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October Books


The Glutton, by A.K. Blakemore

1798, France. Nuns move along the dark corridors of a Versailles hospital where the young Sister Perpetué has been tasked with sitting by the patient who must always be watched. The man, gaunt, with his sallow skin and distended belly, is dying — they say he ate a golden fork, and that it’s killing him from the inside. But that’s not all. He is rumored to have done monstrous things in his attempts to sate an insatiable appetite . . . an appetite they say tortures him still. Born in an impoverished village to a widowed young mother, Tarare was once overflowing with quiet affection: for his mother, for the plants and little creatures in the woods and fields around their house. But soon life as he knew it is violently upended. Tarare is pitched down a chaotic path through revolutionary France, left to the mercy of strangers, and increasingly, bottomlessly, ravenous. This exhilarating, disquieting novel paints a richly imagined life for The Great Tarare, The Glutton of Lyon in 18th-century France: a world of desire, hunger, poverty, chaos and survival.

Julia, by Sandra Newman

Julia Worthing is a mechanic, working in the Fiction Department at the Ministry of Truth. It’s 1984, and Britain (now called Airstrip One) has long been absorbed into the larger transatlantic nation of Oceania. Ruled by an ultra-totalitarian party whose leader is a quasi-mythical figure called Big Brother, Oceania has been at war for as long as anyone can remember. In short, everything about this world is as it is in George Orwell’s 1984. All her life, Julia has known only Oceania and, until she meets Winston Smith, she has never imagined anything else. She is an ideal citizen: cheerfully cynical, always ready with a bribe, piously repeating every political slogan while believing in nothing. She routinely breaks the rules, but also collaborates with the regime when necessary. Then one day she finds herself walking toward Winston Smith in a corridor and impulsively slips him a note, setting in motion the journey through Orwell’s now-iconic dystopia, with twists that reveal unexpected sides not only to Julia, but to other familiar figures in the 1984 universe.

The Hive and The Honey, by Paul Yoon

A boy searches for his father, a prison guard on Sakhalin Island. In Barcelona, a woman is tasked with spying on a prizefighter who may or may not be her estranged son. A samurai escorts an orphan to his countrymen in the Edo Period. A formerly incarcerated man starts a new life in a small town in upstate New York and attempts to build a family. The Hive and the Honey is a bold and indelible collection that portrays the vastness and complexity of diasporic communities, with each story bringing to light the knotty inheritances of their characters. How does a North Korean defector connect with the child she once left behind? What are the traumas that haunt a Korean settlement in Far East Russia? Yoon’s stunning stories are laced with beauty and cruelty, the work of an author writing at the very height of his powers.


Hitchcock’s Blondes: The Unforgettable Women Behind the Legendary Director’s Dark Obsession, by Laurence Leamer

Alfred Hitchcock was fixated not just on the dark, twisty stories that became his hallmark, but also on the blonde actresses who starred in many of his iconic movies. The director of North by Northwest, Rear Window and other classic films didn’t much care if they wore wigs, got their hair coloring out of a bottle or were the rarest human specimen — a natural blonde — as long as they shone with a golden veneer on camera. In Hitchcock’s Blondes, Leamer offers an intimate journey into the lives of eight legendary actresses whose stories helped chart the course of the troubled, talented director’s career, from his early days in the British film industry, to his triumphant American debut, to his Hollywood heyday and beyond. Through the stories of June Howard-Tripp, Madeleine Carroll, Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly, Janet Leigh, Kim Novak, Eva Marie Saint and Tippi Hedren — who together starred in 14 of Hitchcock’s most notable films and who bore the brunt of his fondness and fixation — we start to see the enigmatic man himself. After all, “his blondes” (as he thought of them) knew the truths of his art, his obsessions and desires, as well as anyone. 




The Scariest Kitten in the World, by Kate Messner

Little Kitten, Vampire Puppy and Spooky Baby Goat might be scary if they weren’t so darn cute. This adorable read-aloud is fun for the fall or anytime you’re up for a giggle. (Ages 3-8.)

Things in the Basement, by Ben Hatke

When Milo is sent by his mother to fetch a sock from the basement of the historic home they’ve moved into, he finds a door in the back that he’s never seen before. Turns out, the basement of his house is enormous. In fact, there is a whole world down there. Milo learns that to face his fears he must approach even the strangest creatures with kindness in this creepy-fabulous graphic novel. (Ages 8-12.)

Forever Twelve, by Stacy McAnulty

Unlike most 12-year-olds, Ivy’s favorite holiday is the first day of school. This year that day brings not only fascinating new courses and instructors, but a new school, new rules and new friends — some of whom have a very dark secret. School, science and secrets, this one is sure to be a hit for fans of The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, Coraline, or The Trials of Morrigan Crow. (Ages 10-12.)

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Chalice of the Gods, by Rick Riordan

For the first time in more than 10 years there’s a new title in the Percy Jackson series. The original heroes from The Lightning Thief — Percy, Annabeth and Grover — are reunited for their biggest challenge yet, getting Percy to college when the gods are standing in his way. (Ages 9 and up.) PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.