A fictional character once said, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers,” and I would have to agree. It’s my favorite month to read! I save books throughout the year for the month of October. Something about the cooler weather, hot beverages and warm soups, and cozy blankets make for the perfect setting to curl up with a new book. These 8 for October jump all over the pumpkin patch with subjects that tackle racial injustice all the way to Nantucket’s scallop season.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?
Tim says: Jodi Picoult is no stranger to writing plots that center on social injustice and controversial subjects. Her books always make me think and reflect, whether about a character’s choices, a plot line, society in general, or a random fact. “Small Great Things” is so timely and important that it truly made me stop and think about race, privilege, injustice, and the role we all play in it. I always feel a little smarter, more compassionate and open-minded, and changed for the better after one of her stories. Pick this one up October 11th.
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
In Emma Donoghue’s latest masterpiece, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle – a girl said to have survived without food for months – soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life. Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl. Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, The Wonder works beautifully on many levels – a tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.
Tim says: It’s no WONDER that Emma Donoghue’s latest book made my list this month. It has Irish history, beautiful sentences, an isolated village, and religious fanaticism. It completely absorbs you into the mystery of what is going on in this village and to its people. Just like the main character, I had to know what was happening to this 11 year old girl. Is she a miracle child? Abused? Is it something super-natural? Read it and wonder no more…
The Mothers by Britt Bennet
It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young and it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance and the subsequent cover-up will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.
Tim says: “IndieBound” is a program of the American Booksellers Association and every month they announce an Indie Next List, a collection of books that independent bookshops across the country recommend. Their featured title for October is The Mothers, a debut novel that is about self-acceptance and salvation. It is one of the more anticipated books for the fall and it arrives on our shelves October 11th. I didn’t know much about it going in, but I loved every page!
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
He can’t leave his hotel. You won’t want to. From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility — a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel. In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
Tim says: This is one book I saved from September to recommend in October. You want this one for a chilly day when you have nothing else on your to-do list. A little bit of Russian history and a whole lot of personality all in one hotel. You will put yourself under house arrest until you finish it.
The Trespasser by Tana French
Being on the murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point. Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her catalogue-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before. And that her death won’t stay in its neat by-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette’s road. Aislinn’s friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be.
Tim says: Tana French is my favorite crime novelist. She manages to completely enthrall you into the crime, from the victim to the suspects, and while you’re racing to the last page to see ‘whodunit,’ you never actually want the story to end. Her characters always feel like real people and her insight into police procedure is engaging and fascinating. They say that a good mystery is one that even if you knew how it ended, you would still read it. This book is worth every page.
Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more. Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile – a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood – changing one life after another with the power of storytelling. From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.
Tim says: I have always been a sucker for a good book about books. Jenny Colgan’s novel provides easy sentences and light reading, but brought a smile to my face for its sentiments on readers, bookshops, and the joy of putting a good book in someone’s hands. Save 20% on this book at our very own “Bookshop on the Corner” – Mitchell’s – during the month of October!
Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
A brilliant novel from the author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette, about a day in the life of Eleanor Flood, forced to abandon her small ambitions and awake to a strange, new future. Eleanor knows she’s a mess. But today, she will tackle the little things. She will shower and get dressed. She will have her poetry and yoga lessons after dropping off her son, Timby. She won’t swear. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe. But before she can put her modest plan into action, life happens. Today, it turns out, is the day Timby has decided to fake sick to weasel his way into his mother’s company. It’s also the day Joe has chosen to tell his office – but not Eleanor – that he’s on vacation. Just when it seems like things can’t go more awry, an encounter with a former colleague produces a graphic memoir whose dramatic tale threatens to reveal a buried family secret. Today Will Be Different is a hilarious, heart-filled story about reinvention, sisterhood, and how sometimes it takes facing up to our former selves to truly begin living.
Tim says: Finding yourself frazzled this fall? Juggling a million things? Work, marriage, kids, books you want to read, pumpkins? This book shows you that you’re not alone and gives you inspiration to face up to yourself to truly begin living, and not take yourself so seriously. If you think you’re having a bad go at this thing called life, just wait until you read about Eleanor’s! It’s smart, observant, and funny. Pick one up and I promise “today will be different.
Scallop Season: A Nantucket Chronicle by Jim Patrick and Rob Benchley
Tim says: ‘Tis the Season, Nantucket. Scallop season that is! While not a new book, Scallop Season: A Nantucket Chronicle is one of my favorite coffee table books. Scalloping is such an island treasure and this book beautifully portrays the pastime with photographs and stories. It’s the perfect book and perfect food to have on your table this month.
Tim Ehrenberg is owner of Brand New – Nantucket, an innovative and creative marketing business with a diverse list of Island clients, including local bookstores Mitchell’s & Bookworks. An avid reader from a young age, Tim can always be found with a new book in his beach bag. For weekly recommendations and for the Island buzz on books, visit @nantucketbooks on Instagram!