Books

The 7 Best Books to Read This October

Six standout new releases of the month-and one old favorite to revisit.
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This month, dive into a memoir from the very top of the American business world, devour short stories by a literary darling, try a sequel to a modern classic, enjoy a big think about how classic civilizations inform the modern-day, or get reacquainted with a true-crime classic just in time for Halloween.

Leave Something on the Table: and Other Surprising Lessons for Success in Business and in Life

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SHOP NOW: Simon & Schuster, amazon.com, $28.00

Frank Bennack has lived almost his entire life in publishing, from working as a paperboy as a teenager in Texas to spending nearly three decades as the CEO of Hearst, where he’s now executive vice chairman. So it’s no wonder his story makes a fantastic book. This memoir covers his climb to the top of the corporate ladder—and his life outside the office—with charm, wit, and appearances by a who’s who of the 20th century’s most powerful figures. It’s a must-read for anyone who ever dreamed big.

Grand Union: Stories

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When some authors move, the culture moves with them, following every turn and change in their work with fervent interest. Zadie Smith—who has written books including White Teeth, NW, and Swing Time—is one of those writers, and her first short story collection will be the talk of the town this fall. This volume gathers 11 brand new pieces together with some of her previously published work. 

Find Me: A Novel

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The story of Elio and Oliver—which began in Call Me By Your Name—continues in this sequel, which promises to be just as tender, devastating, and sensual. We pick up years in the future when Sami, Elio’s father, visits him in Rome. En route, he has a brush with fate that changes his romantic life forever. Elio, now a professional pianist, soon moves to Paris and has his own affair. Meanwhile, Oliver’s life as an American professor begins to seem dull, and he remembers a summer long ago, feeling a pull to a former lover.  

Ecstasy and Terror: From the Greeks to Game of Thrones

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A new collection of essays from the esteemed cultural critic and T&C contributor Mendelsohn looks at the impact ancient civilizations have had on modern-day from Greek-tinged reactions to tragedy to how Homer's curiosity about artificial intelligence is reflected in today's box-office blockbusters. 

How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir

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Saeed Jones set the poetry world on fire with his 2014 poetry collection, Prelude to Bruise, and his coming-of-age memoir bursts with the same lyricism and insight. Jones had an unusual adolescence, to say the least: he grew up black and gay in Texas, with a single mother who was Buddhist and an evangelical Christian grandmother. In his life and in his prose, race, religion, and sexuality are intertwined in confusing, violent, and often beautiful ways. The essential question is: what does it mean to declare a space for yourself in a world that doesn’t have one for you? 

In Defense of Elitism: Why I'm Better Than You and You're Better Than Someone Who Didn't Buy This Book

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Stein, a T&C contributor, investigates the contemporary political landscape with a gimlet eye and plenty of humor in this deep dive into our cultural divide. He posits that having a dislike of the elite is the defining characteristic of today's conservative Americans and sets out to discover why—and whether they might be right. 

In Cold Blood (Modern Library 100 Best Nonfiction Books)

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SHOP NOW: Modern Library, amazon.com

If you're going to revisit one scary story for Halloween this year, it might as well be the one that created an entirely new genre of literature. In 1959, four members of the Clutter family were brutally slain in the town of Holcomb, Kansas, and Truman Capote’s retelling of the murders was an instant bestseller—though interestingly, it was the last stand-alone book he ever wrote. Arguments over the book’s veracity persist, but the “nonfiction novel” that created our obsession with true crime still holds up 50 years later.

*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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