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Announcing the Reader’s Digest Book Club Picks for Fall 2020

Do you love gothic mysteries, or prefer intergenerational dramas? Maybe true crime is your thing. For whatever you desire to see on your bedside table, we have a recommendation.

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Like a Bird bookPhoto: Amazon

If you like: Heroes who rise above tragedy

Like a Bird by Fariha Róisín

Unnamed Press, $39, Sept. 25

Roísín, an Australian-Canadian poet and visual artist, spent 18 years writing this debut novel. Taylia, the main character, is a young Bengali-Jewish woman who lives in New York’s Upper West Side until her wealthy parents kick her out of the house after she’s raped. Once out of her sheltered world, she meets young bohemians who redefine what family can mean.

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Transcendent Kingdom bookPhoto: Amazon

If you like: Intergenerational dramas

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Penguin Random House, $32, Sept. 1

Gifty, the daughter of Ghanaian immigrants, juggles her career as a neuroscientist while caring for her mentally ill mother. This novel’s themes are expansive, touching on the conflict between science and faith, the tolls of addiction and grief, and what we owe our families—and ourselves.

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Consent bookPhoto: Amazon

If you like: Surprise twists

Consent by Annabel Lyon

Penguin Random House, $30, Sept. 29

Lyon’s first novel in eight years tracks two sets of sisters—in each pair, the ambitious, reliable sibling is domin­ated by her sense of responsibility to her wilder, carefree sibling. As the novel progresses, the connections between the four women come into a revelatory focus.

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Memorial BookPhoto: Amazon

If you like: Tender, unlikely friendships

Memorial by Bryan Washington

Penguin Random House, $36, Oct. 27

Benson, a Black daycare worker, and Mike, a Japanese-American chef, are several years into a pleasant but dull relationship in Houston. His persnickety mother, Mitsuo, visits and ends up moving in with Benson. Washington calls the book “a gay slacker dramedy.”

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The Lying Life of Adults bookPhoto: Amazon

If you like: Dreaming of an Italian getaway

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

Europa Editions, $35, Sept. 1

Ferrante’s latest—already a bestseller in Italy and snapped up by Netflix for a limited series—is sure to be the literary event of the fall. She’s the high priestess of searing teen-girl angst, a subject she returns to in her new book, about a wealthy young woman who explores the differing worlds of upper- and lower-class Naples in the 1990s.

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The Beguiling bookPhoto: Amazon

If you like: Gothic mysteries

The Beguiling by Zsuzsi Gartner

Penguin Random House, $30, Sept. 22

Lucy, a disaffected lapsed Catholic, develops an unenviable superpower after her cousin makes a disturbing confession on his deathbed: suddenly, every person she meets feels the unbearable urge to reveal their most twisted sins to her—and all the confessions seem somehow connected. This book is arch, campy and irresistibly macabre.

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Wish You Were Here bookPhoto: Amazon

If you like: True crime

Wish You Were Here by John Allore and Patricia Pearson

Penguin Random House, $25, Sept. 22

In 1978, 19-year-old Theresa Allore disappeared from her home near Sherbrooke, Que. Forty years later, her brother, John, is still desperately searching for her killer. In this gripping yarn, he ties his sister’s death to at least eight other murders in the area that may be the work of a serial killer who is still on the loose.

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Leave the World Behind BookPhoto: Amazon

If you like: Sinister satires

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

HarperCollins Canada, $35, Oct. 6

Just when a white couple from Brooklyn have settled into their plush rental in the Hamptons, all the lights go out and the house’s owners, an older Black couple, appear with dire news. What follows is a ruthless comedy of manners about the end of the world.

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Caste bookPhoto: Amazon

If you like: Insight into current events

Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

Penguin Random House, $42, Aug. 4

The protest movement that exploded following George Floyd’s murder in June was about systemic racism and police brutality. In her daring new book, Wilkerson reveals a deeply rooted American caste system, rigid yet unspoken, that privileges white people over Black people in every facet of society, from housing to education to health.

Check out our previous Book Club Pick, The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada