now

Waging War: The Clash Between Presidents and Congress, 1776 to ISIS

by David J. Barron

Simon & Schuster

Barron, a judge and former Harvard Law professor, chronicles the eternal tug-of-war between our executive and legislative branches when it comes to putting American troops into warfare — the topic is both timely and timeless.

(October)

Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives

by Gary Younge

Nation

By looking closely at one day’s toll in American gun violence, Younge examines just how much individual heartache, societal damage, and grieviously lost potential we accept in the name of self-defense.

(October)

They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement

by Wesley Lowery

Little, Brown

Lowery, the Washington Post reporter whose coverage helped the nation understand what was happening in Fergusion, Mo., now looks beyond the protests to a growing movement of young activists for racial justice.

(November)

Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move

by Reece Jones

Verso

In an era of terrorism, global inequality, and rising political tension over migration, Jones argues that tight border controls make the world worse, not better.

(October)

Science and Medicine

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who

Helped Win the Space Race

by Margot Lee Shetterly

William Morrow

Engrossing account of the previously little known story of the hundreds of women, including scores of African-American women, hired just after World War II to lend their mathematical skills to the nascent space program.

(September)

Being a Dog: Following the Dog into a World of Smell

by Alexandra Horowitz

Scribner

Few forces are more powerful than a dog’s sense of smell; in this follow-up to her acclaimed 2009 “Inside of a Dog,” Horowitz focuses on this canine superpower, and what we humans might learn from it.

(October)

How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS

by David France

Knopf

Based on the author’s Oscar-nominated documentary of the same name, a sweeping yet intimate look at how gay people and their straight allies came together in the face of an unforgiving disease.

(November)

The Wood for the Trees: One Man’s Long View of Nature

by Richard Fortey

Knopf

Part naturalist, part essayist, Fortey writes a “biography” of his own four acres of England woodland; the result is a book that blends scientific inquiry and an almost spiritual wonder.

(December)

Sporting news

Fields of Battle: Pearl Harbor, the Rose Bowl, and the Boys Who Went to War

by Brian Curtis

Flatiron

Following the players on the best two college football teams in 1941, veteran sportswriter Curtis charts a group biography of young athletes interrupted by war.

(September)

The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football

by S. C. Gwynne

Scribner

Best-selling biographer Gwynne (“Rebel Yell,” “Empire of the Southern Moon”) tells the story of Hal Mumme, the coach of a small college whose belief in the superiority of the passing game revolutionized football.

(September)

The Boys of Dunbar: A Story of Love, Hope, and Basketball

by Alejandro Danois

Simon & Schuster

As the city of Baltimore suffered through crack and crime in the early 1980s, one high school basketball team triumphed through determination and teamwork; four members ended up in the NBA.

(September)

KATE TUTTLE

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