October Book of the Month Picks

Dust off those bookshelves and make room for what’s new this month.


Photo by Esmé Warmuth

Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney makes the October book picks list. If you love Hulu’s Normal People (adapted from Rooney’s novel), check out her latest.

  1.  ‘Billy Summers,’ by Stephen King

Living under the alias ‘Billy Summers,’ a traumatized war and reluctant killer for hire embarks on one last job… a big one. Along the way, Billy starts to make real friends for the first time in his life, and begins to question whether he can really call himself the hero of his own story.

Just in time for spooky season comes a new novel from the ‘king’ of horror himself. Despite King’s reputation as a guts-and-gore horror writer, ‘Billy Summers’ has created a suspenseful, slow burn, crime novel that gets to the very heart of what makes us human. Casually tragic, nail-biting and eerie, with notes of King’s classic works ‘Misery’ and ‘The Shawshank Redemption,’ this book is perfect for a cozy night of emotions and spooks.

  1. ‘Beautiful World, Where Are You,’ by Sally Rooney

Alice was never trying to cultivate the celebrity she suddenly finds herself embroiled in, and when she meets Felix, who genuinely doesn’t care where she’s been and what she’s done, she slowly starts to separate herself from the personality that’s been handed to her by a world of fans. Her best friend, Eileen, and Eileen’s on-and-off boyfriend Felix, are struggling too, abstractly proud of Alice’s success, yet finding it difficult to muster sympathy for her champagne problems as they live paycheck to paycheck.

Sally Rooney has been widely acclaimed for her melancholy romances, and this new book is being hailed as potentially her best yet. In quiet conversations between characters, ‘Beautiful World, Where Are You’ paints a striking picture of the difficulties of everyday life. Characters cry, and fight, party together and swear never to speak again. The novel follows two parallel romances, bound together by the Alice and Eileen’s friendship. It’s a lovely book about youthful confusion and innocent romances set in an all-too adult world, while also embracing political philosophy, modern depression, and unshakeable friendship.

  1. ‘Yearbook,’ by Seth Rogan

From birth to present day, comedian Seth Rogan offers the reader a sentimental glimpse into his young life, as well as some insight into the life of an “out-of-work comedian” in the age of COVID-19. A laugh-out-loud funny book from one of the most popular comedians of our generation.

Seth Rogan seems like one of those celebrities who can do whatever he wants at this point, from pottery making to book writing. Whatever his motivations were for sharing some of his best stories, the book did not disappoint. Reading the book was like sitting down with an old friend, and hearing him tell the stories he’d recited a thousand times to whoever would listen. It was raucous, but sentimental, and as delightful to read as it was hilarious. A perfect short-read for anyone who enjoys nostalgia and jokes.

  1. ‘Shutter’ by Melissa Larsen

Betty Roux just wanted a fresh start and a place to sleep; now she finds herself smiling into the camera lens of the larger than life Anthony Marino, the kind of film director people talk about at parties to make themselves seem cultured. As she allows herself to be dazzled, the world around her falls away and she somehow talks her way into landing the acting role of a lifetime, but was any of it really random at all? Isolated on an island filming a movie she knows nothing about, adoration slowly turns to doubt, and eventually sours into fear.

Melissa Larsen’s debut novel is a perfect read for the chilly nights of Halloween season. A seamless allegory for the archetype women are so often forced into in the horror genre, ‘Shutter’ is a slow-building scare that leaves the reader unsure of who to trust, and examines just how hard people will work to cling to the past. Loyalty is something precious to each character, and the reader finds themself guessing right along with Betty until the very end. Psychologically chilling and emotionally moving, ‘Shutter’ is an ideal read for fans of suspenseful and heartbreaking narratives.

  1. ‘Klara and The Sun,’ by Kazuo Ishiguro

Children deemed worthy of education spend their days staring at a teacher inside the screen of their tablets. There are few opportunities to make friends when school is in a box, but little android friends can be obtained for lonely children. Klara, the narrator, is one such friend. As she waits to be purchased, she watches people go by, and she watches the sun.

Nobel-prize winning author Kazuo Ishiguro has never once disappointed his readers, and this new book is no exception. As always, the reader is left feeling hollow and yet totally satisfied by the novel, having learned so much about falling in love during our short time on earth. As chillingly familiar as the premise sounds (online school, *shutter*), the book is entirely imaginative and nuanced. In fact, reading an abbreviated description of it seems like looking at only leaf of a tree. Political, but intimately personal, the novel looks loneliness in the face, and holds the reader’s hand through the pain of the confrontation. An ideal novel for anyone looking to feel deeply.