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The top 10 most anticipated books this fall, according to Goodreads

August 29, 2021, 1:00 PM UTC

Fall is traditionally a very busy time for publishing—especially in the lead-up to the holiday shopping season, when book buying is at its peak. Approximately a quarter of all book sales in the U.S. take place during the fourth quarter; nearly 173 million books were sold in November and December 2019, according to NPD BookScan.

“Publishers are eager to position their books as ideal gifts, so often save their biggest authors for this season,” Suzanne Skyvara, vice president of marketing and editorial at Goodreads, tells Fortune. “There’s also the impact of people coming back after summer and turning to more serious or deeper reading; I guess the feeling of ‘back to school’ continues into adulthood. As the weather starts to cool down, people start to spend more time indoors, and what’s the best way to relax at home? Curled up with a great book, of course. Publishing is more than ready for you this fall.”

Mysteries and thrillers are typically the most popular genres in publishing, and Skyvara says Goodreads expects to see that strong interest again this fall. “For readers in general, there’s also the appeal of opening up a book by an author you already know and love; there’s the comforting sense that this will be a story guaranteed to deliver. Those readers have plenty to choose from with new books from a wide range of beloved authors coming out, including Diana Gabaldon, Louise Erdrich, Liane Moriarty, Amor Towles, David Sedaris, and Neal Stephenson.” 

One trend Goodreads has noted some of this season’s books share is a historical setting. “Looking back to experience how others have lived helps us make sense of our own times,“ Skyvara observes, noting Lauren Groff’s Matrix, set in 12th-century England; Colson Whitehead’s Harlem Shuffle in the 1960s; and Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land, which ranges from 1453 to the 1950s to the future, as examples.

This season will see new releases from some of the biggest names in the book world: Pulitzer Prize winners, authors who have seen their work adapted for the silver screen, as well as writers working to save the natural world.

“The most interesting shift this fall is the renewed interest in literary fiction, with Goodreads members eagerly adding titles to their ‘Want to Read’ shelves,” Skyvara says. “Several big names trending on Goodreads already include books by Pulitzer Prize winners Louise Erdrich and Richard Powers, as well as Booker Prize [nominee] Sally Rooney. This fall offers an amazing array of really strong books by literary stars. If anything, the hardest part will be choosing what to read first.”

But Skyvara adds that readers are always looking for new authors, too. On Goodreads, she says, many have been sharing rave reviews and recommendations for Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim, All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris, My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa, and Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao. “These debut authors are all really starting to break out this fall,” she notes.

Fall 2021 Book Roundup-featured
This is a very big season for serious readers.
Courtesy of W.W. Norton & Co.; Harper; Celadon Books; Viking; Scribner Book Co.; Doubleday Books; Riverhead Books; Henry Holt & Co.; Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Below is a list of the most anticipated books of fall as determined by how many times a book was added to Goodreads members’ “Want to Read” shelves, in order of publication date.

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