This Month in Adult Books: October 2023

Reading recommendations for adults
October 13, 2023
Featured Title
Class: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hunger, and Higher Education by Stephanie Land
In a follow up to her bestselling memoir, Maid, which inspired a Netflix series, Land continues the story of her life as a single parent and aspiring writer. Here she talks about attending college as a mature student, searching for security and stability for herself and her child. Her path will be littered with obstacles such as student loans, bureaucracies, judgement from her instructors and other students, and the continuing stresses of food, housing, and childcare. It’s a story about working hard to make dreams come true in a system that seems designed to obliterate hope. This is a good choice for readers of Educated by Tara Westover or The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

What's New This Month
If you enjoy spooky season, there are some great books to check out this month like A Haunting on the Hill by Elizabeth Hand, a tribute to the horror classic The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. If literary fiction is your preference, this month brings the much awaited return of the award winning author Jesmyn Ward with Let Us Descend. Mystery readers may wish to check out West Heart Kill by Dann McDorman, a subversive homage to the classic whodunit.
Nonfiction readers have a number of big releases to choose from such as memoirs from the likes of Britney Spears, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Barbra Streisand. There are also smaller gems like Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant by Curtis Chin which relates the history of his family’s restaurant in Detroit.  
What's Hot This Month
 If you enjoyed reading or watching Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, check out these books!  
What We Are Reading
Stay True by Hua Hsu (audio, narrated by the author)
"There are a lot of reasons to read this short memoir: It won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for memoir. It’s a great portrait of coming of age in the 90’s and takes place mainly in Berkeley, so there’s a local Northern CA aspect. It speaks to the diversity of the Asian American experience. It’s a powerful look at the lasting effects of grief and of the perspective of memory. There is also lots of music. The author made a playlist and everything. Really, I could go on and on. Hsu packs so much into this 196 page memoir (5 hour audio). It seems almost simple at first, a recitation of an experience, but slowly you are immersed through a gorgeous turn of phrase, a description of a feeling, the raw honesty, and the familiarity. This might not be your youth, but it feels like it could be. At the center, Hsu is sharing the story of a friendship that never got the time to grow and develop due to a terrible tragedy. Some details are lost to memory, some may be changed by memory, facts he is fully aware of as he writes. Looking back changes our perspective and that is part of the point. There is beauty here, ugliness, and plenty of the self-centeredness of youth in a search for belonging. It’s hard to fully describe what this book offers, probably because I’m still processing. This one will stay with me for a while."
For more lists of recommended reads from the book world and beyond:
  • The Ultimate Fall 2023 Books Preview from LitHub
  • The October List from Library Reads
  • The October Earphones Award Winners from Audiofile
  • 100 Best Mystery and Thriller Books of All Time from Time