October is the stuff of miracles. It just so happens to be this editor’s favorite month — a time of candy and costume and color. The month eases us toward winter with shorter days and colder nights, and a notable shift in the way things feel. It edges me toward longer, darker, and headier books. The shadows are just so inviting.
Here are three releases with which to escape into the best of the twelve months. Dice up a butternut squash or bake some cookies. Then, lose yourself in these:
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Goldfinch is the book of October. It’s Tartt’s first release since her 2002 southern gothic novel, The Little Friend, and 21 years since The Secret History, which catapulted her to fame in 1992. Tartt has a loyal following, and readers will be eager to delve into this 800-page novel about a boy who loses his mother, and ends up with the mysterious 1654 Fabritius painting tucked into his bag. In her Vogue writeup Tartt says, “Everyone has a natural age, and I’m still somewhere between fourteen and oh, maybe eighteen or nineteen. I just never made the segue into domestic life.” This is a fitting response to her novel’s protagonist, a thirteen-year-old boy, who is similar in age to the leads in her other two novels. Tartt continues by saying, “…when something haunts you, haunts you, haunts you — that’s when you know you’re onto something.” Enjoy, readers, this is one hell of a book.
The Wes Anderson Collection by Matt Zoller Seitz
Matt Zoller Seitz is a Pulitzer Prize finalist for criticism, a television and movie critic for New York Magazine, and the Editor-in-Chief of RobertEbert.com. His critiques on television and film are always brilliant, enhancing the way you interact with the medium. In the same way we learn to read books with a critical eye, Matt Zoller Seitz is adept at interpreting storytelling, character, and theme in his reviews. His Breaking Bad recaps were my favorite thing about Monday morning — there was always a layer I hadn’t seen before. His approach to things we love on the screen allows us to experience pop culture in a broader, smarter way. In his book, The Wes Anderson Collection, we’re introduced to one of our favorite directors in a way that only an informed critic could portray. His examination of Anderson is witty, off-beat, and quirky, very much like the director and films themselves. It’s a wonderful nonfiction book for the fall, and the perfect accompaniment to the Wes Anderson movies we love so much. For a sneak peek, check out the writeup Flavorwire did on the book.
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Dave Eggers’ novels always garner a lot of press, but The Circle is being hailed as his best work since A Heart Breaking Work of Staggering Genius. In his most recent book, a young post-grad named Mae works for a large Internet company. Think, google-meets facebook-meets tumblr. During an impressionable time in her life Mae navigates the company’s campus, which she calls “utopia”. Not surprisingly, all is not well beneath this glistening Silicon Valley surface. This book is a parable on the dangers of becoming fully entrenched in the digital age. It is a potent discussion about how we live our lives in these strange and modern times.
By Kim Winternheimer