Before December, comes the very underrated November. We tend to kinda rush over the month —malls are already decked out in garlands, and you can already buy plastic Christmas trees at Target. But there is so much to love about November! The foliage! Winter squash! Waking up to a cold, crispy morning and thawing out to sixty-five degrees (on average) in the afternoon! THANKSGIVING, (aka, the best holiday of the holidays IMHO)!
Also? Daylight Savings. Which some probably feel is actually a sad thing, since it gets dark so early and we lose an hour, but hear me out. Yes the day may turn into night while you’re still at work, but it also gives you the excuse to cuddle up on your couch a little earlier than you normally would, and on that couch with your blanket and your tea and your peppermint Joe Joes you can read a really good book and know that there is nothing better.
Best of all, some really marvelous books have been released this month. Check ’em out.
1. Life and Other Near-Death Experiences by Camille Pagan (Out November 1st)
In a self-deprecating and funny and brave way, Libby Miller abandons her life in Chicago when her doctor tells her she has cancer and her husband confesses he’s gay. More than just a cancer narrative, Life and Other Near Death Experiences is a story about seizing life and ditching what others expect of you. It will make you laugh. It will make you ugly cry. And it will make you want to live your own life to its greatest potential.
2. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes (Out November 11th)
Goddess of Thursday nights, creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder, and mom, Shonda Rhimes is a human woman we all should look up to. Because she does it all —juggles a demanding job, creates thought-provoking narratives that are not only entertaining but spark much-needed conversations about diversity and normalization. How does she do it all? She explains in Year of Yes, in which she confesses up to this point she’s been afraid of so many things, she’s willing to throw out the word “no” in order to push herself out of her comfort zone.
3. The Mare by Mary Gaitskill (Out November 3rd)
Lucky us, Mary Gaitskill and her brilliant brain has given us another beautiful novel to devour. The Mare tells the story of Velveteen Vargas, a Fresh Air Fund tween being raised by a shaky artist and man who seems to view her care-taking as a socioeconomic experiment. The novel follows Velveteen and her life with this couple —and it’s stunning, and fiery, and lovingly crafted.
4. All the Houses by Karen Olsson (Out November 3rd)
Helen Atherton lives in Los Angeles, desperately trying to “make it” in Hollywood while living with a shadow: her father. A man who was deeply involved with the Iran-Contra scandal when Helen was a child, Helen’s father’s past actions continue to affect her in her adulthood. When she has to return back to Washington D.C. to care for him after he has a heart-attack, she runs smack dab into the past that is her childhood home —and all the memories trapped within it.
5. Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker (Out November 10th)
If you watched Weeds, you probably fell in love with Nancy Botwin, played by Mary-Louise Parker. She was selfish, funny, smart, beautiful, impulsive. She had the best shoes and the best hair. She made running an illegal weed distribution business look like the most fun time. Even though the show ended in 2012, you probably still think of Nancy sometimes (wistfully). Well, the woman who embodied your weed-selling crush has written a book and it is amazing —which isn’t a surprise because Mary-Louise Parker is a smart, smart woman who GETS LIFE. In Dear Mr. You, Parker puts together all the letters she’s written to the men in her life. Her grandfather, a priest, boyfriends. It’s all there. It’s dynamite.
6. Ball by Tara Ison (Out November 10th)
Set mostly in Los Angeles, Ball is a collection of stories about desire. Twisted, dark, and wild, the stories in Ball focus on characters seeking love, adventure, and attention that is deeply intense and crushing. Ison, who has also written Reeling Through Life: How I Learned to Live, Love, and Die at the Movies and A Child Out of Alcatraz, is a talented writer who may have slipped under your radar. Be prepared to become obsessed.
(Images via Shutterstock, Amazon)