Autumn Books

Here are some notable Southern books coming out this Autumn.

Tennesse-based novelist, Ann Patchett kick off Fall with a collection of essays, The Precious Days (HarperCollins, $26.99). With an adorable dog on the front cover, what more is needed. The author of Bel Canto writes about truth and how life often takes unexpected turns.

Her publisher says: “At the center of These Precious Days is the title essay, a surprising and moving meditation on an unexpected friendship that explores ‘what it means to be seen, to find someone with whom you can be your best and most complete self’. … A literary alchemist, Patchett plumbs the depths of her experiences to create gold: engaging and moving pieces that are both self-portrait and landscape, each vibrant with emotion and rich in insight.”

Buy Here or from her own bookstore, Parnassus Books.


Local-Charlottesville author, Jocelyn Nicole Johnson releases a daring tale of fiction, My Monticello (Macmillian, $26.99). Already lauded by Pulitzer Prize-winner Colson Whitehead, this novel is about: a young woman descended from Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings drivenaway from her neighborhood; a university professor studying racism; a single mother desperate to buy her first home.

Her publisher says: “United by these characters’ relentless struggles against reality and fate, My Monticello is a formidable book that bears witness to this country’s legacies and announces the arrival of a wildly original new voice in American fiction.”

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Current Poet Laureate of the U.S. Joy Harjo has a new memoir out, Poet Warrior: A Memoir (W.W. Norton & Company, $25). If you’re familiar with her poetry, this will be an interesting look into the writer herself and her experiences as a Native American of the Muscogee tribe (in Tulsa, Oklahoma).

Her publisher says: “Harjo listens to stories of ancestors and family, the poetry and music that she first encountered as a child, and the messengers of a changing earth—owls heralding grief, resilient desert plants, and a smooth green snake curled up in surprise. She celebrates the influences that shaped her poetry, among them Audre Lorde, N. Scott Momaday, Walt Whitman, Muscogee stomp dance call-and-response, Navajo horse songs, rain, and sunrise.”

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After 20-some years, Kentucky Southerner Gayl Jones, known for her novel Corregidora (1975), is publishing a new book. Palmares (Beacon Press, $27.95) recounts a black woman’s journey through slavery and liberation, set in the 17th century. 

Her publisher says: “Combining the author’s mastery of language and voice with her unique brand of mythology and magical realism, Jones reimagines the historical novel. The result is a sweeping saga spanning a quarter century, with vibrant settings and unforgettable characters, steeped in the rich oral tradition of its world.”

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Tennesse-based writer and musician Jeff Zentner‘s latest book, In the Wold Light (Penguin Random House, $17.99), deals with life in a small Appalachian town.

His publisher says: “Life in a small Appalachian town is not easy. Cash lost his mother to an opioid addiction and his Papaw is dying slowly from emphysema. Dodging drug dealers and watching out for his best friend, Delaney, is second nature. He’s been spending his summer mowing lawns while she works at Dairy Queen.”

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UVA-graduate Eric Rickstad‘s latest thriller is a good one. I Am Not Who You Think I Am (Blackstone Publishing, $25.99) is an ingenious, addictive, and shattering tale of grief, obsession, and fate as eight words lead to lifetimes of ruin.

His publisher says: “Wayland Maynard is just eight years old when he sees his father kill himself, finds a note that reads I am not who you think I am, and is left reeling with grief and shock. Who was his father if not the loving man Wayland knew? Terrified, Wayland keeps the note a secret, but his reasons for being afraid are just beginning. Eight years later, Wayland makes a shocking discovery and becomes certain the note is the key to unlocking a past his mother and others in his town want to keep buried.”

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