And just like that, the summer of COVID has become the autumn of COVID. And we are all looking forward — perhaps with trepidation — to the winter of COVID, which is looming just around the bend, grinning fiendishly.

Fortunately, there is a lot of great reading coming up to keep us fascinated, stimulated and engaged as we huddle at home and wait for a vaccine. Here are 15 of the don’t-miss books coming out between now and the end of the year:

“Jack,” by Marilynne Robinson. The fourth novel set in the fictional town of Gilead, Iowa, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Robinson, “Jack” is the story of the love affair between the white son of a minister and a Black schoolteacher. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Sept. 29.)

“Missionaries,” by Phil Klay. The discouraging and destructive power of war is illustrated through the lives of a soldier, an officer, a medic and a journalist. A novel, this is the follow-up to Klay’s award-winning story collection, “Redeployment.” (Penguin Press, Oct. 6.)

“The Searcher,” by Tana French. French leaves Dublin and her Dublin Murder Squad behind and heads to the West of Ireland for this tale of small-town intrigue and lies, which pits an outsider from America against the folks who have always lived there. (Viking, Oct. 6.)

“Leave the World Behind,” by Rumaan Alam. Two families — one Black, one white — hunker down together on Long Island as New York City is plunged into a blackout, something that is quickly seen as a national, not local, emergency. (Ecco, Oct. 6.)

“A Lover’s Discourse,” by Xiaolu Guo. In post-Brexit Britain, a Chinese woman comes to London to start a new life. Guo is a filmmaker, essayist, novelist and memoirist, winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award. Her books have been translated into 28 languages. (Grove, Oct. 13.)

“Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath,” by Heather Clark. A deeply reported biography of the life of the poet, who died by suicide at age 30. Clark separates the work of the writer from her life, examining her depression, failing marriage and fears of being institutionalized. (A.A. Knopf, Oct. 20.)

“The Silence,” by Don DeLillo. A group of people gather at a dinner party on Super Bowl Sunday in 2022 when a catastrophe silences the digital world. “I started with a vision of empty streets in Manhattan,” DeLillo said. “The idea of the silence grew from sentence to sentence, from one chapter to the next.” (Scribner, Oct. 20.)

“American Gospel,” by Lin Enger. It’s August 1974, and an elderly man on a farm in Minnesota is waiting for the Rapture. Enger, who teaches at Minnesota State University Moorhead, is the author of “The High Divide” and “Undiscovered Country.” (University of Minnesota Press, Oct. 27.)

“Memorial,” by Bryan Washington. The follow-up to “Lot,” Washington’s stellar collection of stories, “Memorial” is a novel about a couple — Benson, a Black teacher, and Mike, a Japanese-American chef. When Mike’s father falls ill, Mike heads back to Japan just as his mother arrives to visit. (Riverhead, Oct. 27.)

“Earth Keeper: Reflections on American Land,” by N. Scott Momaday. Kiowa writer and Pulitzer Prize-winner Momaday grew up on reservations in the American Southwest. His new book is both a tribute to the land and a warning that we must preserve it. (Harper, Nov. 3.)

“Miss Benson’s Beetle,” by Rachel Joyce. Set in a dreary 1950 England, the new novel by the author of “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” follows the adventures of shy, awkward and plain Margery Benson as she impulsively throws away her job, her apartment and her good name and heads to New Caledonia in search of a mythical bug. (Dial Press, Nov. 3.)

“Moonflower Murders,” by Anthony Horowitz. In this addictive follow-up to “Magpie Murders,” Horowitz once again gives readers a story within a story. In this one, an editor visits the house where a man was murdered and a woman disappeared — and believes the clues are inside the text of a mystery she edited. (Harper, Nov. 10.)

“Somewhere in the Unknown World,” by Kao Kalia Yang. Prize-winning memoirist and picture book writer Yang — a St. Paul resident and Edelstein-Keller Writer in Residence at the University of Minnesota — tells the stories of 14 refugees who have found new homes in Minnesota. (Metropolitan Books, Nov. 10.)

“The Sun Collective,” by Charles Baxter. A young man has gone missing, and his parents search Minneapolis for him, stumbling upon a local activist group led by a charismatic leader. Baxter, the Edelstein-Keller Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota and winner of the Rea Award for the Short Story, is the author of five other novels. (Pantheon, Nov. 17.)

“Perestroika in Paris,” by Jane Smiley. The story of a horse, a dog and a boy in Paris. (A.A. Knopf, Dec. 1.)


Laurie Hertzel is the Star Tribune’s senior editor for books. On Facebook: