New York News
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The only explicitly spooky book on this list of October releases is Out There Screaming, edited by John Joseph Adams and Jordan Peele. This anthology of new Black horror spans from the supernatural, like a girl searching for the demon that killed her parents, to the all too real, like traffic stops and lynch mobs. Other books on this list, though, border on the uncanny: Walter Mosely’s Touched personifies death as a pale man with white hair and a dapper suit, and in Molly McGhee’s Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind, the titular protagonist enters other people’s dreams to scrub out the bad parts. Also arriving this month are the hotly anticipated memoirs from Jada Pinkett Smith and Britney Spears. Here are the best new books to read this October.
New York News Out There Screaming: An Anthology of New Black Horror, John Joseph Adams and Jordan Peele (editors) (Oct. 3)
First, Jordan Peele co-created and starred in the sketch comedy series Key & Peele. Then, he made a string of films—Get Out, Us, and Nope—that fuse horror with the realities of Black American life. Now, alongside editor and publisher John Joseph Adams, he has collected and edited short stories by 19 Black authors into an anthology of contemporary Black horror. The likes of N.K. Jemisin, Nnedi Okorafor, Tananarive Due, P. Djèlí Clark, and Rebecca Roanhorse are featured alongside emerging writers like Erin E. Adams, Violet Allen, and Justin C. Key. Real life (traffic stops) and real history (Freedom Riders, lynch mobs) meet speculative fiction and the supernatural in this bone-chilling collection.
Buy Now: Out There Screaming on Bookshop | Amazon
New York News Brooklyn Crime Novel, Jonathan Lethem (Oct. 3)
In 2003, Jonathan Lethem wrote the New York Times-bestselling novel The Fortress of Solitude, set in Boerum Hill, the Brooklyn neighborhood where he was raised. Two decades later—and with six novels, three short story collections, and a MacArthur Fellowship in between—he has returned to the New York City borough. Brooklyn Crime Novel, organized into six sections, traces the crime of gentrification through a series of stories in the style of oral history. This time around, Lethem spoke with the people he grew up with, of all races and backgrounds, to craft a story about memory, community, race, and privilege.
Buy Now: Brooklyn Crime Novel on Bookshop | Amazon
New York News How to Say Babylon, Safiya Sinclair (Oct. 3)
Safiya Sinclair burst onto the literary scene in 2016 with the award-winning debut poetry collection, Cannibal. Her glimmering debut memoir, laced with poetic voice, arrives with self-possessed power. How to Say Babylon is a liberatory memoir in which Sinclair tangles with her past, patriarchy (“I would watch the men in my family grow mighty while the women shrunk”), and tradition and colonialism in her home, Jamaica. Babylon, in this case, refers to the oppression that the author’s father, a strict Rastafarian, sees in the Western ideology. When Sinclair eventually moves to the U.S. for college, she reckons with the gap between her worlds and tries “to write the ache into something tangible.”
Buy Now: How to Say Babylon on Bookshop | Amazon
New York News A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy, Nathan Thrall (Oct. 3)
Nathan Thrall—a journalist and former director of the Arab-Israeli Project at the International Crisis Group—conducted extensive interviews and research to reconstruct the tragic February 2012 day when seven people were killed in a traffic accident near Jerusalem. He tells this story through the lens of a father, Palestinian phone company worker and political activist Abed Salama, and his frantic quest to find his five-year-old son, Milad. On that day, Milad had been on a school bus traveling to a theme park field trip, but he would not survive the journey. His death, as Thrall illuminates through exhaustive reporting, was largely due to the systemic inequities of being Palestinian in Jerusalem: the wall dividing the communities, poorly maintained infrastructure, and an oppressive bureaucracy.
Buy Now: A Day in the Life of Abed Salama on Bookshop | Amazon
New York News The Leftover Woman, Jean Kwok (Oct. 10)
At 14, Jasmine Yang married her husband Wen in a rural Chinese village. Then, she gave birth to a girl and was told the baby had died. But that’s not what happened. As Jasmine learns in a devastating twist, Wen, who wanted a son and was all too aware of the One Child Policy, gave their daughter away in an informal adoption. Upon finding out, she flees to America to escape her marriage and search for her daughter. She juggles two jobs to repay the smugglers who brought her: a cocktail waitress at a strip club, and a nanny for a white family with an adopted Chinese daughter. In The Leftover Woman, Jean Kwok weaves a riveting drama about motherhood and belonging.
Buy Now: The Leftover Woman on Bookshop | Amazon
New York News Touched, Walter Mosley (Oct. 10)
Walter Mosley, distinguished by a laundry list of literary awards, is best known for his crime fiction—especially for his series about Easy Rawlins, a Black private investigator in Los Angeles. He has dabbled in science fiction before, and now he’s back with Touched, an alternative fiction novel that is, in fact, very alternative. Touched follows Marty Just as something inside of him, an entity called Temple, takes over. Suddenly, Marty has strange new powers including super strength and