Valdosta Daily Times

August 26, 2013

Leafing through Fall Books

Dean Poling
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — From self-help to Greek and Roman myths to the sequel of a horror classic to a history of two presidents at war to beloved thrillers to the death of Jesus, this fall’s reading list has something to appeal to any number of readers.

Today, The Times provides a quick look at some of the books scheduled to publish in the coming weeks and months (release dates may change) as well as a sneak peek at a work from an American master due out early next year.

DR. SLEEP, Stephen King. Sept. 24. Of all of his books, of all of his horrors, “The Shining,” a story of madness, alcoholism, isolation and ghosts set amidst a small family care-taking a vacant hotel for winter, may be Stephen King’s masterpiece. With “Dr. Sleep,” King returns to this setting visiting the now middle-aged Dan Torrance, the boy who witnessed and survived his father’s descent into madness. Will the shining endanger him again? Should King dare touch anything to do with his masterwork?

KILLING JESUS, Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard. Sept. 24. Following the phenomenal success of historical assassination volumes, “Killing Lincoln” and “Killing Kennedy,” FOX News commentator O’Reilly and author Dugard turn their attention to the death of Jesus. Expect the same format here as the past books: historical research couched in a narrative that reads more like a page-turning James Patterson thriller than a history text.

DAVID AND GOLIATH, Malcolm Gladwell. Oct. 1. Subtitled “Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants,” Malcolm Gladwell turns his research skills and insight onto overcoming what may seem like overwhelming obstacles and challenges. Gladwell is the author of similar books, “Outlier” and “Blink,” that can redefine how readers perceive and view the world.

ONE SUMMER: AMERICA 1927, Bill Bryson. Oct. 1. An eclectic non-fiction writer, penning such diverse works as the scientific “A Short History of Nearly Everything” and memoir “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid,” Bill Bryson turns his pen to a summer that witnessed Charles Lindbergh’s famed flight across the Atlantic, Babe Ruth’s push to overtake the home run record, a man sitting atop a flagpole, a woman creating a sensation for the murder of her husband, the Mississippi River flooding and wreaking desolation throughout the South. Bryson writes a portrait of a slice of time.

THE HOUSE OF HADES: HEROES OF OLYMPUS, BOOK 4, Rick Riordan. Oct. 8. A new book about Percy Jackson, the young man who is the son of Greek god Poseidon and a human mother. Here, Percy has fallen into the underworld realm of Hades. Can he escape? Can the other demi-gods save him? A young readers series that adults will find enjoyable, too.

IDENTICAL, Scott Turow. Oct. 15. The best-selling suspense author attempts an interesting trick. He centers a modern crime drama loosely on the Roman myth of Castor and Pollux. Twins Paul and Cass deal with family issues, a feud with another family, intrigue, murder and revenge. Could be intriguing for history buffs looking for connections and regular Turow fans.

SYCAMORE ROW, John Grisham. Oct. 22. John Grisham returns to the setting and characters that brought him fame more than 20 years ago. This new novel features character Jake Brigance returning to the Ford County Courthouse featured in Grisham’s novel, “A Time to Kill.” Here, the drama revolves around a wealthy man found hanging from a sycamore tree and his will. While it’s been a couple of decades since “A Time to Kill’s” publication, only three years have passed between the setting of this new story and the last one.  

THE BULLY PULPIT, Doris Kearns Goodwin. Nov. 5. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author of the best-selling and critically acclaimed Lincoln biography “Team of Rivals,” returns this fall with this volume subtitled, “Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism.” At the end of his presidency, Roosevelt tapped his friend and ally, Taft, as his successor: the American public agreed and elected Taft president. But Roosevelt soon regretted his decision to not seek reelection, and as Taft’s policies disagreed with his, Roosevelt rued his choice of heirs. Goodwin’s book looks at the Progressive era, the larger-than-life Roosevelt, the physically largest president Taft and the muckraking journalists who defined the early years of the 20th century.

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: HARD LUCK, Jeff Kinney. Nov. 5. Jeff Kinney returns to his hapless but lovable middle-school characters in the latest in this series of books formatted as the journal of a youngster punctuated with innovative stick figures. Here, Greg has lost his best friend and turns his life decisions over to chance and the roll of the dice.

CROSS MY HEART, James Patterson. Nov. 25. Patterson returns. Of course, the prolific author always returns, usually several times a year with a new novel, a new series, a new writing partner, or an old writing partner, an old series, etc., but here, Patterson returns alone to his best-known series and his most popular character, the one that made him famous, detective Alex Cross. One of the great facets of the Cross character is his family. In this outing, someone uses Cross’ love for his family against him in what is being described as Patterson’s “most unsettling and unexpected novel” of his career.


ANDREW’S BRAIN, E.L. Doctorow. Jan. 14, 2014. The brilliant author of “Ragtime,” “Billy Bathgate,” “The March,” etc., returns with this narrative delving into the mind of a man who triggers catastrophe. As with his other works, “Andrew’s Brain” holds the promise of writing that sings, probing insight, and plotting that could well be the stuff of a thousand-page epic boiled to the essence of 224 pages.