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Cincinnati Refined Book Club: 10 Great Fall Reads For 2016

Oh fall — it seems you have finally arrived! Time to dig out the cozy blankets, make a hot cup of tea, and curl up with a good book. Luckily for us, fall is when publishers put out their best stuff.

So here are 10 new books (both fiction and nonfiction) that I am stoked to share with you.

1. A Gentleman in Moscow
(Novel/Literary Fiction)
Author: Amor Towles
Publisher: Penguin Random House, 2016

The Story:
Set in the 1920s, the novel follows Count Alexander Rostov. From the publisher: “…deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, [Alexander Rostov] is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov...must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery. Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.”

2. The Virginity of Famous Men
(Short Stories)
Author: Christine Sneed
Publisher: Bloomsbury, 2016

The Story:
Place this book at the top of the list of reasons it has taken me so long to get this season’s book column filed—I haven’t been able to put it down since I started reading it! These short stories are masterworks. I adore short fiction, so it’s always a thrill when I find a new writer of it to love and obsess over—Christine Sneed fits that bill. Her writing gives a glimpse into the more complicated sides of men and women and their relationships, a few pages at a time. A must-read!

3. The Wonder
(Novel/Historical Fiction)
Author: Emma Donoghue
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co., 2016

The Story:
This novel is shaping up to be THE buzz book of fall. From Emma Donoghue (author of the stunning "Room") comes a brilliant work of historical fiction. Already a bestseller, and sure to be on the list of many of your book clubs, this novel tells the story of 11-year-old Anna O'Donnell and the English nurse charged with her care. Is Anna a miracle or a hoax? No spoilers here! Read it yourself.

4. Commonwealth
(Novel/Literary Fiction)
Author: Ann Patchett
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2016

The Story:
Patchett is one of the greatest living American writers working today. Her novels are beautiful and spellbinding. Her latest, "Commonwealth," is perched atop my fall reading stack beside Amor Towles. (So many books, and only two eyes to read them with!) From the publisher: “…enthralling story of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes two families’ lives. One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families. Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved.”

5. Here I Am
(Novel/Literary Fiction)
Author: Jonathan Safran Foer
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016

The Story:
Did you read "Everything Is Illuminated" and absolutely love it? Then get thee to a bookstore and pick up Foer’s latest novel, stat! It’s been an 11-year wait for a new novel from him. Given his brilliance as a writer, I have high hopes that it was worth it! From the publisher: “The story of a fracturing family in a moment of crisis. As Jacob and Julia Bloch and their three sons are forced to confront the distances between the lives they think they want and the lives they are living, a catastrophic earthquake sets in motion a quickly escalating conflict in the Middle East. At stake is the meaning of home?and the fundamental question of how much aliveness one can bear.”

6. The Other Einstein
(Novel/Historical Fiction)
Author: Marie Benedict
Publisher: Sourcebooks, 2016

The Story:
Behind every great man is a great woman…or so they say. In her debut novel, Marie Benedict delves into the story of that other great Einstein—Mitza Maric, Albert’s wife. Is there room in a marriage for two geniuses? If you loved "The Paris Wife", pick this one up!

7. Here Comes the Sun
(Novel/ Literary Fiction)
Author: Nicole Dennis-Benn
Publisher: Liveright, 2016

The Story:
OK so, technically, this book came out this summer, but if you’re like me, you were too busy to read it then. But don’t overlook it! Dennis-Benn tells the gripping story of two sisters struggling to make it in a Jamaican village that so many see as a paradise—Montego Bay. These characters will stay with you long after you close the cover. A brilliant debut!

8. Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
(Nonfiction)
Author: Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, & Ella Morton
Publisher: Workman, 2016

The Story:
I have been following this website (from which the book originates) for more than a year now. Founded by the brilliant Joshua Foer (he wrote "Moonwalking with Einstein," my favorite science book ever), Atlas Obscura is a curated list of the most extraordinary places on this little blue marble we call home, and includes the things the Fodor’s guides leave out: the strange, the unusual, and the downright odd.

9. Born to Run
(Memoir)
Author: Bruce Springsteen
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2016

The Story:
I was late in my appreciation of “The Boss”—I had to hear “The Wild, the Innocent, & the E Street Shuffle” before he clicked for me. Now, I love and adore him like most sensible people do. I cannot wait to read his memoir. Bruuuuuuce! is an American poet in the vein of Patti Smith (just read some of his lyrics), so this book promises to be a fantastic read.

10. A Life in Parts
(Memoir)
Author: Bryan Cranston
Publisher: Scribner, 2016

The Story:
“Yeah Mr. White!” If you loved “Breaking Bad” (if you didn’t we can’t be friends, sorry!) and “Malcolm in the Middle,” then like me you’ll love reading the story of the incredible actor who starred in those shows, Bryan Cranston. I am forever stunned by what he can do with a character. I cannot wait to see what he does with his own life story!

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As we always say... It's not a book "club" without you!
Tweet me (@Cincy_Bookworm), and the rest of us @CincyRefined. We'd love to hear what you think about these (& any other) fall reads.
Happy reading ;)

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