A few people asked if I’d update with information about my fall books to give as holiday gifts, which makes sense this year because I have so many of them! Because my list is heavy on commercial and upmarket fiction, I traditionally frontload books in the spring and summer seasons. In publishing, fall is typically the time to publish major literary fiction and newsworthy non-fiction in hardcover. But, paradoxically, because of that, it’s also a great time to publish paperbacks for holiday shoppers at Barnes & Noble, Target, Walmart, etc. So, in addition to Elena Armas’s The American Roommate Experiment—already a major New York Times bestseller—here’s what I’m concentrating on this fall.
KISS HER ONCE FOR ME by Alison Cochrun (out November 1)
In this queer holiday rom-com, a struggling animator (and current barista) agrees to a fake engagement to her shop’s landlord to collect an inheritance, only to fall for his sister, with whom she had a whirlwind one-day romance the previous Christmas. It has a family holiday chalet, a dog called Paul Hollywood, and a love trapezoid. Is this enough to pick it up?
THE APPEAL by Janice Hallett (out November 1 in paperback)
This paperback of Janice’s spectacular UK bestseller THE APPEAL comes out this November, and I can’t wait for it to take the US by storm. Janice is writing some of the most inventive crime fiction today, and THE APPEAL’s paperback leads right into our publication of her next novel THE TWYFORD CODE in January. Written entirely in emails and WhatsApp messages, THE APPEAL moves at breakneck pace between members of a theatre troupe (and a few young lawyers searching for clues) with one dead body, fifteen suspects, and a killer possibly still at large.
FLIGHT RISK by Cherie Priest (out November 15)
Cherie’s Booking Agents series is pure fun. I’m not often drawn to anything supernatural in my novels, but psychic Leda Foley was so charming I just couldn’t resist. In this sequel to GRAVE RESERVATIONS, Leda and her unofficial crime-solving partner Grady, a Seattle PD detective, once again team up to solve interconnected crimes about a missing wife and a severed leg retrieved by Grady’s lost dog on a mountain trail. Don’t worry, it’s not as gruesome as it sounds! (And zero dogs are harmed in the course of this book.)
Fall is in full swing here in New York. Submissions are rushing in. The city’s cultural centers are bustling. Publishing parties are back! We haven’t even hit Halloween yet, and I found holiday decorations out at Target this afternoon. And so in that spirit, a few favorites of mine to give for the holidays.
SALT FAT ACID HEAT by Samin Nosrat
I hoard copies of this cookbook to give as a gift. Birthdays, housewarmings, holidays: the occasion truly doesn’t matter. This one is really about the basics of good cooking. There are plenty of recipes, but actually sitting down and reading it has also made me a better cook. I have my rice-to-liquid ratios down pat, know what salt to use on what, and finally understand why heat matters. Any home cook, from beginner to expert, can benefit from it.
RULES OF CIVILITY by Amor Towles
This is among my favorite novels read in the last five years (although it came out in 2011). Set over the course of a year in 1938, it follows a young secretary making her way through New York society who becomes wrapped up with a mysterious and charismatic young banker. But is really about choices–the ones we make, the ones we don’t, and who we become as a result. I’m fascinated by the concept of “right” choices, and this novel mirrored much of my own philosophy in its prologue and epilogue, both set at a gallery opening in 1966. This is my personal favorite of Amor Towles’s novels, and I think there’s something in it to appeal to a wide swath of people.
My dad and I loved watching Secrets of Great British Castles last year, which is hosted by historian Dan Jones. I picked up a copy of THE PLANTAGENETS for my dad last year, knowing that we both loved Dan Jones’s engaging and accessible style. And although I did give it to my dad for Christmas, I immediately proceeded to “borrow” it for the next week. There are plenty of history books aimed at very specific interests, but I thought this was a good overview (although I also happen to be fascinated by the Plantagenets).
Happy Reading! I am off to continue reading Beatriz Williams’s OUR WOMAN IN MOSCOW and snack on a maple bacon biscuit with my dinner.