The 10 Best New Books to Read This November

november

In November, we enter the two-month period of the year when people read—and purchase—the most books. Whether we’re flying to visit family, sitting on the couch after a warm meal, or just enjoying a few days off work, November and December bring plenty of extra reading time. You could spend it reading the blockbusters (Michael Chabon’s Moonglow, Stephanie Meyer’s first novel since Breaking Dawn, or Lauren Graham’s memoir). Or you could read the books we’re most thankful for at the Chicago Review of Books, listed below.


9781566894494_c6157Fish in Exile by Vi Khi Nao
Coffee House Press, November 1

“The loss of a child takes mythological, magical casts—distortions that allow us to see the contours of grief more clearly. How do you grieve the death of a child? With fishtanks and jellyfish burials, Persephone’s pomegranate seeds, and affairs with the neighbors. Fish in Exile spins unimaginable loss through classical and magical tumblers, distorting our view so that we can see the contours of a parent’s grief all the more clearly.”

 

 


9780374238582_a8591Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, November 1

“Kelly Luce’s Pull Me Under tells the story of Rio Silvestri, who, when she was twelve years old, fatally stabbed a school bully. Rio, born Chizuru Akitani, is the Japanese American daughter of the revered violinist Hiro Akitani—a Living National Treasure in Japan and a man Rio hasn’t spoken to since she left her home country for the United States (and a new identity) after her violent crime. Her father’s death, along with a mysterious package that arrives on her doorstep in Boulder, Colorado, spurs her to return to Japan for the first time in twenty years. There she is forced to confront her past in ways she never imagined, pushing herself, her relationships with her husband and daughter, and her own sense of who she is to the brink.”


9780765384195_da534Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation
Translated by Ken Liu
Tor Books, November 1

“Readers at Tor and around the SF world have recently become familiar with Ken Liu and his Chinese translation work via the bestselling and award nominated novel The Three-Body Problem, by acclaimed Chinese author Cixin Liu. Readers who have developed a taste and excitement for Chinese SF by these means will be excited to hear that Ken Liu, the translator of that volume is assembling, translating, and editing an anthology of Chinese science fiction short stories. The thirteen stories in this collection are a strong and diverse representation of Chinese science fiction, including two by Liu Cixin. Some have won awards in translation, some have garnered serious critical acclaim, some have been selected for Year’s Best anthologies, and some are simply Ken Liu’s personal favorites.”


9781681772394_b3ecbA Space Traveler’s Guide to the Solar System
by Mark Thompson
Pegasus Books, November 8

“Have you ever dreamed of being an astronaut, traveling through the universe on your very own space mission? What would it be like to tour the solar system, visiting the sun and the planets, taking in everything from moons to asteroid belts along the way? What would you see, and how would you feel? What would you eat? How would you navigate and produce fuel? How would you survive? On this epic voyage of discovery, astronomer Mark Thompson takes you on that journey. From how to prepare for take-off and the experience of leaving Earth’s atmosphere, to the reality of living in the confines of a spaceship and the strange sensation of weightlessness, this is an adventure like no other.”


9781939419972_af1afNineveh by Henrietta Rose-Innes
Unnamed Press, November 15

“Katya Grubbs is Cape Town’s only ethical pest removal specialist. She expertly wrangles every manner of wild critter, creature or beast with the help of her unwitting nephew, Toby. When she is hired to remove the exotic beetles that have overrun Nineveh, a new luxury housing development on the coast, Katya finds that bugs aren’t the only unwelcome creatures hiding in the new (but inhabited) apartments. As she investigates further, it becomes clear that Nineveh is fast becoming an environmental, not to mention architectural, blunder. With marshlands encroaching on its borders, and the nearby seaside more menace than attraction, Katya becomes immersed in the world of Nineveh’s few residents—the mysterious caretakers and scavenger crews that survive in its shadow. It is only when her estranged father—a professional exterminator fallen on hard times—reappears in her life, that Nineveh’s deeper secrets are exposed.”


9781594203985_b8918Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Penguin, November 15

“Two brown girls dream of being dancers—but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either. Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from North-West London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.”


9781468313826_cff9eThe Ornatrix by Kate Howard
Overlook Press, November 22

“Cursed from birth by the bird-shaped blemish across her face, Flavia spends much of her life hidden from the outside world. Lonely and alienated even from her family, she sabotages her sister’s wedding in a fit of jealous rage and is exiled to serve in the convent of Santa Giuliana. Soon she finds that another exile dwells in the convent: a former Venetian courtesan named Ghostanza whose ostentatious appearance clashes with the otherwise austere convent and sparks gossip throughout the town. When Ghostanza claims Flavia as her ornatrix—her personal hairdresser and handmaid—Flavia is pulled into a world of glamor and concealment where admiration is everything and perfection is the ultimate, elusive goal. And she soon finds that with beauty in her grasp, in the form of the poisonous but stunning white lead cerussa, Flavia will do anything to leave her marked face behind. Rich in description and character, Kate Howard’s stunning novel is painted against a vivid historical landscape with themes and characters relevant today, tackling issues of belonging, female identity, and the perception of beauty.”


9781250071446_d89deTo Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin
Flatiron Books, November 29

“In February 1887, Caitriona Wallace and Émile Nouguier meet in a hot air balloon, floating high above Paris—a moment of pure possibility. But back on firm ground, their vastly different social strata become clear. Cait is a widow who because of her precarious financial situation is forced to chaperone two wealthy Scottish charges. Émile is expected to take on the bourgeois stability of his family’s business and choose a suitable wife. As the Eiffel Tower rises, a marvel of steel and air and light, the subject of extreme controversy and a symbol of the future, Cait and Émile must decide what their love is worth.”

 


9780062290427_a56e3The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Harper, November 29

In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has transformed from a gawky teenager into a powerful monarch. As she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, the headstrong, visionary leader has also transformed her realm. In her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies—including the evil Red Queen, her fiercest rival, who has set her armies against the Tear. To protect her people from a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable—she gave herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy—and named the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign, imprisoned in Mortmesne. Now, as the suspenseful endgame begins, the fate of Queen Kelsea—and the Tearling itself—will finally be revealed.


9780385353793_782aePrince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis by Anne Rice
Knopf, November 29

“At the novel’s center: the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt, hero, leader, inspirer, irresistible force, irrepressible spirit, battling (and ultimately reconciling with) a strange otherworldly form that has somehow taken possession of Lestat’s undead body and soul. This ancient and mysterious power and unearthly spirit of vampire lore has all the force, history, and insidious reach of the unknowable Universe. It is through this spirit, previously considered benign for thousands of vampire years and throughout the Vampire Chronicles, that we come to be told the hypnotic tale of a great sea power of ancient times; a mysterious heaven on earth situated on a boundless continent—and of how and why, and in what manner and with what far-reaching purpose, this force came to build and rule the great legendary empire of centuries ago that thrived in the Atlantic Ocean.”


One thought on “The 10 Best New Books to Read This November

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s