While we still have beach sand in the pages of our summer reading books, we wanted to get a jump on our fall must-read list. Here's what our Facebook followers suggested, including a few oldies-but-goodies we might have missed on the first go-round. Please add your favorite books in comments.
1. The Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright
A novel about a woman who, after losing her mother, embarks on a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral, sharing life lessons -- in the best Chaucer tradition -- with eight other women along the way.
"One woman's mid-life crisis turns into a hilarious and touching adventure in Kim Wright's latest heartwarming tale. A book for anyone who needs reminding that sometimes the journey to find answers is more important than the destination." -- Colleen Oakley, author of Before I Go.
2. Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Harvard cognitive psychology professor Alice Howland learns she has early onset Alzheimer's disease at age 50.
"After I read Still Alice, I wanted to stand up and tell a train full of strangers, 'You have to get this book.'" -- Beverly Beckham, The Boston Globe
3. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller is about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths cross in occupied France in the days immediately post-World War II.
"A novel to live in, learn from, and feel bereft over when the last page is turned ..." -- Booklist
4. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
From the author of Eat, Pray, Love comes a period novel set in the 18th and 19th centuries that follows the fortunes and misfortunes of the Whittaker family.
"An earthy, elegant, deeply sensual novel of daring breadth and imagination, The Signature of All Things gives us the cosmos in the life of one woman, in her worlds within worlds." -- Mari Malcolm for Amazon
5. Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
Bernadette Fox wears many hats in the eyes of others.
"The tightly constructed [novel] is written in many formats -- e-mails, letters, F.B.I. documents, correspondence with a psychiatrist and even an emergency-room bill for a run-in between Bernadette and Audrey. Yet these pieces are strung together so wittily that Ms. Semple's storytelling is always front and center, in sharp focus. You could stop and pay attention to how apt each new format is, how rarely she repeats herself and how imaginatively she unveils every bit of information. But you would have to stop laughing first."― Janet Maslin, The New York Times
6. The Unexpected Waltz by Kim Wright
Kelly Wilder, 52, takes up ballroom dancing after her older rich husband dies. She spent her married life as a kind of Stepford Wife and, as she says, “pretending to be a whole lot more conservative and stupid and nicer than I really am.”
"Kim Wright's charming novel chronicles one woman's second chance at happiness and an opportunity to find her authentic self. The writing is pitch perfect -- this is a winner!"-- Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times bestselling author
7. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
You want a page-turner? This is the psychological thriller you skip Netflix for.
“Nothing is more addicting than The Girl on the Train.” -- Vanity Fair
Also on Huff/Post:
From Amazon: "The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on 12-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community."
From Amazon: "Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over two years -- as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors and colleagues -- Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing."
To Kill a Mockingbird
From Amazon: "Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior -- to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos."
The Call of the Wild
From Amazon: "[S]et in the Yukon during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush ... the novel's central character is a dog named Buck, a domesticated dog living at a ranch in the Santa Clara valley of California as the story opens. Stolen from his home and sold into the brutal existence of an Alaskan sled dog, he reverts to atavistic traits. Buck is forced to adjust to, and survive, cruel treatments and fight to dominate other dogs in a harsh climate. Eventually he sheds the veneer of civilization, relying on primordial instincts and lessons he learns, to emerge as a leader in the wild."
From Amazon: "Set against London’s racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations and embracing the comedy of daily existence."
The Fortress of Solitude
From Amazon: "[A]n overwhelmingly rich and emotionally gripping canvas of race and class, superheroes, gentrification, funk, hip-hop, graffiti tagging, loyalty and memory. The Fortress of Solitudeis the first great urban coming-of-age novel to appear in years."
From Amazon: "Set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are."
From Amazon: "Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Muad'Dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family -- and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream."
Less Than Zero
From Amazon: "Set in Los Angeles in the early 1980s, this coolly mesmerizing novel is a raw, powerful portrait of a lost generation who have experienced sex, drugs and disaffection at too early an age, in a world shaped by casual nihilism, passivity, and too much money a place devoid of feeling or hope."
From Amazon: "Rob is a pop music junkie who runs his own semi-failing record store. His girlfriend, Laura, has just left him for the guy upstairs, and Rob is both miserable and relieved. After all, could he have spent his life with someone who has a bad record collection? ... Then he sees Laura again. And Rob begins to think that life with kids, marriage, barbecues and soft rock CDs might not be so bad."
From Amazon: "Not a dry history of the sport, The Rider is beloved as a bicycle odyssey, a literary masterpiece that describes in painstaking detail one 150-kilometer race in a mere 150 pages. The Rider is the ultimate book for bike lovers as well as the armchair sports enthusiast."
From Amazon: "Awe and exhilaration -- along with heartbreak and mordant wit -- abound in Lolita, Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love -- love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation."
Into the Wild
From Amazon: "In April 1992, a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter."
From Amazon: "Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire ... Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time."
From Amazon: "Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated? ... In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world."
Brave New World
From Amazon: "Aldous Huxley's tour de force, Brave New World is a darkly satiric vision of a "utopian" future -- where humans are genetically bred and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively serve a ruling order. A powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified readers for generations, it remains remarkably relevant to this day as both a warning to be heeded as we head into tomorrow and as thought-provoking, satisfying entertainment."
A People's History of the United States
From Amazon: "Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People's History is the only volume to tell America's story from the point of view of -- and in the words of -- America's women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and immigrant laborers ... [As] many of our country's greatest battles -- the fights for a fair wage, an eight-hour workday, child labor laws, health and safety standards, universal suffrage, women's rights, racial equality -- were carried out at the grassroots level, against bloody resistance."
One Hundred Years of Solitude
From Amazon: "The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful and tawdry story of the Buendía family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America."
From Amazon: "Published in 1949 as a warning about the menaces of totalitarianism. The novel is set in an imaginary future world that is dominated by three perpetually warring totalitarian police states. The book's hero, Winston Smith, is a minor party functionary in one of these states. His longing for truth and decency leads him to secretly rebel against the government."
The Kite Runner
From Amazon: "The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father's servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons -- their love, their sacrifices, their lies."
From Amazon: "Middlesex, the mesmerizing saga of a near-mythic Greek American family and the 'roller coaster ride of a single gene through time.' The odd but utterly believable story of Cal Stephanides, and how this 41-year-old hermaphrodite was raised as Calliope, is at the tender heart of this long-awaited novel."
From Amazon: "The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of 'the Brotherhood,' and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be. The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style."
From Amazon: "Slaughterhouse-Five is one of the world's great anti-war books. Centering on the infamous fire-bombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know."
Between the World and Me
Amazon review: "Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of 'race,' a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men -- bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?"
A Good Man Is Hard to Find
From Amazon: "Steeped in a Southern Gothic tradition that would become synonymous with her name, these stories show O'Connor's unique, grotesque view of life -- infused with religious symbolism, haunted by apocalyptic possibility, sustained by the tragic comedy of human behavior, confronted by the necessity of salvation."