Summer seems to get all the book love, with its avalanche of beach reads (and the fact that TV shows go on hiatus). But as autumn rolls around, don’t despair. There are plenty of new novels, essay collections, and memoirs to read outside during the last few days of good weather — or to pass a rainy day on the couch. Yahoo Style picked seven of our favorites.
Today Will Be Different, by Maria Semple
Maria Semple wrote the hilarious bestseller Where’d You Go Bernadette, about a woman in crisis and her daughter going to the end of the world — we’re talking Antarctica — to search for her. Her follow-up is about yet another woman in crisis. This time it’s Eleanor, who vows to be the ideal wife, mother, and career woman just for a day. This doesn’t go according to plan. And to make matters worse, there is a deep, dark family secret about to be revealed. Expect the same dry, almost caustic humor that made Bernadette such a hit.
Born a Crime: And Other Stories, by Trevor Noah
You may know Trevor Noah as the host of the satirical The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, the man who got the much-sought-after job while still a relative unknown. But in this collection of stories, we learn about his harrowing past (but don’t worry — the book’s still funny). Before Noah landed on the American stage, his life was informed by poverty and tenderness. He was born at the end of apartheid-era South Africa. As the son of a white father and a black Xhosa mother, his birth was illegal, which made his own mother pretend to be his nanny in public. His mother looms large over the stories as an eccentric woman who attended church six times a week. If you stopped watching The Daily Show when Jon Stewart left, getting to know Noah might inspire you to give it a second chance.
Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing, by Jennifer Weiner
The bestselling author of the novels Good in Bed and In Her Shoes — and super-opinionated Twitter presence — writes about her own life for the first time. It’s nonfiction, but when she calls herself “a Lane Bryant outtake in an Abercrombie & Fitch world,” she sounds a lot like one of her own heroines. This essay collection also includes stories about how she found her writing voice, her teen years, her mom coming out of the closet, and hearing her 6-year-old daughter say the word fat for the first time.
The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, by Amy Schumer
Following in the footsteps of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling, this is the first collection of comedic essays from Amy Schumer’s life as a “daughter, sister, friend, comedian, actor, girlfriend, employee, employer, lover, fighter, hater, pasta eater, and wine drinker.” Read her warts-and-all stories about shoplifting and one-night stands, her complicated relationships with her parents, and being in an abusive relationship and see if her multimillion-dollar advance was worth the hype.
Swing Time, by Zadie Smith
British-born, Manhattan-dwelling Zadie Smith became a global literary sensation with her debut, White Teeth. And in the years that followed, she has only become a more skilled writer, with her masterful novel On Beauty and Changing My Mind, a book of essays. Her latest novel tells the story of two friends who dream of dancing professionally: One has talent, the other has a lot of ideas about rhythm and music and the freedom of dance. It’s a story that sprawls from London to Africa about complicated friendships, as well as Smith’s love letter to dancing and music.
The Mothers, by Brit Bennett
This is without a doubt the most talked-about debut novel this fall, by Brit Bennett, who started writing the book while still in high school and who is now in her mid-20s. The Mothers is set in present-day in a black community in Southern California. There is a suicide, a teen romance, an unplanned pregnancy, and a resulting cover-up whose ramifications span from adolescence to adulthood. Bennett writes that “all good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season.” With gorgeous language like that, we’re already anticipating her sophomore effort.
A combination of memoir, cultural history, and criticism might seem weirdly unconventional in one book. But journalist Jason Diamond’s version is all about John Hughes, the king of the ’80s teen movie: The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Pretty in Pink (along with National Lampoon’s Vacation and Home Alone). Diamond is from the Chicago suburbs, like many of Hughes’s characters. And he found solace from real life by watching the outcasts of those classic films. He tried — and admittedly failed — to write a biography of Hughes (embarking on it before the director died in 2009) but discovered in the process that he had his own story to tell.