Here are some of the new books getting a lot of attention this fall. Have you read any of them or are you planning to? What do you think? Is the buzz warranted?
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami: An ode to George Orwell’s “1984″ told in alternating male and female voices relates the stories of Aomame, an assassin for a secret organization who discovers that she has been transported to an alternate reality, and Tengo, a mathematics lecturer and novice writer.
Blue Nights by Joan Didion: Shares the author’s frank observations about her daughter as well as her own thoughts and fears about having children and growing old, in a personal account that discusses her daughter’s short life and her feelings of failure as a parent.
Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie: Presents a reconstruction of the eighteenth-century empress’s life that covers her efforts to engage Russia in the cultural life of Europe, her creation of the Hermitage, and her numerous scandal-free romantic affairs.
Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard: A narrative account of President James Garfield’s political career offers insight into his background as a scholar and Civil War hero, his battles against the corrupt establishment, and Alexander Graham Bell’s failed attempt to save him from an assassin’s bullet.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling: The writer and actress best known as Kelly Kapoor on “The Office” shares observations on topics ranging from favorite male archetypes and her hatred of dieting to her relationship with her mother and the haphazard creative process in the “Office” writers’ room.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem by James Carroll: Traces the evolution of the belief that Jerusalem is the center of the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religious worlds and argues that this fixation is a main cause of the modern-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn: Includes practical, healthy tips that boost readers’ culinary self-confidence, and strategies to get the most from their grocery dollar, and simple recipes that get readers cooking.
Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga: Refusing to leave his home when a powerful real-estate developer offers to buy out the residents of a crumbling apartment complex near the infamous Dharavi slums, a retired schoolteacher becomes a target of violence by the developer and his own neighbors.
Nightwoods by Charles Frazier: Named the guardian of her murdered sister’s troubled twins, Luce struggles to build a family with the children before being targeted by the twins’ father, her sister’s killer, who believes that the children are in possession of a stolen cache of money.
Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire: Glinda, former Throne Minister, held under house arrest by General Cherrystone, obtains the infamous Grimmerie, supposedly a volume of magical lore, coveted by Oz. Meanwhile, Lir’s daughter Rain begins her quest to discover her true identity and unravel the layers of political and personal secrets that have caused strife and division in Oz.
The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco: Follows the controversial nineteenth-century story of a European world where violence and occult practices shaping key historical events are commonly linked by a solitary evil genius.
Rin Tin Tin by Susan Orlean: Chronicles the rise of the iconic German shepherd character while sharing the stories of the real WWI dog and the canine performer in the 1950s television show, and explores Rin Tin Tin’s relevance in the military and popular culture.
Then Again by Diane Keaton: The award-winning actress documents her rise from an everyday girl to an acclaimed performer while exploring her defining relationship with her mother and how their shared and separate dreams influenced their experiences.
Zone One by Colson Whitehead: In a post-apocalyptic world decimated by zombies, survivor efforts to rebuild are focused on Manhattan, where civilian team member Mark Spitz works to eliminate remaining infected stragglers and remembers his horrifying experiences at the height of the zombie plague.