New books to read this fall

Books The Arts

September 28, 2023



Take a look at these notable new releases in October.

compiled by Sally Brewster

Happiness Falls by Angie Kim

“We didn’t call the police right away.” Those are the electric first words of this extraordinary novel about a biracial Korean American family in Virginia whose lives are upended when their beloved father and husband goes missing. Mia, the irreverent, hyperanalytical 20-year-old daughter, has an explanation for everything — which is why she isn’t initially concerned when her father and younger brother Eugene don’t return from a walk in a nearby park. They must have lost their phone. Or stopped for an errand somewhere. But by the time Mia’s brother runs through the front door bloody and alone, it becomes clear that the father in this tightknit family is missing and the only witness is Eugene, who has the rare genetic condition Angelman syndrome and cannot speak. What follows is both a ticking-clock investigation into the whereabouts of a father and an emotionally rich portrait of a family whose most personal secrets just may be at the heart of his disappearance. Full of shocking twists and fascinating questions of love, language and human connection, Happiness Falls is a mystery, a family drama and a novel of profound philosophical inquiry.

Wellness by Nathan Hill

When Jack and Elizabeth meet as college students in the ’90s, the two quickly join forces and hold on tight, each eager to claim a place in Chicago’s thriving underground art scene with an appreciative kindred spirit. Fast-forward 20 years to married life, and alongside the challenges of parenting, they encounter cults disguised as mindfulness support groups, polyamorous would-be suitors, Facebook wars and something called Love Potion Number Nine. For the first time, Jack and Elizabeth struggle to recognize each other, and the no-longer-youthful dreamers are forced to face their demons, from unfulfilled career ambitions to painful childhood memories of their own dysfunctional families. In the process, Jack and Elizabeth must undertake separate, personal excavations, or risk losing the best thing in their lives: each other.

Why We Love Baseball: A History in 50 Moments by Joe Posnaski

Posnanski writes of major moments that created legends, and of forgotten moments almost lost to time. It’s Willie Mays’ catch, Babe Ruth’s called shot, and Kirk Gibson’s limping home run; the slickest steals; the biggest bombs; and the most triumphant no-hitters. But these are also moments raw with the humanity of the game, the unheralded heroes, the mesmerizing mistakes drenched in pine tar, and every story, from the immortal to the obscure, is told from a unique perspective. Whether of a real fan who witnessed it, or the pitcher who gave up the home run, the umpire, the coach, the opposing player — these are fresh takes on moments so powerful they almost feel like myth. Posnanski’s previous book, The Baseball 100, portrayed the heroes and pioneers of the sport, and now, with his trademark wit, encyclopedic knowledge and acute observations, he gets at the real heart of the game. From 19th-century pitchers’ duels to breaking the sport’s color line in the ’40s, all the way to the greatest trick play of the last decade and the slide home that became a meme, Posnanski’s illuminating take allows us to rediscover the sport we love — and thought we knew.

Astor: The Rise and Fall of an American Fortune by Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe

The story of the Astors is a quintessentially American story — of ambition, invention, destruction and reinvention. From 1783, when German immigrant John Jacob Astor first arrived in the United States, until 2009, when Brooke Astor’s son, Anthony Marshall, was convicted of defrauding his elderly mother, the Astor name occupied a unique place in American society. The family fortune, first made by a beaver-trapping business that grew into an empire, was then amplified by holdings in Manhattan real estate. Over the ensuing generations, Astors ruled Gilded Age New York society and inserted themselves into political and cultural life, but also suffered the most famous loss on the Titanic, one of many shocking and unexpected twists in the family’s story. In this unconventional, page-turning historical biography, New York Times bestselling authors Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe chronicle the lives of the Astors and explore what the Astor name has come to mean in America — offering a window onto the making of America itself.  SP

Sally Brewster is the proprietor of Park Road Books. 4139 Park Rd., parkroadbooks.com.

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