10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in October 2020

Do you have room on your holds list? Here are 10 works of fiction coming out this month you'll want to get your eyes on.

Memorial by Bryan Washington
Mike, a Japanese-American chef and Benson, a Black daycare teacher, have lived together happily in Houston for a few years but their relationship is getting stale. Then Mike leaves for Osaka to visit his estranged father on his death bed just as his mother arrives in Texas for a visit, requiring Benson to be her host in uneasy conditions. “Washington's novel is richly layered and thrives in the quiet moments between lovers and family members… A subtle and moving exploration of love, family, race, and the long, frustrating search for home.” (Kirkus Reviews) Washington is the author of the story collection Lot (2019), a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree and winner of multiple awards including the Ernest J. Gaines Award and a Lambda Literary Award.
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.

Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark  
Fans of Lovecraft Country and Victor LaValle will want to get their hands on this novella, a mix of supernatural horror and history set in 1920’s Georgia where Maryse Boudreaux, armed with the gift of sight and a mystical sword, leads a band of heroines in a fight against the monsters known as Ku Klux. “Vividly reimagines the Ku Klux Klan’s second wave in this thrilling, provocative, and thoroughly badass fantasy.” (Publishers Weekly) Clark was nominated for the Nebula and Locus awards for his novella The Black God’s Drums (2018) and is a professor of history.
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam 
Longlisted for this year’s Booker Prize, Alam’s third novel features Amanda and Clay, Brooklynites who have rented a Hamptons home for an idyllic family summer vacation. But then the house’s owners, G.H. and Ruth, appear, fleeing widespread blackouts that have struck the east coast, just the beginning of a series of increasingly disturbing events. “A riveting novel that thrums with suspense yet ultimately offers no easy answers—disappointing those who crave them even as it fittingly reflects our time. Addressing race, risk, retreat, and the ripple effects of a national emergency, Alam's novel is just in time for this moment.” (Kirkus Reviews) Alam is the author of Rich and Pretty and That Kind of Mother.
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.

Earthlings by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori
Akutagawa Prize winner Murata follows her very popular Convenience Store Woman (2018) with another novel featuring an unusual woman protagonist resisting the conventions of society. As a child, Natsuki is a misfit and a victim of abuse who finds comfort in Piyyut, a stuffy who is also an alien with magical powers, and her cousin Yuu, who also thinks he’s an alien. Perhaps Natsuki is an alien too? “Chronicles the nightmarish discontent of one girl amid the deadening conformity of modern Japanese society… This eye-opening, grotesque outing isn’t to be missed.” (Publishers Weekly)
Check out this eBook on Overdrive.

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth
In this horror-comedy-historical fiction meta-mash-up, a series of mysterious and disturbing deaths take place at Brookhants School for Girls in the early 1900s. 100 years later, the author of a book that popularized the queer, feminist past of the cursed institution is on site at the school as her book is remade into a horror film. “Sexy, funny, and spooky… The wry, knowing tone of its narrator, the queerness at its core, and the illustrations by Sara Lautman all contribute to a suspenseful rush that will leave the reader flipping furiously to the end.” (Booklist) Danforth is the author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2012).
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.

Love After the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative edited by Joshua Whitehead
Two-Spirit and queer Indigenous authors imagine attempts to survive apocalypses past, present and future, edited by the author of Jonny Appleseed (2018). “These stories are a welcome breath of fresh air in the often hyperindividualist, survivalist subgenre of postapocalyptic fiction, and are essential reading for anyone committed to the possibilities of sf as a means to create new and different futures.” (Booklist) 
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.

A Lover’s Discourse by Xiaolu Guo
A woman from rural China moves to London for graduate school during the Brexit Era, where she meets an Australian man and falls in love. “Two lovers merge their lives, but not their identities, across boundaries of culture, nationality, and ideology… A fiercely intelligent book whose exploration of the philosophy of identity is trenchant and moving.” (Kirkus Reviews) Xiaolu Guo won the National Book Critics Circle Award for her memoir Nine Continents (2017) and was named one of Granta magazine's Best of Young British Novelists in 2013.
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.

The Lost Shtetl by Max Gross
The small Polish village of Kreskol, overlooked by Hitler, managed to avoid the Holocaust, the Cold War, and every other tragedy of modern times. It remains isolated until a townsperson flees following a marriage dispute, suddenly exposing the villiage to the 21st century. “Lively and imaginative… alternately reminiscent of early Isaac Bashevis Singer and a Catskills comedian. Gross’s entertaining, sometimes disquieting tale delivers laugh-out-loud moments and deep insight on human foolishness, resilience, and faith.” (Publishers Weekly)
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.

Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda, translated by Polly Barton
Matsuda subverts classic Japanese folk tales in this collection of seventeen stories. “Prizewinning Japanese writer Matsuda imagines reclamation and brilliantly transforms fairy tales and folk legends into empowering exposés, adventures, manifestos… [and] enthralls with both insight and bite.” (Booklist)
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.

Ramifications by Daniel Saldaña París 
In 1994, when the narrator was 10, his mother left. 23 years later, he is bedridden, spending his days reflecting on the past and trying to puzzle together what became of his mother. “Strange and elegant… París brilliantly explores memory, masculinity, and familial drama in equal measure. The result is an affecting account of arrested development.” (Publishers Weekly) París is an acclaimed Mexican poet, essayist and novelist and author of Among Strange Victims (2016).
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.



Did you know that some of our Oakland Public Library branches have been offering sidewalk pickup service? If you've been missing print books, you can pick up holds for books, DVDs, CDs, and WiFi hotspots at our doors. More information can be found here