Reading Matters

Fall list of fiction, non-fiction upon us

Affinity Konar
Affinity Konar Publishers Weekly

Plump the pillows on your favorite reading chair because fall offers a rich selection of novels, memoirs and biographies.

First, the novels:

“A serious, grown-up novel, written on the other side of pain,” is how the Guardian describes Jonathan Safran Foer’s latest, “Here I Am,” about a Jewish family’s four weeks of personal and political crisis, by the author of “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”

An unborn fetus as a narrator? Leave it to Ian McEwan. In his forthcoming “Nutshell,” a fetus has ready access to pillow talk and is on hand when mommy betrays daddy. From the winner of the Man Booker Prize for “Amsterdam.”

A teacher has a brief affair with a student in “Dear Mr. M,” a psychologically sophisticated thriller by Dutch novelist Herman Koch, who wrote the bestselling, “The Dinner.”

The jottings in an old black notebook revive an intense Parisian love affair in “The Black Notebook,” by Nobel winner Patrick Modiano.

Set in Northwest London and West Africa, “Swing Time” is Zadie Smith’s novel about friendship, roots, music, talent, being black, being free. Her first novel, “White Teeth,” has been translated into 20 languages.

After finishing his last novel, “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh,” Putlitzer-winning Michael Chabon visited his dying grandfather, who spilled all the beans fit to spill. Those confessions inspired Chabon’s forthcoming “Moonglow,” a tale of madness, love and war.

Haven’t heard of Affinity Konar? You will. “Mischling” is her novel about 12-year-old twin girls subjected to the atrocities of Dr. Mengele at Auschwitz. Says Anthony Doerr (“All the Light We Cannot See”), “ of the most harrowing, powerful and imaginative books of the year."

Now for non-fiction:

There will be memoirs by Bruce Springsteen ("Born to Run"), Ruth Bader Ginsburg ("My Own Words"), Carol Burnett ("In Such Good Company"), "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston ("A Life in Parts") and N.C. State’s Belle Boggs, “The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine and Motherhood.”

In “Writing to Save a Life,” John Edgar Wideman writes about Emmett Till's father Louis Till, executed in Italy during WWII for rape and murder. Deirdre Bair takes on the infamous gangster in “Al Capone: His Life, Legacy and Legend.” And Jean Kennedy Smith offers an intimate look at her family in “The Nine of Us: Growing Up Kennedy.”

I’m in for all of the above, fiction and non-fiction.