7 Books You Need To Pick Up This October

In love with Shakespeare, what chefs ink, what writers think, and more…

The Red Car by Marcy Dermansky
03 Oct 2016

The Red Car by Marcy Dermansky

If you want to fall in love with a book almost at first sight (i.e., paragraph four) — "I had opted to leave [Haverford] before the school officially asked me to…On two separate occasions, I had had sex with Jonathan Beene for money. It had been an experiment on my part, a successful one I thought, until he had turned us both in to the honour board. I still cannot fathom why he felt the need to do that” — read Marcy Dermansky's The Red Car (Liveright).

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
03 Oct 2016

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

If you're in line for a retelling of Shakespeare's The Tempest, a towering revenge play fuelled by treachery, foolishness, grief, and magic: Margaret Atwood's Hag-Seed is your ticket. It's the latest and, so far, strongest addition to Hogarth's series that radically recasts the Bard's immortal oeuvre. The visionary Atwood's daring and elaborate 21st-century take, set in a Canada prison in the boondocks, will make you shiver and squirm with dread, wonder, and delight.

The Accidental Life by Terry McDonell
03 Oct 2016

The Accidental Life by Terry McDonell

If you dig New Journalism, Ed Abbey, fiction, nonfiction, Western writers and their New York editors, and the good old days of Elaine's: You will eat up Terry McDonell's memoir/literary history, The Accidental Life: An Editor's Notes on Writing and Writers (Knopf). Damn, that sounded like fun.

The Guineveres by Sarah Domet
03 Oct 2016

The Guineveres by Sarah Domet

If you've been seeking a divine (in every sense) debut novel, you'll savor Sarah Domet's The Guineveres (Flatiron Books): "We were known as the Guineveres to the other girls at the Sisters of the Supreme Adoration because our parents all named us [so] at birth” — there are four Guineveres in all — "a coincidence that bound us together from the moment we met." From heavenly start to earthbound finish, the book is resounding and revelatory on questions of family, faith, and friendship.

Nicotine by Nell Zink
03 Oct 2016

Nicotine by Nell Zink

If you're a fan of edgy writer Nell Zink (Mislaid), get finger-snapping. Her new novel, Nicotine (Ecco), finds business school grad Penny Baker at the doorstep of the New Jersey house her father owned. It's inhabited by anarchist squatters, and Penny — "a short brown woman in athletic socks, carrying her purse in a plastic bag” — learns, and imparts, some valuable lessons about what it means to occupy. Also this month, check out Zink's Private Novelist (Ecco), two formidable early novellas in one volume.

Unmentionable by Therese Oneill
03 Oct 2016

Unmentionable by Therese Oneill

If you're a secret slattern — or even if you're not — you'll adore feminist history sleuth Therese Oneill's Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners (Little, Brown). Oneill uncovers the filthy, untidy, licentious conditions of 19th-century women's lives that novelists of the period often glossed over, from the hideousness of chamber pots, bathing, and grooming to the grim hilarity of flirting (ladies covered their mouths with handkerchiefs, in part because of the expectation that they wouldn't be too forward, but also to cover bad teeth! Unsightly moles!). It's all brilliantly conveyed with fascinating illustrations. And how about this? Before there was Botox, there were arsenic facials.

Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos edited by Isaac Fitzgerald
03 Oct 2016

Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos edited by Isaac Fitzgerald

If toques and tats are your thing, you'll be wowed by the moving, even majestic origin stories of chefs of all stripes in Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos (with Recipes) (Bloomsbury), edited by Isaac Fitzgerald and illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton. Anthony Strong, executive chef of Delfina in San Francisco, boasts an elaborate tattoo of the Neapolitan folklore hero Pulcinella, who sailed to the moon and came back with "crazy creatures, potions, and ingredients to cook with." Soleil Ho, sous chef at Marukin Ramen in Portland, Oregon, wears an homage to the Vietnamese paddy crab, which "symbolises the resourcefulness of my ancestors and sustains and satisfies people everywhere," she says. There's hardly a cook alive who doesn't sport at least one tattoo, with pride.

There are plenty of new book releases every month, but which titles are really worth a read? We’ve got seven must-reads of the month — with everything from a novel on self-discovery and the stories behind chefs’ tattoos. Check out our recommendations in the gallery above!

This story was first published on ELLE.com.

For more good reads, check out 10 Books Creative People Should Read or 8 Awesome Graphic Novels That Aren’t Marvel Or DC. For more on Living, head here

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