Favorite Authors: The One Blockbuster Book to Read This Fall
The year's hottest authors reveal that one special read we all need to pick up this autumn...
"I've been saving up Donal Ryan's The Spinning Heart
, the story of a village in Ireland just after the Celtic Tiger boom went spectacularly bust. I can tell just from flicking through it that it's the kind of book that sucks you straight into its world: The language is lyrical and dark and funny, the cadences of the sentences are like music and it's full of images that fly off the page like sparks. So I've been saving it till I get a solid few hours off and I can curl up and vanish into it—and this autumn, I'm actually going to do it!"
— Tana French, author of The Secret Place
"That extraordinary Frenchwoman Joan of Arc is watching over us: There are two new books about her, both by writers remarkable for their insight into the lives of women in history. I would hate to choose between them. This October, I'm reading Kathryn Harrison's Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured
. When 2015 rolls around, I'll start Helen Castor's Joan of Arc: A History
— Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall
and The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher
"I'm saving the new Diana Gabaldon, Written in My Own Heart's Blood
, for when the nights draw in and the log fire is lit here in Quebec. And, while I know I'm the last person on earth to read it, the book first on my list is Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall
. I've been saving it, and saving it—afraid to start because I don't want it to end. How's that for ridiculous? Happily, I'll then have Bring Up the Bodies
, the follow-up novel by Mantel. Bliss."
— Louise Penny, author of The Long Way Home
"I'm diving into Lila
, by Marilynne Robinson, which is the third novel in the trilogy that began with Gilead
. In Home
, Glory, the dutiful daughter and sister who stays at home to take care of her elderly father, has so much roiling beneath her surface—resentment, gratitude, pride, heart-broken-ness—that she made me see certain women in a completely new way. I can't wait to see what Robinson does with the character of Lila, the mysterious young wife who appears in both earlier novels. This is a writer so powerfully luminous and direct, her stories transcend their terrain of church and small town."
— Rene Steinke, author of Friendswood
"I got a sneak peak at some of the essays in Lena Dunham's Not That Kind of Girl
and am happy to report that Dunham's writing is just as smart, honest, sophisticated, dangerous, luminous and charming as her work on Girls
. Its essential quality is a kind of joyful superawareness: of herself, the world, the human. Reading her makes you glad to be in the world, and glad that she's in it with you."
— George Saunders, Tenth of December
"I am look forward to what I know is going to be a masterful short-story collection The Isle of Youth
, by the talented and wonderfully weird writer Laura van den Berg. Van den Berg's first collection, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us
, was full of women who were strange and strong, and I just wanted to keep reading about them."
— Tiphanie Yanique, author of Land of Love and Drowning
"I am looking forward to Alice Munro's collection, Family Furnishings, Selected Stories, 1995-2014
. Like so many people, I've read Munro for a very long time, following her excellent work in The New Yorker
and elsewhere, as it unfolded with both modesty and power. I can't think of anything better than sitting and bingeing on her dazzling, and now Nobel Prize–draped, fiction."
— Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings