New month, new books! Book Light is our Dandelion Chandelier curated list of the most-anticipated new book releases every month, and next up is October 2020. If you ask us, the perfect October read is like the perfect Halloween candy basket: sweet and sour; salty and crisp; and almost (but not quite) too much. So what are the best new books to read coming out in October 2020 (and the fall 2020 season)? Our intrepid team has been exploring and here’s what we found.
what are the most-anticipated new book releases for October 2020?
Wondering what to read in October 2020? We’ve surveyed the landscape, and rounded up a list of the best new books coming this October – which are some of the best new books of fall 2020.[white_box]
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Traditionally, October is a big month in book publishing, as publishers gear up for the holidays, and serious tomes arrive in time for consideration on all the “best books of the year” lists. And while it’s not quite the deluge of prior years, there are a lot of important new book releases coming in October 2020.
new fiction and poetry
In the world of fiction, there are new novels from luminaries like Jess Walter, Martin Amis, Bryan Washington and Alice Hoffman. And lots of buzzed-about debuts (we’re looking at you, Invisible Life of Addie LaRue).
The poets are well-represented, with a ground-breaking new anthology of African-American poetry.
Biographies and memoirs abound, from business leaders like Shellye Archambeau and Congresswoman Maxine Waters to poet Maggie Smith. Kendrick Lamar, Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Richard Avedon and Eleanor Roosevelt. Plus a searing takedown of the founder of WeWork, Adam Neumann.
As we all head back into the kitchen for the holiday and baking seasons, there are some fascinating new books about the culinary arts. From an instructional manual about the best wine to pair with a cheeseburger to a new work about black cooks and chefs in America. And a new cookbook from Yotam Ottolenghi!
the best new books coming in October 2020
Many of the best books of fall 2020 are coming this month. COVID-19 may have thrown the entire world into the upside-down – but at least we’ll have some great reads to distract us during peak 2020.
Here’s our pick of the top new book releases of October 2020 – novels, essay collections, and non-fiction – that we cannot wait to read. You can pre-order them now if you like.
1. Loud Black Girls: 20 Black Women Writers Ask: What’s Next? by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené
An anthology of black British writing, edited and curated by the authors of the highly acclaimed, ground-breaking Slay In Your Lane. Loud Black Girls includes essays from the diverse voices of twenty established and emerging black British writers: authors, journalists, actors, activists and artists.
“Being a loud black girl isn’t about the volume of your voice; and using your voice doesn’t always mean speaking the loudest or dominating the room. Most of the time it’s simply existing as your authentic self in a world that is constantly trying to tell you to minimize who you are” – Publication date: October 1, 2020
New book releases the week of October 6, 2020
2. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
In The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, in France in 1714, a deal is struck. In a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever―and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. What follows is a journey across centuries and continents, history and art, as Addie learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world. But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, she encounters a young man in a hidden bookstore. And he remembers her name – Publication date: October 6, 2020
3. Missionaries by Phil Klay
In his debut novel Missionaries, the National Book Award-winning author and Iraq War veteran examines the globalization of violence through the interlocking stories of four characters and the conflicts that define their lives
4. Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
In his new novel, Leave the World Behind, the author of Rich and Pretty returns with a gripping thriller. A couple from New York head out to a remote corner of Long Island with their teenage kids for a peaceful vacation in a rental home. But in the middle of the night, an older couple claiming to the be owners of the property arrive in a panic, reporting that a sudden blackout has swept Manhattan. In this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe. It’s an exploration of parenthood, race, and class – and who we can trust when things start to unravel – Publication date: October 6, 2020
5. Snow by John Banville
In Snow, the Booker Prize-winning author spins the story of a family whose secrets resurface when a parish priest is found murdered in their ancestral home. The year is 1957 and the Catholic Church rules Ireland with an iron fist. Detective Inspector St. John Strafford—flinty, visibly Protestant and determined to identify the murderer—faces obstruction at every turn, from the heavily accumulating snow to the culture of silence in the tight-knit community he begins to investigate – Publication date: October 6, 2020[white_box]
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6. Nothing Much Happens: Cozy and Calming Stories to Soothe Your Mind and Help You Sleep by Kathryn Nicolai
Based on the popular podcast, Nothing Much Happens is a collection of soothing stories to carry you off to deep, restful sleep. Whether you find yourself struggling to sleep, awake in the middle of the night, or even just anxious as you move through the day, the author is an avid believer in the timeless appeal of classic bedtime stories to help us drift off to sleep – Publication date: October 6, 2020
7. Magic Lessons: The Prequel to Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
The new novel Magic Lessons answers a pressing question: how did the Owens family curse begin? The book traces the family’s lineage back to Maria Owens, who is left in a field as a baby before being taken in by a woman named Hannah, who teaches her the art of magic – Publication date: October 6, 2020
8. Cardiff, by the Sea by Joyce Carol Oates
Cardiff, by the Sea is a collection of four suspense novellas never before published. Just in time for Halloween! For example, in the In the titular novella, an academic in Pennsylvania discovers a terrifying trauma from her past after inheriting a house in Cardiff, Maine from someone she has never heard of. All four are tales of women in extremis and how they face down threats of all kinds – Publication date: October 6, 2020
9. Eleanor by David Michaelis
In Eleanor, an award-winning biographer shares a detailed and intimate portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt, America’s longest-serving First Lady. A tireless advocate for the voiceless and marginalized, we follow her from her work as a settlement house volunteer on New York’s Lower East Side to the White House and beyond. Hers was a remarkable life that continues to inspire generations of Americans to live up to the nation’s best and most compassionate ideals – Publication date: October 6, 2020
10. Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change by Maggie Smith
Keep Moving is a collection of quotes and essays on facing life’s challenges with creativity, courage, and resilience. The award-winning author of the viral poem “Good Bones” started writing inspirational daily Twitter posts in the wake of her divorce. And they drew a significant response. As with kintsugi, the Japanese art of mending broken ceramics with gold, this is a celebration of the beauty and strength we can find on the other side of loss – Publication date: October 6, 2020[white_box]
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10. Unapologetically Ambitious: Take Risks, Break Barriers, and Create Success on Your Own Terms by Shellye Archambeau
In Unapologetically Ambitious, one of Silicon Valley’s first female African American CEOs shares her story. We learn how she overcame the challenges she faced as a young black woman, wife, and mother, managing her personal and professional responsibilities while climbing the ranks at IBM and subsequently in her roles as CEO. Her goal is to explain why ambition alone is not enough to achieve success. She goes on to share the practical strategies, tools, and approaches we can employ to increase the odds of achieving our personal and professional goals – Publication date: October 6, 2020
12. Let Love Rule by Lenny Kravitz
The memoir Let Love Rule is a wry and candid account of the artist’s first 25 years, from his biracial childhood in New York City to his 1989 debut album. “My life is all about opposites,” he writes. “Black and white. Jewish and Christian. The Jackson 5 and Led Zeppelin.” You’ll come away inspired by this journey of a creative kid who finds salvation in music – Publication date: October 6, 2020
13. This Thing Called Life: Prince’s Odyssey, On and Off the Record by Neal Karlen
Written by the only journalist to whom Prince granted in-depth press interviews to for over a dozen years, This Thing Called Life is an intimate look at the legendary artist’s life. The two knew each other before Purple Rain and through the day when the artist changed his name to an unpronounceable glyph. Karlen interviewed Prince for three Rolling Stone cover stories, wrote “3 Chains o’ Gold,” Prince’s “rock video opera,” as well as the star’s last testament, which may be buried with Prince’s will underneath Paisley Park. Although he quit writing about Prince a quarter-century before the mega-star died, the two remained friends for the last thirty-one years of the superstar’s life – Publication date: October 6, 2020[white_box]
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14. The Fragile Earth: Writing from the New Yorker on Climate Change, edited by David Remnick and Henry Finder
The essay collection The Fragile Earth is a compilation of some of the most groundbreaking reporting from the front lines of climate change published in the New Yorker magazine. Contributors include Bill McKibben, Elizabeth Kolbert, Ian Frazier and Kathryn Schulz – Publication date: October 6, 2020
15. Blue Sky Kingdom: An Epic Family Journey to the Heart of the Himalaya by Bruce Kirkby
In the travel memoir Blue Sky Kingdom, a working dad impulsively decides to take his wife and two young sons and embark on a adventure on the other side of the world. This is the story of their three-month journey. where they would end up living among the Lamas of Zanskar Valley. It’s one of the last places on earth where Himalayan Buddhism is still practiced freely in its original setting. Ultimately, this is a mediation on family, digital life and ancient traditions told in an engaging way – Publication date: October 6, 2020
16. For Art’s Sake: Inside the Homes of Art Dealers by Tiqui Atencio Demirdjian and Jean-François Jaussaud
In For Art’s Sake, we get an inside peek at the private residences of some of the the biggest names in the art world. juxtaposing unparalleled art collections with interiors designed by the most renowned names, such as Peter Marino, François Marcq, Jacques Grange, and Toshiko Mori – Publication date: October 6, 2020
New book releases the week of October 13, 2020
17. The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
In the late 1800’s, three sisters use witchcraft to change the course of history in The Once and Future Witches, a novel of magic amid the suffragette movement. When the Eastwood sisters — James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna — join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. – Publication date: October 13, 2020
18. Love Poems for the Office by John Kenney
The author of Love Poems for Anxious People is back with a collection that might actually make us all nostalgic for office life. From bad coffee to office politics, it’s all here in all its awful glory – Publication date: October 13, 2020
19. The Butterfly Effect: How Kendrick Lamar Ignited the Soul of Black America by Marcus Moore
The Butterfly Effect is billed as the first biography ever written about Kendrick Lamar, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning rapper. It’s a riveting assessment of the impact he’s already had at such a young age on music, culture and art – Publication date: October 13, 2020[white_box]
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20. The Queer Advantage: Conversations with LGBTQ+ Leaders on the Power of Identity by Andrew Gelwicks
The Queer Advantage explores the question of how queer identity has provided an edge in the professional path to success for many LGBTQ+ leaders. The author shares in-depth interviews with a wide group of contemporary luminaries from the worlds of business, tech, politics, Hollywood and sports – including Troye Sivan; Margaret Cho; George Takei; Billie Jean King; Shangela; and Adam Rippon. Synthesizing their life lessons, they share insights and advice, including the importance of channeling anger in a positive way. Finding a queer tribe and learning to help and lean on one another. And leveraging difference to generate new ideas and strategies – Publication date: October 13, 2020
21. African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song edited by Kevin Brown
The Library of America anthology African American Poetry is the most comprehensive anthology of Black poetry ever published. The volume gathers work from 250 poets, from the colonial period to the present. From Paul Laurence Dunbar to Amiri Baraka; Langston Hughes to Jean Toomer; and works from movements including the Harlem and Chicago Renaissances; Black Arts; Cave Canem; and the Dark Room Collective. Contemporary African American poetry is flourishing as never before – this is an essential compilation that provides the context and traditions on which it draws – Publication date: October 13, 2020
22. Take Arms Against a Sea of Troubles: The Power of the Reader’s Mind over a Universe of Death by Harold Bloom
Take Arms Against a Sea of Troubles is a celebration of the power of poetry to sublimate death—completed just weeks before the author died. In it, he argues that literature can renew life amid what Milton called “a universe of death.” He brings us into his life, when he’s awake late at night, reciting lines from Dante, Shakespeare, Milton, Montaigne, Blake, Wordsworth and Hart Crane. He’s alone and ill, and sustained by reading – Publication date: October 13, 2020[white_box]
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23. What Becomes a Legend Most: A Biography of Richard Avedon by Philip Gefter
What Becomes a Legend Most is the first definitive biography of legendary photographer Richard Avedon, written by an award-winning photography critic. Avedon captured the iconic figures of the twentieth century. His work for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue transformed the ideals of women’s fashion, femininity, and culture to become the defining look of an era. Frequently dismissed as merely a “celebrity photographer,” this work illuminates his lifelong battle to be recognized as an artist – Publication date: October 13, 2020
24. Friends and Enemies: A Life in Vogue, Prison, & Park Avenue by Barbara Amiel
A memoir from a socialite both beloved and reviled throughout the past few decades. From her early childhood in London during the Blitz to emigrating to North America and her rise to the top rungs of journalism; to her four husbands and other assorted beaus both famous and not; and right up to her marriage to Conrad Black. quotes to the press (“My extravagance knows no bounds,” for instance, to Vogue), – Publication date: October 13, 2020
25. Entertaining Beautifully by Aerin Lauder
– Publication date: October 13, 2020
26. Big Macs & Burgundy: Wine Pairings for the Real World by Vanessa Price and Adam Laukhuf
In Big Macs & Burgundy, a fast and fun read, we learn about the essential wine pairings for everything from popcorn to veggie burgers to General Tso’s Chicken. All based on the popular Grub Street column. Who knew that Sancerre and Cheetos go together like milk and cookies? The science behind this unholy alliance is as elemental as acid, fat, salt, and minerals. The author demystifies the process so that we can create our own pairings with confidence. It turns out that we don’t need gourmet food to unlock the joys of wine, thanks to this smart guide to drinking the world’s great wines, “whether we’re pairing them with foie gras or Fritos” – Publication date: October 13, 2020[white_box]
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27. Ottolenghi Flavor: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage
In Ottolenghi Flavor, the bestselling author of Plenty teams up with the head of the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen to reveal how flavor is created and amplified through over 100 innovative plant-based recipes. The pair offer a next-level approach to vegetables that breaks down the fundamentals of cooking into three key elements: process, pairing, and produce – Publication date: October 13, 2020
28. Snacky Tunes: Music is the Main Ingredient, Chefs and Their Music by Darin and Greg Bresnitz
From the duo behind the groovy podcast, Snacky Tunes is a fascinating and illuminating exploration of the profound relationship between chefs and music. Through never-before-seen stories and recipes, we learn the stories and creative processes of chefs, restaurateurs, musicians, and bands in 77 soul-sustaining exchanges, in which food and music seamlessly intertwine. Organized alphabetically, individual entries are also accompanied by a previously unpublished recipe and custom playlist crafted by each chef, showcasing how a soundtrack both sets the tone for their kitchens, restaurants and fuels their creative process – Publication date: October 14, 2020
New book releases the week of October 20, 2020
29. The Silence by Don DeLillo
In The Silence, it is Super Bowl Sunday in the year 2022. Five people, dinner, an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. A retired physics professor and her husband and her former student await the couple who will join them once their flight from Paris lands. Then something happens and the digital connections that everyone relies on are suddenly gone – Publication date: October 20, 2020
30. Reclaiming Her Time: The Power of Maxine Waters by Helena Andrews-Dyer and R. Eric Thomas
In Reclaiming Her Time, a full-color illustrated celebration of the life, wisdom, wit, legacy, and fearless style of iconic American Congresswoman Maxine Waters, we can draw strength and inspiration. As Waters herself proclaims: “Let me just say this: I’m a strong black woman, and I cannot be intimidated. I cannot be undermined. I cannot be thought to be afraid of . . . anyone” – Publication date: October 20, 2020
31. Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath by Heather Clark
In Red Comet, the author focuses more of her biography on the brilliant poet’s work and relationships, and less on her tragic end – Publication date: October 20, 2020
32. Undaunted: Overcoming Doubts and Doubters by Kara Goldin
In Undaunted, the founder of fruit-infused bottled water brand Hint shares her story – Publication date: October 20, 2020[white_box]
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33. Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neumann and WeWork by Reeves Wiedeman
In the same vein as Bad Blood, the incredible expose of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, in Billion Dollar Loser, we get the inside story of WeWork and its CEO, Adam Neumann. It’s a saga of an audacious and improbable rise and subsequent fall in the glamorous world of tech and international finance – Publication date: October 20, 2020
34. Ex Libris: 100+ Books to Read and Reread by Michiko Kakutani
In Ex Libris, the Pulitzer Prize–winning literary critic shares 100 personal, thought-provoking essays about books that have mattered to her. Books that illuminate our current times. She writes: “In a world riven by political and social divisions, literature can connect people across time zones and zip codes, across cultures and religions, national boundaries and historical eras. It can give us an understanding of lives very different from our own, and a sense of the shared joys and losses of human experience” – Publication date: October 20, 2020[white_box]
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35. Dessert Person: Recipes and Guidance for Baking with Confidence by Claire Saffitz
In Dessert Person, the Bon Appétit and star of the show Gourmet Makes shares her spin on sweet and savory recipes like Babkallah (a babka-Challah mashup), Apple and Concord Grape Crumble Pie, Strawberry-Cornmeal Layer Cake, Crispy Mushroom Galette, and Malted Forever Brownies – Publication Date: October 20, 2020
36. GLORY: Magical Visions of Black Beauty by Kahran and Regis Bethencourt
From the husband-and-wife duo behind CreativeSoul Photography comes GLORY, a coffee-table book of photography that shatters the conventional standards of beauty. The target audience? Black children all over the world. The volume includes more than 100 striking photographs and accompanying essays– Publication date: October 20, 2020
New book releases the week of October 27, 2020
37. The Cold Millions by Jess Walter
The author of Beautiful Ruins returns in The Cold Millions with the story of two brothers swept up in the turbulent class warfare of the early twentieth century. – Publication date: October 27, 2020[white_box]
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38. Memorial by Bryan Washington
In this affecting story of love and family, the author of Lot returns with Memorial, the story of Benson and Mike. Two young guys who live together in Houston. Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant and Benson’s a Black day care teacher, and they’ve been together for a few years — good years — but now they’re not sure why they’re still a couple. Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives for a visit, Mike travels to Japan, where he uncovers secrets about his family. Meanwhile, in Texas, Mitsuko and Benson are stuck living together as unconventional roommates who unexpectedly come to rely upon each other – Publication date: October 27, 2020
39. Inside Story by Martin Amis
This novel from the notable author is a fictional account of his friendship in real life with the late Christopher Hitchens and others. Publication date: October 27, 2020
40. The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food by Marcus Samuelsson
The Rise is a compilation of recipes, anecdotes and interviews with chefs, historians and food writers, including the late New Orleans chef Leah Chase, is penned by one of our favorite chefs. Samuelsson is the owner of the Red Rooster in Harlem. And a vocal advocate of diversity and inclusion in the world of food and drink. Publication date: October 27, 2020
41. Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation by Peter Cozzens
This history, Tecumseh and the Prophet, illuminates a lesser-known and important chapter of American history. Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa fought valiantly for their Native American homeland in the face of relentless westward expansion by European settlers. Publication date: October 27, 2020
42. In Memory Of: Designing Contemporary Memorials by Spencer Bailey
The new volume In Memory Of is a stunning overview of the art, architecture, and design of memorials around the world from the late twentieth century to today collection of more than 60 exceptional structures commemorating some of the most destructive events of the 20th and 21st centuries, including war, genocide, terrorism, famine, and slavery. a moving foreword by Sir David Adjaye. works from Berlin to Washington, D.C., from Montgomery, Alabama to Santiago, Chile, all urging us never to forget. Thoughtful essays on the subjects of hope, strength, grief, loss, and fear – Publication date: October 28, 2020
the most-anticipated new books October 2020
Those are our picks for the best and most-anticipated new book releases coming in October 2020. And an overview of options to answer the pressing matter of what to read in October 2020. What’s at the top of your list?
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