10 books to add to your reading list in October 2022

On the shelf

October 10 books for your reading list

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Critic Bethanne Patrick recommends 10 promising titles, fiction and nonfiction, to consider for your October reading list.

The books of fall are coming in hot through the end of September, not unlike an LA heatwave. But by October the dust settles and the meatiest releases often arrive – late-career tomes from the likes of John Irving; bold departures from authors like Celeste Ng; thoughtful biographies of Bob Dylan and Samuel Adams and others. Open the windows, brew some tea, and dive in.


Our missing hearts
By Celeste Ng
Penguin Press: 352 pages, $29
(Oct 6)

The movement called Preservating American Culture and Traditions (PACT) in Ng’s stunning and beautiful new novel sounds so plausible that readers might momentarily suspect it actually exists. As a boy named Bird tries to figure out what happened to his mother, a Chinese-American poet and activist who disappeared years ago, he uncovers sobering truths about racism and collaboration in a near-future dystopia that’s only gradually different from ours differs.

book cover for "when we were sisters" by Fatimah Asghar

when we were sisters
By Fatimah Asghar
One World: 336 pages, $27

Longlisted for the National Book Awards, Asghar’s debut shimmers with love amid neglect. Three young Pakistani sisters, Noreen, Aisha and Kausar, end up with a terrible uncle after being orphaned in the United States. Over the years, confined to a cramped bedroom to keep to their uncle’s strict schedule, their bonds almost grow too strong; everyone needs to leave in order to make their way to adulthood.

The last chairlift
By John Irving
Simon & Schuster: 912 pages, $38

Love Irving’s work or not, you have to give him props for his keen perspective on our country’s modern history in works ranging from “Cider House Rules” to “The World Laut Garp.” His last begins in 1941 when a young Aspen ski genius named Ray becomes pregnant with our protagonist Adam. The plot drapes loosely around Adam’s search for his biological father, but like most Irving plots, it’s really about how we create our own kind of family in the late capitalist age.

The book cover of "Liberation Day: Stories" by George Saunders

Liberation Day: Stories
By George Saunders
Random House: 256 pages, $28

While Saunders has written a novel (Lincoln in the Bardo) and literary essays on favorite short stories (A Swim in the Pond in the Rain) since releasing his Tenth of December collection in 2013, die-hard fans have almost spent this one Decade waiting for more of the form in which he is an absolute genius. His new short stories won’t disappoint; When it comes to finding the uncanny in the everyday—or vice versa—Saunders is second to none.

signal fire
By Dani Shapiro
Button: 240 pages, $28

Shapiro’s first novel in 15 years follows three generations on a suburban street through the prism of a drunken car accident that unearths several horrific secrets. The author’s attention to craft is so detailed, so invisible, that 250 pages feels both taut and timeless at the same time, especially as a friendship between an older man and an adolescent boy allows many of the characters to achieve something nearing completion .


Token Black Girl: A Memoir
By Danielle Prescod
Small A: 256 pages, $25
(Oct 1)

As fashion industry insider Prescod knows, toxic ideals of beauty aren’t just anti-feminist; they are racist too. This candid and energetic memoir from BET’s former style director follows a journey through chemical hair treatments and strict diet and exercise routines and more, all aimed at transforming herself into the opposite of who she is. But Prescod has come through the other side with wisdom to share with you how to come into your true, beautiful self.

book cover for "Life is tough: how philosophy can help us find our way" by Kieran Setiya

Life is tough: how philosophy can help us find our way
By Kieran Setiya
Random House: 240 pages, $27
(4 Oct)

Setiya teaches philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, so you’d think he had the answers to every existential question. However, when it comes to enduring hardship and adversity, he readily admits that there is no easy solution. Instead, the Philosophy contains devices that can help you survive and find new hope if you know how to use them.

Making a Scene: A Memory
By Constance Wu
Scribner: 336 pages, $29
(4 Oct)

The acclaimed “Crazy Rich Asians” comic actor debunks stereotypes of Asian Americans (and rumors of being cold on set) in his memoir about going from good girlhood in Virginia to Hollywood stardom and his own inflated expectations. Bringing her own background to the role of the Taiwanese-American mother in Fresh Off the Boat, Wu found her creative voice and began to understand how important it is to others as well.

book cover for "Folk Music: A Bob Dylan Biography in Seven Songs" by Greil Marcus

Folk Music: A Bob Dylan Biography in Seven Songs
By Greil Marcus
Yale: 288 pages, $28

No human being, not even the famously enigmatic Bob Dylan, can be an enigma to his biographer. From “Blowing in the Wind” to “Murder Most Foul,” Marcus digs the Minnesota Iron Range artist’s music for its deeply American soul. As in all of his books, the acclaimed rock critic combines interviews, narrative, research and criticism to create a cultural biography that reveals how closely Dylan has followed the news and zeitgeist throughout his seven-decade career.

The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams
By Stacy Schiff
Little, Brown: 432 pages, $33
(Oct 25)

Stand aside, Thomas Jefferson; Let’s talk about the man whose dedication to resistance behavior makes him, for some, the most important figure in the American Revolution. Through the meticulous research and dynamic storytelling of this Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, Samuel Adams comes to an electrifying life as a man of principle and persuasion. There was also Adam’s devotion to stealth and secrecy, which is perhaps why it took so long to tease out his unusual story.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/books/story/2022-09-29/10-books-to-add-to-your-reading-list-in-october 10 books to add to your reading list in October 2022

Sarah Ridley

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