Five Fall Books

Are you reading anything right now? October is a great time to hunker down and cozy up with a book. To that end, here are five new titles the Cup of Jo team has been loving lately…

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
“Elizabeth Strout is easily one of my favorite authors. You’ll be reading the story, just humming along, and then all of a sudden, she’ll hit you with a heartbreaking moment or beautiful insight that makes you gasp. This is the second installment in her Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge series (did you see the fantastic TV version?), which follows Olive as she navigates her second marriage and a new decade in a seaside town in Maine. The first book is wonderful, but you don’t need to have read it to enjoy this one. As Olive Kitteridge said, “There’s no such thing as a simple life”; Strout’s characters are flawed but human, and it makes you love them so much more.” — Joanna

Excuse Me by Liana Finck
“Though I am, by all accounts, a ‘words person,’ sometimes it’s nice to shake things up in the book department. Lately, this volume of wisely wry drawings by cartoonist, memoirist, and frequent New Yorker contributor Liana Finck has been a welcome change of pace. This book boasts 400 pages of illustrated goodness, organized into sections about love and dating, humanity, animals, gender politics, emotions and more. You can read it in order, by topic, or flip to a random page and see what you find. (Too tired to read before bed? Not with this book!) Sometimes I laugh or nod my head in recognition, and other times, I marvel at how an image can manage to make me feel so understood. Sometimes a picture is indeed worth a thousand words.” — Caroline

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
“I’m only two chapters into Ann Patchett’s new novel, but I feel confident telling you to pick up a copy ASAP. We’re talking Ann Patchett here! The mega-selling author of Bel Canto, State of Wonder (my favorite) and Commonwealth, among others, writes the kind of prose I crave: simple, unfussy, yet somehow powerful enough to suck you deeply into the characters and their complicated webs almost immediately. In The Dutch House, we hear the story of two siblings growing up in a grand historical house in mid-century Philadelphia. It’s told from the grown-up son’s point of view many years later, after their mother has abandoned them, their father dies, and they are left with a wicked stepmother. Sound like some hackneyed plot you’ve heard before? Never doubt Patchett — you know you’re in good hands.” — Jenny

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
“I loved reading The Handmaid’s Tale (far more than watching the TV show) and was excited for the sequel. I like following stories where all the characters are subtly connected, and the chapters are short, so it’s easy to read before bed or between subway stops. The book picks up fifteen years after Handmaid’s left off, and follows three women linked to Gilead — one young girl from a powerful family, one very powerful figure from Gilead, and one member of the rebellion against it. As a funny aside, I accidentally ordered the large print edition (because I wanted a paperback), prompting my husband to ask, ‘What are you reading, Goosebumps?’ when he looked over and saw the gigantic size of the font. But I’ve been flying through the pages!” — Maureen

I’m Telling the Truth, but I’m Lying by Bassey Ikpi
“I picked up this book after hearing the author speak on The Read, one of my favorite podcasts. These 22 personal essays are told from the author’s perspective — as the reader, you’re inside her head, looking out from her eyes, feeling her brain and body’s reaction to things. Bassey Ikpi was born in Nigeria and grew up in Oklahoma (like I did) and she writes a lot about Brooklyn (where I live now). I read the first half of it in a day and sobbed with recognition. She also writes about her experience growing up undiagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder and anxiety. There were nuanced descriptions about childhood and family dynamics that I didn’t think anyone else had experienced. A wonderful exploration of the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of who we are.” — Kim

What are you reading right now? Have you loved anything lately? Please share!

P.S. More favorite books, including 10 timeless thrillers and what’s your book type?