Fall Books Preview: Burt Reynolds' Memoir of "Asshole" and More

From Mary-Louise Parker's intimate collection of letters to Garth Risk Hallberg's 'City on Fire' to 'George,' a timely, already acclaimed examination of a student with gender-identity questions, publishing's big season is packed with something for every book lover.

A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 11 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.


The most provocative memoir hitting shelves in the coming months is Mary-Louise Parker's Dear Mr. You (Scribner, Nov. 10, $25, 240 pages), in which the Weeds actress examines the men she has known, from her grandfather to various lovers, via a series of letters — some real, some hypothetical.

Also generating advance raves is The Wind in the Reeds: A Storm, A Play, and the City That Would Not Be Broken by The Wire alum Wendell Pierce (Riverhead, Sept. 8, $27.95, 352 pages). The New Orleans-born, Juilliard-educated author (who will play Clarence Thomas alongside Kerry Washington's Anita Hill in HBO's forthcoming TV movie Confirmation) offers a moving account of his family's history, his own career and how the two collided after Hurricane Katrina devastated his hometown.

Nearly 25 years ago, a 15-year-old Drew Barrymore detailed her drug-fueled childhood in Little Girl Lost. In her upcoming memoir, Wildflower (Dutton, Oct. 27, $28, 288 pages), the actress updates her story, covering her career, marriage and motherhood.

Burt Reynolds' But Enough About Me: A Memoir (G.P. Putnam's Sons, Nov. 17, $27.95, 320 pages) should be wildly entertaining. He has said he plans to "call out the assholes" from his past and make amends for "being an asshole" himself. Highlights — and lowlights — from his colorful past include playing football at Florida State, romances (Loni Anderson, Sally Field), debilitating health problems and a bankruptcy.



The biggest debut of the season, both figuratively (buzz resulting from an astonishing $2 million advance) and literally (clocking in at more than 900 pages), is Garth Risk Hallberg's City on Fire (Knopf, Oct. 13, $30, 944 pages). The dense, sprawling Bonfire of the Vanities-like novel about New York in the late 1970s already has been optioned by Scott Rudin.

Also generating huge interest is the final installment of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan tetralogy: The Story of the Lost Child (Europa Editions, Sept. 1, $18, 480 pages). The series about the friendship between two women in Naples, Italy, from the 1950s to the present, has been something of a literary Breaking Bad, starting off with a low­ish profile and picking up passionate fans as it's gone along. Adding to the hype is the mystery surrounding the identity of the author, who refuses to reveal her or his real name (Ferrante is a nom de plume) and only does interviews via email.

Two thrillers are drawing attention (though rights to both still are up for grabs): Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter (William Morrow, Sept. 29, $27.99, 416 pages), about two sisters who haven't spoken in the 25 years since their other sister disappeared but are reunited when one of their husbands is murdered, has made best-seller lists in Europe; and Minute Zero (Putnam, Sept. 15, $27, 368 pages), former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Todd Moss' follow-up to his best-selling debut, The Golden Hour, revolves around a State Department crisis manager during a political collapse in Zimbabwe.


YA continues to yield some of the most thought-provoking fiction around. Alex Gino's timely George (Scholastic, Sept. 3, $16.99, 240 pages), which has earned rapturous early reviews, focuses on a student whose gender-identity questions come to a head when his desire to play Charlotte in a school production of Charlotte's Web is thwarted by a teacher who insists the role can't be played by a boy.

The success of the two John Green movies (The Fault in Our Stars and this summer's Paper Towns) has producers intrigued by Ali Benjamin's The Thing About Jellyfish (Little Brown, Sept. 22, $17, 352 pages), in which a girl travels around the world to prove that her best friend's drowning was caused by a rare jellyfish's sting.

On a lighter note is Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith (Poppy, Sept. 1, $18, 256 pages), which already has been optioned by TriStar. The book is set on the eve of a teenage couple's departure for college as they debate whether to break up or stay together while revisiting key points in their relationship.

Finally, younger readers can look forward to Brian Selznick's latest, The Marvels (Scholastic, Sept. 15, $32.99, 640 pages). This lavishly illustrated new book from the Caldecott-winning creator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret tells the century-spanning, interconnected stories of several generations of one family.

'The Marvels'