Amazon's best books of October

Erin Kodicek on October 01, 2020

Amazon's best books of October

So, it’s fall. How’d that happen? Time to surround yourselves with decorative gourds and curl up with a pumpkin spice latte and a good book (or five). We can help with that last bit. Our favorites this month include highly anticipated releases by Tana French and John Grisham, National Book Award winner Phil Klay’s first foray into fiction, a novel for fans of The Time Traveler’s Wife, and much more.   

Learn about these and all of our picks for the Best Books of the Month.

The Searcher by Tana French

Though its title recalls one classic Western, The Searcher has more in common with another classic: Shane. Ex-Chicago cop Cal Hooper rolls into town looking for a quiet life, but instead of Wyoming, this is a small, Irish mountain town. Soon, he’s strong-armed into finding the missing older brother of a local kid who’s formed an attachment to Cal. The Searcher is an atmospheric, detective story on island time, with a lesson to impart about not taking situations—or people—at face value. —Vannessa Cronin

Group by Tate, Christie

Christie Tate is a summer intern at a law firm, the top of her class, and headed for great things—and her memoir opens with her sitting in her car with a shotgun, contemplating death. This moment sends her in search of therapy, and she lands in an untraditional group led by a charismatic therapist who doesn’t allow secrets. It feels clichéd to write “you’ll laugh, you’ll cry,” but I promise you’ll do both, as well as examine your own life and happiness… even if you don’t want to. Written with the gift of hindsight, Group is an honest, heart-breaking and hilarious look at reaching rock bottom and climbing your way back to life. —Sarah Gelman

Dear Child by Romy Hausmann

In the hands of Romy Hausmann, an age-old premise—a woman goes missing, only to be found years later after escaping a windowless cabin in the woods—is given a modern twist, which will make your heart beat fast and your palms go sweaty. Burning with anticipation, fear, and the disquieting revelation that not all is what it seems, this thriller is impossible to put down—just read it with the lights on. —Al Woodworth

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

In the 1700s, Addie LaRue makes a deal with the devil—she will live forever, although her immortality comes with the curse of being forgotten by everyone. Addie moves through time and across continents; she learns to survive and even leave her mark on the world. Then one day she meets a man in a bookstore who remembers her name, and suddenly everything changes. This deeply satisfying and cinematic novel rivals contemporary classic The Time Traveler’s Wife in concept and scope. —Sarah Gelman

The Zealot and the Emancipator: John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, and the Struggle for American Freedom by H. W. Brands

In this highly readable biography, Brands alternates between histories of John Brown and Abraham Lincoln, driving home just how much slavery was a part of the American fabric during their lifetimes. Although they never met, Brown—who believed God had chosen him to free the slaves—committed violent acts that would help to upend Lincoln’s attempts at political moderation. Brown’s activism ended at Harper’s Ferry—but he became martyr to the North and demon to the South, as the nation lurched toward Civil War. —Chris Schluep

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Women’s suffrage and underground witchcraft spin together into an electrifying tale of three magical sisters living in the town of New Salem in 1893, fighting for equality and safety in a world that has denied them both those things. Harrow’s sophomore novel, The Once and Future Witches, proves she’s a writer to watch—and one who is willing to shake up the typical fantasy motifs even as she leans into cherished fairy tales and myths. This imaginative and deeply satisfying reckoning will add new readers to Harrow’s swiftly growing pool of fans. —Adrian Liang

Golem Girl: A Memoir by Lehrer, Riva

Born with spina bifida, artist and author Riva Lehrer’s childhood was spent in and out of hospitals in the shadow of her overly cautious mother, facing countless surgeries, mismanaged care, and the stigma of a society afraid of strange bodies. Told with the wisdom and subversive wit of self-reflection, Golem Girl is an extraordinary personal story about the transformational power of creativity and sexual exploration interspersed with hauntingly beautiful portraits that will challenge the way we view the human body. —Marlene Kelly

The Hidden Habits of Genius: Beyond Talent, IQ, and Grit?Unlocking the Secrets of Greatness by Wright, Craig

Craig Wright distills the insight he’s gained from his “Genius Course” at Yale in a fascinating examination of what made people like Einstein, Marie Curie, Beethoven and Steve Jobs tick. Alas, reading this book will not make you a genius (but, Wright points out, most geniuses are a**holes). It will, however, inspire you to cultivate the common traits that fuel their achievements: curiosity (with a capital C), pluck, and a willingness to break the rules in an increasingly risk-averse world. —Erin Kodicek

Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria

Whether or not it feels like it right now, we will eventually be living in a post-pandemic world. But other pandemics will follow. Zakaria, who personifies thoughtful, levelheaded judgement, lays out the lessons learned from COVID-19, citing the success stories and recommending improvements for a possible future where we are able to competently navigate similar threats. In part, he writes, it requires an approach where the people listen to the experts—and the experts listen to the people. —Chris Schluep

A Time for Mercy by John Grisham

When a teenager shoots his stepfather at close range, many of the residents of Clanton, MS believe he should get the death penalty for killing a deputy. It’ll be up to Jake Brigance to take on the case that no other lawyer wants. Grisham’s storytelling gifts are on full display in A Time for Mercy as he keeps the reins tight on a complex courtroom thriller, a heartbreaking drama about two families from the opposite side of the tracks, and a stirring tale of a small, Southern town divided on the question of justice versus loyalty. —Vannessa Cronin

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

When the death of her cat proves the final straw, Nora decides to check out on life, and finds herself at the Midnight Library. "Even death was something Nora couldn't do properly, it seemed." But each book at this library tells the story of a life she could have had. Part It’s a Wonderful Life, part Oona Out of Order, this charming, funny, inventive novel is about regret, the choices we make, and taking the bitter with the sweet. —Vannessa Cronin

Missionaries by Phil Klay

An ambitious novel that follows the participants of war in Afghanistan and Colombia, Missionaries is like a punch to the heart and the mind. Read this for its intimate and expansive exploration of what it takes to fight, to live, and to survive, and how war can provide purpose and destroy it. —Al Woodworth

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