As the new publishing season rolls along, here’s a look at books by some of the big-name authors of popular and literary fiction, as well as poetry from Billy Collins, quips from the late P.J. O’Rourke and confessions from Kelly Ripa. This is a clip-and-save list, with information about forthcoming titles provided by publishers.
“Demon Copperhead” by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper, October) – You might want to get your reading device for this novel, which clocks in at 546 pages. Taking its inspiration from Charles Dickens’ classic “David Copperfield,” the story evokes a young hero’s journey to maturity in the mountains of Southwest Virginia.
“Fairy Tale” by Stephen King (Scribner, available now). – The country’s creep master introduces a 17-year-old boy who inherits keys to a parallel world where good and evil are at war.
“THE FUNNY STUFF: The Official P.J. O’Rourke Quotationary and Riffapedia” by P.J. O’Rourke (Atlantic Monthly Press, Nov. 15) – Published on what would have been O’Rourke’s s 75th birthday (he died in February), this book is the first to gather his best quips and riffs in one volume. Organized by subject in alphabetical order, topics range from Government (“giving money and power to politicians is like giving car keys and whiskey to teenage boys”) to Apps (“we need a no-app app – let’s call it a nap”). O’Rourke, who often performed in the Twin Cities, had a 50-year career that included writing for National Lampoon and reporting for Rolling Stone.
“The Last Chairlift” by John Irving (Simon & Schuster, Oct. 18) – One of the nation’s consummate storytellers has written what he calls his last long novel (889 pages). In his first novel since 1968, Irving offers a family saga of seven decades, reflecting the tensions of our cultural and political landscape. In 1941, in Aspen, Colo., Rachel Brewster is a slalom skier a the National Downhill and Slalom championships. She doesn’t get near the podium, but she does get pregnant. Home in New England, she becomes a ski instructor and her son, Adam, grows up in a family that defies conventions and evades questions concerning the past. Years later, Adam will go to Aspen. In the hotel where he was conceived, he will meet some ghosts. Irving is the author of bestsellers “The World According to Garp,” “The Cider House Rules,” and “A Prayer for Owen Meany” among others.
“Liberation Day” by George Saunders (Random House, Oct. 18) – Nine stories from the master of short fiction, his first since “Tenth of December” was published eight years ago. Dubbed “the best short story writer in English,” Saunders populates “Liberation Day” with characters ranging from a mom turned misguided vigilante to a lovesick woman nicknamed Sparrow, and an elderly man attempting to remember who he is in the wake of a political brainwashing scheme. Saunders’ settings include a hell-themed section of an underground amusement park.
“Live Wire: Long-winded short stories” by Kelly Ripa (Dey Street Books, available now) – Winner of six Daytime Entertainment Emmys for her role as host of the Live franchise, Ripa’s first book shows what makes her tick — as a professional, as a wife, as a daughter and as a mother. She tells how she met her husband, Mark Consuelo, and how she dealt with chauvinism on the set. There are good things about being recognized, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t have some moments of mortification.
“Musical Tables” by Billy Collins (PenguinRandom House, Nov. 15) – Former U.S. poet laureate has taken up the unique poetic style of small poetry, gathering more than 125 of his own small poems in this new collection. He writes about his trademark themes of nature, animals, poetry, mortality, absurdity and love, all in a handful of lines that compress each thought or observation to its emotional essence.
The Maze” by Nelson DeMille (Simon & Schuster, October) – In his bestseller “Plum Island,” DeMille introduced readers to NYPD Homicide Det. John Corey. In his seventh outing, Corey is in forced retirement, restless and looking for action. When his former lover, Det. Beth Penrose, appears with a job offer, Corey joins the hunt for an apparent serial killer who has murdered nine — and maybe more — prostitutes and hidden their bodies in undergrowth on the beach. But that’s only part of the story.
“Next in Line” by Jeffrey Archer (HarperCollins, Sept. 27) – Archer uses his personal connection to Princess Diana as inspiration for the latest installment of the William Warwick series. One of the most anticipated novels this fall, it takes place in 1988 and follows Det. Inspector Warwick as he is put front and center with the people’s princess. Warwick and his Scotland Yard team are sent to investigate the Royalty Protection Command, responsible for guarding the Royal family. Maverick ex-undercover operative Ross Hogan is charged with this sensitive responsibility. Soon it becomes clear that a renegade organization has the security of the country – and the Crown – in its sites. Archer worked with the late Princess as a Parliamentarian and volunteer on numerous occasions. They were hosting a charity auction when Diana spontaneously started to sign the tablecloths to auction off, a moment featured n “Next in Line.”
“The Passenger” and “Stella Maris” by Cormac McCarthy (Knopf) – Pulitzer Prize-winner McCarthy, whose novels include “No Country for Old Men,” made into a film that received four Academy awards, returns with two new books. “The Passenger,” his first novel in more than a decade, involves a sunken jet, nine passengers, and a missing body. Its the story of Bobby, a salvage diver, haunted by loss, afraid of the watery deep, pursued for a conspiracy beyond his understanding, and longing for a death he cannot reconcile with God. “The Passenger” will be published Oct. 25. “Stella Maris” (Dec. 6) is about Bobby’s schizophrenic sister, Alicia, visited by a cast of characters she refers to as her cohorts or “horts.” In the course of conversation with her psychiatrist she explores her obsessions: mathematics, physics, philosophy, reality, faith, and her love for Bobby. Sixteen years in the making, this pair of novels can be read separately or as one long story.
“Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six” by Lisa Unger (Park Row books, November) – The popular author’s 20th book is a locked room thriller about a getaway gone wrong. when three couples vacation at a luxury cabin in the Georgia woods.
“Suspect” by Scott Turow (Grand Central Publishing, available now) – Clarice “Pinky” Granum, who spent most of her youth doing drugs and falling out of various professions, gets a job as a PI working for Rik in his shabby office. Rik and Pinky begin an investigation that sends them to a twisted scandal that goes into the deepest recesses of the city’s criminal networks, as well as the human mind.