Oh, October, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. The leaves, the perfection of the October cloud, the smell of the crispness in the air, my wedding anniversary, my son’s birthday … it seems almost unfair to all the other months to add the mania of new titles held onto all year for the coveted fall release. There are so many blockbusters coming out in October—Grisham, Picoult, Macomber, Stuart Woods, John Sandford—that I couldn’t possibly mention them all, so I’ll stick to a tiny handful of ones to watch for.
Looking at all the titles coming out in October from comedians and actors, I immediately hear Dick Van Dyke and Ed Wynn start singing “I love to laugh,” while Julie Andrews, a.k.a. Mary Poppins, looks sternly up at them. But maybe that’s just me. Still, check this out: on the sure-to-make-us-belly-laugh side we have Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated Yes Please finally taking its rightful place next to Tina Fey’s beloved Bossypants, as well as Food: A Love Story, the follow-up to last year’s hugely popular Dad Is Fat from Jim Gaffigan. Once you catch your breath, try your hand at being a child actor in Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography (the cover even mimics the tell-tale design of Choose Your Own Adventures, as if Doogie Howser alone isn’t enough to bring instant joy to every child of the 80s and 90s!). Despite fame, success, and private struggles, megastar NPH doesn’t take himself too seriously and the format of his autobiography seems a nod not just to 80s nostalgia, but to acknowledging the different paths his life could have taken. Finally, when you’re ready to re-join the real world, pick up Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming. Known for his ribald humor, outspoken support of LGBT rights, and provocative roles, here we see another side of Cumming, that of his dark childhood with an emotionally and physically abusive father. While not the laugh-fest of some of the other celebrity memoirs this fall, Cumming is sure to bring laughter even to this dark and personal story.
Yes Please written and read by Amy Poehler. Audio published by HarperCollins. Available 10/28/2014.
Food: A Love Story written and read by Jim Gaffigan. Audio published by Random House Audio. Available 10/21/2014.
Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography written and read by Neil Patrick Harris. Audio published by Random House Audio. Available 10/14/2014.
Not My Father’s Son written and read by Alan Cumming. Audio published by HarperCollins. Available 10/7/2014.
The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott
The Wonder of All Things takes a familiar question—how much are we willing to give up to save the ones we love?—and wraps it in the story of a young girl with the miraculous ability to heal others. It’s the kind of story that could be sickly sweet, melodramatic, and superficial, but Mott’s reputation makes me hopeful that he can make it the intimate and touching story it has the potential to be. With a Pushcart Prize nomination to his credit, a background as a poet, and the success and critical acclaim of last year’s The Returned—which hinged on a similar miraculous plotline—it seems likely that he has the literary chops to pull it off.
Audio published by Brilliance Audio. Available 10/2/2014.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
How do you make Neil Gaiman’s Newbery Medal-winning novel The Graveyard Book even better? Record an all-new, full-cast audio edition of it! Don’t worry, Gaiman still narrates the part of Nehemiah Trott (as well as a bonus essay about his creation of the novel), but there’s some serious acting star power added in, including Sir Derek Jacobi, Miriam Margolyes (Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter movies), and Andrew Scott (Moriarty in the BBC’s Sherlock).
Audio published by HarperCollins. Available 10/2/2014.
Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
Meg Wolitzer got a lot of press earlier this year for her novel The Interestings. Now she’s turning her hand to YA with Belzhar, a funny coming-of-age, first-love, psychological suspense story with Wolitzer’s signature literary touch and pitch-perfect emotional appeal. Wolitzer has earned a reputation for writing well developed, nuanced characters, and I’m eager to see her do the same for her teenaged protagonist.
Audio published by Random House Audio. Available 10/2/2014.
What will you be listening to this October? Tell us what we missed!