‘The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music,’ by Dave Grohl (Oct. 5)
Perhaps you aren’t a fan of Nirvana, or the Foo Fighters, or any of Dave Grohl’s music — although just try to resist his recent cover of the Bee Gees’ “You Should Be Dancing” — and you’ll choose to skip this memoir. What a shame, because Grohl has infused it with his trademark lack of ego. When he talks about jamming with Tom Petty, you feel his pure joy.
‘My Monticello: Fiction,’
by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson (Oct. 5)
As its title indicates, this is not a dusty old history: In the collection’s namesake story, Charlottesville neighbors flee white supremacists, led by a young Black descendant of Thomas Jefferson and his enslaved mistress Sally Hemings. All of Johnson’s stories will make readers ask tough questions about home and belonging.
‘Shelf Life: Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller,’ by Nadia Wassef (Oct. 5)
Opening an inclusive, feminist bookstore in the middle of a city given partly to fundamentalist Islam might seem like a bad business proposition. However, since 2002 Wassef, along with her sister Hind and their friend Nihal, have operated Diwan, which now has 10 locations, scores of employees and devoted customers. Wassef’s droll honesty makes her book a perfect afternoon’s read.
‘Silverview,’ by John le Carré (Oct. 12)
One shouldn’t quarrel over a gift, and this last novel from le Carré, published posthumously, is a gift. Knowing it’s his last is difficult, however; the master of espionage fiction wrote at a high level through his 80s, and “Silverview” maintains that level. Fittingly, it’s a story about retirement in a small English town where the chill winds come not only from the sea, but also from neighbors.
‘On Animals,’ by Susan Orlean (Oct. 12)
Hailed in these pages as “a national treasure,” Orlean has kept us in thrall since her 1995 “The Orchid Thief” through 2020’s “The Library Book.” Her latest collection brings together pieces from the New Yorker (where she is a staff writer) and more, about animals from backyard chickens to backyard tigers (23 of them!) and how backyard rabbits went from family foodstuff to family pet.
‘The Days of Afrekete,’ by Asali Solomon (Oct. 19)
Friends since college, Liselle Belmont and Selena Octave reconnect at midlife. One is planning a socially and politically fraught dinner party for her husband, the other is overcome by memories of past joys, a love affair and 1980s radical politics. A phone call from Liselle to Selena sets the plot in motion, with echoes of “Mrs. Dalloway” and “Sula,” among others, on to a stunning conclusion.
‘Oh William!’ by Elizabeth Strout (Oct. 19)
The final book in Strout’s “Amgash Series” (focusing on Lucy Barton) finds Lucy’s ex-husband William inviting her along on a journey to uncover one of his family’s secrets. What they find in Maine (Strout fans, prick up your ears!) will change their relationship, but it will also remind Lucy that relationships are all about change.
‘Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora,’ by Bryant Terry (Oct. 19)
“Black Food” is a cookbook, and a delight to use as such (think Peach Hand Pies, Okra and Shrimp Purloo, and Jerk Chicken Ramen), but more important, it’s a testament to diverse cultures around the world and their foodways that includes literature about resources, agriculture, cooking and community. Food activist and writer Terry (“Vegetable Kingdom”) adds generous dollops of joy, too.
‘Going There,’ by Katie Couric (Oct. 26)
Longtime “Today” co-anchor Couric, once known as “America’s Sweetheart,” shows that she’s really “America’s Role Model” in a frank, funny memoir about her journey from Arlington, Va., high school cheerleader to a leading voice for cancer research as well as first-rank investigative journalist. Some superstar books can be skipped; this one shouldn’t be.