The following article first appeared in The National Book Review
1. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie (Random House)
The title of Rushdie's 12th novel is a mischievous reference to Scheherazade's 1,001 Nights, and the Satanic Verses author channels the eastern tradition of "wonder tales" in this story of a world unraveling. Carolyn Kellogg of the Los Angeles Times called the book an "amusement park of a pulpy disaster novel that resists flying out of control by being grounded by religion, history, culture and love." Rushdie has embarked on a huge national tour, and Two Years Eight Months has just hit the best-seller lists.
2. The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath by Ben S. Bernanke (W.W. Norton & Co.)
When the Fed talks, everyone listens. So there will doubtless be a large audience for this soon-to-be released account by former Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. TIME's 2009 Person of the Year admits mistakes may have been made, but his insider's account focuses on how a global economic meltdown was skillfully avoided. Look for Bernanke, and The Courage to Act, to be ubiquitous on the Sunday talk shows.
3. Fates and Furies: A Novel by Lauren Groff (Riverhead)
Groff's intricately written novel of a marriage that is more complicated than it seems unwinds from the perspectives of both husband and wife, a lure to readers looking for the next Gone Girl. A place on the National Book Award fiction longlist, a cover-of -the-New York Times Book Review rave, and enthusiasm from other reviewers and booksellers have propelled Fates and Furies to best-seller status.
4. Fear of Dying by Erica Jong (St. Martin's Press)
Irrepressible, provocative, and as frank as ever, the singular Jong is back with a rhyming bookend to her classic Fear of Flying, about the zipless adventures of Isadora Wing. This winning new novel features a 60-year-old protagonist, Vanessa Wonderman, whose concerns weigh a bit heavier than Isadora's: ailing parents, a pregnant daughter, a very wealthy husband with erectile dysfunction, and to top it all off: a sick dog.
5. I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems 1975 - 2014 by Eileen Myles (Ecco/HarperCollins)
After 19 books and four decades of writing, the wildly experimental poet/critic/fiction writer Myles has burst out of the underground. With this big collection of poems, the re-release of her 1994 collection of autobiographical tales, Chelsea Girls -- a cult classic -- and a character in the second season of Amazon's series Transparent loosely based on her, Myles has now moved on to the most improbable place of all: the mainstream.