Drawn from the 14,000+ titles in PW's Fall Announcements issue, we asked our reviews editors to pick the most notable books publishing in Fall 2019. Links to reviews are included when available. For our list of anticipated fall children's and YA books, click here.
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (Doubleday/Talese, Sept.) - In this sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood picks up 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown.
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (One World, Sept.) - Coates’s first novel, set in mid-19th-century Virginia, is about a man born into bondage who develops a mysterious power after nearly drowning, joins an underground resistance, and plans his escape.
Find Me by Andre Aciman (FSG, Oct.) - Aciman revisits the characters of Call Me by Your Name two decades after their first meeting. Elio moves to Paris and has a life-changing affair, while Oliver, now a New England professor with a family, contemplates a trip back across the Atlantic.
Grand Union by Zadie Smith (Penguin Press, Oct.) - The 10 stories in Smith’s first collection range from historic to vividly current and slyly dystopian.
The World Doesn’t Require You by Rion Amilcar Scott (Liveright, Aug.) - In this collection—starred by PW—intelligent robots fail to behave as programmed and the last (and least exalted) son of God tries to redeem himself by leading a gospel band at his elder brother’s church.
Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming by László Krasznahorkai (New Directions, Sept.) - At the end of his life, Baron Bela Wenckheim returns from exile in Buenos Aires to his birthplace, a provincial Hungarian town, hoping to reunite with his high school sweetheart. The town—a morass of gossip, con men, and politicians—heads inexorably toward its contemporary doom.
Blue Moon: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child (Delacorte, Oct.) – Peripatetic vigilante Jack Reacher lands in the middle of a turf war between rival Ukrainian and Albanian gangs in an unnamed American city in his efforts to help an elderly couple who have fallen prey to vicious loan sharks.
The Deserter by Nelson DeMille and Alex DeMille (Simon & Schuster, Oct.) – Two military investigators–Scott Brodie, a hardened ex-soldier with impulsive, rogue tendencies, and Maggie Taylor, a cunning by-the-book Army cop–go in search of Delta Force Capt. Kyle Mercer, who has deserted his post in Afghanistan and fled to Venezuela.
Quantum by Patricia Cornwell (Thomas & Mercer, Oct.) – On the eve of a top secret space mission, NASA pilot, quantum physicist, and cybercrime investigator Calli Chase detects something amiss in the tunnels below a NASA research center. Clues suggest that Calli’s missing twin sister, Carme, may somehow be involved.
A Song for a New Day by Sarah Pinsker (Berkley, Sept.) - Pinsker's smashing debut, which celebrates human connection and the power of music in a near-future era of isolation and anxiety, brings a much-needed dose of realistic optimism to the post-apocalyptic genre.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (Flatiron, Oct.) - YA powerhouse Bardugo's first novel for adults sends a broke, desperate teen to Yale, where she discovers the secret societies work nefarious magic. The ghosts and necromancers are spooky, but privilege and power are the real sources of terror.
The Institute by Stephen King (Scribner, Sept.) - This lean and toothy horror novel pits psychic kids against exploitative adults. This variation on one of King's favorite themes displays his talent for writing intimate, personal narratives without a wasted word.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (Avon, Nov.) - Dynamic protagonists fuel this delightful, heartfelt contemporary, in which a chronically ill woman trying to improve her life unexpectedly falls in love with the man who's helping her work her way through her bucket list.
Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore (Berkley, Sept.) - Strange bedfellows—a duke toeing the Tory Party line and a penniless suffragette breaking the glass ceiling at Oxford—turn out to be deliciously compatible in Dunmore's pitch-perfect Victorian romance.
Don't You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane (Morrow, Sept.) - Beneath this rom-com's wry humor are immense emotional depths as reunited high school sweethearts try to bridge the gap between their very different memories and interpretations of shared events.
Arias by Sharon Olds (Knopf, Oct.) - Olds has long made a career of addressing the taboo and reconsidering the mundane. The Pulitzer Prize–winning poet considers political consciousness and internal lives through “arias,” each defined by its own particular music.
Father’s Day by Matthew Zapruder (Copper Canyon, Sept.) - The fifth book from Zapruder investigates what it means to be a father and citizen amid the 21st century’s uncertainties. His humor and lyrical precision lend themselves to questions about the present and our collective future.
The Problem of the Many by Timothy Donnelly (Wave, Oct.) - Contemporary and capacious in their scope, Donnelly’s poems examine civilization, calling upon figures including Alexander the Great and Prometheus in the poems’ wild, imaginative examinations.
Feed by Tommy Pico (Tin House, Nov.) - Exploring the separation between solitude and loneliness, the fourth book in Pico’s Teebs tetralogy asks universal questions through poems of formal and tonal diversity rich with striking juxtapositions.
Commute: An Illustrated Memoir of Female Shame by Erin Williams (Abrams ComicArts, Oct.) - This “sharp and splendidly drawn memoir will strike a strong chord in the current moment,” per PW’s starred review of Williams’s narrative of her daily commute through the gaze of men, with piercing flashbacks.
Making Comics by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly, Nov.) - Influential indie cartoonist Barry follows up her bestselling Syllabus. Professor Skeletor (as she calls herself) doodles comics-making exercises, inspiring students to tap their inherent creativity.
Rusty Brown, Part I by Chris Ware (Pantheon, Sept.) - Sui generis stylist Ware details the painfully ordinary lives of Nebraskan Rusty Brown, who loves Supergirl, and his family, teachers, and classmates, in dizzyingly telescoping detail that crosses time and genres.
Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA by Amaryllis Fox (Knopf, Oct.) - Fox delivers a gripping memoir about the near decade she spent working for the CIA to help stop terrorism.
On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey by Paul Theroux (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Oct.) - Travel writer Theroux finds a Mexico that’s vibrant but shadowed by violence, corruption, and America in this dark-edged but ultimately hopeful travelogue.
Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Diaz (Algonquin, Oct.) - Díaz’s strong debut memoir charts her poor, violent childhood in Puerto Rico and Miami and her bumpy transition from girlhood to womanhood.
Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir, and Me by Deirdre Bair (Doubleday/Talese, Nov.) - By turns scholarly and salacious, biographer Bair has loosened decades of polite tongue-biting to write the backstory in what she calls a “bio-memoir” of two influential writers.
Axiomatic by Maria Tumarkin (Transit, Sept.) - In a remarkable tour de force, cultural historian Tumarkin presents five extended essays which pick apart commonplace sayings and tease out the lingering effects of trauma and grief.
Elements of Fiction by Walter Mosley (Grove, Sept.) - Mosley, the prolific author of the Easy Rawlins detective novels, presents his second writing guide, after 2007’s This Year You Write Your Novel, with a monograph whose richness of insight belies its short length.
Gilgamesh: The Life of a Poem by Michael Schmidt (Princeton Univ., Sept.) - Schmidt shares the multi-millennia story of one of the world’s oldest known works of literature, an epic at once unimaginably ancient and enduringly relevant.
Human Relations and Other Difficulties: Essays by Mary-Kay Wilmers (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Oct.) - This collection from the longtime London Review of Books editor showcases a distinctive sensibility—astute, eclectic, and often acidic—in essays which often consider “difficult” women, including Germaine Greer, Patty Hearst, Marianne Moore, and Jean Rhys.
The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America by Karen Abbott (Crown, Oct.) - Abbott tells the wild true tale of Prohibition-era bootlegger George Remus and his shocking downfall at the hands of a federal agent who was having an affair with his wife.
Country Music: An Illustrated History by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns (Knopf, Sept.) - This voluminous and hugely entertaining introduction to country music coincides with the release of the eponymous PBS series, by producer and writer Duncan and producer and filmmaker Burns.
The Queens of Animation: The Untold Story of the Women Who Transformed the World of Disney and Made Cinematic History by Nathalia Holt (Little, Brown, Oct.) - Holt recounts how women worked their way into Disney’s boys’ clubs.
Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America by James Poniewozik. Liveright, Sept.) - PW’s review called this cultural history, which juxtaposes Trump’s rise with television’s evolution from a three-network monopoly to a series of echo chambers, “trenchant” and “brilliantly witty.”
Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream by Nicholas Lemann (FSG, Sept.) - Lemann recounts the changing organization of American society, politics, and business by profiling FDR “brain trust” member Adolf Berle, Harvard Business School professor Michael Jensen, and LinkedIn cofounder and venture capitalist Reid Hoffman.
The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us by Paul Tough (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Sept.) - Education journalist Tough questions the American belief that college is the great economic equalizer in a study that PW’s review called “well-written,” “persuasive,” and “fascinating.”
Janis: Her Life and Music by Holly George-Warren (Simon & Schuster, Oct.) - In this excellent biography, George-Warren paints a complex portrait of singer Janis Joplin.
Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith (Knopf, Sept.) - As she wanders between waking and dreaming in a year filled with the death of a close friend and the political turmoil of the 2016 election, musician and National Book Award–winner Smith contemplates dreams and reality in this luminous collection of anecdotes and photos.
Face It by Debbie Harry (Dey Street, Nov.) - The singer of the New Wave band Blondie and star of art-house movies Videodrome and Hairspray looks back on lots of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll in this rough-and-tumble memoir.
The Hidden World of the Fox by Adele Brand (Morrow, Oct.) – Brand shares a lifelong fascination with the red fox, from childhood to her adult work as a mammal ecologist, in this smart and accessible book.
How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems by Randall Munroe (Riverhead, Sept.) - The former NASA roboticist behind the popular webcomic xkcd proposes unusual and unnecessarily elaborate ways of accomplishing mundane tasks (such as, to cross a river, freezing it.)
Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime by Sean Carroll (Dutton, Sept.) - In this challenging and provocative book, Carroll, a theoretical physicist, explores what quantum mechanics explains, and leaves unanswered, about how the universe works at a microscopic level.
Wildhood: The Epic Journey from Adolescence to Adulthood in Humans and Other Animals by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers (Scribner, Sept.) - Biologist Natterson-Horowitz and science journalist Bowers reveal eye-opening commonalities between human teens and their counterparts throughout the animal kingdom.
Astro Poets by Alex Dimitrov and Dorothea Lasky (Flatiron, Oct.) - Twitter astrologists with over 500,000 followers Lasky and Dimitrov explain how the ancient practice can relate to modern concerns in this guidebook mined from their popular tweets.
God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America by Lyz Lenz (Indiana Univ., Aug.) - In the aftermath of the 2016 election and while going through a divorce, journalist Lenz embarked on an investigative trip across the middle of America to understand the evangelical voters who supported Donald Trump. Lenz diligently tracks a "resurgent 'muscular' and patriarchal Christianity," per our starred review.
The Preacher’s Wife: The Precarious Power of Evangelical Women Celebrities by Kate Bowler (Princeton Univ., Oct.) - By profiling celebrities in mega-ministries (such as Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, and Victoria Osteen) as well as other Protestant women, Bowler, associate professor at Duke Divinity School, lays bare the "delicate dance between professed submission to men and implicit independence from them” that many Christian women successfully navigate as they push up against the “stained-glass ceiling” of traditional gender roles.
Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church by Megan Phelps-Roper (FSG, Oct.) - Phelps-Roper, granddaughter of Fred Phelps, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, divulges about her childhood, the beliefs of her church, and the Twitter conversations that eventually led her to change her mind.