Fall! It’s a time for picking apples, wearing plaid, watching the leaves change color, and catching up on the season’s most beguiling new book releases. Fall is when the big houses bring out the big names, from Lena Dunham’s hotly anticipated book of essays, Not That Kind of Girl, to new work from future predictors Stephen Johnson and Nicholas Carr, to stories from reliable geniuses like Marilynne Robinson and Denis Johnson. We pared down a list of a million fascinating looking books (Good luck, Christian Rudder’s Dataclysm. Better list next time, Christos Tsiolkas’s well received Barracuda. I see you, Charles Burns’ Sugar Skull) to a workable group of 25 of the fall season’s must-reads. Add them to your list, and dominate cocktail parties all season long.
Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War, by Karen Abbott (September 2)
Karen Abbott has a gift for making history into a ripping good yarn, and in this book she discovers the secret history of four disparate women who survived and spied during the Civil War: a socialite, a farm girl, an abolitionist, and a widow.