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The Best Books of November 2019

The Best Books of November 2019

As the weather grows colder, the idea of curling up with a good book is more appealing than ever. Here are some of our favorite books out this month to help build your winter reading list.

In the Dream House
By Carmen Maria Machado

“Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming. And it’s that struggle that gives the book its original structure: each chapter is driven by its own narrative trope—the haunted house, erotica, the bildungsroman—through which Machado holds the events up to the light and examines them from different angles.”

Cutting Edge: New Stories of Mystery and Crime By Women Writers
Edited by Joyce Carol Oates

Akashic Books

“Joyce Carol Oates, a queenpin of the noir genre, has brought her keen and discerning eye to the curation of an outstanding anthology of brand-new top-shelf short stories (and poems by Margaret Atwood!). While bad men are not always the victims in these tales, they get their due often enough to satisfy readers who are sick and tired of the gendered status quo, or who just want to have a little bit of fun at the expense of a crumbling patriarchal society. “

The Deep
By Rivers Solomon with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes

“Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.”

Essays One
By Lydia Davis
FSG Books

“Best known for her masterful short stories and translations, Davis’s gifts extend equally to her nonfiction. In Essays One, Davis has, for the first time, gathered a selection of essays, commentaries, and lectures composed over the past five decades.”

Winterlust: Finding Beauty in the Fiercest Season
By Bernd Brunner
Greystone Books

“This lovingly illustrated meditation on winter entwines the spectacular with the everyday, expertly capturing the essence of a beloved yet dangerous season, which is all the more precious in an era of climate change.”

Living in a World That Can’t Be Fixed: Reimagining Counterculture Today
By Curtis White
Melville House

“The problem, White argues, is twofold: first, most of us think of counterculture as a phenomenon stuck in the 1960s, and, second, what passes as counterculture today…simply isn’t. Nevertheless, a reimagined counterculture is our best hope to save the planet, bypass social antagonisms, and create the world we actually want to live in. Now.”

Ghost Engine
By Christian Tebordo
Bridge Eight Press

“From scenes of chilling hilarity to an underlying absurdity, ​Ghost Engine​ finds a way to keep the haunt alive long after you’ve finished reading.”

The Mutations
By Jorge Comensal
FSG Books

The Mutations, by Jorge Comensal, is a comedy tracing the metastasis of Ramón’s cancer through his body and in the lives of his family members, colleagues, and doctors, dissecting the experience of illness and mapping the relationships both strengthened and frayed by its wake.”

This Land is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving
By David J. Silverman

“This unsettling history reveals why some modern Native people hold a Day of Mourning on Thanksgiving, a holiday which celebrates a myth of colonialism and white proprietorship of the United States. This Land is Their Land shows that it is time to rethink how we, as a pluralistic nation, tell the history of Thanksgiving.”

They Will Drown in Their Mothers’ Tears
By Johannes Anyuru; Translated by Saskia Vogel
Two Lines

“In the midst of a terrorist attack on a bookstore reading by Göran Loberg, a comic book artist famous for his demeaning drawings of the prophet Mohammed, one of the attackers, a young woman, has a sudden premonition that something is wrong, changing the course of history.”

See Also

Oblivion Banjo
Charles Wright

“No matter the precise subject of each poem, on display here is a vast and rich interior life, a mind wrestling with the tenuous relationship between the ways we describe the world and its reality.”

Tommy Pico
Tin House

Feed is the fourth book in the Teebs tetralogy. It’s an epistolary recipe for the main character, a poem of nourishment, and a jaunty walk through New York’s High Line park, with the lines, stanzas, paragraphs, dialogue, and registers approximating the park’s cultivated gardens of wildness.” 

By Burhan Sönmez; Translated by Umit Hussein
Other Press

“A blues singer, Boratin, attempts suicide by jumping off the Bosphorus Bridge, but opens his eyes in the hospital. He has lost his memory, and can’t recall why he wished to end his life. He remembers only things that are unrelated to himself, but confuses their timing. He knows that the Ottoman Empire fell, and that the last sultan died, but has no idea when. His mind falters when remembering civilizations, while life, like a labyrinth, leads him down different paths.”

Sweet Days of Discipline
By Fleur Jaeggy; Translated by Tim Parks
New Directions

“A novel about obsessive love and madness set in postwar Switzerland, Fleur Jaeggy’s eerily beautiful novel begins innocently enough: ‘At fourteen I was a boarder in a school in the Appenzell.’ But there is nothing innocent here. With the offhanded remorselessness of a young Eve, the narrator describes her potentially lethal designs to win the affections of Frédérique, the apparently perfect new girl.”

The World of Juliette Kinzie: Chicago before the Fire
By Ann Durkin Keating
University of Chicago Press

“When Juliette Kinzie first visited Chicago in 1831, it was anything but a city. An outpost in the shadow of Fort Dearborn, it had no streets, no sidewalks, no schools, no river-spanning bridges. And with two hundred disconnected residents, it lacked any sense of community. In the decades that followed, not only did Juliette witness the city’s transition from Indian country to industrial center, but she was instrumental in its development.”

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