16 Books You Need To Read This Fall

The scent of fall is in the air — and you may also detect the sweet smell of books. Maybe it’s the memories of back-to-school reading lists, or the coziness of couches in cooling weather, or how a steaming mug of cider just calls for a novel to join it, but autumn weather always seems to demand new reading material. Luckily, fall is always the best season in publishing. And, this year’s excellent crop of novels, short-story collections, books of essays and poetry, and even a cookbook or two, is no exception.
There are memoirs by two of the city's (and the world's) funniest women: Amy Poehler and Lena Dunham. There's a new fashion bible that examines the relationship between women and clothes. There's even a cookbook from beloved East Village eatery Prune. Basically, there's a little something for everyone.
Advertisement
The best part? No book report required — unless, of course, you really want to write one.
1 of 16
Photo: Courtesy of Random House.
David Mitchell's latest multipart masterpiece might be the biggest book of the fall — and it's certainly the most ambitious. Told in six parts that jump forward in time (in the first, troubled teenager Holly Sykes gets caught up in a decades-old war between immortals; in the last, she’s an old woman at the edge of an apocalypse), this engrossing and often hilarious novel will lead you down a philosophical rabbit hole you’ll never want to leave.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, $18, available at Amazon. (Available now.)
2 of 16
Photo: Courtesy of Blue Rider Press.
Recycle that September issue, because your new fashion bible is here: Women in Clothes is a collection of essays from over 600 women about, well, clothes. And, the compendium is edited by three of the coolest ladies in contemporary letters. There's something in here for any lady who ever gets dressed — so that means all of you.

Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton, $18, available at Amazon. (Available now.)
3 of 16
Photo: Courtesy of Coffee House Press.
If you only read one book of poetry this fall, this should be it. Penned by the kick-ass editor of BuzzFeed LGBT, Saeed Jones' poems are fierce, joyful, and flat-out gorgeous.

Prelude to Bruise by Saeed Jones, $11.86, available at Amazon. (Available now.)
4 of 16
Photo: Courtesy of Knopf.
Think you're over dystopian fiction? Don't be too sure — Emily St. John Mandel's newest novel will remind you just how much you like end-of-the-world books. What survives when cities and the Internet and infrastructure fails? Well, Shakespeare, for one thing, in the form of the Traveling Symphony, a post-apocalyptic troupe of entertainers trying to make it by in a new world. A brilliant and compelling book by a young superstar.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, $15.32, available at Amazon. (Available now.)
Advertisement
5 of 16
Photo: Courtesy of Nan A. Talese.
Margaret Atwood's first short story collection in eight years is just as dark and witty and charged as everything we've come to expect from her.

Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood, $16.41, available at Amazon. (Available now.)
6 of 16
Photo: Courtesy of Harper.
You may remember Caitlin Moran from her excellent and hilarious 2012 feminist manifesto How to Be a Woman. Now, Moran has written a brash new novel about growing up, masturbation, music, and reinvention, featuring one of the funniest and most outspoken teenage girls ever committed to print.

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran, $17.07, available at Amazon. (Available September 23.)
7 of 16
Photo: Courtesy of Henry Holt & Co.
Hilary Mantel is a brilliant writer and a two-time Booker Prize winner to boot. If you've torn your way through her Thomas Cromwell novels, why not check out her new collection of contemporary short stories? You'll have a hard time finding a smarter selection this season or any.

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel, $17.08, available at Amazon. (Available September 30.)
8 of 16
Photo: Courtesy of Random House.
The book everyone's been talking about from funny girl superhero Lena Dunham. Here's her pitch:

"If I could take what I've learned and make one menial job easier for you, or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine was worthwhile. I'm already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you, but also my future glory in having stopped you from trying an expensive juice cleanse or thinking that it was your fault when the person you are dating suddenly backs away, intimidated by the clarity of your personal mission here on earth. No, I am not a sexpert, a psychologist, or a dietician. I am not a mother of three or the owner of a successful hosiery franchise. But I am a girl with a keen interest in having it all, and what follows are hopeful dispatches from the frontlines of that struggle." Preach!

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, $16.80, available at Amazon. (Available September 30.)
9 of 16
Photo: Courtesy of Greywolf Press.
In this important book, Eula Biss investigates immunity as a metaphorical and social concept, as well as hard science, taking on the anti-vaccine crowd and delivering a smart and thoughtful commentary on contemporary society at the same time.

On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss, $15.18, available at Amazon. (Available September 30.)
Advertisement
10 of 16
It wouldn't be a fall preview without a little #humblebrag. R29's first book, Style Stalking, features everything from insider tips to stunning photos of our favorite street style icons, influencers, and friends. It's the perfect addition to your coffee table and the ultimate love letter to personal style.

Refinery29: Style Stalking by Christene Barberich and Piera Gelardi, $15.31, available for pre-order at Amazon. (Available October 21.)
11 of 16
Photo: Courtesy of Dey Street Books.
"Yes please" to anything by Amy Poehler.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler, $19.15, available at Amazon. (Available October 28.)
12 of 16
Photo: Courtesy of Knopf.
Did you know the inventor of the lie detector also invented Wonder Woman? You’ll hear all about this and more in this totally compelling deep-end dive into the history of Wonder Woman and her secretly feminist, polygamist creator, William Moulton Marston, from Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore.

The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore, $18.94, available at Amazon. (Available October 28.)
13 of 16
Photo: Courtesy of W.W. Norton & Co.
This one's for anyone who's ever really hoped for (and kind of totally believed in) the existence of mermaids.

Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet, $16.41, available at Amazon. (Available November 3.)
14 of 16
Photo: Courtesy of Random House.
One of the season's most anticipated cookbooks, from the author of best-selling food memoir Blood, Bones & Butter, it's filled with recipes straight from the chef's binders of Gabrielle Hamilton's NYC restaurant Prune.

Prune by Gabrielle Hamilton, $31.21, available at Amazon. (Available November 4.)
15 of 16
Photo: Courtesy of Henry Holt & Co.
Mallory Ortberg is probably one of the best things about the Internet right now. (If you don't follow her on Twitter, do it now!) Her book, which features imagined conversations from your favorite literary characters, will keep you giggling and ignoring your own phone for hours. After all, who could be texting you that's more interesting than Mr. Rochester?

Texts From Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg, $17.37, available at Amazon. (Available November 4.)
16 of 16
Photo: Courtesy of FSG.
Meghan Daum might just be the new Joan Didion: a whip-smart, incisive, and often hilarious cultural commentator whose personal essays will stand the test of time. Better pay attention.

The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion by Meghan Daum, $19.26, available at Amazon. (November 18, 2014.)
Advertisement