The New Season: Books

New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul previews some of the fall's most anticipated titles:

This fall is shaping up to be an exciting season for books, after last year's intense election cycle, a wave of books wrestling with the news, and the election in particular, are now grabbing readers' attention, giving readers context and helping them understand the historic implications of the 2016 election.

Hillary Clinton's "What Happened" (Simon & Schuster) debuted this week at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list, with Katy Tur's campaign memoir, "Unbelievable" (HarperCollins), at #2. 

The next big book in this weigh-in on this will be Joe Biden's memoir, "Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose" (Flatiron), coming out in November. This book is about what he says was the most challenging year of his life, with his son, Beau, battling and ultimately dying of brain cancer while he balanced his job as vice president and weighed whether to run for the presidency himself.

Another big book that deals with the presidency is sure to be Ron Chernow's biography of Ulysses S. Grant, due in October. Chernow is one of the most acclaimed biographers alive today, and the only one, of course, to see a significant biography of his turned into a record-breaking hip hop musical. (That book, we all know, was "Hamilton.")

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Let's turn to fiction.

Literary award season has begun, and one book that's already landing on shortlists is Jesmyn Ward's new novel, "Sing, Unburied Sing" (Simon & Schuster). After two nonfiction books, she returns to her fictional roots and the landscape of Beau Sauvage, Mississippi -- also the setting of her National Book Award-winning novel, "Salvage the Bones." 

Another prize-winning author, Jennifer Egan, has a new novel coming out, "Manhattan Beach" (Scribners). Egan won the Pulitzer for her last book, "A Visit from the Goon Squad," in 2011. This new novel is a departure for her, in that it is a work of historical fiction, set in the Brooklyn Naval Yards in the 1930s. 

That book also comes out next month, giving readers this fall much to look forward to.