The Fall 2023 Reading Group Guide Preview

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The American Booksellers Association’s Fall 2023 Reading Group Guide will continue as a free e-newsletter delivered to customers by email via Matchbook Marketing. This summer's guide will be sent on October 12.

This guide includes the following categories: Dazzling Debuts, Family and Coming of Age, Historical Fiction, Nonfiction & Memoir, and Small Bites. The tiles are also available as an Edelweiss collection. All titles are trade paperback unless otherwise noted.

The titles appearing in the Fall Reading Group e-newsletter are:

Dazzling Debuts

Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer: A Novel
By Jamie Figueroa
(Catapult, 9781646221219, $16.95, Oct. 3)

“In their childhood home riddled with memories and spirits, Rufina strikes a bet with her grief-stricken brother, Rafa. What follows is a mesmeric, incantatory story as two siblings attempt to grapple with the profound complexities of loss.”
—Serena Morales, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY

The Forest Brims Over: A Novel
By Maru Ayase, Haydn Trowell (Transl.)
(Counterpoint, 9781640095373, $16.95, July 25)

“A small novel that explores the misogynistic landscapes of everyday Japanese publishing through a collection of surreal scenes of sapling skin, forests, and monsters. Quietly powerful.”
—Iris Tobin, A Room Of One’s Own Bookstore, Madison, WI

Leech (Indies Introduce)
By Hiron Ennes
(Tordotcom, 9781250811202, $18.99, Aug. 8)

“Suffocating and claustrophobic in the best way. Seriously, I mean that as a compliment. No one should take the comparison to The Thing lightly. More horror like this please!”
—Allison Senecal, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO

A Map for the Missing: A Novel (Indies Introduce)
By Belinda Huijuan Tang
(Penguin Books, 9780593300688, $18, Aug. 8)

“This beautifully-crafted novel manages to weave past and present together in a meditation on choice, free will, and how our own actions — and the actions of those before us — affect entire generations. A must-read.”
—Debra Ginsberg, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Santa Monica, CA

The Road to Dalton
By Shannon Bowring
(Europa Editions, 9781609459260, $18, June 6)

“I could feel the seasons of small town Maine pass as I read. I could also feel the weight — and the beauty — of the way individual people, with their complicated and private hearts, act on one another in a community.”
—Nora Sternlof, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm: A Novel
By Laura Warrell
(Vintage, 9780593466537, $17, July 25)

“A story of agency, obsession, art, and love, this novel sings. Warrell builds a steady rhythm of women’s voices around Circus, hitting the right notes and some of the sour ones, as these women learn to lead in their own lives.”
—Miranda Sanchez, Epilogue: Books Chocolate Brews, Chapel Hill, NC


Family & Coming of Age

The Hero of This Book: A Novel
By Elizabeth McCracken
(Ecco, 9780062971296, $18.99, Oct. 3)

“This slim, beautifully written novel (or is it a memoir?) takes place in London as the writer/narrator copes with the death of her mother. It is about so much — bereavement, disability, writing, relationships — and is always engaging.”
—Nancy Felton, Broadside Bookshop, Northampton, MA

Now Is Not the Time to Panic: A Novel
By Kevin Wilson
(Ecco, 9780062913517, $18.99, Aug. 1)

“I can’t get enough of Kevin Wilson’s books, and Now is Not the Time to Panic gifts us two endearingly awkward misfits and their accidental foray into art’s subculture as they come of age in a small town.”
—Bari Dulberg, The Astoria Bookshop, Astoria, NY

Our Missing Hearts: A Novel
By Celeste Ng
(Penguin Books, 9780593492666, $18, Aug. 22)

“A boy and his mother, a Chinese American poet, are torn apart by PACT: the Preserving American Culture and Traditions Act. Our Missing Hearts is a powerful testament to the bond between mother and child and the radical forms resistance can take.”
—Megan Bell, Underground Books, Carrollton, GA

Tell Me I’m An Artist: A Novel
By Chelsea Martin
(Soft Skull, 9781593767570, $17.95, Aug. 1)

Tell Me I’m An Artist goes through the mind of an artist who is struggling to fit in and pull away from family that is no longer loving. This reads like your personal diary and makes for a true coming-of-age story. Incredible and gut wrenching.”
—Ollie Mendez, Skylight Books, Los Angeles, CA

They're Going to Love You: A Novel
By Meg Howrey
(Anchor, 9780593468005, $17, Sept. 5)

“I adored They’re Going to Love You so much that a part of me is convinced that Meg Howrey wrote it for me, specifically. This is a gorgeous novel about being an artist in the modern world, the sacrifices we make, and the people we hurt.”
—Lindsay Lynch, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

The Work Wife
By Alison B. Hart
(Graydon House, 9781525804915, $18.99, July 18)

The Work Wife is worthy of every accolade! An absolute page-turner with an intricate plot that spins tighter and tighter as you move through the three points of view. Get this onto your book club calendar — there is a lot to talk about!”
—Mary O'Malley, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO


Historical Fiction

Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution
By R. F. Kuang
(Harper Voyager, 9780063021433, $20, Aug. 29)

“Dark academia that addresses race, class, and the role language plays in imperialism, Babel will blow you away. Kuang gives us a stunning work of historical fantasy and a fascinating take on translation and language.”
—Olivia Marchese, Author’s Note, Medina, NY

Carrie Soto Is Back: A Novel
By Taylor Jenkins Reid
(Ballantine Books, 9780593158708, $18, June 6)

“Carrie Soto easily joins the ranks of Nina, Evelyn, and Daisy Jones! She is unapologetic to the point of ruthlessness, but readers will love her all the same! Each tennis match was intense and vividly described. TJR truly outdid herself.”
—Vina Castillo, Kew & Willow Books, Kew Gardens, NY

The Marriage Portrait: A Novel
By Maggie O'Farrell
(Vintage, 9780593315088, $17, July 11)

“A heartwrenching take on the short life of Lucrezia de’ Medici. O’Farrell’s writing is full of humanity, emotion, and the subtleties of interaction — Lucrezia shines. If you loved Hamnet, you’ll be right at home in The Marriage Portrait.”
—Eric Judy, Paper Boat Booksellers, Seattle, WA

The Mitford Affair: A Novel
By Marie Benedict
(Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781728282091, $16.99, Sept. 5)

“Based on the lives of the aristocratic Mitford sisters, this is an utterly engaging glance at the rise of fascism in Britain leading up to WWII and one sister’s infatuation with Hitler. A thought-provoking glipse at how ideologies can be dangerous.”
—Annette Steinmetz, The Well-Read Moose, Coeur d'Alene, ID

The Night Ship: A Novel
By Jess Kidd
(Washington Square Press, 9781982180829, $17.99, Aug. 8)

“Set at sea and on a desolate island off the western coast of Australia, The Night Ship is the well-woven parallel tale of youngsters Mayken in 1629 and Gil in 1989. A tale of disrupted youth replete with friendship, tenacity, sorrow, and love.”
—Susan Posch, The Book Shoppe, Boone, IA

Sister Stardust
By Jane Green
(Hanover Square Press, 9781335449580, $18.99, May 2)

Sister Stardust is a 1960s blast. An impressionable young girl’s chance encounter in London whisks her to Marrakesh, into a world full of rock stars, artists, fashion designers, socialites, and unimaginable wealth. A wild ride.”
—Damita Nocton, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC


Nonfiction & Memoir

Also a Poet: Frank O'Hara, My Father, and Me
By Ada Calhoun
(Grove Press, 9780802162137, $18, Apr. 18)

Also a Poet is simultaneously a moving and nuanced portrait of a complicated father-daughter relationship and a fascinating biography of Frank O'Hara, told with care and rigor.”
—Lesley Rains, City of Asylum Bookstore, Pittsburgh, PA

Dirtbag, Massachusetts: A Confessional
By Isaac Fitzgerald
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781639731640, $17.99, Nov. 7)

“In Dirtbag, Massachusetts Fitzgerald unapologetically grapples with body image, trauma, drugs, and alcohol. Reading it felt like swapping stories with a dear friend.”
—Audrey Beatty, River Bend Bookshop, Glastonbury, CT

One Hundred Saturdays: Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World
By Michael Frank, Maira Kalman (Illus.)
(Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster, 9781982167233, $19.99, Sept. 12)

“Frank elicits Stella Levi’s moving story of the centuries-old Jewish community Juderia of Rhodes and their brutal deportation by the Nazis to Auschwitz in 1943. Frank’s loving portrait is luminescent.”
—Dale Szczeblowski, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

Solito: A Memoir
By Javier Zamora
(Hogarth, 9780593498088, $18, June 6)

“This is a call to action. Zamora is the embodiment of resilience and provides heartrending storytelling. We should all strive for a world where no child has to overcome these odds to pursue their dreams. This is urgent and impossible to forget.”
—Destinee Hodge, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

This Story Will Change: After the Happily Ever After
By Elizabeth Crane
(Counterpoint, 9781640096110, $16.95, Aug. 15)

“Crane faces her divorce head on with wit and grace. Each vignette builds on the last into something strangely beautiful. For those who enjoy a little Summertime (reading) Sadness.”
—Audrey Kohler, BookWoman, Austin, TX

Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases
By Paul Holes, Robin Gaby Fisher
(Celadon Books, 9781250622808, $18, Oct. 3)

“This is a unique look at the inner life of a prolific cold case investigator, told in his words as he walks us through some of California’s most notorious cases. Highly recommend for anyone interested in true crime and criminal justice.”
—Kelsey Frazier, Napa Bookmine, Napa, CA


Small Bites

Bliss Montage: Stories
By Ling Ma
(Picador, 9781250893543, $17, Sept. 12)

“Contemporary Chinese American fiction is in good hands. Ling Ma is a master at blending the surreal and all-too-real, and these eight stories are full proof of her prowess.”
—Michelle Zhang, BookPeople, Austin, TX

Dead-End Memories: Stories
By Banana Yoshimoto, Asa Yoneda
(Counterpoint, 9781640096103, $16.95, Sept. 26)

Dead-End Memories highlights the universal and passive spirits that uplift us despite life’s hardships. Yoshimoto gives us, the reader, permission to cherish the tender, vulnerable parts of ourselves in this wondrous book. A treasure trove!”
—Thu Doan, East Bay Booksellers, Oakland, CA

Graceland, At Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South
By Margaret Renkl
(Milkweed Editions, 9781571311856, $18, Sept. 26)

Graceland, At Last goes beyond stereotypes and caricatures of the American South to reveal the real people, plants, and animals that live there, and how they band together during dark times. These columns illuminate all manner of hidden things.”
—Ellie Ray, Content Bookstore, Northfield, MN

Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird: Stories
By Agustina Bazterrica, Sarah Moses (Transl.)
(Scribner, 9781668012666, $17.99, June 20)

“Agustina Bazterrica is so good at making my skin crawl with her writing, so naturally I had to read her short story collection. These nineteen stories will make you feel unsettled and question everything.”
—Lotte Dunnell, Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston, IL

Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
By Sidik Fofana
(Scribner, 9781982145828, $17, Aug. 1)

“Fofana’s immersive novel-in-stories brings a vivid humanity to the plight of gentrification. Full of life and sprinkled with humor, he reveals the personal and cultural consequences capitalism can have on a diverse, struggling community.”
—Alden Zeff, Water Street Bookstore, Exeter, NH

Time Is a Mother
By Ocean Vuong
(Penguin Books, 9780593300251, $17, June 6)

Time is a Mother is one of the best things I’ve ever read in my life. While reading this collection, I felt as if I could breathe underwater. I could feel time slow down, allowing me to be present in the ephemeral stillness of grief and memory.”
—Christine Bollow, Loyalty Bookstores, Washington, DC