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5 new books to read in October

5 new books to read in October

Every month, a deluge of new books comes flooding out from big publishers, indie houses, and self-publishing platforms. So every month, The A.V. Club narrows down the endless options to five of the books we’re most excited about.


Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam (October 6, Ecco)

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Image: Ecco

Picked up in July for a Netflix adaptation by Sam Esmail and starring Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington, Rumaan Alam’s third novel is one of the most anticipated books of the fall season. Leave The World Behind follows Amanda and Clay, a white couple from New York City, and their two teenage children as they head out for a stay in a rental house on Long Island. Their vacation is interrupted late one night by Ruth and G.H., the Black couple that owns the house, saying that a blackout has swept the entire city. With no cell service or internet to confirm the story, it’s hard for Amanda and Clay to tell what’s what. The scenario makes for a suspenseful tale of race, class, and family ties during a time of crisis.


Fire Cannot Kill A Dragon: The Official, Uncensored Oral History Of Game Of Thrones by James Hibberd (October 6, Dutton)

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Image: Dutton

If the discourse has taught us anything over the last year and change, it’s that there’s always more to say about Game Of Thrones. Just ask James Hibberd, the Entertainment Weekly writer whose obsessive coverage of the horny fantasy series paved the way for his new oral history, Fire Cannot Kill A Dragon. Creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss lend their voices to the book, as does just about every major cast member, from Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke to Peter Dinklage and Sophie Turner. Fire Cannot Kill A Dragon boasts more than 50 exclusive interviews that touch on the show’s origins, the train wreck that was the original pilot, and the controversial final episodes. The book also teases the franchise’s next chapter, House Of The Dragon, which will no doubt fascinate (and infuriate) when it debuts in 2022.


Girls Against God by Jenny Hval (October 6, Verso)

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Image: Verso

Norwegian multimedia artist Jenny Hval’s 2019 album The Practice Of Love was an organic, intuitive affair that rippled with the gentle rhythms of nature. But that was last year. For her latest work, the novel Girls Against God, Hval plunges up to her elbows in the thick, black, chthonic goo of rebellion and angst, through the quintessentially Scandinavian medium of black metal. The black-metal scene has historically been extremely sexist, but Hval reclaims it for the hateful, nihilistic teenage girls of the world with a decades-spanning tale of cinematic terrorism, political witchcraft, and satanic noise.


The Silence by Don DeLillo (October 20, Scribner)

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Image: Scribner

“‘Is this the casual embrace that marks the fall of world civilization?’” Dialogue doesn’t get much more DeLillo-esque than that, and neither does the catastrophe it refers to. It’s not quite an “airborne toxic event,” but in the American master’s latest work of fiction, Manhattan (and perhaps the entire world) suffers a widespread digital and power outage—no email, no cell phones, no electricity—on Super Bowl Sunday in the year 2022. Publisher Scribner has noted that DeLillo finished The Silence weeks before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but this fictional disaster and its effects—“the mass insomnia of this inconceivable time,” as he puts it—is eerily familiar all the same.


The Hole by Hiroko Oyamada (translated by David Boyd, October 6, New Directions)

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Image: New Directions

Hiroko Oyamada’s The Factory, a novella set on the sprawling campus of a mysterious mega-manufacturer, was one of our favorite books of 2019. This year Oyamada returns with another surreal story wherein the protagonist has trouble trusting their senses. When Asa and her husband move to the country for his job, she’s left with little to do; her friends and family assume she’ll have kids to fill the time. Out for a walk one day, she falls into a hole that seems to have been dug to her exact size, the first of many odd occurrences. What are the black, doglike animals she keeps seeing around? What’s going on with her husband’s constantly smiling grandfather next door? As with Oyamada’s previous novel, The Hole introduces many mysteries, relying heavily on symbolism and suggestion.


More in October: Cuyahoga by Pete Beatty (October 6, Scribner); Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld (October 6, Simon & Schuster); Let Love Rule by Lenny Kravitz (October 6, Henry Holt); You Will Love What You Have Killed by Kevin Lambert (October 6, Biblioasis); White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women Of Color by Ruby Hamad (October 6, Catapult); The Man Who Ate Too Much: The Life Of James Beard by John Birdsall (October 6, W.W. Norton); American Cheese: An Indulgent Odyssey Through the Artisan Cheese World by Joe Berkowitz (October 6, Harper Perennial); The Prince Of Mournful Thoughts And Other Stories by Caroline Kim (October 6, University of Pittsburgh); The Lost Writings by Franz Kafka (October 6, New Directions); Pigeons On The Grass by Wolfgang Koeppen (October 6, New Directions); This Thing Called Life: Prince’s Odyssey, On And Off The Record by Neal Karlen (October 6, St. Martin’s Press); Voices From The Valley: Tech Workers Talk About What They Do—And How They Do It by Ben Tarnoff and Moira Weigel (October 13, Farrar, Straus & Giroux); The Gucci Mane Guide To Greatness by Gucci Mane (October 13, Simon & Schuster); Mad At The World: A Life Of John Steinbeck by William Souder (October 13, W.W. Norton); Out Of My Mind (Not Quite A Memoir) by Alan Arkin (October 13, Viva); She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton And The Women Who Lived Her Songs by Sarah Smarsh (October 13, Scribner); Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark (October 13, Tor/Forge); Ramifications by Daniel Saldaña París (October 13, Coffee House); The Superrationals by Stephanie Lacava (October 13, Semiotexte); The Butterfly Effect: How Kendrick Lamar Ignited The Soul Of Black America by Marcus J. Moore (October 13, Atria); How To Write One Song by Jeff Tweedy (October 13, Dutton); What Becomes A Legend Most: A Biography Of Richard Avedon by Philip Gefter (October 13, Harper); Revolutions Of All Colors by Dewaine Farria (October 15, Syracuse); TINY by Mairead Case (October 20, Featherproof); Ex Libris by Michiko Kakutani (October 20, Clarkson Potter); Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey (October 20, Crown); The Dead Are Arising: The Life Of Malcolm X by Les Payne and Tamara Payne (October 20, Liveright); Red Comet: The Short Life And Blazing Art Of Sylvia Plath by Heather Clark (October 20, Knopf); J R by William Gaddis (October 20, NYRB Classics); Where I Come From: Stories From The Deep South by Rick Bragg (October 27, Knopf); Inside Story by Martin Amis (October 27, Knopf); Invisible Ink by Patrick Modiano (October 27, Yale); Divorcing by Susan Taubes (October 27, NYRB Classics); The Cold Millions by Jess Walter (October 27, Harper); Memorial by Bryan Washington (October 27, Riverhead); American Utopia by David Byrne, illustrated by Maira Kalman (October 27, Bloomsbury)

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