7 Books You Need to Read This October

From a Norman Lear autobiography to the secret feminist history of Wonder Woman, there’s something for everyone this month

Best of the West

Even This I Get to Experience



(Penguin Press, $33)
By Norman Lear
The Hollywood trailblazer and creator of television shows such as All in the Family, Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons, and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman has up and released an autobiography. Enough said.
Out: October 14

 Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood


(Harper, $28)
William J. Mann
Who doesn’t love a good unsolved murder? We sure do. (See: our newest long-read on Bugsy Siegel.) Mann provides a riveting look at Hollywood in the ‘20s at the very beginning of L.A.’s love affair with the film industry. But it wasn’t all bright lights, big city: using recently released FBI files, the book investigates the murder of William Desmond Taylor, former president of the Motion Picture Directors Association. What’s more, Mann might’ve cracked the case.
Out: October 14

Wolf in White Van

Wolf(FSG, $24)
By John Darnielle
Working in isolation out of a small apartment in Southern California, Sean Phillips—who was left disfigured by a suicide attempt at 17—has created an imaginary game called Trace Italian that strangers play through the mail (like, of the snail variety). But when two players from Florida bring their play into the real world, tragedy strikes, and it is Sean who is held accountable. Wolf, Darnielle’s first foray into fiction (you may recognize him as the front man of The Mountain Goats), has already been longlisted for a National Book Award.
Out: October 1

Best of the Rest


lila(FSG $26)
By Marilynne Robinson
The Pulitzer Prize winner is back with a prequel to her popular Gilead trilogy. Lila documents the tumultuous early years of its eponymous character, the same woman who is the narrator in Gilead. Robinson tracks Lila, a homeless and feral child, as she navigates a life on the outskirts of society. The author’s adept storytelling skills will keep you enthralled—even if we already know the fate of the book’s titular character.
Out: October 7

Yes, Please

yes(Dey Street, $29)
By Amy Poehler
Joining the ranks of Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling, the comedian extraordinaire has finally come out with a book of personal essays that tackle those tentpoles of non-fiction: love, sex, friendship, and parenthood. Surely we’re all in for 352 pages of some truly good humor.
Out: October 28

The Secret History of Wonder Woman

wonder(Knopf, $30)
By Jill Lepore
The real life origin story of the wildly popular comic book character is way weirder—and more interesting—than you could have ever imagined, partially because it is based on the true (and secret) family history of her creator, William Moulton Marston. Using a previously hidden trove of historical documents, New Yorker writer Lepore posits that Wonder Woman is the missing link in feminist history.
Out: October 29


(Beacon Press, $25)
By Amy Jo Burns
In this emotionally draining memoir, Burns, who grew up in Mercury, Pennsylvania, recounts the emotional trauma that occurred when the small, sleepy town’s piano teacher was accused of sexually assaulting his female students. Women who came forward were spurned for telling the truth; women who stayed quiet—Burns included—were forced to live with their secret. Now it’s her time to speak out, and she does so with brutal and elegant honesty.
Out: October 7