5 Great Books To Read In October

A roundup of recent favorites we’ve reviewed in the BuzzFeed Books newsletter.

Raymond Sultan / BuzzFeed

1. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Harper Perennial

Jay Grabiec

 

“If you’re in the mood to read wonderful, thought-provoking essays that feel like they’re written by your best friend, check out Bad Feminist. One of the greatest things about this essay collection is the way Roxane Gay treats her reader as a confidant, as if these personal and brilliant perspectives are secrets that are shared just between the two of you. With her wide-ranging grasp of pop culture and current events from Sweet Valley High books to the Jerry Sandusky trial, Gay puts you at ease as she shakes the foundations of what you believe. Read Bad Feminist if you need your point of view challenged while getting the most welcoming hug of your life. Pick up a copy so you can gab about all your personal growth soon.” — Sami Main

2. Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer

FSG Originals

 

Acceptance serves as the conclusion to the creepy, weird-as-heck, and totally fascinating Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. The premise: The government has been sending expedition teams into a mysterious quarantined zone called ‘Area X’ — with increasingly confusing, sinister results. But despite the fact that they’re billed as a trilogy and were all released within one year, each book establishes its own distinct kind of weirdo genre (a surrealist adventure journal! a darkly comedic spy thriller!) and offers really different payoffs to the reader. VanderMeer nails the specific language of each style he fools around with, playing off your expectations of ‘genre’ fiction in funny and unsettling and sometimes truly beautiful ways. So if you think you don’t like science fiction, read this trilogy anyway — because whatever you think you’re getting, you’ll be wrong.” — Rachel Sanders

3. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

 

“If YA book lovers are looking for a swoon-worthy romance novel, the final installment of the Anna and the French Kiss series, Isla and the Happily Ever After, should be next on your reading list. The characters are honest and realistic while maintaining a fairy tale-like essence that will keep you up all night. Set in both New York and Paris, the story follows a young couple’s relationship and their inner struggles of finding love at an early age. You will fall in love with the artistic male lead, Josh, and the ending will break you down into a crying, joyous mess.” — Arielle Calderon

4. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Random House

Stuart Wilson / Getty Images

 

The Bone Clocks has everything you might expect to find in a David Mitchell novel: great characters in settings far-flung over space and time, all tied together by ambitious ideas and gorgeous writing. However, in addition to all that cool jazz, The Bone Clocks sweats the comparatively small stuff, which is where it really shines. Yes, the book is about an epic war taking place over hundreds of years between factions of immortal psychics (and what a war!). But it is also the story of one woman: Holly Sykes. Her tiny human life is the thread that holds the various stories of The Bone Clocks together, and ultimately it is what makes the book deeply meaningful, not to mention devastating.” — Isaac Fitzgerald

5. You’re Not Much Use to Anyone by David Shapiro

New Harvest

 

“What I loved about Richard Linklater’s recent film Boyhood was the way that, while nothing really happened, everything happened, because that’s how life is. People fall in and out of love, kids grow up. Everyone fights and worries about their future. David Shapiro’s You’re Not Much Use to Anyone is similar in the sense that it’s just a story about a recent college graduate trying to figure life out in New York City, and he doesn’t actually do much besides hook up and try to find a job and get drunk and wander around New York thinking about how broke he is, and yet. There’s a raw honesty and deceptive thoughtfulness here that makes you actually want to know what happened — will he hook up with that girl? What if he doesn’t get that job, will his parents be mad? Full disclosure: I was friendly with Shapiro during the events of much of this thinly fictionalized novel, and to read about what happened then from his perspective was like reading a refracted, very selective version of my own life. But even if you didn’t know him, that might be true for you too.” — Doree Shafrir

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