Our Most Anticipated Fall Releases of 2019!

Books Are Magic
Aug 28 · 19 min read

Can you feel it? The air is getting a little sharper and the pumpkin spice lattes have been released into the wild. Autumn is coming. And with it an incredible selection of books to read while we dig our sweaters out of storage. In publishing, fall is basically like Christmas. So I guess that makes us little Whos in Whoville decorating our chimneys and holding hands in song as we await the many treasures UPS will drop on our sidewalk.

Below we’ve collected a few of our favorite upcoming releases that we’ve been waiting all year for. See if anything inspires and delights! And feel free to click a pre-order button if it does. Preorders help authors in nearly every aspect of their work, which in turn gives us more good books in the long run! Da-hoo dores!

Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat (Out Now!)

Danticat is doing what she does best with eight new stories weaving into and out of each other, and I am out here falling in love over and over again with her generosity. (Devyn)

A Fortune for Your Disaster by Hanif Abdurraqib (releases Sept 3)

A relentless collection, deeply concerned with both mourning and grieving. The way Abdurraqib, master of crescendo, manages to sustain tension like a drone note throughout the entirety of a poem is awe-inspiring. This book is a haunted castle, filled with ghosts and graves, but as much as it is about those now passed — such as Marvin Gaye and the poet’s mother — it is also about the enduring vitality of his community. (Serena)

A Dangerous Engagement by Ashley Weaver (releases Sept 3)

I love a cozy mystery and Ashley Weaver knows writes the best ones. The sixth installment in the Ames Mysteries follows Amory and Milo Ames, a murder solving couple, as they travel to the Big Apple for Amory’s best friend’s wedding. You can expect this book to be witty, stylish, and fun. I love this series. (Danni)

Permanent Record by Mary HK Choi (releases Sept 3)
Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker (Sept 24)
Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell (Sept 24)

What happens when the world’s coolest writers all publish YA books in
the same season? WE CELEBRATE! These writers — Mary HK Choi, Morgan Parker, Rainbow Rowell, and Akwaeke Emezi (below)— are four of our very
favorites, and these YA books will be perfect for teenagers and former
teenagers, aka all humans. Pop music, love, friendship, monsters — what
more could you ask for? (Emma)

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi (releases Sept 3)

Akwaeke Emezi’s debut YA novel is nothing short of breathtaking. Their prose is poetic and perfect, their world-building is seamlessly engaging, and the images and ideas they evoke in this delicious bite of a book are searing. It’s a critical examination of the society we live in today, of the future we hope to create, and of the constant, enduring need to keep our eyes and hearts open so that we can take care of the most vulnerable among us. I can’t wait to see what Emezi writes next. (Abby)

Some Places More Than Others by Renée Watson (releases Sept 3)

Some Places More Than Others is the best contemporary middle grade I’ve read so far this year. This quiet novel is a gorgeous examination of family, of history, of the roots that ground us and allow us to grow into the people we are meant to be. It’s not a tearjerker, but I cried all the same, both for the exacting beauty of Watson’s prose and the gentle understanding of the complex histories that entwine and conspire to make us who we are. (Abby)

The Sweetest Fruits by Monique Truong (releases Sept 3)

Monique Truong is one of the most original writers working today, and like her previous novels, Bitter in the Mouth and The Book of Salt, The Sweetest Fruits is a superb blend of historical novel, food writing, and fictional travelogue. Telling the distinct stories of three women who all at some point knew Lafcadio Hearn, the real life writer and scholar who was considered the foremost western expert on Japanese culture in the second half of the 19th century, this imaginative novel asks important questions about identity, expertise, and legacy. The writing is gorgeous, as well. (Liv)

Dominicana by Angie Cruz (releases Sept 3)

It’s the early 1960’s when 15-year-old Ana Cancion emigrates to New York City by way of the Dominican Republic, after her mother forces her to marry 32-year-old businessman, Juan Ruiz. Homesick Ana must now attempt to carve a small life for herself under the surveillance of an oppressive husband, in a dizzyingly foreign new land. This story — inspired by the author’s mother — enters your heart surreptitiously and never leaves. I can’t stop thinking about Ana, in her, Cruz honors the sacrifices made by every first-generation, immigrant girl of her likeness; in particular, those forced to become women too soon. (Serena)

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? by Caitlin Doughty (releases Sept 10)

I adore all of Caitlin Doughty’s writing, but this one may be my favorite so far: it’s an honest and unflinching examination of death, of course, but it’s also a look at how delightfully, unashamedly curious children can be. Our cultural hangups about death and grief are learned, not produced organically from the metaphysical aether, and the sooner we come to terms with our collective mortality, the better. There’s nothing about dying to be ashamed of. Let Doughty & these kids show you the way. (Abby)

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (releases Sept 10)

Gideon Nav wants to be free. To get from here to there she has to play by the rules and succumb to the powers that be. It’s sinful how good a time I had reading this — witty and dark this novel is Cowboy Bebop meets necromancy (and I’m okay with that)! (Ikwo)

Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers by Jake Skeets (releases Sept 10)

A harrowing and exquisite examination of queer desire, masculine violence, indigenous identity, and the intersections between them. Here, the experiences of Diné men are grafted onto the flora of the Navajo countryside, both rendered with gorgeous, rich imagery in language that is at once precise and unsparing (also like, c’mon, this title! This cover! I weep!). (Serena)

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson (releases Sept 17)

This is a story spanning generations about two families torn and made whole by the unexpected arrival of a little girl. Woodson dips in and out of this families’ generations as though trying on different pairs of shoes. It’s wrought with tenderness and heart and all the things we’ve come to expect from Woodson’s writing. (Ikwo)

How to Be a Family: The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way to Be Together by Dan Kois (releases Sept 17)

Sometimes I have fantasies of abandoning New York City and moving my
family to New Zealand for a few months. Dan Kois actually did it! It’s
Eat Pray Love for when you’re already married with children. (Emma)

Nice Try by Josh Gondelman (releases Sept 17)

Josh Gondelman is a famoulsy nice person, but he is more than a pep talk. (He is very good at pep talks.) This book shows, in anxious, hilarious detail, how Josh became the mensch he is today. (Emma)

Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke (releases Sept 17)

Attica Locke? Attica Locke! I love her. Her stories are so smart. It’s heartbreaking to see her characters solve crimes while they cannot find answers in their personal lives. And I will gladly let her break my heart over and over again — is that crazy? We’re doing an event with her and I cannot wait to tell her how amazing she is to her face. (Danni)

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (releases Sept 24)

Part-historical fiction, part magical realism, one has to ask what can’t Coates do? Water Dancer beams with the light of a good story in the hands of a fantastic storyteller. Coates taps into all the gentleness and hardness of humanity in 19th century America (careful the parallels that may arise in reading this). (Ikwo)

When the Marquess Was Mine by Caroline Linden (releases Sept 24)

Caroline Linden can do no wrong. Each of her romances have such endearing heroines and heroes. I’m so excited to read this that I’m actually nervous because once it is over then I’ll have to wait more time. (Danni)

Excuse Me by Liana Finck (releases Sept 24)

Liana Finck is one of my favorite cartoonists. Political, personal,
funny, and heartbreakingly familiar, these cartoons (and complaints
and notes to self, as Finck says in the subtitle) will speak to you,
as long as you are a person with feelings.(Emma)

The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste (releases Sept 24)

Spellbinding, complex, unforgettable. You will inhale this book. Mengiste renders the reality of war with the utmost clarity and the most painfully, deliciously, vivid detail. I don’t often reach for historical war novels, but this one I could not put down. (Serena)

Doppelganger by Daśa Drndić, translated by Celia Hawkesworth and S.D. Curtis (releases Sept 24)

Women in translation? Check! Drndic described this as her “litte ugly book,” and that is all I need to hear. Her work touches on gloom, the history of her native Croatia, and issues of how to remember and honor that history. I’m down. (Danni)

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht (releases Sept 24)

If you’re at all a fan of gothic horror or gritty, violent, ill-advised romance, pick up this book. Against all odds Giesbrecht will make you root for Johann, an odd, lanky, murderous creature with something eldritch in his blood; and the object of his obsession, Florian, a rich boy dandy with a talent for magic and a thirst for vengeance. Dark, sexy, deliciously violent — this is a perfect bite-sized morsel that’ll leave you begging for more. (Abby)

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (releases Sept 24)

Ann Patchett is my spirit human, my lodestar, my bookstore queen, but
before she was all that, she was one of my very favorite novelists,
and The Dutch House may be my very favorite of her books. It is
perfection, and just may be an example of what Billy Joel might call a
“real estate novel.” He didn’t say that, but I’m saying it. I look
forward to selling ten thousand copies. (Emma)

Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo (releases Sept 24)

I’ve been a fan of Kate DiCamillo since I read The Tale of Despereaux as a child. Her writing has a way of haunting you the way a friendly ghost might haunt you; constantly, but comforting. The previous two installments in her THREE RANCHEROS collection contain some of the finest writing I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, and Beverely, Right Here doesn’t disappoint; it may be bold of me to say so, but I think Beverly is my favorite yet. It is, like Raymie and Louisana, about family. Blood family, and the ways they can disappoint you; found family, and the gaps they fail to fill. The gaps you refuse to let them fill. Like all of DiCamillo’s work, Beverly is about the good in the world that survives despite the bad. It is about the kindness and grace of love. It is about the kindness and grace of allowing yourself to be loved. (Abby)

High School by Sara Quin & Tegan Quin (releases Sept 24)

Tegan and Sara saw me through my high school woes, now it’s time to see them through theirs — bad haircuts and all! (Devyn)

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones (releases Sept 24)

The corpses are getting closer each year, daring closer to villages, past the treeline of the forest. Before disappearing Ryn’s father taught her to navigate the woods, and she’ll need every little thing she’s learnt to save herself and remaining family from the darkness and secrets that come with the folk. Expect a creepy, wicked good time with The Bone Houses. (Ikwo)

Odes to Lithium by Shira Erlichman (releases Sept 27)

If these poems are as luminous, discerning, and generous as Shira is, then reader, we stand no chance. (Serena)

The Topeka School by Ben Lerner (releases Oct 1)

Set in a Midwest city that serves as a microcosm of the unique tensions shaping our country at a particularly critical moment in history, this is a marvelously crafted story about colliding fates, avoiding our fates, and what it means if we can’t help but live up to them. The Topeka School is as intellectually nimble as it is compassionate in its exploration of a growing crisis of masculinity and a dazzling show of Ben Lerner’s impressive ability to unearth the soft, velvet interiors beneath the stolid facades of people and “types” of people we think we know. (Colleen)

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory (releases Oct 1)

What’s that? ANOTHER sparkly rom-com from Jasmine, and this time it takes place in a PALACE? Sign me up, sign me up, sign me up. (Emma)

She Was Like That by Kate Walbert (releases Oct 1)

Every story in Kate Walbert’s She Was Like That taps straight into a precise kind of modern anxiety and loneliness, especially as it relates to women grappling with their sense of family, duty, and femininity. These characters — a woman who briefly loses her children in a Times Square candy store; a grown daughter looking back at her mother’s alcoholism; a mother of teenage sons who runs into her former boss, a man who discouraged her decision to have children years earlier — are found in the center of small, defining moments, ripe for action but ore often used as a point of careful reflection. Don’t miss this perfectly rendered collection from a writer who is a master of her craft. (Liv)

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake (releases Oct 1)

POETS is the book I wish I had when I was sixteen. I mean that sincerely: it’s smart and kind and affirming. Violet is an emotionally raw character whose struggle with depression is depicted so subtly and yet so honestly that it made my heart ache for her. The astute difference between Violet and Sam both as people and as people struggling with mental illness is so clear, yet never treated flippantly within the narrative. There’s nuance, and compassion, and I cannot over-emphasize the kindness. And then there is the beautiful, amazing queer romance. It doesn’t fix everything. What it does is give them both a softly shining beacon of hope in the darkness; a lighthouse to help them make it through the night. To read about a relationship between queer girls that serves that role — it made me cry. The whole book made me cry. For all of the turmoil it took to get there, POETS does not have a happy ending, exactly, but it does have a perfect one. It’s hopeful. Sometimes, that’s enough. (Abby)

Grand Union by Zadie Smith (releases Oct 8)

Zadie can do it all! Novels, essays, and now, her first collection of short stories! I’m agog with love. (Emma)

How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones (releases Oct 8)

Saeed Jones, like Ocean Vuong, proves that poets are the only writers we need. This memoir is gorgeous, heart-breaking, and life-affirming. (Emma)

Space Struck by Paige Lewis (releases Oct 8)

The whole time I read this I was hand-over-mouth-emoji/pikachu meme. These poems are so imaginative, sincere, playful, they’re full of love and shame and wonderment and miracles. I’m blown away, up, and over, such that I can hardly recognize my surroundings, I’m Dorothy and my world is colored brighter by Paige Lewis. What a special mind to behold, how fortunate we are to be invited to it. (Serena)

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout (releases Oct 15)

Actual perfection. I’d missed cantankerous old Olive! (Emma)

Medallion Status by John Hodgman (releases Oct 15)

Once John Hodgman told me that he was our intern and now I’d like to
take this opportunity to say how proud we are of John here at Books
Are Magic. He’s hilarious, he’s brilliant, he’s had a variety of
facial hairstyles — we really think he’s going places. Medallion Status
indeed. One of these days, we’ll even give him a promotion. (Emma)

I loved Vacationland so much that I was honestly nervous to start Medallion Status because I was worried it wouldn’t live up to its predecessor. But Hodgman is BACK and Medallion Status offers new stories with his same warmth and wisdom, also this time there are corgis and, contrary to early claims, there’s SOME Maine in here, if that kind of thing is important to you (Margaret)

The Dollmaker by Nina Allan (releases Oct 15)

You know it’s going to be creepy with a title like that. Dollmaker begins correspondence with psychiatric hospital patient, romance and jailbreak ensues. I’m into it! (Ikwo)

Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman (releases Oct 22)

We have sold more than 700 copies of Alison’s first cookbook, Dining In, and I have personally cooked from it more often than I think I have ever cooked from any cookbook. Her recipes are smash hits, she’s hilarious, and we’re doing a big pre-order, so stay tuned for fun extra goodies! (Emma)

For Small Creatures Such as We by Sasha Sagan (releases Oct 22)

I loved this smart, meaningful, and charming book. For those of us who have thought deeply (or want to think deeply) about what it means to make meaning in the world unbound by religious tradition, Sagan’s wisdom is much needed. This book makes space for a new category of morality. What a gift! (Margaret)

All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg (releases Oct 22)

I am in love with Jami Attenberg’s writing, and was gripped by All This Could Be Yours from the opening pages. Everything about the Tuchmans felt so true to me — Alex’s confusion and anger toward the family’s toxic, now-comatose patriarch, Victor; Barbra’s isolation in her later years after a long marriage to a brute; Twyla and Gary’s unwinding secret selves — all of it is so perfectly told and paced. Full of Attenberg’s trademark dry-wit and precise, uncomfortable insight into the psychology of family love (and its close cousin, family hate), this novel had me laughing with genuine joy and crying in real sadness at the same time. (Liv)

Find Me by Andre Aciman (releases by Oct 29)

I’ll be honest, I was late to this party and only recently read Call Me By Your Name. Needless to say, I was gobsmacked. It was GORGEOUS, and heartwarming, and heartbreaking, and among the most resonant things I’ve ever read about desire. This unexpected sequel (!!) cannot come soon enough. (Rebekah)

The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada, translated by David Boyd (releases Oct 29)

Have I ever read a weird book that I didn’t like? I don’t think so. This one is the story of three workers at a factory in Japan. Each with a meaningless role in the company. Each one slowly starts to wonder, what does the factory produce and what impact does their job have. (Danni)

Women on Food edited by Charlotte Druckman (releases Oct 29)

This book of interviews, essays, and bite-sized quotes from female chefs, writers, editors, and foodie celebrities attacks the male-dominated world of restaurants and food with pure, raw, feminist power. (Emma)

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado (releases Nov 5)

There’s no door Machado leaves closed in Dream House. Where she could have brushed over and not delved into the darkness, she does with a sharp tongue and courage unmatched. She candidly discusses her experience with domestic abuse in themes, thoughts, and tropes surrounding a single relationship and its unraveling. No one is spared in her narration of love and loss — least of all the reader, least of all herself. Machado’s ability to write about the personal is bold and a true feat of literature as we know it. Her genius and strength on paper is a spigot tapped into our humanity. (Ikwo)

Little Weirds by Jenny Slate (releases Nov 5)

I love Jenny Slate and all her strange, yet highly charming thoughts. Few people are able to make the mundane as funny and as provoking as she can. (Colleen)

The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (releases Nov 5)

Sexton writes with captivating force; she holds a mirror to the insidious, enduring nature of American racism, revealing how it adapts to threaten black lives in new, but not unfamiliar ways. This novel — which spans 5 generations — is a love letter to grandmothers, with it, Sexton asks us to recognize, and in recognizing, honor, what we inherit from our ancestors, and how me might yield this inheritance in our fight for liberation. (Serena)

The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West (releases Nov 5)

Lindy is a genius and I can’t wait to read this book tracking how we came from being a hair’s breath from our first women president to a racist con-man. Save us, Lindy. (Emma)

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (releases Nov 5)

Zachary Ezra Rawlins was presented with a magical door when he was a child. He didn’t go through. Then, at his college’s library, he finds a book — and the book is about him, as a child, facing a magical door and choosing not to go through. Trust me when I saw that this book lives up to the hype of The Night Circus: its gorgeous, vivid, dreamlike prose makes it read like an especially vibrant fairy-tale, and the winding mysteries and yearning romances of its plot are so engrossing that you’ll never want it to end. (Abby)

The Crying Book by Heather Christle (releases Nov 5)

A thorough, intimate, and deeply empathetic study into the nature and implications of our tears. Part memoir, part essay, this book centers around the author’s recent loss of a friend and her anxieties surrounding motherhood, or more specifically, mothering through heartache. Here, we meet the love child of Maggie Nelson’s Bluets and Ross Gay’s Book of Delights, two not-distinctly-poetry books by poets as inimitable as Christle. P.S. cover goalssssssss (Serena)

The Ghost in Apartment 2R by Denis Markell (releases Nov 12)

The Ghost In Apartment 2R is a middle-grade ghost story that confidently strides the line between spooky and funny, spine-chilling and heart-warming. I got goosebumps! Multiple times! But always they were offset by the arrival of dawn and the charming shenanigans of Danny’s parents and friends. Just as Danny’s life is inextricably tied to the rich history of his diverse Brooklyn neighborhood — which is slowly being transformed by encroaching gentrification — so is the ghost’s terror, trauma, and ties to this earthly place. Markell writes about Brooklyn, its history, and its people with the warmth and affection only a Brooklyn native could achieve, while also crafting a stellar, spooky ghost story that kept me hooked from beginning to end. (Abby)

Broke: Hardship and Resilience in a City of Broken Promises by Jodie Adams Kirshner (releases Nov 19)

Kirshner writes about the machinations that put Detroit in economic freefall and the stories of the city’s most vulnerable. I cannot wait to get my hands on this one. (Danni)

NVK by Temple Drake (releases Nov 26)

Handsome Shanghainese business man falls in love with a mysterious and alluring woman who may or may not be a vampire. Sexy, gritty, dark and everything you want in a noir-ish novel. (Ikwo)

While there are obviously going to be many more books that win our hearts over the rest of the year, these are just the ones tipping off our early reader radar. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Instagram to keep up with what else we’re reading!

Books Are Magic

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The musings from a bookstore in Brooklyn

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