Drawn from the 14,000+ titles in PW's Fall Announcements issue (available in full here), we asked our reviews editors to pick the most notable books publishing in Fall 2016. Links to reviews are included when available. (Click here for PW’s list of most anticipated fall children's and YA books.)
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday, Aug.) - A young slave makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South, on a literal Underground Railroad, with engineers and conductors operating a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath Southern soil.
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (Harper, Sept.) - Patchett’s family portrait is a collage of parents, children, and stepchildren, showing how alliances and animosities ebb and flow over time, and how a fatal accident changes the family for good.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith (Penguin Press, Nov.) - Two girls dream of being dancers—but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, and about what constitutes a tribe and what makes a person truly free. The friendship ends abruptly, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten.
Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Sept.) - Unfolding over four tumultuous weeks in present-day Washington, D.C., Foer’s first novel in 11 years is the story of a fracturing family in a moment of crisis.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett (Riverhead, Oct.) - This debut novel begins with 17-year-old Nadia Turner’s pregnancy (the father is the local pastor’s son), and the subsequent cover-up. Years later, living in debt, the characters are haunted by what might have happened if they had made different decisions.
The Lost Boy by Camilla Lackberg (Pegasus Crime, Oct.) - The seventh series novel from Lackberg, Sweden’s bestselling “Queen of Crime,” centers on the murder of the town of Fjallbacka’s financial director, Mats Sverin, a man who everybody liked yet nobody really knew.
IQ by Joe Ide (Mulholland, Oct.) – Isaiah Quintabe (aka IQ for his high intelligence), the hero of Ide’s first novel, is a high school dropout in East Long Beach, Calif., who takes on the case of a rap mogul whose life is in danger.
The One Man by Andrew Gross (Minotaur, Aug.) – Bestseller Gross revisits the horrors of WWII in this thriller involving an Allied plot to rescue an atomic physicist from Auschwitz.
Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation edited and trans. by Ken Liu (Tor, Nov.) - This stellar anthology of 13 stories selected and translated by Liu (the Dandelion Dynasty series) brings the best of Chinese science fiction to anglophones.
Summerlong by Peter S. Beagle (Tachyon, Sept.) - Renowned fantasy author Beagle (The Last Unicorn) recasts a primeval myth in this 21st-century hymn to Persephone celebrating the cyclic changing of seasons, relationships, and the life of the planet itself.
Everfair by Nisi Shawl (Tor, Sept.) - In this deeply compelling debut novel, Shawl takes readers to an alternate Earth where the inhumane history of the Belgian Congo is brilliantly rewritten when Africa’s indigenous populations learn about steam power.
The Queen of Blood: Book 1 of the Queens of Renthia by Sarah Beth Durst (Harper Voyager, Sept.) - Mythopoeic Award–winner Durst (Chasing Power) launches her Queens of Renthia series with a stellar and imaginative tale that combines a solid cast of characters, great political intrigue, and fascinating worldbuilding.
Looking for Group by Alexis Hall (Riptide, Aug.) - Kit is everything that casual gamer Drew is looking for in a girlfriend—except that outside of their online role-playing game, Kit’s a guy, and a total nerd.
First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Morrow, Aug.) - Detective Piper Dove is determined to protect Chicago Stars quarterback Cooper Graham, whether he wants her to or not.
Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare (Avon, Sept.) - Dare makes her long-awaited return to Spindle Cove with a new novel combining her two bestselling series.
Coming Clean by C.L. Parker (Bantam, Sept.) - Parker’s witty, insightful, and inventive Monkey Business Trio finale (after Getting Rough) packs an emotional punch.
Cannibal by Safiya Sinclair (Univ. of Nebraska, Sept.) - Colliding with and confronting Shakespeare’s The Tempest and postcolonial identity, Sinclair’s poems explore Jamaican childhood and history, race relations in America, womanhood, otherness, and exile. She evokes a home no longer accessible and a body at times uninhabitable, often mirrored by a hybrid Eve/Caliban figure.
Float by Anne Carson (Knopf, Nov.) - Presented as individual chapbooks that can be read in any order and that float inside a transparent case, Carson’s latest mixes voices, time periods, and structures to explore in-between spaces.
Imaginary Vessels by Paisley Rekdal (Copper Canyon, Nov.) - Rekdal questions how identity and being inhabit metaphorical and personified “vessels,” whether blown glass and soap bubbles or skulls unearthed at a mental institution. Her intellectually inquisitive and carefully researched poems delight in sound, meter, and head-on engagement.
IRL by Tommy Pico (Birds LLC, Sept.) - Through his alter ego, “Teebs,” Pico asks what happens to a modern, queer, NDN person alienated from ancestral language, religion, and history. Though compelled toward “boys, burgers, booze,” Teebs begins to suspect there is perhaps a more ancient goddess calling to him through art.
Save Twilight: Selected Poems by Julio Cortázar, edited and trans. by Stephen Kessler (City Lights, Aug.) - A master of modern fiction, Cortázar was also a prolific poet who in his final months assembled his life’s work in verse. This new, expanded edition includes nearly 100 new pages of poems, prose, and illustrations.
The Arab of the Future 2: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1984–1985: A Graphic Memoir by Riad Sattouf. Metropolitan, Sept.) - Sattouf's dark-humored memoir of his dysfunctional family and childhood in Syria continues.
Demon, Vol. 1 by Jason Shiga (First Second, Oct.) - A locked-room mystery turns into a brain-bending chase between the world's most dangerous man and the detective sworn to bring him in.
Wonder Woman: The True Amazon by Jill Thompson (DC, Oct.) - The renaissance of Wonder Woman continues with this gorgeously painted tale of her youth.
Darling Days by iO Tillett Wright (Ecco, Sept.) - A young woman’s coming of age, a tale of gender and identity, freedom and addiction, rebellion and survival in the 1980s and 1990s, when punk, poverty, heroin, and art collided in the urban bohemia of New York’s Lower East Side.
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer (S&S/Gallery, Aug.) - Comedian, writer, producer, and actress Schumer reflects on her childhood antics and her rise to stardom, in a series of very personal essays.
Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing by Jennifer Weiner (Atria, Oct.) - A #1 New York Times bestselling author makes her first foray into nonfiction. Weiner takes the raw stuff of her personal life and spins it into a collection of funny and moving essays on modern womanhood.
The Feud: Vladimir Nabokov, Edmund Wilson, and the End of a Beautiful Friendship by Alex Beam (Pantheon, Dec.) – Beam traces a famous literary friendship from its beginning to its stormy end.
Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey by Frances Wilson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Oct.) - The riches-to-rags story of the last of the romantics—a 19th-century opium eater, celebrity journalist, and professional doppelgänger.
John Aubrey, My Own Life by Ruth Scurr (New York Review Books, Sept.) – Scurr reinvents literary biography by collating and expanding upon the surviving writings of a 17th century Englishman, the first modern biographer, to present what could have been his diary.
Looking for 'The Stranger': Albert Camus and the Life of a Literary Classic by Alice Kaplan (Univ. of Chicago, Sept.) – Kaplan explains how a young, first-time writer produced one of the greatest works of 20th-century French literature.
American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes, and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin (Doubleday, Aug.) - The author of The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson provides another definitive and nuanced look at a notorious crime case—this time, the 1974 abduction of heiress Patty Hearst in San Francisco by the Symbionese Liberation Army, and its sensational aftermath.
The Black Panthers: Portraits from an Unfinished Revolution, edited by Bryan Shih and Yohuru Williams (Nation, Sept.) - With a splendid assemblage of pictures and interviews, photographer Shih and historian Williams shine fresh light on the people in and the diverse activities of the Black Panther Party on the 50th anniversary of its founding.
Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America by Patrick Phillips (Norton, Sept.) - In 1912, a young girl’s murder rocked the rural community of Forsyth County, Ga., and led a mob of whites to lynch a black man in the town square. Phillips breaks the century-long silence of his hometown and uncovers a history of racial terrorism that continues to shape America in the 21st century.
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly (Morrow, Sept.) - The story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians and the crucial role they played in America’s space program is set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South.
Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State by Barton Gellman (Penguin Press, Sept.) - The three-time Pulitzer-winner tells the story of the rise of the post-9/11 American surveillance state.
Thank You for Being Late: Finding a Job, Running a Country, and Keeping Your Head in an Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Nov.) - The New York Times columnist argues that we have entered an age of dizzying acceleration and explains how to live in it.
They Can’t Kill Us All: The Story of #Blacklivesmatter by Wesley Lowery (Little, Brown, Nov.) - Washington Post reporter Lowery takes a behind-the-barricades look at the young men and women leading the Black Lives Matter movement.
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (Simon & Schuster, Sept.) - The Boss tells the story of his life: “Writing about yourself is a funny business.... But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I’ve tried to do this.”
Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy by Mike Love and James S. Hirsch (Penguin/Blue Rider, Sept.) - Love tells the story of his five-decade career as a member of one of the most popular American bands in history.
My Life with Earth, Wind & Fire by Maurice White, with Herb Powell (Amistad, Sept.) - In this powerful and substantial memoir, White (who died in February 2016), the creative force behind Earth, Wind & Fire, shares the belief—in God, in himself, in the power of music—that helped him overcome an underprivileged childhood and institutional racism to create phenomenal, self-driven success.
The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel (Viking, Dec.) - Sobel tells the little-known true story of the unexpected and remarkable contributions to astronomy made by a group of women working in the Harvard College Observatory from the late 19th century through the mid-20th—a period thought of as the twilight before the dawn of modern astrophysics.
Modified: GMOs and the Threat to Our Food, Our Land, Our Future by Caitlin Shetterly (Putnam, Oct.) - A disquieting and meditative look at the issue that started the biggest food fight of our time—GMOs. From a journalist and mother who learned that genetically modified corn was the culprit behind what was making her and her child sick, a must-read book for anyone trying to parse the incendiary discussion about genetically modified foods.
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Dec.) - By tracing the problem of consciousness back to its roots and comparing the human brain to its most alien and perhaps most remarkable animal relative, Godfrey-Smith sheds new light on one of our most abiding mysteries.
Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich (Random House, Aug.) - Dittrich explores the scientific, ethical, and human dimensions of one of the most important stories in medical history. He delves into the enduring mysteries of the mind, while exposing troubling stories of just how far we’ve gone in our pursuit of knowledge.
Time Travel: A History by James Gleick (Pantheon, Oct.) - The acclaimed author of The Information and Chaos presents a mind-bending exploration of time travel: its subversive origins, its evolution in literature and science, and its influence on our understanding of time itself.
Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst (Thomas Nelson, Aug.) - TerKeurst leans into the deeply personal topic of rejection and takes readers on a journey to explore its roots; the lies we believe as a result; and the truth about who God is, who we are, and what it looks like to live loved.
Shaken by Tim Tebow, with A. J. Gregory (WaterBrook, Oct.) - Former star quarterback and Heisman Trophy–winner Tebow pulls the curtain back on his biggest career moments and explains how his faith has bolstered him through good and bad.
A Call to Mercy by Mother Teresa (Image, Aug.) - Published to coincide with Pope Francis’s Year of Mercy and the Vatican’s canonization of Mother Teresa in September 2016, this new book of unpublished material from the Nobel Peace Prize winner brings together the holy woman’s teachings on mercy and compassion.
Village Atheists by Leigh Eric Schmidt (Princeton Univ., Sept.) - Schmidt looks at atheism in America via four key figures: minister Samuel Porter Putnam; Watson Heston, a political cartoonist; revivalist preacher Charles B. Reynolds; and radical Elmina Drake Slenker.