By Stephan Lee
September 25, 2014 at 07:01 PM EDT

Now that summer is officially, thoroughly over, autumn will bring plenty of high-profile offerings, from Neil Patrick Harris’ choose-you-0wn-adventure memoir to some intriguing literary heavyweights. Click on to see some of the most promising books to hibernate with.

FIRST UP: Perhaps the best laugh-and-cry novel of the fall…


David Nicholls

From the author of One Day — which was infinitely better than the movie version starring Anne Hathaway — comes a pathos-laden love story about a marriage on the brink of collapse. (Oct. 28)

NEXT: NPH dazzles with an unconventional celeb memoir…

Choose Your Own Autobiography

Neil Patrick Harris

What if you made all of NPH’s life decisions for him? In a highly original celebrity memoir, good choices can lead you to legen — wait for it — dary, Tony-hosting greatness while one wrong turn can lead you to the meat slicer at Schlotzky’s Deli, wondering what could have been. (Oct. 14)

NEXT: A controversial, no-holds-barred story of poverty…

Hand to Mouth

Linda Tirado

An unflinching firsthand account of being trapped in extreme poverty in America, Tirado’s memoir is poised to stir controversy and ignite national dialogue. (Oct. 2)

NEXT: The first YA novel from the author of The Interestings


Meg Wolitzer

The first young-adult title from the author of The Interestings is set at a rural boarding school for “emotionally fragile, highly intelligent teens. (EW Grade: A–. Stephan Lee wrote, “Wolitzer melds the power of confessional writing, Plath’s legacy, and the internal worlds of teenagers in this unusual gem of a novel.“)

NEXT: The Tree of Smoke author delves into a different genre…

The Laughing Monsters

Denis Johnson

The award-winning author of Tree of Smoke offers up a continent-hopping literary spy thriller. (Nov. 4)

NEXT: A WWI-set page-turner that will keep you up at night…

The Paying Guests

Sarah Waters

In a WWI-ravaged London, a woman and her spinster daughter turn their once-glamorous mansion into a lodging house, creating a dynamic clash of class and culture that leads to an explosive hidden romance. (EW Grade: A. Stephan Lee wrote, “It’s the sort of novel that will keep you sleepless for three nights straight and leave you grasping for another book that can sustain that high.“)

NEXT: A book by a woman who sees a whole lot of dead people…

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Caitlin Doughty

Followinga recent trend of books about the dead, this memoir by a young crematory worker aims to be both morbid and illuminating. (EW Grade: B+. Keith Staskiewicz wrote, “Like a professional Wednesday Addams, she goes through all the strange, awkward, and unpleasant specifics we, the general populace, would rather not deal with. … It’s mordantly morbid.”)

NEXT: The darkhorse hit of the fall…

Station Eleven

Emily St. John Mandel

The most buzzed-about novel of the season has just been longlisted for the National Book Award. It’s also hard to describe, but it involves a traveling caravan of actors at the fall of civilization. (EW Grade: A. Karen Valby wrote, “This is not a story of crisis and survival. It’s one of art and family and memory and community and the awful courage it takes to look upon the world with fresh and hopeful eyes.“)

NEXT: Lena Dunham’s offbeat and insightful advice book…

Not That Kind of Girl

Lena Dunham

Tina Fey and David Sedaris blazed a trail for the creator and star of HBO’s Girls, who extends her brand with her first collection of funny essays. (Sept. 30)

NEXT: A trippy literary novel…

The Dog

Joseph O’Neill

The opposite of light summer fare, the daring and heady new novel by the author of Netherland probes the mind of an expat living amid the opulence of Dubai. (EW Grade: A–. Keith Staskiewicz wrote, “The really important stuff is between the lines, and the character’s retreat into a purely contractual view of the world — he calculates the exact percentage of his salary he needs to donate in order to assuage his guilt over Dubai’s quasi-enslaved immigrant workforce — starts to reveal itself as well-disguised pathos.“)

NEXT: A brilliant work of nonfiction…

On Immunity

Eula Biss

Jenny McCarthy, add this to your reading list. Biss’ eye-opening nonfiction work critiques America’s fear of vaccines while examining the connection between soul, body, and society. (EW Grade: A. Melissa Maerz writes, “By exploring the anxieties about what’s lurking inside our flu shots, the air, and ourselves, she drives home the message that we are all responsible for one another. On Immunity will make you consider that idea on a fairly profound level.“)

NEXT: A multi-generational family epic with a twist…

A Map of Betrayal

Ha Jin

In a new espionage novel by the award-winning writer, a Chinese American woman struggles to understand her late father, a CIA operative subsequently exposed as a double agent for China. (Nov. 4)