boy who survived a haunted hotel grows up. A Mississippi
attorney faces another racially charged court case. And
a once lovelorn woman has a new crush.
of these characters are older, and presumably wiser, as
this fall’s books include several major sequels that
have been a long time coming: Stephen King offers
"Doctor Sleep" 36 years after his famous
"The Shining." John Grisham revisits Clanton,
Miss., in "Sycamore Row," a follow-up to 1989’s
"A Time to Kill." And Helen Fielding finds
"Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy" 15 years
after her famous diary and more than a decade after she
teetered on the "edge of reason."
addition, Margaret Atwood fans will grab the third book
in her speculative trilogy with "MaddAddam,"
Amy Tan returns to fiction and Shanghai in "The
Valley of Amazement" and Thomas Pynchon goes back
to 2001 New York with "Bleeding Edge."
won’t have any trouble finding big books from big
names this fall, particularly on the fiction front (we’ll
get to Wally Lamb, Jonathan Lethem, Daniel Woodrell,
Kathryn Davis and more shortly).
let’s mention that elephant-size conspiracy in the
corner: Nonfiction authors will be revisiting the past,
too, with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of
President John F. Kennedy.
a couple dozen authors marking the Dallas tragedy is
respected presidential biographer Robert Dallek, who in
"Camelot’s Court" looks at Kennedy’s own
"team of rivals." A doctor who was in the
hospital when Kennedy was shot collects physicians’
memories in "We Were There." Another man who
was there, former Secret Service agent Clint Hill, joins
Lisa McCubbin for "Five Days in November."
Other remembrances are compiled by Life ("The Day
Kennedy Died") and Dean Owen ("November 22,
1963," with a foreword by Helen Thomas) and at
least one book focuses on providing a portrait of the
setting, "Dallas 1963" by Bill Minutaglio and
Steven L. Davis. Ira Stoll makes a case for "JFK,
course, the crowd claiming to divulge secrets weighs in,
including former New York Times reporter Philip Shenon,
who says he’s found new FBI information in "A
Cruel and Shocking Act." Some of the others:
"The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination"
by Lamar Waldron; "CIA Rogues and the Killing of
the Kennedys" by Patrick Nolan; and "The Man
Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ" by Roger
history will be coming, too, from Doris Kearns Goodwin,
who looks at Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft
in "The Bully Pulpit." St. Louisans will
welcome author Bill Bryson when he comes to town for
"One Summer, America 1927," which recounts
Charles Lindbergh’s famous flight along with various
other spectacles, such as Babe Ruth’s 60 home runs.
Meanwhile, novelist Fannie Hurst is one of the women
profiled in "Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women
of the Black Renaissance" by Carla Kaplan, and
Missouri professor Steven Watts’ new biography is of
the Show-Me State’s Dale Carnegie, "Self-Help
other titles to consider (with mostly self-explanatory
subtitles): "Small Wars, Faraway Places: Global
Insurrection and the Making of the Modern World, 1945–1965"
by Michael Burleigh; "Thank You for Your
Service" by David Finkel; "Heretics and
Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests
Created Our World" by Thomas Cahill; and "On
Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year
History" by Nicholas A. Basbanes.
authors aren’t just looking at the past, of course.
Contemporary society can’t escape history when Malcolm
Gladwell explains the world, as he does with "David
and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling
Giants." Mark Halperin and John Heilemann revisit
last year’s presidential campaign with "Double
Down" and Debora L. Spar says women are stressing
themselves out by trying to having it all in
"Wonder Woman: Sex, Power and the Quest for
Perfection." Diane Ravitch exposes the weaknesses
of charter schools in "Reign of Error" and
Eric Schlosser, who once damned our fast food nation,
finds another deadly topic. He details the dangers of
nuclear weapons — even if they aren’t launched —
in "Command and Control."
look for "Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost
and Found in New York’s Underground Economy" by
Sudhir Venkatesh; "The American Way of
Poverty" by Sasha Abramsky; and "Perv: The
Sexual Deviant in All of Us" by Jesse Bering.
fiction no doubt will provide some relief from true-life
poverty and pervs. But best-selling novels usually do
offer a suspicious death or two. That includes Sue
Grafton, who will be only three letters from the end of
the alphabet after she releases "W Is for
Wasted," her 23rd Kinsey Millhone mystery. Not far
behind Grafton are Janet Evanovich’s "Takedown
Twenty"; Patricia Cornwell’s "Dust,"
her 21st Kay Scarpetta novel; and Sara Paretsky’s 16th
novel featuring V.I. Warshawski, "Critical
big suspense title is "Never Go Back" by Lee
Child, who sends hero Jack Reacher on his 18th
adventure. More books with male sleuths include Michael
Connelly’s "The Gods of Guilt," John
Stanford’s "Storm Front," Martin Cruz Smith’s
"Tatiana" and Jo Nesbø’s
those interested in less-familiar land, "Alex"
by Pierre Lemaitre, translated from the French, is a
possibility, says Publishers Weekly magazine, which also
points to Paula Daly’s first novel, "Just What
Kind of Mother Are You?" Like Daly, Carla Norton
also focuses on kidnapped girls in her first novel,
"The Edge of Normal."
FAMILY AND ME
and biographies, of course, look at the past and so will
volume 2 of "Autobiography of Mark Twain,"
which includes many family remembrances, such as the
time the family’s cool-headed German nurse saved
7-year-old Clara when her bed caught fire.
writers also remember their parents and siblings.
"The Death of Santini" by Pat Conroy may
appeal to those who recall his 1976 novel "The
Great Santini," in which the narrator said he
"hated his father." Delia Ephron, whose
sister, Nora, died last year, offers her own memoir with
"Sister Husband Mother Dog: Etc." (A
collection, "The Most of Nora Ephron," will be
another way to honor the writer.) Jesmyn Ward, the young
author who won a National Book Award for "Salvage
the Bones," has had more than her share of deaths.
Her 19-year-old brother was killed by a drunken driver,
and in "Men We Reaped," she writes about him
and four black male friends who died young.
critic Molly Haskell, meanwhile, remembers when her
brother decided to become a woman in "My Brother My
Sister," and Ann Patchett comes to St. Louis with a
collection of essays, "This Is the Story of a Happy
Marriage" (is there a note of irony there?). Katy
Butler uses her parents’ experiences to look at
end-of-life care in "Knocking on Heaven’s Door:
The Path to a Better Way of Death." Also look for
memoirs by Amanda Lindhout, Stephen Hawking, William
Ayers and Billy Crystal.
the biography front, we’ll soon know any new secrets
uncovered by David Shields and Shane Salerno about the
author of "The Catcher in the Rye." "Salinger"
goes on sale Sept. 3. A. Scott Berg examines a president
in "Wilson," and Bill O’Reilly and Martin
Dugard continue their best-selling series of famous
deaths with a big one, "Killing Jesus."
well-known authors and series almost always get more
sales, admired novels by literary writers usually get
more love from critics. This fall, that includes at
least three with Missouri ties, Ozarks novelist Daniel
Woodrell, St. Louis writer Richard Burgin and Washington
University professor Kathryn Davis, who spends one
semester here and the rest of her time in Vermont. In
"Duplex," the always inventive Davis offers an
interplay of realism and science fiction. Set in the
future and alluding to a tragic past, the
"duplex" offers ways to travel space and time.
Burgin, who recently retired from St. Louis University,
still edits the journal Boulevard. His 16th book,
"Hide Island," will be his eighth collection
of short stories. Writer Joyce Carol Oates once wrote
that "what Edgar Allan Poe did for the psychotic
soul, Richard Burgin does for the deeply neurotic who
pass among us disguised as so seemingly ‘normal’ we
may mistake them for ourselves."
first novel since 2006’s "Winter’s Bone"
is, like that acclaimed story, set in the deep Ozarks.
"The Maid’s Version" is slimmer, though, and
inspired by a true event involving a dance hall
explosion in West Plains, Mo. The illiterate maid of
Woodrell’s novel has her own ideas about what caused
the "West Table" tragedy, which takes her
sister and 41 others in 1929. A Publishers Weekly editor
calls "The Maid’s Version" an
"under-the-radar" pick that is "entirely
original, brutal, and darkly elegant."
"under-the-radar" novel is "My Notorious
Life" by Kate Manning, based on an infamous midwife
in 19th-century New York.
Lethem, known for "Motherless Brooklyn" and
other stories about that borough, this time infiltrates
Queens for "Dissident Gardens," which follows
three generations of rabble-rousers.
eagerly awaited New York story is Donna Tartt’s
"The Goldfinch," about an orphan who is drawn
ino the city’s art underworld.
least two Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction writers have
new novels: Jhumpa Lahiri ("Interpreter of
Maladies") has another Indian-American family story
with "The Lowland" while Paul Harding, who won
in 2010 for "Tinkers," follows that novel with
"Enon," which involves the grandson of the
dying man in the earlier book. Another "quiet"
novel will be "Someone" by the admired Alice
McDermott. Her someone is a shy girl with thick glasses
who grows up to be a fairly ordinary woman. Somehow,
though, McDermott always makes her someones remarkable.
Lamb’s new novel, "We Are Water," centers on
the family dynamics that result when the divorced mother
of three decides to marry her art dealer (a woman). In
Edwidge Danticat’s "Claire of the Sea
Light," a Haitian girl disappears on her birthday,
the day her poor father decides to give her to a
a fall with almost too many major authors offering new
books, here’s more to consider: J.M. Coetzee
("The Childhood of Jesus"); Jayne Anne
Phillips ("Quiet Dell"); Bob Shacochis
("The Woman Who Lost Her Soul"); Elizabeth
Gilbert ("The Signature of All Things");
Margaret Drabble ("The Pure Gold Baby"); Terry
McMillan ("Who Asked You?"); Fannie Flagg
("The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last
Reunion"); Tom Perrotta ("Nine Inches:
Stories"); Dave Eggers ("The Circle");
Joanna Trollope ("Sense & Sensibility")
and, yet another sequel, Robert Coover’s "The
Brunist Day of Wrath," which comes a mere 47 years
after his first novel, "The Origins of the Brunists."