Now Read This: November

Top 10 books to watch for this month

A number of fascinating new fiction and nonfiction works are slated for release this month, some of which could wind up on the year’s best-of lists. Here’s a guide to the top-10 most highly anticipated books coming out in November.

Virgin and Other Stories
by April Ayers Lawson

Virgin and Other Stories by April Ayers Lawson

Lawson’s mesmerizing stories are set in the American South and revolve around awakenings. Whether sexual, spiritual, or emotional awakenings, Ayers Lawson’s characters experience beautiful, unsettling moments of doubt and introspection about marriage, school, friendship, lust, and more in this stellar debut collection.

Searching for John Hughes: Or Everything I Thought I Needed to Know about Life I Learned from Watching ’80s Movies
by Jason Diamond

Searching for John Hughes by Jason Diamond

Diamond’s charming story of a broken home and big dreams will resonate with any child of the ’80s. As a young boy in Chicago, Diamond religiously watched the films of John Hughes, hoping to some day move to New York and write a book about the director. This is his story about how following your dreams can take you in unexpected directions while quietly leading you to where you need to be.

The Ornatrix
by Kate Howard

The Ornatrix by Kate Howard

Flavia has spent much of her life hiding from the world, ashamed of a bird-shaped blemish that covers her face. Sent to live in exile at a convent after disgracing her family, Flavia’s life changes drastically when she is chosen to be the handmaid to a former Venetian courtesan. This is a splendid historical novel about beauty and identity.

Hi, Anxiety: Life With a Bad Case of Nerves
by Kat Kinsman

Hi, Anxiety by Kat Kinsman

Kinsman discusses her lifelong battle with depression and anxiety, and why she believes people shouldn’t be afraid to come forward and get the help they need. A very brave and wonderful memoir.

Pull Me Under
by Kelly Luce

Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce

In Luce’s excellent debut novel, a woman in America must face her past when a mysterious package arrives at her home. As a young girl in Japan, Rio murdered the school bully. Now she is a grown woman with a new identity and a family in Colorado. But when she learns of her father’s death, she realizes she must face her past life in order to move forward.

Valiant Gentlemen
by Sabina Murray

Valiant Gentlemen by Sabina Murray

A humorous, delightful, and sometimes sad novel about the four decades of adventures and friendship between real-life historical figures Roger Casement, famed Irish patriot, and his closest friend, Herbert Ward. This deserves to be on all the best-of-the-year lists, and should be the next novel developed for a series.

Ray & Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald’s Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away by Lisa Napoli

Ray & Joan by Lisa Napoli

This is the fascinating, zany, true-life story of the Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton of the franchise world. Joan Kroc ultimately gave away a billion dollars of the McDonald’s fortune to causes she supported.

The Winterlings
by Cristina Sánchez-Andrade (translated by Samuel Rutter)

The Winterlings by Cristina Sanchez-Andrade

This novel is a beautiful mix of magical realism, history, and gothic fiction about two sisters who return to their grandfather’s cottage in 1950s Spain after his death during the Civil War. There they provoke curiosity and suspicion among the eccentric villagers.

Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs
by Douglas Smith

Rasputin by Douglas Smith

If you’ve always been curious about Rasputin, this is now considered the definitive biography of the man, starting with his rise as confidant to Russian royalty and guardian to the heir, and moving to his suspicious influence over the government, all the way up to his famous death. Like Rasputin’s death, this book goes on for a long time, but all 800-plus pages are fascinating.

Swing Time
by Zadie Smith

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Two friends dream of being dancers, but only one has the talent to be famous. It is this difference that will bring an abrupt end to their relationship when they reach their 20s. “Swing Time” is a marvelous, multi-layered look at friendship, jealousy, and fame by one of the great writers of our time.