The Best New Books to Read This Month

If you’re already getting stressed about the holidays, worry not. Here are 10 books to keep you entertained whether you’re traveling far and wide or staying close to home.

1

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer, by Fredrik Backman

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Clocking in at just 76 pages, this novella from Fredrik Backman (A Man Called Ove) follows an elderly man, known only as “grandpa,” and his relationship with his grandson, Noah. Grandpa and Noah have always been incredibly close. After all, they both love math, equations, and reciting the digits of pi. (Noah’s dad Ted, however, was always more of a word person.) Every day they meet on a bench in the town square, but lately the square has begun to change. It’s getting smaller as Grandpa’s memory begins to fade at the hands of dementia. As Noah promises to hold onto his grandfather’s memories, both the boy and the old man slowly learn to say goodbye to one another. Backman opens the book with a letter to the readers, explaining that he never intended for this story to be published— he only wanted to sort out his own thoughts about memory and aging. But, as he writes, “it turned into a small tale of how I’m dealing with slowly losing the greatest minds I know, about missing someone who is still here, and how I wanted to explain it all to my children.” Good thing he decided to share: The result is beautiful, dreamlike, heartbreaking, and heartwarming. Bring tissues. Bring all the tissues.

To buy: $16, amazon.com.

Released November 1.


2

Faithful, by Alice Hoffman

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This novel opens with a tragedy. Best friends and high school seniors, Shelby and Helene are in a car accident that leaves Helene in a coma. While Shelby, the driver, emerges from the crash physically intact, she is ridden with guilt and determined to pay her penance. After a suicide attempt, Shelby spends three months in a psychiatric institution before becoming a recluse in her parents’ basement, refusing to believe she is deserving of happiness. Throughout her downward spiral, Shelby receives anonymous postcards encouraging her to, for example, “feel something” and “believe something.” Eventually, Shelby moves to New York City, finds a job at a pet store, and, slowly, learns to live—and love—again. While the book is certainly bleak at the beginning, stick with it: Hoffman (The Marriage of Opposites) shares a touching lesson on forgiveness and acceptance.

To buy: $22, amazon.com.

Released November 1.


3

Inherit the Bones, by Emily Littlejohn

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Gemma Monroe is a police detective in Cedar Valley, a small, sleepy mountain town in Colorado. When she is called in to investigate the murder of a clown from the traveling circus, she is shocked by his identity. His fingerprints match the mayor’s son, Nicky Bellington, who supposedly had died from a fall three years earlier. This discovery sends Gemma, who is six months pregnant, on an investigation that reaches back three decades to a summer of crimes that continue to haunt Cedar Valley. In her well-crafted debut, Emily Littlejohn skillfully captures life in a small town—and the insidious secret keeping that can come with it. Inherit the Bones is the perfect fall page-turner.

To buy: $22.50, amazon.com.

Released November 1.



4

Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey, by Elena Ferrante

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If you have torn through Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet and are hungry for more, check out this collection of interviews, essays, and letters by the infamously mysterious author. First published in Italy in 2003, this compilation has spurred a bit of controversy as of late. Investigative journalist Claudio Gatti cited Frantumaglia as the impetus for his research into who exactly is the person behind the nom de plume. While his discoveries were published in various outlets including the New York Times Review of Books, many readers think Ferrante should have the right to her privacy. Now fans can read in her own words just why she has avoided the public eye and gain insight into the creative processes that have yielded some of the best fiction in decades.

To buy: $13.50, amazon.com.

Released November 1.


5

Hindsight, by Mindy Tarquini

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Eugenia Panisporchi has lived many lives—and she remembers all of them. Blessed (or cursed) with the gift of hindsight, Eugenia keeps reliving her unhappy past, only in different settings. In her present life, she is a 33-year-old Italian-American, working as a Chaucer professor in South Philadelphia. Hopeful that the Virgin Mary (yes, she serves her soul’s guide) will grant her a life that is more suited to her, Eugenia lays low and tries to keep her entanglements to a minimum. But when a student reveals that she too has the supernatural ability, Eugenia finds herself hosting support groups for others like them. Will they ever figure out how to break the cycle? Funny and irreverent, this modern fable is a good reminder to love the life you have.

To buy: $17, amazon.com.

Released November 8.


6

Swing Time, by Zadie Smith

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The White Teeth and On Beauty author returns with an ambitious novel about friendship, race, class, and fame. Named after the narrator’s favorite Fred Astaire film, the book follows two girls who become best friends at dance class in 1982. Tracey and the unnamed narrator have much in common: they are both mixed-race, they live across the street from each other in Northwest London public housing, and they both dream of being dancers. But only one of them, Tracey, has the talent to pursue it. As their paths diverge, Tracey struggles as a performer while the narrator goes on to become a personal assistant to a Madonna-esque pop star, a job that takes her to West Africa to open a school for girls. Despite their distance, both physical and emotional, the two girls’ lives remain forever entwined, demonstrating just how deeply our pasts affect our present.

To buy: $19, amazon.com.

Released November 15.



7

The Sun Is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon

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Natasha is a rational teenager. She believes in science and facts. As she says early on in Nicola Yoon’s stunning YA romance, “To be clear: I don’t believe in fate. But I’m desperate.” She’s desperate because her family is about to be deported back to Jamaica and she only has 12 hours to try to find a way to stay in New York. Daniel, however, has a poet’s sensibility, which doesn’t exactly jive with his parents, Korean immigrants who expect him to attend an Ivy League school and become a doctor. When the pair meet on that fateful day, Daniel is convinced it is love at first sight and is determined to get Natasha realize the same. The National Book Award-nominated novel traces everything that happens over those 12 hours as Natasha can’t help but begin to fall for the sweet, romantic Daniel. What makes this novel more than just a mushy story of teenagers falling in love is the many glimpses Yoon (Everything Everything) gives readers into the people Daniel and Natasha interact with—no matter how briefly. (One poignant example: the security guard at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services longs for someone to just look up and see her, and not just pass through with their head down.) The result is a multi-layered look at the many factors that determine why, when, and how we fall in love.

To buy: $12.50, amazon.com.

Released November 1.


8

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

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Ray Kroc, the man who put McDonald’s golden arches on the map, will be at the center of the film, The Founder, in December. Brush up on the true story behind his rise from milkshake machine salesman to billionaire fast-food magnate to philanthropist—and the woman who supported him—with this compelling biography. Veteran journalist Lisa Napoli (Radio Shangri-La) takes an in-depth look at the passionate relationship between Ray Kroc and his third wife Joan, beginning with sparks that flew at a dinner club in 1957 through their tumultuous marriage, marred by Ray’s alcoholism and temper, to Ray’s death in 1984. While Ray started charities like the Kroc Foundation and the Ronald McDonald Houses during his lifetime, his philanthropic efforts were often efforts to promote the restaurant franchise. After his death, however, Joan contributed billions of dollars to causes close to heart (but not necessarily Ray’s): Greenpeace, AIDS research, National Public Radio (she still is thanked over the air for her landmark $225 million donation), and countless smaller causes. Part soap opera, part business success story, this richly researched biography has a happy ending indeed.

To buy: $24.50, amazon.com.

Released November 15.


9

Moonglow, by Michael Chabon

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In his 15th novel, Moonglow, Michael Chabon delves into subject matter seemingly more suited for a piece of non-fiction: his own family history. But the Pulitzer Prize-winning author transforms his family tree into a mesmerizing work of fictional biography. Chabon weaves conversations between the narrator and his terminally ill grandfather (who is experiencing the loquacious effects of painkillers), with detailed flashbacks to the elderly man’s defining moments, filling in the cracks of his grandfather’s memories with his own gripping speculations. Moonglow uncovers how long-told stories and family foundations can unravel when time brings previously undisclosed pasts to light.

To buy: $23, amazon.com.

Released November 22.



10

Victoria, by Daisy Goodwin

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Read the book behind the miniseries before it airs on PBS’ Masterpiece in January. Daisy Goodwin (American Heiress), who also wrote the screenplay for the eight-episode series, drew from personal diaries to bring the young queen to life in this sumptuous historical fiction novel. The story opens in 1837, when Victoria ascends to the throne. At just 18 years old, she is childish, selfish, and prone to tantrums. With time, and the help of Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, she grows into a poised monarch. Fans of character-driven storylines will relish witnessing Victoria’s transition from immaturity to adulthood. Readers may feel eager to learn more of her romance with Prince Albert, but perhaps there is a second season (and book) in store?

To buy: amazon.com.

Released November 22.