With Halloween lurking around the corner, it’s time to whet your appetite with nonfiction books about America’s haunted places and ’80s horror movies. October also brings the latest from Margaret Atwood and several other great authors. Here are 10 strong reading recommendations for the month.
The Angel of History
by Rabih AlameddineA beautiful examination of memory and mortality, about a poet reexamining his life, from his adolescence spent in an Egyptian brothel to life as a gay man living with AIDS in San Francisco. Alameddine is a phenomenal writer.
by Margaret AtwoodA delightfully marvelous retelling of “The Tempest” by Shakespeare, set in a prison getting ready to stage a performance of, well, “The Tempest.” Margaret Atwood is a gift to us all, and she’s at top form here as she gleefully weaves a wonderful plot of revenge and retribution.
by Brit BennettA teenage girl’s decision to keep her pregnancy a secret from everyone — even her best friend — results in complications and heartbreak in her relationships later in life. A stunning debut novel and simply one of the year’s best.
The Wangs vs. the World
by Jade ChangA funny, charming road-trip novel about a Chinese immigrant family living in the United States that embarks on a cross-country journey after the patriarch loses his business, and all the hilarious happenings along the way.
The Red Car
by Marcy DermanskyDermansky delivers another psychologically stunning story about a woman who inherits a red sports car from her former boss, and the journey she takes in the car. A great look at independence and life choices.
Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places
by Colin DickeyDickey discusses all the fascinating things you could want to know about our country’s haunted history. A wonderfully interesting book, whether you believe in ghosts or not.
You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain
by Phoebe Robinson Robinson, a comedian and one half of the wonderful podcast “2 Dope Queens” (along with the amazing Jessica Williams), has written smart, funny essays on race and feminism, doused with plenty of pop-culture references and a lot of heart.
All That Man Is
by David SzalayA deep and sometimes deeply disturbing look at the lives of nine men in Europe from various cultures and backgrounds. Their stories, recounted from youngest to oldest, offer a fascinating glimpse into what it means to be a man in the modern world.
Do Not Say We Have Nothing
by Madeleine ThienShortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Thien has painted a beautiful portrait of two generations of an extended family in China, full of political and emotional strife. Marie and Ai-Ming are young women in present-day Vancouver whose search into their family’s past drives the narrative of Thien’s wonderful novel.
Brat Pack America: Visiting Cult Movies of the ’80s
by Kevin SmoklerSmokler takes readers on a virtual tour of the landscapes of the classic movies of the ’80s. From Shermer, Ill., to the Goondocks of Astoria, he explains why these real-life locations for fictional places are as important to America as the films themselves.