10 Hot Fall Hollywood Reads

 

This story first appeared in the Sept. 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. 

While fall has as many blockbuster fiction authors debuting books as summer did (Stephen King, Scott Turow, Helen Fielding, J.J. Abrams), it also features highbrow literary fiction (Donna Tartt, Thomas Pynchon). But what really has caught the attention of Hollywood insiders is a robust crop of memoirs and histories about industry figures. Biographies of Jim Henson and Jeff Bezos have sparked the most interest, but expect others about Tamara Mellon, Rupert Murdoch and Johnny Carson to garner substantial attention as well.

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Bleeding Edge

By Thomas Pynchon

(Penguin, $28.95, Sept. 17)

ELEVATOR PITCH: The perennial Nobel Prize contender, who has eluded Hollywood adaptation, tells the story of a woman who investigates small-scale fraud but gets caught up in a big-time financial scandal between the dot-com boom’s collapse in late 2000 and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

AIMED AT: Fans of sprawling novels that tackle the big questions of modern life.

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Doctor Sleep

By Stephen King

(Scribner, $30, Sept. 24)

ELEVATOR PITCH: The Shining gets a sequel. Danny Torrance, the boy from the original, is grown up and trying to protect other “special” children from being hunted by a nomadic tribe that feasts on their psychic powers.

AIMED AT: King fans, an audience that still is growing (witness Joyland’s sales and Under the Dome’s ratings).

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Jim Henson: The Biography

By Brian Jay Jones

(Ballantine, $35, Sept. 24)

ELEVATOR PITCH: The authorized biography of the famed Muppets creator who tragically died of septic shock in 1990 at age 53.

AIMED AT: Those interested in how a genial, gentle dreamer turned a bunch of puppets on a PBS kids show into a multibillion-dollar franchise.

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The Signature of All Things

By Elizabeth Gilbert

(Viking, $28.95, Oct. 1)

ELEVATOR PITCH: The Eat, Pray, Love author returns with an epic novel, set in early-1800s Philadelphia, about a self-made shipping magnate, his brilliant daughter who becomes a scientist and the painter with whom she falls in love.

AIMED AT: Fans of historical fiction and Jane Austen.

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Swingland: Between the Sheets of the Secretive, Sometimes Messy, But Always Adventurous Swinging Lifestyle

By Daniel Stern

(Touchstone, $26, Oct. 1)

ELEVATOR PITCH: This memoir explores America’s hidden-in-the-open swinger subculture, which in the Internet age can be accessed with a few mouse clicks.

AIMED AT: Malcolm Gladwell and Chuck Klosterman fans — this book seems destined to be the rare sociological analysis that gets adapted into a movie.

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The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

By Brad Stone

(Little, Brown, $28, Oct. 15)

ELEVATOR PITCH: The definitive history of the Internet retailer and its founder, Bezos.

AIMED AT: Anyone who wants to understand how the e-tailer became so big — and where it and its founder are headed, especially in light of Bezos’ recent purchase of the Washington Post.

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Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy

By Helen Fielding

(Knopf, $26.95, Oct. 15)

ELEVATOR PITCH: The writer who basically invented “chick lit” delivers a threequel about the self-obsessed thirtysomething confronting middle age and motherhood.

AIMED AT: The same overwhelmingly female audience that has fattened publishers’ bottom lines for nearly two decades — but will a new generation care about grown-up problems?

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Identical

By Scott Turow

(Grand Central, $28, Oct. 15)

ELEVATOR PITCH: Loosely based on the mythical Greek twins Castor and Pollux, who alternate days in Hades and Olympus, the story follows two brothers: One is running for mayor, and the other has just been released from prison after serving 25 years for the murder of his girlfriend. A new investigation into the case complicates both of their lives.

AIMED AT: Fans of courtroom thrillers and political mysteries — this is Turow’s most cinematic novel in years.

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The Goldfinch

By Donna Tartt

(Little, Brown, $30, Oct. 22)

ELEVATOR PITCH: An orphan boy raised by a wealthy Park Avenue family becomes an art dealer to solve the mystery of a small enigmatic painting he inherited from his mother. He gets drawn into the art underworld and finds himself in ever more danger.

AIMED AT: Mystery lovers looking for something more literary, literary fiction fans looking for a little mystery and Tartt fans hoping she can recapture the magic of 1992’s The Secret History in just her third novel in 21 years.

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S.

By Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams

(Mulholland, $35, Oct. 29)

ELEVATOR PITCH: Conceived by Abrams and written by the well-regarded Dorst (Alive in Necropolis), this book-within-a-book challenges readers to solve the riddle of a mysterious book through notes, questions and arguments scribbled in the margins by two previous readers.

AIMED AT: Abrams fans who love his Spielbergian ability to weave the domestic and the supernatural into compelling mysteries.

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