It is the month of November. When you step outside, your hot cup of coffee cools to the temperature of gelato. A winter coat is only a nice idea against the biting wind. Your hands are so cold that they feel as if they are floating in front of the sun as if they are distinct from your body.
It’s time to snuggle under a mountain of books till you warm up. Many of the best new books in November are about the human body. From Mina Seçkin’s visceral The Four touches of humor to Emily Ratajkowski’s widely anticipated memoir, My Body, they’re sexual, humorous, and intensely intimate. These books are about to become our best friends as we enter months of semi-hibernation. You can be cold, shivering, and, let’s face it, your skin is dry. Why not try something from someone else’s portfolio? Here Are The Best Books to Read In November.
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1. Win Me Something, by Kyle Lucia Wu Book (November 2)
Willa is a haphazard 24-year-old in New York who lands a job as a nanny for a super-rich family. She’s no longer dealing with insults from coffee shop patrons, but rather catering to Bijou, a nine-year-old who practices Vinyasa and eats paella. Wu draws you in, creating a beautiful contrast between Willa, who grew up feeling neglected by her divided family, and her wealthy employers, whose family appears both immaculate and impenetrable, even after she moves into their house.
2. Tacky, by Rax King (November 2)
Rax King’s use of words is sensual and generous, allowing her work to range from hilarious to moving. In her new book, she defends the notion that “tackiness is joyfulness” by defending elements that the culture has deemed as tacky (warm vanilla sugar smell, Samantha Jones, the Jersey Shore). Display this books proudly in your home or give it as a gift to your happiest, most tacky friend.
3. All Her Little Secrets, by Wanda M. Morris (November 2)
Even though Halloween is passed, it’s never too late to enjoy a sultry, murderous thriller. Ellice is a corporate lawyer in Atlanta, and she is one of the firm’s few Black women. And, not that it matters to you, but she’s having an affair with her married white employer. As you can expect, her work and sex life are thrown into disarray when he is discovered dead. A wonderful blend of legal language and story twists can be expected.
4. Burntcoat, by Sarah Hall (November 2)
“I chopped your hair at the kitchen table for something to do.” Does this ring a bell? Burntcoat follows a woman who is caught in the middle of a pandemic. She waits out the turmoil with an unknown partner in the bunker-like interior of her sculpture workshop. If you can bring yourself to visit a world that looks like winter 2020, Hall’s beautiful and sensual storytelling will be your guide.
5. Moms Don’t Have Time to Have Kids, edited by Zibby Owens (November 2)
Zibby Owens’ daughter told her, “Moms don’t even have time to be moms.” In a similar vein, the pieces in this collection are divided into sections based on things moms don’t have time to do, such as sleep, get ill, socialize, write, and lose weight. Lily King, Cecily von Ziegesar, Jean Kwok, and Stephanie Danler are among Owens’ formidable gang of literary moms.
6. The Sentence, by Louise Erdrich (November 9)
The Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction, Louise Erdrich, is back with a new books on two of our favorite things: bookstores and the uncanny. “A wonderfully comic ghost story, a tale of passion, of a troubled marriage, and of a woman’s endless blunders,” the book’s description says. Louise, you had us at “funny ghost story,” but “a woman’s endless blunders” drew us in as well.
7. My Body, by Emily Ratajkowski (November 9)
Life is difficult. It’s difficult to believe that Emily Ratajkowski’s name is synonymous with hotness, that she hangs out with hip celebs and can pull off low-rise jeans, and that a Vogue cover is a typical way for her to announce her pregnancy. It’s difficult to be all of these things and a good writer at the same time. But this is the society we live in, and Emily Ratajkowski is a talented writer, and her debut novel is both an interesting read and the accessory you’ll see on every influencer’s bookshelf, bedside table, and slightly set holiday beach chair for the rest of the year.
8. The Perishing, by Natasha Deón (November 9)
Off the page, Deon works as a defense attorney and is the founder of Redeemed, a nonprofit that assists ex offenders clear their records and reintegrating into society. She transports us to the era of Prohibition with a spooky twist in The Perishing. We’re in Los Angeles in the 1930s. Our protagonist has no memory and is unable to die. Shay Mitchell said of the novel, “You will not be able to put it down.”
9. The Four Humors, by Mina Seçkin (November 16)
Seçkin brings us inside a summer spent in Turkey with a young woman named Sibyl and her lover, Cooper, in simple, amusing prose. Sibyl, who suffers from migraines, spends her time with her grandmother watching soap operas rather than moving her life forward. She obsesses on the ancient belief that the body contains “humor” in these hilarious, melancholy pages, a theory that medical practitioners hung on to from ancient times till the nineteenth century. Come meet Sibyl if you’ve ever put off studying for the MCAT in favor of a lot of soul-searching, exposing familial pain, and watching TV.
10. Sex Cult Nun, by Faith Jones (November 30)
Images of genitalia and couples having sex were featured in one of Faith Jones’s early coloring books. Jones grew up in a cult known as the Family, sometimes known as the Children of God. In Sex Cult Nun, she tells the story of her family in a candid and honest manner. But she was taught as a youngster that “women should not reject to sleep with any man who asks them, and even if she considers him repulsive,” as part of their subordination to God. This book requires every possible trigger warning. If you’re interested, Jones’ critique of a movement “based in the patriarchal, religious concept of control” is worth reading. She came to the conclusion that, while most of us did not grow up in such a cult-like environment, sexual and child abuse is not unique to cults.