2016 has been a good year for our Discover Great New Writers program: Cynthia D’aprix Sweeney’s The Nest and Emma Cline’s The Girls topped bestseller lists. Rumaan Alam’s Rich and Pretty got a nice boost from The Today Show. Yaa Gyasi’s striking debut, Homegoing, had rave reviews and was just featured on Late Night with Seth Meyers.
It has been a good year for Discover alums, too: Colson Whitehead’s masterpiece The Underground Railroad is the newest pick of Oprah’s Book Club 2.0. Emma Straub followed her smash hit The Vacationers with with Modern Lovers. Today Will Be Different, Maria Semple’s follow-up to her blockbuster hit Where’d You Go, Bernadette, lands October 4, and Zadie Smith follows up her acclaimed novel NW with Swing Time on November 15.
And the year’s not over yet. Here are the nine unforgettable titles that comprise our Fall 2016 list. We hope you enjoy them as much as our selection committee readers did.
The Nix, by Nathan Hill
We picked up this very, very funny novel just after breakfast one morning and were two-thirds of the way through by dinner. This smart, laugh-out-loud, bighearted novel about love, loss, longing, and family secrets pings across decades, countries, and generations and features an unforgettable mother and son at the center of a raucous cast of characters.
Paperback $14.40 | $16.00
The Art of Waiting, by Belle Boggs
The 34-year-old me has careful but limited savings, knows how difficult adoption is, and desperately wants her body to work the way it is supposed to. Belle Boggs draws on science, memoir, history, reporting, and cultural commentary to deliver a beautifully written, empathetic meditation about fertility and the choices we make to build our families.
Blood at the Root, by Patrick Phillips
Patrick Phillips brings to life an ugly and harrowing episode of American history in this meticulously researched and powerfully written history of his hometown, and the violence that kept the community all white, well into the 1990s.
Children of the New World, by Alexander Weinstein
We’re crazy for these inventive cautionary tales set in a near-future world of social media implants, manufactured memories, robots, and virtual reality games—and tore through these incredibly fresh stories in a single sitting.
Mischling, by Affinity Konar
We couldn’t stop reading this haunting, often dreamlike debut—and we’re still talking about it. The subject’s undeniably difficult, but Konar’s exquisite prose carried us through this kaleidoscopic story, as well as the waves of emotion (fear and longing and love are just the start) that accompany the unforgettable Zagorski sisters.
The Wangs vs. the World, by Jade Chang
A family falls apart and comes back together in this sparkling and sharp debut novel that reminds us of The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. An impulsive decision by a self-made cosmetics mogul rocks his family, but what happens next surprises all of them in this witty story of money and manners, identity and the American Dream.
The Clancys of Queens, by Tara Clancy
“I’m the whirling dervish of Queens, spinning around and around, arms flapping, my father’s boxing gloves like cinder blocks strapped to my seven-year-old hands.” We quickly fell in love with Tara Clancy’s inimitable and often wickedly funny voice, and couldn’t get enough of the ups and downs of her loving and offbeat family.
The Lion in the Living Room, by Abigail Tucker
Celebrity house cats ink movie deals, make charitable donations, and count Hollywood starlets among their Twitter followers. All that, and cats still have no use for humans. Dig deep into the history, biology, and science of house cats in this charming, highly informative read that explains how cats came to rule.
Orphans of the Carnival, by Carol Birch
This is the kind of thoughtful, immersive novel we love, like Erika Swyler’s The Book of Speculation or Leslie Parry’s Church of Marvels. Two concurrent storylines, each featuring a young woman making her way in the world, pull the past and present together in this atmospheric tale of fame and self-definition.