The 7 Best Books of October

Michael Schaub
Books by Nobel Prize winners, rockstars, and a new American epic makes this October a great month for books. 

Ah, October: the month that brings you sweater weather, Halloween, the sudden collapse of your favorite football team, and the ability to get literally any food item you want in a pumpkin spice version. If you're looking for something to take your mind off the increasingly chilly temperatures and the loud, incessant drone of your neighbor's leaf blower, check out one of these books being released this month. There's a spooky short story collection, a wry look at America's favorite Frenchman, a thriller set in 1970s New York, a memoir from an indie-rock and comedy legend, and more.

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Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, Carrie Brownstein (Riverhead)
Before she was half of the comedy team that brought the world Portlandia, Carrie Brownstein was the guitarist and singer for influential riot grrrl bands Excuse 17 and Sleater-Kinney. Her memoir tells the story of her rise from teenage punk rocker to modern legend of music and comedy.

A House of My Own: Stories from My Life, Sandra Cisneros (Knopf)
The latest from the author of the now-classic The House on Mango Street is a "jigsaw autobiography" that traces her life from her childhood in Chicago’s West Side and Mexico City to her successful career as a writer living in San Antonio, Texas, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

City on Fire, Garth Risk Hallberg (Knopf)
One of the most anticipated books of the year, the nearly 1,000-page debut from New York author Hallberg, an essayist and staff writer for the literary website The Millions, is an epic literary mystery set in 1970s Manhattan. Hallberg received a seven-figure advance for the novel.

Rules for Werewolves, Kirk Lynn (Melville House)
Austin playwright Lynn makes his fiction debut with a novel, told entirely in dialogue, about a group of teenage squatters who have convinced themselves they're revolutionaries. The book combines humor, horror, pop culture references, and a healthy dose of satire. 

Upright Beasts, Lincoln Michel (Coffee House)
Michel, one of the country's most respected literary journalists, is also well known for his short stories that defy easy classification. This volume collects 21 of his offbeat tales, dealing with zombies, the apocalypse, and other bizarre, darkly surreal themes.

Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe (Grove)
Nobel Prize–winner Oe (A Personal Matter) remains largely unknown to American readers, although he's revered in his native Japan. His latest novel follows a frustrated novelist who travels to his hometown to try to solve the mystery of the death of his father in World War II.

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, Sarah Vowell (Riverhead)
Journalist and actress Vowell has been celebrated for her quirky takes on history in books like Assassination Vacation and The Wordy Shipmates. Her new book focuses on the Marquis de Lafayette, the Frenchman who fought for the U.S. in the American Revolution, and became good friends with George Washington.