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Five books you should read this fall

From high fantasy to memoirs, here are 5 books to add to your autumn reading list

Originally published November 9, 2021 by Zoe Isett, Staff Reporter

This article contains discussions of suicide, sexual assault and violence that may be triggering for some readers.

The official cover of Know My Name, which discusses sexual assault and the justice system.

1. Know My Name, by Chanel Miller (The Elliott Bay Book Company, $18)

Previously known to the world as Emily Doe in a highly publicized Stanford assault case in 2016, Chanel Miller reclaims her identity in her deeply moving memoir. Miller’s depiction of the exhausting, and often traumatic, process of reporting assault not only highlights the faults of the American justice system but also exposes cultural biases against victims that are all too common. Her courageous and powerful story has inspired thousands of survivors to come forward with their experiences.

“You have to hold out to see how your life unfolds, because it is most likely beyond what you can imagine. It is not a question of if you will survive this, but what beautiful things await you when you do.” —Chanel Miller, Know My Name

2. Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Secret Garden Books, $28)

Reid’s most recent novel spans the course of one day, August 27, 1983, as the famed Riva siblings throw their epic end-of-summer party. The party is typically chaotic, glamorous, and filled with drunk A-list celebrities, but, as the night goes on, the plot alternates between the current-day party and the Riva family’s past, where the closely-guarded secrets of the Riva siblings come to light. Reid’s picturesque depiction of Malibu in the 1980s, as well as the complicated family dynamics between the Rivas, made this book especially notable.

3. A Thousand Ships, by Natalie Haynes (Phinney Books, $27.99)

Short-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, A Thousand Ships takes the classic story of the Trojan War and retells it from a new perspective, one often ignored and brushed aside. Haynes reimagines ancient Greek literature, including Homer’sThe Iliad, to give life to the previously overlooked women of the Trojan War. Her reinvented female characters are clever, humorous, complicated, and most importantly, human. The various themes of this novel are remarkably relevant, and portray human trafficking and sexual assault in an accurate and thoughtful manner, making this story a particularly meaningful read.

The cover of The Priory of the Orange Tree, a fantasy novels that puts a spin on patriarchal societies by making women the ones in power.

4. The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon (Phinney Books, $20)

Samantha Shannon’s The Priory of the Orange Tree takes place in a fantasy realm, with warring kingdoms, forbidden magic and, of course, dragons. The plot follows four “storytellers,” each of whom is incredibly well-developed, diverse, and individually enjoyable. Although the lengthy 800+ page count makes this book appear rather intimidating, Shannon’s skillful world-building creates a complex and unique setting while keeping the reader simultaneously entertained. Shannon also includes an interesting reversal of modern day patriarchal structures, placing women at the center of her novel and its world’s politics.

5. Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo (Third Place Books Ravenna, $17.99)

Bestselling YA author Leigh Bardugo’s first adult novel, Ninth House, is mysterious, creepy, and thrilling. The book follows high school drop-out Galaxy “Alex” Stern as she navigates her new life at Yale University. However, Alex is not your average college student, nor is Yale the picture-perfect Ivy League school many may expect. Alex has been recruited for her unique ability to see ghosts by the elusive Ninth House and takes on the task of overseeing the dangerous activities of the secret societies of Yale. Alex is drawn into a rather gruesome world of powerful magic, making this book a perfect choice just in time for Halloween.

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Five books you should read this fall