‘M Train’ by Patti Smith

In her second memoir, Smith explores her life through visits to the places she loves: 18 “stations,” including Greenwich Village cafes, train stations, Frida Kahlo’s abode, and her own bungalow on Far Rockaway. Smith, who won the National Book Award for her memoir “Just Kids,” writes here about the loss of her husband and her struggles as a writer. (Alfred A. Knopf, in stores Oct. 6.)

'The Secret Chord’ by Geraldine Brooks

Brooks dips back into biblical times to tell the story of King David through the eyes of a shepherd named Natan. The book is deeply researched — she didn’t just study the details of day-to-day life in the Second Iron Age, but also early Hebrew music, the geography and architecture of old Jerusalem, and the experience of herding sheep in the Judean hills (which she did with her son). Brooks, who is known for her historical fiction, won a Pulitzer Prize for “March.” (Viking, Oct. 6.)

‘Thirteen Ways of Looking’ by Colum McCann

The Irish writer explores perspective, chance and the randomness of life in three short stories and a novella. The title piece — the novella — examines a murder from multiple points of view, including that of a surveillance camera. This is McCann’s first collection of short fiction in more than 10 years. His most recent novel, “Let the Great World Spin,” won the National Book Award and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. (Random House, Oct. 13.)

‘The Witches’ by Stacy Schiff

A nonfiction account of the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692, and all of the events that led up to them. Schiff won a Pulitzer Prize for her biography of Vera Nabokov, and her last book, “Cleopatra: A Life,” was named one of the best books of the year. (Little, Brown, Oct. 27. Schiff will be at Talking Volumes, 7 p.m., Nov. 10 at the Fitzgerald Theater, 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul. $25-$30.)

‘Lafayette in the Somewhat United States’ by Sarah Vowell

Nobody recounts American history the way Sarah Vowell does, with irreverence and humor and quirky details — history and facts, but also entertainment. This new book is about the friendship between George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette, but in Vowell’s inimitable style it is also firmly grounded in the present. (Riverhead, Oct. 20.)

Other big books

“Above the Waterfall”: Ron Rash, author of the bestselling “Serena,” explores the relationship between a park ranger with a traumatic past and a sheriff in this novel set in present-day Appalachia. (Ecco, Sept. 8. Rash also will appear at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Plymouth Library, 15700 36th Av. N.)

“Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear”: Elizabeth Gilbert (“Eat Pray Love”) examines the origins of creativity and inspiration, encouraging readers to discover the “strange jewels” she believes are inside each of us. (Riverhead, Sept. 22. Gilbert will speak at 7 p.m. Sept. 29 at Hennepin Av. United Methodist Church, Mpls., $30.)

“Mothers, Tell Your Daughters”: Plainspoken, strong stories about tough women in rural America by National Book Award finalist Bonnie Jo Campbell. (W.W. Norton, Oct. 5. Campbell will be at the Loft, 1011 Washington Av. S., Mpls., at 7 p.m. Oct. 21.)

“A Strangeness in My Mind”: Told by multiple narrators, this novel from Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk is the story of an Istanbul street vendor and his love. (Knopf, Oct. 20)

“Golden Age”: The final volume of Jane Smiley’s American trilogy about generations of an Iowa farm family. (Random House, Oct. 20. Smiley will make a Talking Volumes appearance at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul on Dec. 2.)

“Custer’s Trials”: A deep biography of George Armstrong Custer that goes beyond the myth and the cliché. Minnesota native T.J. Stiles won a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for his biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt. (Knopf, Oct. 27. Stiles will speak at 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at the University of Minnesota Bookstore, Coffman Union, Mpls.)