The Best Books of October 2017: From Ta-Nehisi Coates to John Green

Every month, Signature combs through the upcoming releases to provide a look at the most exciting titles rounding the bend.

Now that we truly find ourselves in the midst of fall, we’ve got even more books than usual to choose from, across all genres. Ta-Nehisi Coates is back with his follow-up to the earth-shattering Between the World and Me, adapted from an Atlantic article of his reflecting on the Obama presidency (We Were Eight Years in Power); John Green is publishing his first novel since The Fault in Our Stars, this time told from the point of view of a sixteen-year-old girl prone to thought spirals (Turtles All the Way Down); Ron Chernow has turned his attention from Hamilton to Grant–but will there be a musical? (Grant); and Tom Hanks has finally found his true calling in short story writing (Uncommon Type).

There’s a ton more where that came from, so scroll through, pick a few, and get reading.

  • The cover of the book Dunbar


    Edwart St. Aubyn reimagines William Shakespeare’s King Lear in this installment of the Hogarth Shakespeare series. St. Aubyn finds his Lear in Henry Dunbar, who used to be the head of a powerful media corporation, but has fallen from grace. He’s left his corporation in the hands of his daughters Abby and Megan, who aren’t handling it quite as well as he’d hoped. When Dunbar flees from the upscale sanatorium in which he’s being held, his family is not far behind him.

    Out October 3

  • The cover of the book The Future Is History

    The Future Is History

    How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia

    Russia is more at the forefront of our minds now than it’s been in all the time since the Cold War, and who better to enlighten us on the evolution of this complicated nation than journalist and Putin biographer Masha Gessen? Through her profiles of various Russians including four born in the 1980s, Gessen crafts a narrative that deciphers the Soviet Union’s move toward – and retreat from – democracy.

    Out October 3

  • The cover of the book Fresh Complaint

    Fresh Complaint

    Jeffrey Eugenides left readers astounded with his debut novel, 1993’s The Virgin Suicides. Nine years later came another stunner, Middlesex. Another nine years bought us The Marriage Plot. Thankfully, he’s broken this trend with the brand-new book Fresh Complaint, the debut collection of short fiction from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

    Out October 3

  • The cover of the book Manhattan Beach

    Manhattan Beach

    From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit From the Goon Squad comes a historical novel about girl and then woman Anna Kerrigan and her relationship with her elusive father. At the age of twelve, Anna understands that her father’s relationship with the mysterious Dexter Styles is one of necessity, but the details beyond that she’s not sure of. Many years later, after her father has disappeared and Anna is working at the Brooklyn Naval Yard as a diver, she meets Styles again, and begins to understand her father’s past and the man he really was.

    Out October 3

  • The cover of the book Origin


    A Novel

    Hero for the Intellectual Set Robert Langdon is back in Origin, the fifth book in Dan Brown’s series featuring the symbologist and professor, who first appeared in 2000’s Angels and Demons and rose to mass media attention with 2003’s The Da Vinci Code. This latest adventure finds Langdon in Bilbao, Spain, as a former student’s astounding discovery comes under threat.

    Out October 3

  • The cover of the book We Were Eight Years in Power

    We Were Eight Years in Power

    An American Tragedy

    Ta-Nehisi Coates stunned and captivated readers with the 2015 release of his book Between the World and Me. In his latest book, a collection of essays, the journalist and correspondent for The Atlantic reflects on race and racism in the United States today, as it exists against the backdrop of the Obama presidency, the Trump presidency, and all that has happened throughout.

    Out October 3

  • The cover of the book Beyond the Messy Truth

    Beyond the Messy Truth

    How We Came Apart, How We Come Together

    News commentator and activist Van Jones, familiar to many thanks to his CNN show The Messy Truth, takes on the changes we need to see across the political spectrum here in the U.S. in his new book, Beyond the Messy Truth. Jones does more than just wax political here, offering specifics from his own experience that those who seek to be part of the solution will find invaluable.

    Out October 10

  • The cover of the book Cleopatra


    Harold Bloom’s literary repertoire spans Jesus Christ to Shakespeare, and encompasses more than forty books. His latest takes on the ever-fascinating figure Cleopatra through the multiple lenses of history, Shakespeare, and his own personal take on the Ptolemaic ruler, ultimately painting a more human portrait of Cleopatra than ever before.

    Out October 10

  • The cover of the book Grant


    The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Ron Chernow, whose 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton became the foundation of the hit Broadway show “Hamilton,” has turned his research chops to U.S. general and president Ulysses S. Grant. This behemoth of a book – coming in at more than one thousand pages – brings the little-explored and much-misunderstood life and career of Grant front and center.

    Out October 10

  • The cover of the book Turtles All the Way Down

    Turtles All the Way Down

    John Green’s first novel since his wildly popular The Fault in Our Stars arrives to much anticipation from fans and readers. In Turtles All the Way Down, Green once again takes on the narrative voice of a teen girl, this time sixteen-year-old Aza, who suffers from OCD and is prone to thought spirals. When billionaire Russell Pickett goes missing, she decides to join her best friend in tracking him down (the reward is $100,000) despite the never-ending spiral of her thoughts getting in the way.

    Out October 10

  • The cover of the book American Wolf

    American Wolf

    A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West

    American Wolf tells the true story of O-Six, the alpha female wolf of early 1900s Yellowstone. By the 1920s, wolves like O-Six were near extinction in most of the United States, but conservation efforts in more recent years have saved them. A powerful and majestic wolf, O-Six becomes beloved amongst Americans as she expresses her power and raises her pups, but she has to compete with cattle ranchers, hunters, and other wolves to ensure the livelihood of herself and her pack.

    Out October 17

  • The cover of the book Endurance


    A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery

    There are many of us who dreamt as a child of outer space and being an astronaut. Now, as adults, we have firsthand insight into one man’s year living the dream aboard the International Space Station. New Jersey-born astronaut Scott Kelly invites readers into his own path to the stars, which (so far) culminated in a 100-day mission beginning in March 2015. Bonus: For those looking to share the story and inspiration with kids, there’s a kids’ edition of the book as well.

    Out October 17

  • The cover of the book Uncommon Type

    Uncommon Type

    Some Stories

    A short story collection written by Tom Hanks – need we say more? The beloved, two-time Oscar-winning actor has written his first fiction collection, with seventeen short stories that are poignant, relevant, and thought-provoking, proving that he’s just as good with pen and paper as he is on screen. His writing will capture the hearts of all readers, and with this book, his die-hard fans will get more than they could’ve ever hoped for.

    Out October 17

  • The cover of the book Where the Past Begins

    Where the Past Begins

    Chinese American Amy Tan has brought us such beloved novels as The Joy Luck Club and The Bonesetter’s Daughter. Fans of her work will be delighted to learn that she’s finally written her memoir, told through the lens of a fiction writer’s mind. Allowing her thoughts to become fictionally fluid opened up real memories of hers that would otherwise have gone forgotten, and that have since become the nucleus of much of her writing. Tan opens up about her relationships with her parents, her education, personal life, and her writing life, lending the language, personality, candor, and humor that have served her as a novelist to this latest work.

    Out October 17

  • The cover of the book An American Family

    An American Family

    A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice

    In our country’s divided state, this book is an absolute must-have for every American, born-and-raised and immigrants alike. Muslim American Gold Star father and DNC speaker Khizr Khan shares his remarkable life story, and reminds us that people from all around the world come to this country with hopes of a better life for themselves and their children. Khan demonstrates that immigrants take pride in the freedom they have here by dedicating their lives to their country, and that is what makes someone truly American.

  • The cover of the book Dare Not Linger

    Dare Not Linger

    Dare Not Linger is the long-awaited follow-up to Nelson Mandela’s bestselling Long Walk to Freedom, that he was never able to finish. Mandela began writing Dare Not Linger as his term as president of South Africa was coming to a close, and acclaimed South African writer Mandla Langa has now taken up the task of finishing it on Mandela’s behalf. Incorporating the unfinished draft with Mandela’s notes, never-before-seen archival material, and speeches, Langa has brought together a work of Mandela’s that is necessary, pertinent, educational, and moving.

  • The cover of the book I Can't Breathe

    I Can't Breathe

    A Killing on Bay Street

    “I can’t breathe.” Those were the last words of Eric Garner, a forty-three-year-old black man who was killed on a Staten Island sidewalk after a police officer put him in an illegal chokehold. Eric Garner — a husband and father — lost his life for a futile offense, and the grand jury decided against indicting the officer who strangled him. Matt Taibbi’s report documents Garner’s life and looks at the situation from all angles, with an unbiased view, and ultimately uncovers the large issues within the criminal justice system that need immediate attention.

  • The cover of the book Member of the Family

    Member of the Family

    At fourteen years old, Dianne Lake became one of “Charlie’s girls,” that “Charlie” being one Charles Manson. The youngest member of his “Family,” Dianne was insulated from the gruesome crimes that Manson was ultimately imprisoned for, though she was arrested for them with the rest of the Manson Family at the outset. She eventually became an asset to the prosecution’s case against the Manson Family. In Member of the Family, Dianne tells the story of her two years in the cult, the psychological and physical abuse she endured, and her ultimate redemption.

  • The cover of the book Vacationland


    True Stories from Painful Beaches

    John Hodgman, podcast host and frequent guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, uses his wit and humor to write a comic, sincere account of what it’s like to be a middle-aged man struggling with confronting life in his forties. John wanders through three wildernesses: the hills of Western Massachusetts where he grew up, the painful beaches of Maine, and the daunting, metaphorical forest of middle age, which draws the first two together.

  • The cover of the book The Written World

    The Written World

    The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization

    What would this world be without literature? Not very much. Literature has shaped civilization from the beginning of time, and in this groundbreaking book, Martin Puchner takes readers on a trip around the globe, travelling through time to showcase the great stories that have created the world we know today. This is the story of how literature changed everything, in sixteen acts – from Alexander the Great and The Iliad to Harry Potter.

  • The cover of the book After the Fire

    After the Fire

    Fredrik Welin retired early to a small isolated island on which he is the sole resident. He prefers the secluded life, having only limited contact with his daughter and his mailman. Life seems easier this way for Fredrik, and he’s perfectly content with living the rest of his life in solitude. But he’ll soon learn that one fire can change everything. When Fredrik’s house mysteriously burns down in a whirlwind of flames, nothing is ever the same again.

  • The cover of the book The River of Consciousness

    The River of Consciousness

    All of the time in the world would never have left us feeling we’d had our fill of insight and wisdom from the mind of Oliver Sacks. Upon his passing in 2015, the world grieved for the loss of one of our lifetime’s greatest minds. Lucky for us, he worked straight through to the end of his life, leaving us the book that has become The River of Consciousness as a gift. In this collection of essays, Sacks dives into the topics of creativity, memory, time, consciousness, and experience, with the same style and thoughtfulness for which we’ve come to adore him.