Book World: The books to read this fall

Angela Haupt

THE WASHINGTON POST – Go ahead and clutch that pumpkin spice latte in one hand, but leave the other free for a book.

This fall brings new titles from literary heavy-hitters, plus long-awaited sequels and spooky reads to get you in the mood for Halloween. Here are some to look forward to this season.

Slay by Brittney Morris

Morris wrote her snappy YA debut in just 11 days after a transformative experience watching Black Panther. It’s about a feisty black teen who must defend the popular online gaming community she’s created from racist, violent trolls – without revealing her identity as the creator.

Rusty Brown by Chris Ware

The cartoonist Ware spent nearly two decades on this graphic novel set in a Nebraska parochial school in the ‘70s.

Rusty Brown, the first of a two-volume series, promises to showcase Ware’s sublime artistic vision, blending his trademark drawings with a lyrical exploration of weighty themes.

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Twenty years later, the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower delivers his long-awaited second novel – and it’s a departure, to put it mildly.

In this epic horror story, Chbosky introduces a young boy who vanishes into the woods for six days and, upon return, is thrust into a good-vs-evil battle that plays out over 700-plus pages.

The Topeka School by Ben Lerner

Adam Gordon, a champion high school debater in Topeka, Kan, is the protagonist in this layered examination of toxic masculinity, politics, free speech and identity in Middle America.

It’s the third novel from Lerner, the 10:04 author noted for blurring the line between fiction and autobiography.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Bardugo, whose YA fantasy series include Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows, delivers a spooky adult debut that’s perfect for October.

A high school dropout heads to Yale with a specific assignment: spying on its secret societies. Expect a clever blend of dark magic, ancient mysteries, murder and plenty of ghosts.

How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones

Jones, a prizewinning poet and BuzzFeed staffer, reflects on his experiences as a black man from the South in this slim, poignant memoir.

He grapples with coming out and coming of age against a backdrop of homophobia and racism.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

During the Great Depression, horseback librarians hauled loads of books for hundreds of miles to remote areas of Kentucky.

Me Before You author Moyes brings five of these women to life in an adventure-driven historical fiction novel already slated to become a movie.

Find Me by André Aciman

In late 2017, the film adaptation of Aciman’s 2007 novel Call Me by Your Name was released to much fanfare – which ballooned when he announced he was writing a sequel.

Find Me promises to check in with Elio and Oliver years after the fateful ‘80s summer they spent together.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

The Legacy of Orïsha trilogy continues with this sequel to 2018’s Black Lives Matter-inspired young adult fantasy “Children of Blood and Bone.” As a civil war looms, protagonists Zélie and Amari must protect the kingdom from devastating ruin.

Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen by Dexter Palmer

In 1726 in small-town England, Mary Toft gave birth to 17 rabbits – or so she told the bewildered medical community.

The real-life events provide the premise for Palmer’s dark novel about a group of Brits who have to figure out if they’re dealing with a miracle or hoax.

Astro Poets: Your Guides to the Zodiac by Alex Dimitrov

If you’re even marginally curious what the stars have in store for you this fall, call in the Twitter-favourite Astro Poets, who have more than 500,000 followers.

They’ve crafted a fun, pop-culture-heavy guide to the cosmos that’s full of original poetry and might help you make sense of the world.

Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi, translated by Marilyn Booth

This family saga – about three sisters grappling with their country’s past – is the first Arabic novel to win the Man Booker International Prize.

Little Weirds by Jenny Slate

Slate’s collection of nonfiction vignettes – sprinkled with magical realism – explore the actor-comedian’s emotions and world view, plus death, honeysuckle, rabbits and electromagnetic energy fields.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

Lillian’s new stepkids have an interesting affliction: They burst into flames whenever they’re agitated.

Her politician husband’s public can’t find out, so despite a decade-old falling out, she seeks help from her college roommate Madison. It’s a darkly funny look at friendship and forgiveness.