Of making many books there is no end. So it was written in the Bible, and more than 2,000 years later it still is true. Like bread and brick, the book goes on, issuing from presses, outliving all notions of technological change. Perhaps it's as a Victorian do-gooder once said: "A good book is the best of friends, the same today as forever."
Well, dear reader, get ready for a horde of friends to overrun your house this fall: The sheer volume of book production is breathtaking. It's as if publishers had decided to bring out a book by every established author they could think of and tossed in a slew of fresh-faced novices for good measure. We've never experienced anything quite like this. Bleary-eyed editors stand in the doorway of our overstuffed book room mumbling something akin to the Duke of Gloucester's lamentations: "Another damned, thick, square book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble!"
Here then, to guide you through the deluge, is a short list of books you'll soon see reviewed on these pages. My advice? Plunge in, look through; the list is bound to offer up a friend or two. FICTION
Apostle Paul, by James Cannon (Steerforth, Nov.). The tale of a scholar who changed the course of Western civilization.
Blue Smoke, by Nora Roberts (Putnam, Oct.). A fire in her family's pizzeria draws a Baltimore investigator into a ruthless inferno.
The Brooklyn Follies, by Paul Auster (Holt, Dec.). Divorced, estranged from his family, ready to die, Nathan Glass comes to Brooklyn -- and finds redemption.
Captain of the Sleepers, by Mayra Montero (Farrar Straus Giroux, Sept.). An 82-year-old pilot summons a young man to explain his long-ago affair with the young man's mother.
Christ the Lord, by Anne Rice (Knopf, Nov.). Rice pored over New Testament scholarship to produce this novel about Jesus: a radical departure from her lush vampire cycle.
Cinnamon Kiss, by Walter Mosley (Little Brown, Sept.). Easy Rawlins hunts for a vanished attorney, his exotic lover and a stash of Nazi papers.
Dancing in the Dark, by Caryl Phillips (Knopf, Sept.). The fictionalized life story of black (and blackface) entertainer Bert Williams.
The Divide, by Nicholas Evans (Putnam, Sept.). The author of The Horse Whisperer tells the tale of an eco-terrorist found dead in a remote mountain creek.
Dog Days, by Ana Marie Cox (Riverhead, Jan.). It's the summer of 2004, a presidential election looms, and a feisty campaign staffer is having love jitters.
Faith for Beginners, by Aaron Hamburger (Random House, Oct.). A family vacation to Jerusalem takes a pronounced wrong turn when the mother and son fall into dangerous liaisons.
Female of the Species, by Joyce Carol Oates (Harcourt, Jan.). More stories from the ever-fevered imagination of an American institution.
Fiddlers, by Ed McBain (Harcourt, Sept.). A serial killer is shooting random oldsters in the face, and the 87th Precinct's stalwart detective is trying to find out why.
The Great Stink, by Clare Clark (Harcourt, Oct.). Bodies are mysteriously piling up in the sewers as a young engineer undertakes to rebuild subterranean Victorian London.
Isle of Passion, by Laura Restrepo (Ecco, Sept.). In 1908, a happy crew of 100 Mexican soldiers and brides arrives to populate a Pacific island; years later, an American ship spots the 14 desperate survivors.
Liberation, by Joanna Scott (LB, Nov.). An elderly immigrant from Elba recalls her harrowing childhood during the war.
The Life All Around Me By Ellen Foster, by Kaye Gibbons (Harcourt, Jan.). In this sequel to Gibbons's Ellen Foster, Ellen is now 15 and making her way in the larger world.
The Lincoln Lawyer, by Michael Connelly (LB, Oct.). A criminal defense lawyer who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln town car takes on his first rich client in years.
Look at the Dark, by Nicholas Mosley (Dalkey, Feb.). The incapacitated victim of a hit-and-run contemplates his life drama as its players -- including his former wives -- gather around.
The Mad Cook of Pymatuning, by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt (Simon & Schuster, Sept.). A young man returns to his summer camp as a counselor and finds the management has taken a sinister turn.
Making It Up, by Penelope Lively (Viking, Oct.). What if Lively's family's escape from Egypt had ended differently? What if she had become an unwed mother? Fiction from life.
The March, by E.L. Doctorow (RH, Sept.). Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman marches 60,000 Union troops through Georgia and the Carolinas, bringing death and destruction and effectively terminating the Confederacy.
Memories of My Melancholy Whores, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Knopf, Oct.). A 90-year-old's one-night stand with a young virgin evokes a rush of memories and revelations.
Mission to America, by Walter Kirn (Doubleday, Oct.). A Montana missionary heads out to enlist believers for his church and ends up in the arms of an Internet porn queen.
On Beauty, by Zadie Smith (Penguin, Sept.). As if life weren't chaotic enough for a British art professor and his African American activist wife, their son goes and falls in love with their nemesis.
Ordinary Heroes, by Scott Turow (FSG, Nov.). The protagonist stumbles upon a dark family secret that ties his late father to a brutal episode of World War II.
S Is for Silence, by Sue Grafton (Putnam, Dec.). The daughter of a missing woman tries to put together the puzzle pieces 34 years after her mother's disappearance.
Saving Fish From Drowning, by Amy Tan (Putnam, Oct.). Eleven American tourists in Burma wander into the jungle and meet a tribe that forever alters their perceptions of life.
The Scorpion's Gate, by Richard A. Clarke (Putnam, Oct.). The controversial former White House counterterrorism chief takes readers five years into the future, to another, bigger war.
Shalimar the Clown, by Salman Rushdie (RH, Sept.). What looks like a political assassination in L.A. turns out to be thoroughly personal -- involving a dead ambassador to India, his beautiful daughter and an Islamist killer on the lam.
Slow Man, by J.M. Coetzee (Viking, Sept.). A photographer loses his leg in a bicycle accident and returns to Australia a bitter, solitary man -- until he sees his nurse.
Son of a Witch, by Gregory Maguire (Regan, Oct.). The son of the Wicked Witch of the West is carousing with Dorothy and the Munchkins when his identity is revealed.
The Space Between Us, by Thrity Umrigar (Morrow, Jan.). The rich and poor are intimately connected in this novel of two women under one Bombay roof.
The Story of General Dann and Mara's Daughter, Griot and the Snow Dog, by Doris Lessing (HarperCollins, Jan.). Lessing's characters from Mara and Dann are resuscitated for this continuation of their odyssey through a forbidding future landscape.
Third Girl From the Left, by Martha Southgate (Houghton Mifflin, Sept.). Three generations of African American women struggle to understand one another in Tulsa, L.A., and in a movie screen that doesn't lie.
Thirteen Steps Down, by Ruth Rendell (Crown, Sept.). An eccentric young man becomes obsessed by a captivating model -- and a serial killer is made.
Thud!, by Terry Pratchett (HC, Oct.). A dwarf is bludgeoned to death, the war between the trolls and the dwarves resumes, and Commander Sam Vimes of the City Watch is forced -- among other things -- to hire a vampire named Sally.
Tooth and Claw, by T.C. Boyle (Viking, Sept.). Whimsical tales of animals, by the author of Drop City.
The Truth of the Matter, by Robb Forman Dew (LB, Nov.). A widow's family returns from the war, moves back into their great old house and sets her to thinking that her husband's untimely death may not have been an accident.
A Wedding in December, by Anita Shreve (LB, Oct.). Friends gather in the Berkshires for a wedding, but they get more than they came for.
The Whale Caller, by Zakes Mda (FSG, Dec.). Whale season is over in a seaside village of South Africa, the tourists have gone home, and the town's two misfits fall in love.
Wickett's Remedy, by Myla Goldberg (Doubleday, Sept.). By the author of Bee Season, a story of the 1918 flu epidemic, an ambitious Irish shopgirl and her rich husband's vaunted elixir.
The World to Come, by Dara Horn (Norton, Jan.). A million-dollar Chagall is missing, a twin brother and sister fall under suspicion, and, as they go on the run, a whole Yiddish world unfolds.
The Assassins' Gate, by George Packer (FSG, Oct.). America in Iraq, from the first glimmers of policy to the insurgency on the ground.
Cosmopolitanism, by Kwame Anthony Appiah (Norton, Jan.). A Princeton professor challenges the notion of "a clash of civilizations" with his theory about "the power of one."
Darfur: The Ambiguous Genocide, by Gerard Prunier (Cornell, Sept.). Why it happened, why it should not be ignored and its implications for the continent.
The Google Story, by David A. Vise and Mark Malseed (Delacorte, Oct.). In six short years, this search engine became a social phenomenon that has revolutionized the way we use information.
Identity and Violence, by Amartya Sen (Norton, March) and The Argumentative Indian, by Amartya Sen (FSG, Oct.). In the first book, the Nobel Prize-winner smashes the notion of a monolithic Middle East; in the second, he examines India's long history of public discourse.
Illicit, by Moises Naim (Doubleday, Sept.). From the editor of Foreign Policy, an expose of how traffickers and criminals are mauling the global economy.
Imperial Grunts, by Robert D. Kaplan (RH, Sept.). American power may be pursued in the corridors of Washington, but it is advanced worldwide by our elite military forces.
Incendiary Circumstances, by Amitav Ghosh (Houghton, Jan.). The novelist-essayist on the turmoil of our times, from Sept. 11 to the tsunami that ravaged his childhood home.
Love My Rifle More Than You, by Kayla Williams (Norton, Sept.). What it's like to be young, female, in the army and over there.
The Next Attack, by Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon (Times, Oct.). The authors of The Age of Sacred Terror warn that we're losing the war against al Qaeda.
Night Draws Near, by Anthony Shadid (Holt, Sept.). From a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter -- how the war is affecting Iraq's ordinary people.
One Bullet Away, by Nathaniel Fick (Houghton, Oct.). A young Marine, working clandestinely and behind enemy lines in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Accidental Empire, by Gershom Gorenberg (Times, March). The origins of Israel's settlement venture.
After the Victorians, by A.N. Wilson (FSG, Oct.). The decline of Britain in little more than a generation.
America's Constitution, by Akhil Reed Amar (RH, Sept.). Just how democratic was our original Constitution? And why must the president be at least 35 years old?
City of Falling Angels, by John Berendt (Penguin, Sept.). The author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil on Venice and its unique inhabitants.
The Cold War, by John Lewis Gaddis (Penguin, Dec.). Fifty years ago, communism seemed on the rise. An eminent historian traces its complicated downfall.
A Crack in the Edge of the World, by Simon Winchester (HC, Oct.). The 1906 California earthquake that shook 200 miles of coast and destroyed the gold rush capital.
Creating Black Americans, by Nell Irvin Painter (Oxford, Nov.). Painter uses rich visuals to tell the history of America from the point of view of African Americans.
Forever Free, by Eric Foner (Knopf, Nov.). A sage Columbia professor on the vital years of emancipation and Reconstruction.
Grant and Sherman, by Charles Bracelen Flood (FSG, Oct.). Two dramatically different generals forged a friendship that helped win the Civil War.
Lincoln's Melancholy, by Joshua Wolf Shenk (Houghton, Sept.). How Lincoln's battles with depression prepared him for greatness.
Restless Giant, by James T. Patterson (Oxford, Sept.). America's passage from Watergate to the bitter race between George W. Bush and Al Gore.
The Rise of American Democracy, by Sean Wilentz (Norton, Oct.). How a government framed by elitists became the gritty democracy of Lincoln's day.
The River of Doubt, by Candice Millard (Doubleday, Oct.). Theodore Roosevelt's little-known foray into the far tributaries of the Amazon.
The Third Reich in Power, by Richard J. Evans (Penguin, Oct.). A Cambridge historian on the transformative 1930s and Hitler's implacable rise to power.
A War Like No Other, by Victor Davis Hanson (RH, Oct.). The sieges of the Peloponnesian War, seen through post-9/11 eyes.
Andrew Jackson, by H.W. Brands (Doubleday, Oct.). The story of the president who ushered in the Age of Democracy, by the author of The First American.
First Man, by James R. Hansen (S&S, Oct.). How Neil Armstrong rose in the ranks, accomplished the impossible and then was misunderstood.
The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson, by Robert Hofler (Carroll & Graf, Oct.). How a closeted right-winger discovered Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter and "beefcake."
Mao, by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday (Knopf, Oct.). By the author of Wild Swans, a fat tome of revelations about the chairman.
Mencken, by Marion Elizabeth Rodgers (Oxford, Oct.). The bad boy of Baltimore gets the full treatment from the editor of his correspondence.
My Face Is Black Is True, by Mary Frances Berry (Knopf, Sept.). Callie House, Nashville washerwoman, and her rise to founder of the Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty and Pension Association.
The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis, by Alan Jacobs (HarperSF, Oct.). The beloved teacher and children's book author -- and his inimitable mind.
President Reagan, by Richard Reeves (S&S, Dec.). The crafty, willful, often deceptive politician who became the most effective president of superpower America.
The Solitude of Self, by Vivian Gornick (FSG, Sept.). Gornick proclaims Elizabeth Cady Stanton the greatest feminist thinker of the 19th century.
Spike Lee: That's My Story and I'm Sticking to It, by Kaleem Aftab (Norton, Sept.). The life of the provocative filmmaker.
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin (S&S, Oct.). The popular historian turns her attention to the 16th president.
Dean and Me, by Jerry Lewis and James Kaplan (Doubleday, Oct.). The 10-year partnership of two entertainment giants.
How to Cook Your Daughter, by Jessica Hendra (Regan, Oct.). The daughter of Tony Hendra (Father Joe) tells of her sexual abuse by her famous father.
Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading, by Maureen Corrigan (RH, Sept.). Our very own mysteries reviewer -- and NPR personality -- remembers the books that shaped her life.
Mirror to America, by John Hope Franklin (FSG, Nov.). One of America's preeminent historians describes his personal struggle for civil rights.
My Detachment, by Tracy Kidder (RH, Sept.). The author of The Soul of a New Machine on his anxious, often comic days as a soldier in the Vietnam War.
Tab Hunter Confidential, by Tab Hunter with Eddie Muller (Algonquin, Oct.). Hollywood's gift to women (and men, it turns out) on his scandals, joys and sacrifices.
Talking Back, by Andrea Mitchell (Viking, Sept.). The NBC correspondent recounts a glass-ceiling-shattering rise from girl reporter to big-time interlocutor.
Two Lives, by Vikram Seth (HC, Nov.). The author of A Suitable Boy tells the love story of his Indian father and German-Jewish mother.
The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion (Knopf, Oct.). Didion turns an unblinking eye on her husband's sudden death as they struggled to save their sick daughter.
God's Choice: Pope Benedict XVI, by George Weigel (HC, Nov.). The author of Witness to Hope gives an inside account of the papal election.
Jesus and Yahweh, by Harold Bloom (Riverhead, Oct.). The celebrated Yale scholar examines the Prince of Peace and the Battling God.
Parish Priest, by Douglas Brinkley and Julie M. Fenster (Morrow, Jan.). The story of Father Michael McGivney and the founding of the Knights of Columbus.
The Rosary, by Garry Wills (Viking, Sept.). In this age of self-help, there is no better way to reconnect with ourselves, writes Wills, than with a strand of beads and a crucifix.
Politics and Social Issues
The Chosen, by Jerome Karabel (Houghton, Oct.). Who got into Harvard, Yale or Princeton, who didn't, and how that has shaped us all.
Cities, by John Reader (Atlantic, Sept.). Sewers, prostitution, cathedrals, markets -- an exploration of how such things can define civilizations.
The 50% American, by Stanley A. Renshon (Georgetown, Oct.). We're the only nation that allows its citizens to hold other citizenships, vote and run for office in foreign elections. What are the implications in this terrorist age?
Pornified, by Pamela Paul (Times, Sept.). Porn has become ubiquitous, and it is dramatically affecting our lives.
The Discoveries, by Alan Lightman (Pantheon, Nov.). The great scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century and the human dramas that drove them.
Generation Rx, by Greg Critser (Houghton, Oct.). How has this drug-company-averse nation become so dependent on pills?
The Planets, by Dava Sobel (Viking, Oct.). From astrophysics to astrology to poetry -- a full tour of the solar system.
Spook, by Mary Roach (Norton, Oct.). The author of Stiff talks to cardiologists, engineers and mediums to find out just how much scientists know about the afterlife.
Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, by David Margolick (Knopf, Sept.). The 1930s heavyweight fights between a black man and a white man that galvanized a prewar nation.
Driven From Within, by Michael Jordan (Atria, Oct.). The basketball phenom remembers the teachers, mentors and friends who molded his life.
Last Dance, by John Feinstein (LB, Feb.). The NCAA Final Four -- what drives it and why it is one of the most revered sports events of the year.
Literature and Poetry
Slouching Toward Nirvana, by Charles Bukowski (Ecco, Jan.). New, previously unpublished poems by a literary iconoclast.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, by Jane Smiley (Knopf, Sept.). From a writer of dramatically diverse novels, an investigation into the process of creativity.
The Trouble with Poetry, by Billy Collins (RH, Oct.). Good poetry doesn't have to be difficult -- as the former poet laureate and author of these poems well knows.
Beethoven: The Universal Composer, by Edmund Morris (Eminent Lives, Oct.) From the biographer of presidents, a slender volume about an outsize talent.
Lovesick Blues: The Life of Hank Williams, by Paul Hemphill (Viking, Sept.). Born dirt-poor, raised in mean, low-down Depression honky-tonks, the man could sing.
Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer, by Chris Salewicz (Faber & Faber, Nov.). The Clash's front man was always wailing about racism, war, even the economy; he put a conscience in punk. *
Marie Arana is the editor of Book World.