Upcoming Reading for Fall 2023

stack of hardbound books
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The autumnal equinox officially starts on September 22 this year, but it seem like everyone around me treats Labor Day as the unofficial end of summer. The day after Labor Day is one of the best book release days of the year so far. There are three books released on September 5th that I am eagerly awaiting:

  1. Why We Love Baseball: A History in 50 Moments by Joe Posnanski. Joe’s previous book, The Baseball 100 was my favorite book of 2021. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book ever since it was first announced. I’ve pre-ordered the audio edition, as well as a signed copy of the hard cover from Rainy Day Books in Kansas City.
  2. Holly by Stephen King. Holly Gibney debuted in the first of the Bill Hodges novels, Mister Mercedes. Since that trilogy, she had made appearances in The Outsider, and in the novella, “If It Bleeds.” Now she’s got a novel all of her own.
  3. The Longmire Defense by Craig Johnson. Johnson’s Longmire books have become among my favorites. I absolutely love the series and I look forward to each new addition the minute I finish one. Which means I have been awaiting The Longmire Defense since I finished reading Hell and Back a little less than a year ago.

I’ve listed these three books in the order I plan to read them. It wouldn’t surprise me if I got through all three of them within a week or 10 days of their September 5th release. But these are not the only books I am looking forward to reading this fall.

I have been making my way through Stephen Jay Gould’s essay collections on natural history. Many of the essays in these books came from the column he wrote in Natural History for more than 20 years, finally ending in January 2001, with his 300th column. I haven’t been reading the collecting in order of release, but rather as I pick them off the shelf. I’ve also recently read Gould’s A Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, and I am currently working my way through his The Mismeasure of Man.

Audible has been releasing versions of Gould’s essay collections recently, and another one, The Flamingo’s Smile, is coming out on September 12, a week after the embarras de richesse of September 5. I have all of these essay collection in paperback form, but I enjoy Jonathan Sleep, who narrates the audiobook edition, and I am looking forward to reading The Flamingo’s Smile after I finish The Longmire Defense.

All of these Gould books are leading up to a conclusion: I’m hoping to tackle Gould’s magnum opus, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory–or at least get started on it–this fall. This book has been sitting on my shelf for 21 years. I bought it when it first came out, but I’ve never felt prepared to tackle it, until now. Gould, like Asimov, wrote his essays for a wide audience, but unlike Asimov, who strove for clarity, Gould’s essays make the reader–or this reader, anyway–work for them. They are not easy to get through, but they are always rewarding, and I’ve learned a lot from them beyond the bare subjects of each piece. With these essays under my belt, and I fair understanding of Gould’s work, I finally feel like I’m ready to tackle this massive, 1,400 page book.

Some of my Stephen Jay Gould books, including The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, on my shelf now for 21 years.

Some other books I’m looking forward to this fall include:

There are other books on my list, but this is a fairly ambitious list for the fall, especially when I include The Structure of Evolutionary Theory in the mix. Are there book you are looking forward to this fall? Tell me about them in the comments.

(And for those who are curious, here are the books I’ve read so far in 2023.)

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