Library: 10 books not to miss for fall

“The vicious circle”

What fascinates us about the nefarious activities that take place beneath the surface of luxury resorts and health retreats in exotic locations? Think “Nine Perfect Strangers,” Liane Moriarty’s book and Hulu series with Nicole Kidman, or “The White Lotus” on HBO. Atlanta author Katherine St. John explores this juicy ground with a thriller about a young woman who mysteriously inherits a wellness center in a Mexican jungle. But her visit there becomes chilling when she discovers that there is something rotten in paradise and escaping it could put her life in danger. (HarperCollins, $27.99, September 27)

“Tell it true”

True to the adage of writing what you know, WSB-TV news anchor John Pruitt centers his literary debut on a pair of reporters covering the investigation into the murder of a black serviceman in rural Georgia in 1964. Complicating the matter are a cast of figures with competing agendas, including local, state, and federal law enforcement officials, as well as civil rights leaders and politicians. The story is set against the backdrop of a heated governorship race between a racist and a moderate. (Mercer University Press, $27, Oct. 4)

“My People: Five Decades of Writing About Black Lives Matter”

Charlayne Hunter-Gault made history in 1961 when, following a legal battle, she became the first black woman to attend the University of Georgia. She would later become a journalist, working for The New Yorker, The New York Times and “The McNeil-Lehrer NewsHour”, for which she won two Emmys and a Peabody Award. This collection of his writings spans five decades, from the civil rights movement to the election of a black president and beyond. Taken as a whole, it illustrates how far race relations have evolved in the United States and how they have remained the same. (Penguin Random House, $27.99, Oct. 11)

“The Hollow Kind”

Georgian author Andy Davidson delivers a gothic thriller about an abused wife and mother who inherit Redfern Hill, a turpentine estate in Georgia, and escape there with her 11-year-old son. But her hope for a new beginning takes a dark turn when scratches on the walls, whispers in the night and a forest that is only a little too the calm is a prelude to the horrors that this house conceals. (MCD, $28, Oct. 11)

“Copperhead Demon”

The incomparable best-selling author of 10 novels including “The Poisonwood Diary”, Barbara Kingsolver undertakes the ambitious undertaking of reimagining Charles Dickens’ Victorian “David Copperfield” saga in today’s southern Appalachia. Demon (a nickname for Damon) was born in a trailer to a single mother in a community ravaged by opioid addiction. He endures family dysfunction, poverty, foster families, child labor and lousy schools. Despite the obstacles, Demon manages to persevere. (HarperCollins, $32.50, Oct. 18)

“Rap Capital: A Story of Atlanta”

New York Times culture reporter Joe Coscarelli takes an in-depth look at the people, places, and events, past and present, that define Atlanta’s rap scene and, in doing so, examines its intersection with talent, race, class and money. Freaknik, strip clubs, LaFace Records, crunk, trap houses, OutKast, Lil Yachty – nothing is overlooked in this cultural survey of the Dirty South, one of the most influential forces in music today. . (Simon & Schuster, $29.99, Oct. 18)

“Now is not the time to panic”

Kevin Wilson is a master at crafting bold characters with endearing quirks and putting them in unique situations in witty stories that ultimately turn out to be compassionate and deeply human. In his latest novel, two teenagers fall in love and pull off a public art stunt that spirals out of control. Fast forward 20 years and a reporter snoops around, threatening to reveal who was behind the stunt and disrupt their lives. (HarperCollins, $27.99, November 8)

“Greater Than Bravery”

The late Valerie Boyd, author-in-residence at the University of Georgia where she co-founded and directed the MFA in Narrative Nonfiction program, edited this powerful anthology of essays and poems by some of contemporary literature’s most famous writers: Jericho Brown, Jason Reynolds, Tayari Jones, Pearl Cleage, Alice Walker, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Imani Perry and Kiese Laymon, among others. Subtitled “Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic”, this collection is a moving examination of life at the crossroads of the pandemic and systemic racism. (Watch Books, $18.95, Nov. 15)

Suzanne Van Atten is a literary critic and editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Contact her at svanatten@ajc.comand follow her on Twitter at @svanatten.

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