20 fall books we can’t wait to read by Katie Couric, Billy Porter, Jonathan Franzen and more

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Do you know what pairs nicely with a pumpkin spice latte? New book smell.

The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer, which puts us in the mood to get cozy under a warm blanket, light a candle and settle in with a good book. Lucky for us, there are plenty to choose from in the months ahead: soul-baring essays and celebrity memoirs from Will Smith, Emily Ratajkowski and Billy Porter; fine literary fiction from Jonathan Franzen and Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich; and the breakthrough poetry collection from President Joe Biden's inauguration poet and new literary superstar, Amanda Gorman.

Here's a look at those and other books we can't wait to dig into this fall:

More: Colson Whitehead’s latest novel, 'Harlem Shuffle,' among 2021 Kirkus Prize nominees

“The Book of Form and Emptiness,” by Ruth Ozeki.
“The Book of Form and Emptiness,” by Ruth Ozeki.

“The Book of Form and Emptiness,” by Ruth Ozeki • Release date: Tuesday • A year after the death of his father, 13-year-old Benny Oh hears voices, often troubled, from inanimate objects – but then he finds peace in the voices of books.

“Bewilderment,” by Richard Powers • Release date: Tuesday • From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Overstory” comes a heartrending story about astrobiologist Theo Byrne, who searches for life in the cosmos while raising his unusual, brilliant, kind but also troubled 9-year-old son, Robin, after the death of his wife.

“Cloud Cuckoo Land,” by Anthony Doerr • Release date: Next Tuesday • From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “All the Light We Cannot See” comes a kaleidoscopic story that takes place across three different places and times: 15th-century Constantinople, a small town in present-day Idaho and a spaceship in the future.

“Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence,” by Anita Hill • Release date: Next Tuesday • A new manifesto on gender violence – what it is and how to confront it – from the lawyer who gave landmark testimony against Clarence Thomas alleging sexual harassment during his Supreme Court nomination.

“Crossroads,” by Jonathan Franzen • Release date: Oct. 5 • Franzen tells the story of a Midwestern family in the 1970s at a pivotal moment, the action largely unfolding across a single day. Russ and Marion Hildebrandt each seek to free themselves of their marriage; oldest child Clem comes home from college; popular sister Becky is veering into counterculture; and youngest brother Perry has been selling drugs to middle schoolers.

“Crossroads,” by Jonathan Franzen.
“Crossroads,” by Jonathan Franzen.

“The Night the Lights Went Out: A Memoir of Life After Brain Damage,” by Drew Magary • Release date: Oct. 5 • Several years ago, the popular Defector and former Deadspin columnist suffered a sudden catastrophic brain hemorrhage that left him in a coma for two weeks and permanently changed. He shares the story of his near-death experience, journey to recovery and life after touching the void.

“The Lincoln Highway,” by Amor Towles • Release date: Oct. 5 • Emmett Watson, 18 years old and newly released from a juvenile work farm where he was serving time for involuntary manslaughter, hits the road on a tour through 1950s America in an absorbing novel from the bestselling author of “A Gentleman in Moscow.”

“I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness,” by Claire Vaye Watkins • Release date: Oct. 5 • A writer leaves behind her husband and baby daughter for a reading in Reno, Nevada, that’s supposed to be brief but turns into a monthlong postpartum depression spiral as she confronts the ghosts that haunt her. A dark, and darkly funny, work of autofiction from the gifted writer of “Gold Fame Citrus.”

Antoni Porowski talks new cookbook and gushes about Tan France's new baby: 'I am Uncle Antoni'

“Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American in Search of the Real Dirt,” by Nick Offerman • Release date: Oct. 12 • Actor, writer and humorist Offerman (“Parks and Recreation”) takes a trip across the Land of the Free for some deep meditations on our relationship to the land, from our backyards to our majestic national parks.

“On Animals,” by Susan Orlean • Release date: Oct. 12 • A collection of stories from the author of “The Orchid Thief” and “The Library Book” about how humanity lives alongside animals, including the chickens in Orlean’s own backyard, the 23 tigers one New Jersey woman keeps as pets and the world’s most famous whale.

“Unprotected,” by Billy Porter • Release date: Oct. 19 • The Emmy-winning actor of “Pose” shares his story of growing up Black and gay in a country that wasn’t kind to either identity and how the constant struggle to simply be himself shaped the singular artist and proud icon.

"Going There," by Katie Couric • Release date: Oct. 26 • The beloved journalist and former co-anchor of the “TODAY” show takes readers behind the scenes of her professional life and shares the obstacles she overcame – sexism, insecurity, an eating disorder, the death of her first husband – in this intimate portrait of an undeniably modern woman.

"Going There," by Katie Couric.
"Going There," by Katie Couric.

“Baggage,” by Alan Cumming • Release date: Oct. 26 • The acclaimed queer Scottish actor follows up his 2014 memoir, “Not My Father’s Son.” Cumming continues the story of his self, chronicling his life in Hollywood and personal transcendence from a traumatic past.

“The Perishing,” by Natashia Deón • Release date: Nov. 2 • Lou, a young Black woman in 1930s Los Angeles, wakes up naked in an alley with no memory of how she got there. After a series of remarkable visions and coincidences, Lou begins to believe she may be an immortal. Can she recover the memory of her past in order to save the world?

“Our Country Friends,” by Gary Shteyngart • Release date: Nov. 2 • In March 2020, a group of friends gathers at a country estate to ride out the pandemic together. The next six months are filled with romance, betrayal and conflict. Could this be our first Great American Pandemic novel?

"The Sentence," by Louise Erdrich • Release date: Nov. 9 • The Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning author of “The Night Watchman” returns with a ghost story. A bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted by its most annoying customer, Flora, who refuses to leave even in death, and bookseller Tookie struggles to get rid of her.

“My Body,” by Emily Ratajkowski • Release date: Nov. 9 • Model, actor and social media influencer Ratajkowski goes deep on the subject of the commodification of women in this collection of essays which explores feminism, sexuality and the cultural treatment of women. If anyone would know, it’s her.

“Will,” by Will Smith with Mark Manson • Release date: Nov. 9 • The global superstar opens up about his life, tracing his transformation from a fearful child in West Philadelphia to Hollywood box-office titan, and the inspirational journey of self-knowledge needed to master his emotions and keep his family together.

“Will,” by Will Smith with Mark Manson.
“Will,” by Will Smith with Mark Manson.

“Call Us What We Carry,” by Amanda Gorman • Release date: Dec. 7 • Gorman proved herself an energizing new voice in American poetry with her stirring poem, “The Hill We Climb,” memorably delivered at this year’s presidential inauguration. Her breakout collection includes that poem and more that carry a message of hope and healing.

“Beasts of a Little Land,” by Juhea Kim • Release date: Dec. 7 • A young girl named Jade is sold by her family to Miss Silver’s courtesan school and befriends an orphaned boy, JungHo. As the friends come of age, they become swept up in Korea’s revolutionary fight for independence in this epic historical tale.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Billy Porter, Will Smith, Katie Couric: 20 fall books we need to read