8 New Books You Have to Read This Fall

Check out this season’s must-reads, including Sally Rooney's latest book, Beautiful World, Where Are You.

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Fight Night by Miriam Toews
Photo: Bloomsbury Publishing

Fight Night by Miriam Toews

When precocious nine-year-old Swiv gets suspended for fighting at school, she spends her days with her sickly grandmother, Elvira. Soon, they find themselves on a reckless trip to visit relatives in California, where Swiv learns how her grandmother’s strength was passed along to her mom and then to her. After the horrors of Toews’s last book, Women Talking, this one is refreshingly light, as the pair exchange stories, empathy and the will to persevere through life’s challenges. $30.

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Return by Kamal Al-Solaylee
Photo: HarperCollins Publishers

Return: Why We Go Back to Where We Came From by Kamal Al-Solaylee

Al-Solaylee, the youngest of 11 kids, was only three years old when his family was forced to flee Yemen in 1967. In his new memoir, he chronicles his desire to go back. But when he finally travels to the Middle East as an adult, he feels alienated from the language and customs of the place he once called home. The book is a powerful dive into displacement, featuring interviews with other refugees and émigrés about their own longings for their countries of origin. $33.

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Beautiful World, Where Are You - Sally Rooney
Photo: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Rooney became a phenomenon last year when Normal People, her emo millennial romance, was adapted into a hit series. In her new novel, a tangle of libidinous Irish 20-somethings have a lot of sex and complicated feelings. Funny email exchanges between Alice, a writer struggling with mental illness, and Eileen, a broke literary assistant, form the book’s emotional core. $32.

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Matrix - Lauren Groff
Photo: Riverhead Books

Matrix by Lauren Groff

In medieval France, a young woman, banished from the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine for her unladylike moxie, joins a derelict, plague-ridden convent and transforms it into a thriving community of self-actualized nuns. Think of it as a 12th-century Sister Act, if Sister Act were pulsing with female rage and religious ecstasy. $37.

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Harlem Shuffle - Colson Whitehead
Photo: Doubleday

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

Whitehead’s latest is a rollicking tale of con men and capers. It’s about a furniture salesman in 1960s Harlem whose ambitions lead him into a life of corruption as he tumbles into a plot to rob an upscale hotel. The book sparkles with vibrant detail and characters, dropping readers into a world humming with culture and music, hustle and grift. $36.

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Em - Kim Thuy
Photo: Seven Stories Press

Em by Kim Thúy

In the spring of 1975, the massive humanitarian effort known as Operation Babylift evacuated more than 3,300 children—some orphans, some not—out of Saigon and into the U.S., where most of them were adopted by American and Canadian families. This new novel by Montreal’s Thúy is spare and achingly personal, following two orphaned kids as they navigate the terrors of the war-torn city and wind up lost in the Vietnamese diaspora. $28.

Discover the Asian-Canadians you didn’t learn about in history class.

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The Strangers - Katherena Vermette
Photo: Hamish Hamilton

The Strangers by Katherena Vermette

In Vermette’s new saga, a Métis family gets wrenched apart by racism, poverty and circumstance. The mother struggles with addiction, one of her daughters is shuttled around foster care and the other is set to give birth in a youth-detention centre. The object of their harrowing quest: reunification. $30.

Here are more Indigenous authors you need to read.

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Indian In The Cabinet - Jody Wilson-Raybould
Photo: HarperCollins Publishers

“Indian” in the Cabinet: Speaking Truth to Power by Jody Wilson-Raybould

In 2019, Wilson-Raybould shattered the government’s smiley facade when she accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his advisors of interfering in the SNC-Lavalin prosecution; she’s since served as an Independent, and recently announced a retirement from politics. She writes about her experience as an Indigenous minister and her hopes for a more inclusive political future in Canada, though most readers will turn straight to the part where she dishes out her unfiltered version of the SNC-Lavalin brouhaha and the ensuing political scandal. $35.

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Reader's Digest Canada
Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada

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