Your October Reading List

Emily Calkins of the King County Library System offers binge-able titles that will keep you engrossed through October.

Book of the Month

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

During the Cold War, the CIA used the Russian novel Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak, as an anti-Soviet propaganda tool. Prescott’s fascinating debut explores that story from the perspective of the women involved. Readers follow the Zhivago author’s longtime lover and muse, Olga; the female spies who helped smuggle the manuscript out of the Soviet Union; and a pool of CIA typists with a funny and unforgettable voice. Prescott offers an exciting and immersive look at a little-known chapter of Cold War history. The novel will inspire discussion about the unexpected ways women find and wield power in patriarchal systems.

Other Great Picks 

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin

Schweblin’s novella opens with a woman lying in a hospital bed, having a strange conversation with a boy sitting next to her. What follows is one of the most unsettling and surreal books in recent memory. A perfect Halloween read.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Fall is a great time to read a campus novel, and there’s no better choice than Tartt’s atmospheric classic. At an elite New England school, a tight-knit group of outsiders falls under the spell of an enigmatic professor, and tragedy ensues.

About Emily

Emily Calkins is the readers’ services program coordinator for the King County Library System (KCLS), where she specializes in connecting readers with stories, authors, and each other. She also is the co-host of KCLS’ podcast, The Desk Set. As a reader, she likes flawed characters, atmospheric world-building, and anything with a slow-burn romance. 

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