25 Best Fall Books to Read in 2021 – Parade Magazine

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There’s a literary harvest of major fall books this season, which means you won’t have a problem finding good reads to add to your TBR pile. We’ve got debut authors, literary superstars, made-for-TV writers, celebs and multiple Pulitzer Prize winners. So we’ve done some investigating, interviewing and lots of reading to gather the books we’ve loved so far this season, from contemporary fiction and mystery must-reads to gothic horror (tis the season) and memoirs by famous faces. Check out some of our favorite books of fall.
Hit the open road with Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow), whose latest follows a young man fresh out of a juvenile work farm in 1950s Nebraska who gets caught up in the exploits of two work farm escapees heading to New York City.
In Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You, four young adults—a Dublin novelist, her socially awkward best friend and their love interests— navigate relationships and come to grips with adulthood.
A British soldier has a chance encounter with a middle-aged art historian in 1940s Tuscany that shapes his life and the lives of friends for decades to come.
Dava Shastri is one of the world’s wealthiest women, and she just received a cancer diagnosis. Now a dying billionaire matriarch, she decides to leak the news of her death so she can read her obituaries, horrifying her children and inadvertently exposing secrets she spent years burying.
Characters in 1400s Constantinople, present-day Idaho and a future spaceship named Argos are all united by a long-lost book from ancient Greece in Cloud Cuckoo Land by Pulitzer Prize–winning Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See).
Related: Anthony Doerr Revels in the Uplifting Messages of Stories in His New Epic Cloud Cuckoo Land
A political thriller from longtime friends Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton, State of Terror follows a series of terrorist attacks and a newly appointed secretary of state who must unravel a carefully designed conspiracy.
Pulitzer Prize-winner Colson Whitehead marvels with this family-saga-meets-classic-heist set in 1960s New York City in Harlem Shuffle.
Take a trip to the Scottish Highlands, where a troubled marriage comes to a head during a weekend away in this disturbingly twisty domestic thriller.
Related: Hear From Ron Howard on Growing Up in Hollywood, New Book The Boys and a Happy Days Softball Team
In this 20th century coming-of-age story of friendship and (the) family, two Italian-American best friends grow up in the shadows of New York’s mafia. Their families are entwined, and as they grow, their loyalties to their friendship and Brooklyn’s organized crime will be tested.
Another made-for-TV hit? In Apples Never Fall by Moriarty (Big Little Lies), a retired couple lets a stranger into their lives. What follows is a missing wife and four grown children left wondering if Dad is to blame.
Foo Fighters’ frontman Dave Grohl’s The Storyteller offers musings on a life of music, reflections on his childhood (teaching himself to drum on pillows) and thoughtful memories of being on the road with Nirvana, dancing with AC/DC, meeting Paul McCartney and drumming for Tom Petty.
Related: Exclusive interview with Dave Grohl on Foo Fighters Fame, His Family and New Book The Storyteller
Award-winning actor Stanley Tucci goes beyond foodie films, documentaries and his bestselling cookbooks in Taste: My Life Through Food, a memoir packed with savory stories of burned dishes and five-star food, falling in love over dinner and the power of a home-cooked meal.
In Forever Young, Pollyanna and Parent Trap star Hayley Mills reflects on her iconic roles and Tinseltown memories, including losing Disney money, turning down the starring role in the controversial 1962 film Lolita, bulimia struggles and more.
Another most-anticipated, this 70s-set novel (the first in a planned trilogy) follows a Chicago suburban family confronting morality and a Christian youth group during this culture-shifting decade.
The first book in an all-new magical Wicked spin-off series, The Brides of Maracoor brings together a few familiar faces from Oz as well as Elphaba’s vibrantly green-skinned granddaughter, Rain, who washes ashore to a foreign island where a compelling cast of seven “brides” take her in.
How well do you know your neighbors? That question has been asked time and time again in the book world, but Heller’s latest offers something a bit more imaginative, with dramatic plot twists and smart characters who come to life when lies and cover-ups disrupt the lives of a suburban book club.
Related: The 12 Books By Women That Gabrielle Union Recommends Most
Jane is a logical woman in post-war England who knows the realities of unmarried women. In search of a husband for convenience and with no strings attached—just the last name—she decides on the dashing doctor Augustine Lawrence. Soon, she’ll find her new husband offers more than what she bargained for, including deadly secrets in this high-tension gothic horror novel.
Anna is an empty nester separated from her husband and looking for belonging. While searching through her dead mother’s things, she finds clues about the father she never knew—a man who is not only still alive, but also a dictator in West Africa? What will she learn about her past and present as she decides to track him down?
Winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize for The Night Watchman, Erdrich’s latest follows a formerly incarcerated woman named Tookie working at a Minneapolis bookstore and haunted by the ghost of the store’s most annoying customer. Set in present day, Tookie attempts to solve the mystery of the haunting while simultaneously living in a city distraught by the pandemic, police brutality and the killing of George Floyd.
A biracial Chinese-American girl in New Jersey, Willa Chen has never really fit in—too Asian for her all-white school, too white for the few Asian kids around. But purpose and connection are found in odd places, and Willa will soon find belonging nannying for a wealthy family in Manhattan.
Told from the alternating perspectives of close friends Jen (who’s white) and Riley (who’s black), we see a deep bond of a forever friendship tested when Jen’s police-officer husband is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager, a story that journalist Riley will cover as she wrestles with the implications on her community and friendship.
Callahan has read C.S. Lewis her entire life (and has already given us Becoming Mrs. Lewis), so it’s no surprise that the author’s fascinating work would inspire her latest novel. This time, she’s asking, “Where did Narnia come from?” In Once Upon a Wardrobe, a dying 8-year-old boy (captivated by a new book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), asks his Oxford physics prodigy sister to find its origins. His older sister is drinking tea with the author in search of answers—and hope.
Related: Bestselling Author Patti Callahan Henry Asks—Are We Too Old for Fairy Tales? 
From the author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, this (overlapping) tale follows three Slovakian sisters, Livia, Magda and Cibi, who after surviving years of imprisonment in Auschwitz must make a new home, facing secrets and ghosts of their own past.
From timid West Philadelphia kid to Fresh Prince and Hollywood box office mega-star, Will Smith gets real about his emotional reckoning with the pressures of performance and high-stakes entertaining in Will. November 9
Three generations of women (9-year-old Swiv, her pregnant mother, and grandma Elvira) living under one roof therapeutically write letters to those absent in their lives—a project that was sparked after 9-year-old Swiv is suspended from school for fighting.
Next, How to Be a Better Ally For Your Friends, According to We Are Not Like Them Authors Jo Piazza and Christine Pride 
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