Winter Is Coming: 27 New Reads for November

Take a deep breath, readers, and say it with us… The holidays are upon us. We know what you’re thinking. It’s only the beginning of November! The Thanksgiving turkey hasn’t even been purchased yet, much less carved and gobbled up! We hear you, readers, we really do. But this year is, shall we say… unique. From supply chain woes to shipping delays, holiday shopping will be impacted. The good news is we have what you need for everyone on your list, starting with this month’s staff picks! Without further ado…

Recommended by Ann

The Days of Afrekete: A Novel Cover ImageThe Days of Afrekete: A Novel

“I didn’t feel like I was reading this novel — I felt like I was living it.” That was the blurb I wrote for the jacket. It’s true. This book is magic.

Recommended by Ann

Oh William!: A Novel Cover ImageOh William!: A Novel

For anyone who loved My Name Is Lucy Barton, for anyone who loves great literature, Liz Strout writes with a clarity and beauty that cannot be matched. This is one of the best books of the year.

Recommended by Ann

Five Tuesdays in Winter Cover ImageFive Tuesdays in Winter

Five Tuesdays in Winter moved me, inspired me, thrilled me. It filled up every chamber of my heart. I loved this book.

Recommended by Karen

No One Goes Alone: A Novel (A Random House Audiobook Original) Cover ImageNo One Goes Alone: A Novel (A Random House Audiobook Original)

This audio-only novel from Erik Larson is light, fun listen with a great cast of characters. Set in a mysterious house on a isolated island off the British coast, this is a ghost story for those that are sorry Halloween is over. Use this as an excuse to set up a account with Parnassus as your bookstore.

Recommended by Lindsay

The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven Cover ImageThe Memoirs of Stockholm Sven

I don’t know that I’ve ever come across a book more satisfying to my inner misanthrope than The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven. Anyone who loves the idea of unfettered alone time: this book is for you. Set in the early 20th century, The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven follows a man who literally goes to the edge of the earth and settles in the Arctic with a loyal dog as his only companion. I adored it.

Recommended by Sissy

The Bloodless Boy Cover ImageThe Bloodless Boy

I couldn’t put this book down! Seventeenth-century London is rebuilding after the great fire, and the brightest scientific minds in the city are investigating the murder of a young boy. The setting is very detailed, and the characters come alive as they discuss medicine, philosophy and engineering. Fans of The Alienist and Ken Follett will love it. The language is exquisite and this will become a classic.

Recommended by Ben

The Pastor Cover ImageThe Pastor

By Hanne Orstavik, translated by Martin Aitken

This quiet, lyrical translation follows the new pastor of a windswept town on the northern edge of Norway as she grapples with the suicide of a local teenage girl and the history of the indigenous Sami people who were violently converted to Christianity. Reflective and interior, it gets at the heart of how hard it can be to grasp the meaning of grief, romance, community, one’s very self.

Recommended by Patsy

The Every Cover ImageThe Every

Both wry and terrifying, this dystopian novel is a cautionary tale for our age. What happens when people willingly exchange privacy and autonomy for convenience? Eggers’ biting satire and humor seem oracular yet uncomfortably close to present day. Fans of 1984 and The Circle will enjoy this page-turner.

Recommended by Becca

Christmas by the Book Cover ImageChristmas by the Book

Reading this feels like cozying up with a cup of hot chocolate. Nora and Simon own the independent bookstore in their small Cotswolds village and are struggling to make ends meet. As they work through what might be their last holiday in the store, they connect with a cast of lonely characters from their village. If you’re a fan of bookstores with dogs and Christmas miracles, this is the book for you!

Recommended by Sissy

Grave Reservations: A Novel (The Booking Agents Series #1) Cover ImageGrave Reservations: A Novel (The Booking Agents Series #1)

Cherie Priest turns a cold case mystery into a hilarious romp through Seattle. Her characters jump off the page, and I found myself rooting for the crime-fighting team (a cop, a psychic and a BFF). What could be saccharine and silly in some other writer’s hands is truly heartfelt and clever because of Priest’s talent as a writer.

Recommended by Sissy

Something More Than Night Cover ImageSomething More Than Night

You’re not going to believe this — Boris Karloff and Raymond Chandler are chasing bad guys together in 1930s Hollywood. Honestly, their friendship is really sweet. A hint of supernatural creeps into the mystery. Fans of Grady Hendrix and “meddling kids” will love this hilarious romp.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Once Upon a Wardrobe Cover ImageOnce Upon a Wardrobe

A woman seeks the origins of Narnia in a quest to fulfill her brother’s wishes. This beautiful story about the power of books is a must-read for fans of C.S. Lewis.

Recommended by Jordan

On Girlhood: 15 Stories from the Well-Read Black Girl Library Cover ImageOn Girlhood: 15 Stories from the Well-Read Black Girl Library

By Glory Edim (Editor)

This anthology celebrates short stories by some of the favorite authors of the Well-Read Black Girl book club including Toni Morrison, Alice Walker and more. Separated into four themes (Innocence, Belonging, Love, and Self-Discovery), these short fiction stories will give you a blessing to laugh, cry, ponder and relate.

Recommended by Aly

Fan Club Cover ImageFan Club

It’s a fine line between fandom and obsession. This cult-like take on how one girl’s infatuation with a celebrity consumes her identity is hauntingly relatable in this age of social media.

Recommended by Ann

Little Pieces of Hope: Happy-Making Things in a Difficult World Cover ImageLittle Pieces of Hope: Happy-Making Things in a Difficult World

By Todd Doughty, illustrated by Josie Portillo

This book of lists lit up all the pleasure centers in my brain. Again and again it reminded me of the beauty and wonder of the world. Pick it up, flip to any page, read. You will be filled with joy.

Recommended by Elyse

On Animals Cover ImageOn Animals

If we don’t relate to the animal world, who are we? A must-read book of essays about whales, chickens, donkeys, tigers — as well as your typical household pets! Charming and completely engaging. Even if you’ve read some of these pieces before, they are worth a second, third or fourth read!

Recommended by Steve

The Loneliest Americans Cover ImageThe Loneliest Americans

If you’ve ever read Jay Caspian Kang, you know he is not short on opinions. Less than 20 pages into this book, he posits that “nobody — most of all Asian Americans — really believes that Asian America actually exists.” Whether or not you agree with him, it’s worth reading how he arrived at this conclusion, even if it’s just as much a point of departure.

Recommended by Sarah

Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres Cover ImageMajor Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres

This is a fascinating deep dive into the world of musical genres. Sanneh dissects how they add to our individual identities, generate collectivism, and breed exclusivity all at the same time. This would make a perfect holiday gift for the music and history lovers in your life!

Recommended by Ben

The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness Cover ImageThe Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness

Gregory Boyle shows us the power of affection, laughter, re-enchantment, wholeness, and “tender kinship with each other.” Interspersing Sufi and Jesuit quotes among his “half-baked musings,” the book’s core is the vibrant tapestry of hilarious and heartwarming interactions with homies during his nearly four decades leading Homeboy Industries. I was tearing up the whole way through!

Recommended by Jennifer

12 Bytes: How We Got Here. Where We Might Go Next Cover Image12 Bytes: How We Got Here. Where We Might Go Next

Jeanette Winterson crafts these essays carefully, with a well-researched understanding of tech, history and society. The book itself is a lobby for the need of women, POC and creatives to be involved in the tech conversation. Winterson makes the compelling argument that if we want a benevolent future with something as powerful as AI, we need to be in touch with our humanity.

Recommended by Ben

Can We Talk About Israel?: A Guide for the Curious, Confused, and Conflicted Cover ImageCan We Talk About Israel?: A Guide for the Curious, Confused, and Conflicted

By Daniel Sokatch, illustrated by Christopher Noxon

In this timely and easy-to-follow dive into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Sokatch has crafted the perfect primer for those with any opinion on this thorny issue. Rejecting simplistic dichotomies, he recognizes both “sides” have caused and received harm, both seek safety and home. He packs in the history and analysis, while illustrations and personal experiences keep the momentum flowing.

Recommended by Sissy

I Dream He Talks to Me: A Memoir of Learning How to Listen Cover ImageI Dream He Talks to Me: A Memoir of Learning How to Listen

Allison Moorer is such a lyrical writer. This particular book is about her journey as a mother to an autistic son. She shares the universal struggle we all face: controlling life, controlling the world around us. How do we find hope in the struggle? How do we let go and just live?

Recommended by Chelsea

This Is Ear Hustle: Unflinching Stories of Everyday Prison Life Cover ImageThis Is Ear Hustle: Unflinching Stories of Everyday Prison Life

One of my favorite podcasts has a book! Nigel, a visual artist, and Earlonne, a formerly incarcerated man, met at San Quentin State Prison and started the podcast. This tells the story of the podcast and Earlonne’s backstory along with others’ experiences of incarceration. Funny, tender and sometimes emotional, it is both entertaining and educational.

Recommended by Hannah

That Sounds So Good: 100 Real-Life Recipes for Every Day of the Week: A Cookbook Cover ImageThat Sounds So Good: 100 Real-Life Recipes for Every Day of the Week: A Cookbook

Fast becoming a staple in my kitchen, this new cookbook from James Beard Award-winning chef Carla Lalli Music is sure to delight! Whether it be for a time-crunched weeknight or a special dinner party weekend, she’s a master at creating healthy, fresh, flavorful dishes tailored for any night of the week — your friends & family will be impressed, I can practically guarantee it.

Recommended by Sydney

Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life Cover ImageHooked: How Crafting Saved My Life

Sutton Foster, known for her talents on screen, turns out to be a lovely storyteller in her writing. Woven throughout this memoir are tales of family dysfunction and vulnerability. And yet, the overarching theme remains that self love fuels creativity, and vice versa.

Recommended by Steve

Rifqa Cover ImageRifqa

The plight of Sheikh Jarrah, the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem, received international attention earlier this year as Israeli settlers forced residents out of their own homes. You may have seen Mohammed El-Kurd on television speaking about it, or read his reporting in The Nation. Here, he tells his family’s story — a story of life, resilience and hope under occupation — in defiant, lyrical verse.

Recommended by Sissy

Some Things I Still Can't Tell You: Poems Cover ImageSome Things I Still Can’t Tell You: Poems

I loved this collection. Collins lets his reader know that he is writing for himself, fully knowing he is not an established poet. I normally do not read poetry, and I felt relaxed and ready to see what he had to say. It was a treat to see a very public person open up like this.

First Editions Club: November Selection

Oh William!: A Novel Cover ImageOh William!: A Novel


Dear friends,

There aren’t many writers whose books can either be read on their own or as part of a series: John Updike’s Rabbit Angstrom novels, Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, Jane Gardam’s Old Filth trilogy, Marilynne Robinson’s books set in the fictional town of Gilead. Even though you can think of more (I know you can) it’s not a long list. I hereby add Elizabeth Strout and her magnificent Lucy Barton.

Maybe you’ve read My Name is Lucy Barton, or the stories that told us more about Lucy’s life, Anything is Possible, or maybe you don’t know Lucy at all. It doesn’t make any difference. Wherever you step into the narrative turns out to be exactly the right place. Oh William! is both a glorious stand-alone novel and the continuation of a character who I’ll never get enough of. Lucy and her ex-husband are taking an unexpected road trip to figure out the past. The story, which is rich and subtle and glorious, never once heads in the direction I thought it was going.

Elizabeth Strout is one of our finest writers, and this may well be her best novel yet. That’s saying a lot. I am thrilled to be reading about Lucy again, and I’m betting you will be too.


Ann Patchett

More about our First Editions Club: Every member receives a first edition of the selected book of the month, signed by the author. Books are carefully chosen by our staff of readers, and our picks have gone on to earn major recognition including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Plus, there’s no membership fee or premium charge for these books. Build a treasured library of signed first editions and always have something great to read! Makes a FABULOUS gift, too.