Fall is for books – cool weather, warm sweaters, steaming beverages and books. We asked three local booksellers to tell us which they’re looking forward to this season.


Picked by Jack Marrie, bookseller and buyer at Longfellow Books in Portland.

“The Risen”

By Ron Rash. Ecco. Sept. 6. 272 pages. Hardcover. $25.99.

I’ve been following Rash since his novel “Serena,” which has one of the most compelling opening paragraphs in fiction. He has a terrific ability to make the locale of his novels real to the reader, and being that most of his work takes place in the South and I myself am a son of that land, his work has a particular resonance for me.

“The Risen” is set in a small North Carolina town in 1969 during what will prove to be a pivotal summer for two brothers. They meet a young woman moving to a very different beat. The impact she has on each brother, and the effect on their relationship to one another, will reverberate for decades to come.

“Mister Monkey”

By Francine Prose. Harper. Oct. 18. 304 pages. Hardcover. $26.99.

Francine Prose is as sharp a writer as we have these days. Anything, fiction or non-fiction, even book reviews, with her name on it, is worth a look.

“Mister Monkey” looks to be a relentlessly cutting and comic novel following the all-too-slow demise of an ill-conceived though long-running children’s musical. Through her deeply flawed and beset characters, Prose turns a critical and earnest eye to love, aging, art and our own, often suspect, hopes.


By Per Petterson. Harvill Secker. Nov. 22. Hardcover. 144 pages.

Perhaps no author is able to be so thoughtful in their treatment of childhood without resorting to sentimentality than Norwegian writer Per Petterson. His writing is hypnotic in its ability to convey deep emotion and heady themes with such calm, spare prose. Some credit must surely be given to his translator.

In “Echoland” our hero is the recurring Arvid, who is holidaying with his mother at his grandparents house in Denmark. Arvid is on the cusp of young adulthood, but he isn’t able to decipher the tension between his mother and grandmother. To escape that cloud, emboldened by an emergent sense of self and curious about his new surroundings, we join Arvid in his exploration of this seaside town and his own burgeoning curiosity about what life may have to offer.


Picked by Josh Christie, co-owner of Print: A Bookstore, opening in Portland.

“Rad Women Worldwide”

By Kate Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl. Ten Speed Press. Sept. 27. Hardcover. 112 pages. $15.99.

One of the best nonfiction surprises of the last couple years was “Rad American Women A-Z,” Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl’s 2015 book profiling 26 American women who made history in art, science and culture. Their new book is a logical follow-up, expanding their focus to 40 “Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries” who have changed the world. The scope is wide, covering the ancient (Hatshepsut) to the modern (Malala Yousafzai). As in “American Women,” Schatz’s biographies are well-researched and captivating, and Stahl’s bright, expressive artwork continues to impress.

“They Can’t Kill Us All”

By Wesley Lowery. Little, Brown and Company. Nov. 15. Hardcover. 256 pages. $27.

The Washington Post received a Pulitzer Prize last year for its coverage of police shootings. Their deep reporting was a project that was proposed by journalist Wesley Lowery, and the topic he expands upon in “They Can’t Kill Us All.” Lowery, who made headlines of his own in 2015 when he was arrested covering protests in Ferguson, Missouri, offers a historically informed look at the current tension between the police and those they protect. The author spent a year conducting hundreds of interviews in Ferguson, Cleveland, Charleston and Baltimore, and the resulting book is the first to take a deep dive into the activists of the Black Lives Matter movement. Lowery also manages a delicate balancing act with his voice and tone, writing in a personal and open voice that will build his profile for years to come.

“Words on the Move”

By John McWhorter. Henry Holt and Co. Sept. 6. Hardcover. 272 pages. $28.

As much as readers and writers are sometimes loathe to admit it, our language is constantly changing and evolving. “Literally” now means “figuratively” to a chunk of the population, for example, and online jargon like LOL and BRB has worked its way into spoken language. In “Words on the Move,” Columbia professor John McWhorter doesn’t just look at the phenomenon of our changing language, but makes a compelling argument that we should embrace its evolution. Rather than a eulogy for a dying language, the book is a celebration of English’s dynamism and resilience. High-minded praise aside, it’s also a fount of word-nerd trivia for dinner party chatter, loaded with history on the words and expressions we use every day.


Picked by Leslie Pryor, bookseller at Royal River Books in Yarmouth.

“Welcome to Wonderland”

By Chris Grabenstein. Random House. Oct. 4. 304 pages. Hardcover. $13.99.

From perennial favorite author Chris Grabenstein (“Island of Dr. Libris,” “Mr. Lemoncello’s Library”) comes the first in a new series, “Welcome to Wonderland: Home Sweet Motel.”

Eleven-year-old P.T. Wilkie lives with his mother and eccentric grandfather in a fun and quirky motel and amusement park that his grandfather built in Florida back before Disneyworld came to town. P.T. and his friend Gloria love the motel and its constant access to rides, ice cream and swimming pools. But their beloved motel is struggling from a lack of customers and the friends decide on a crazy scheme to save the place from bankruptcy.

Short chapters and wonderful illustrations make this a great choice for young readers.

“The Most Frightening Story Ever Told”

By Philip Kerr. Knopf. Sept. 6. 320 pages. Hardcover. $16.99.

Bestselling author Philip Kerr has written a brand new middle-grade novel that has been described as a cross between R.L. Stine and Roald Dahl.

After an accident, quiet Billy Shivers spends most of his time reading alone in the library. He loves ghost stories, but is he prepared for the Haunted House of Books? Billy gets drawn into a contest to see who can make it through the reading of a terrifying tale inside the spooky old Haunted House of Books. With lots of interesting characters and adventure, this is a spooky but fun tale that is alternately hair-raising and hilarious.

“The Distance Between Us”

By Reyna Grande, Aladdin. Sept. 6. 336 pages. Hardcover. $17.99.

This new edition is the young readers version of Grande’s award-winning memoir of what happens to her family when they decide to leave Mexico in pursuit of a new life in America.

Their new life doesn’t exactly unfold as planned, and Reyna and her two siblings have to endure living with a grandmother while they wait for their parents to find work – and a better life – in America. This touching and ultimately triumphant story is an inspirational tale of the immigrant experience from a child’s point of view.


By Raina Telgemeier. Graphix. Sept. 13. 256 pages. Hardcover. $24.99.

From favorite author Raina Telgemeier (“Drama,” “Smile”) comes a new graphic novel about Catrina and her sister Maya, who are moving to the coast of California in an effort to alleviate Maya’s illness, cystic fibrosis. Sad to leave their home and their friends to begin life in a new place, the sisters discover that their new town has a secret: ghosts.

This is a touching and sweet tale of adolescence, loss, courage and adventure.