Fall book season is upon us, and there's almost too much to read. To help guide you, Globe Books asked the authors of some of autumn's most anticipated works to tell us which volumes they can't wait to get their hands on
I can't wait to get my hands on Michael Crummey's Sweetland. Crummey's an almost magical writer: his characters and places form up inside my head, and won't leave. His last book, Galore, was so rich that I deliberately didn't race through it. Sometimes you hear people say that they just couldn't put a book down: with Galore, I would read part, put it down, and come back knowing that, like a plate of brownies, it would be right there waiting for me, as intense as ever. The biggest letdown for me is when I've run out of Crummey. On top of that, the premise for Sweetland – the internal conflict of an isolated Newfoundland town where residents have to vote unanimously to collect government payments to leave – is an intriguing one, to say the least. In his hands, it will surely rock. I look forward to a slow, delightful read.
– Russell Wangersky's new novel, Walt, is forthcoming from Spiderline/House of Anansi Press.
I'm looking forward to Lee Henderson's new novel, The Road Narrows as You Go. He is one of the truly original writers we have in this country, capable of doing what many contemporary writers aspire to do: to legitimately blend the high and the low, the absurd and the sincere. His previous novel, The Man Game, was an exceptionally well-written, genuinely moving and audaciously imagined book that didn't get nearly the attention it deserved. I would read anything he writes, even a book about a woman who secretly believes her father is Ronald Reagan.
– David Bezmozgis's new novel, The Betrayers, was recently published by HarperCollins.
I simply can't wait for Who by Fire by Fred Stenson. It has to be a sign of genius that a writer can enthrall me with novels on subjects I have absolutely no interest in. Stenson did it with the fur trade (The Trade) and with the Boer War (The Great Karoo). I expect to be just as wowed by his take on, yes, the Tar Sands! On the page Stenson is like Frank Sinatra in a stetson – smooth and pitch perfect. And if details give literature its staying power, Stenson is writing for the ages. It's been years since I read The Trade, but I still remember the factor picking his teeth with the point of his knife. I remember the 1880s bowling alley in Lightning, and how in The Great Karoo the Canadian soldiers woke to find the water in their metal drinking flasks frozen and tinkling like chimes.
– Caroline Adderson's new novel, Ellen In Pieces, was recently published by HarperCollins Canada.
Include me in the queue that's waiting eagerly for the October release of Lila, the third novel that Marilynne Robinson has set in her fictional town of Gilead, Iowa in the mid-20th century. This one delves into turbulent past of the woman who will eventually marry a man many years her senior – the Congregationalist minister John Ames, whose dying letter to his six-year-old son was the framework for Gilead, the stunningly human and humane first novel. Robinson is one of those writers whom I read with a combination of joy and a sort of exquisite despair ("Oh, so this is what a novel is"). And she's a prose stylist so superb that she can conjure a book title – When I Was a Child I Read Books, a collection of personal essays – that on its own can stand as a tiny masterpiece of prosody.
– Ian Weir's new novel, Will Starling, is forthcoming from Goose Lane Editions.
I'm looking forward to Lizzie Stark's new book Pandora's DNA: Tracing the Breast Cancer Genes Through History, Science, and One Family Tree. It details Stark's decision to have a double mastectomy after learning she had inherited her mother's BRCA1 gene mutation – the same mutation that famously prompted Angelina Jolie to do the same. Stark's book promises a heady mix of personal narrative, genetics, and medical history. I met the author at Yaddo last summer (an artist residency in New York) and can vouch for her brilliance and wit. But don't take my word for it. The book has already received starred reviews from Kirkus, Library Journal, and Publisher's Weekly. (That's American for dynamite).
– Alison Pick's new memoir, Between Gods, was recently published by Doubleday Canada.
Colm Toibin manages to move in a different direction with each book, from his Man Booker shortlisted novel The Master, in which he explores the art and desires of Henry James, to Brooklyn, a more contained novel about the longings of Eilis Lacey, a young Irish girl trying to break free of her past. His new novel, to be published in October, is Nora Webster, about a widowed mother of four in a small Irish town. That's what I know about the book. What I know about Toibin is that all of his characters fight against social restrictions and their own self-imposed sense of "right." From his fictional creation of Henry James to Eilis Lacey, there is the unavoidable battle between responsibility and freedom. Toibin is fiercely intelligent. He takes characters of common clay and makes them complex and full of doubt and longing. I absolutely trust him as a novelist.
– David Bergen's new novel, Leaving Tomorrow, is forthcoming from HarperCollins Canada.
Megg is a witch, Mogg is her cat, Owl and Werewolf Jones are their closest friends, and some of their hilarious stories are collected in a 212-page book coming out this month called Megahex, by the cartoonist Simon Hanselmann, which I will read as soon as I get a copy. This is Hanselmann's big debut with Fantagraphics, and even though this is not the rumoured 1,000-page Megg and Mogg story, this is still a big debut because Hanselmann has gained a serious following through his Tumblr, Girl Mountain, where he regularly posts his art, and through the limited-run small-press books he's done over the past few years with Floating World, Space Face and others, featuring Megg and Mogg and the gang. Hanselmann has an impeccable style that's deceptively simple looking – sort of like a homemade Sabrina the Witch comic but going places Sabrina would never ever dare to go (even if Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's writing the Sabrina script) – Hanselmann's sense of humour is super contemporary (dark, depressing, hysterical, and full of drugs), and he puts his characters into realistic and familiar situations and then lets them go nuts. Megg and Mogg are unforgettable leads, and Owl and Jones are the perfect foils, and Hanselmann's art pops off the page thanks to his gorgeous use of colour. Hanselmann is a consummate artist and writer.
– Lee Henderson's new novel, The Road Narrows as You Go, is forthcoming from Hamish Hamilton Canada.
There are two books I'm particularly interested in reading this fall. The first is Man, by Kim Thuy, which is the story of a woman from Vietnam who comes to Montreal in an arranged marriage. I want to read this because the language sounds luscious and poetic, and because it's a story of dislocation and location, of a newcomer, an outsider, and because I'm drawn to exactly that Canadian story, told over and over again, and always original. My second choice is non-fiction: Between Gods, by Alison Pick, a memoir about faith by a writer who only learned her father's family was Jewish when she was a teen. I want to read this because Pick is a masterful writer, and because her essay in this spring's The M Word, which was adapted from a chapter of Between Gods, brought me to tears, and because the theme of spiritual seeker is personally compelling.
– Carrie Snyder's new novel, Girl Runner, was recently published by House of Anansi Press.
I suspect I won't be the first to say this, but the book I'm most looking forward to is David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks. It actually came out last week, but I've been a bit swamped by deadlines and haven't been able to pick up a copy yet. I'd been hearing great things about Mitchell for years, and this year I finally read Cloud Atlas. I don't think I've ever loved a book more; the characters were wonderful, the structure was fascinating, and there was such a sense of exuberance about it. I've been hearing from bookseller friends lately that The Bone Clocks is written in a similar style and is possibly even better.
– Emily St. John Mandel's new novel, Station Eleven, was recently published by HarperCollins Canada.