‘How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir,’ by Saeed Jones (Simon & Schuster, Oct. 8)
From a young age growing up in the South, Jones believed that “being a black gay boy is a death wish.” In his memoir, which begins in the late 1990s, he unknots his complicated relationship with his mother and the lingering wounds of his childhood. But the book is also a sexual coming-of-age story, giving an cleareyed look at his relationships and romantic encounters.
‘Imaginary Friend,’ by Stephen Chbosky (Grand Central, Oct. 1)
It’s been 20 years since his debut novel, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” defined a generation. Now Chbosky has finally written a follow-up — and this time, he dabbles in horror. Seven-year-old Christopher and his mother, on the run, settle in a sleepy Pennsylvania town. But then Christopher disappears for days, returning with a mission — dictated by a voice in his head — that could have cascading effects.
‘Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the C.I.A.,’ by Amaryllis Fox (Knopf, Oct. 15)
Fox spent a decade with the spy agency after being recruited at age 21, and recounts her years living undercover, chasing terrorists and infiltrating their networks. Her story is extraordinary, and it makes for satisfying and engrossing reading.
‘The Man Who Saw Everything,’ by Deborah Levy (Bloomsbury, Oct. 15)
It’s 1988 and Saul Adler, recovering from a car accident and a recent, abrupt breakup, heads to East Berlin, where he falls in love. Decades later, he is hit by the same car — but the repeating events and characters don’t end there. The novel, longlisted for the Booker, raises questions about memory, clairvoyance and history.
‘No Stopping Us Now: The Adventures of Older Women in American History,’ by Gail Collins (Little, Brown, Oct. 15)
The Times columnist sets out to tell the “story of women and age in America” by diving into the long tradition of older women’s political involvement. This is a deeply reported book, and Collins turns up some fascinating details: On Plymouth Rock, for example, women were considered marriageable so long as they were under 50. The book is an eye-opening guide to our shifting attitudes about aging, particularly when it came to women.
‘Olive, Again,’ by Elizabeth Strout (Random House, Oct. 15)
The beloved grouch Olive returns in this follow-up to Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “Olive Kitteridge.” The story unfolds in the working-class fictional town of Crosby, Me., and finds Olive kindling a new romance. Olive’s trademark “empathy without sentimentality,” as our reviewer put it, is still there, as she tries to make sense of her own path and the lives of the people around her.
‘Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race,’ by Thomas Chatterton Williams (Norton, Oct. 15)
The author, the American son of a black father and white mother, grew up striving to learn and perform his race, “like a teacher’s pet in an advanced placement course on black masculinity.” After moving to France and becoming a father to children who could pass for white, he is forced to radically rethink his conception of race.