As the weather chills and we all gather in the cozy indoors, it's the perfect time to curl up with a fantastic book. Luckily, I've got the 9 best fiction books of November 2016 for you to dig into with a slice of pie and cup of cider.
Whether you're reading to escape your family or they're reading right alongside you, these books will pull you in entirely, wrapping new worlds around you like a blanket. They'll transport you to new places and introduce you to new experiences, leading you to intimate paths of inquiry. From fast-paced thrillers to vibrant love stories to emotional explorations, when you crack these open, you'll feel the rest of the world slide away.
You'll devour these books, but you'll also want to sit with them and let them digest. These are rich books and their flavors will wash over you. Sometimes savory, sometimes sweet, they'll pull you along for a ride, while leading you to ask important questions of yourself.
It's time to find your favorite armchair, maybe grab a slice of pie or two, and buckle down with some excellent reading.
1. Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce (November 1; Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Luce's short story collection, Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail, is absolutely brilliant, so I was thrilled when I heard she had a novel coming out. In Pull Me Under, a 12-year-old girl in Japan kills one of her school bullies. Years later, she's grown up and created a new life for herself in the United States—a life that's interrupted when her father's death leads her to return to Japan. Beautifully written and utterly hypnotic, Pull Me Under is one you can't miss.
2. Faithful by Alice Hoffman (November 1; Simon & Schuster)
A great book club pick, Faithful will take you on an emotional ride. A car accident puts Shelby Richmond's best friend in a coma, while Shelby walks away unharmed. As Shelby processes her grief and guilt, she struggles to find her way in the world, encountering (among other things) an angel who protected her that fateful night.
3. Invisible Planets: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese SF in Translation edited by Ken Liu (November 1; Tor)
According to translator Ken Liu, China has a rich science fiction scene that (until now) has been hard for non-Chinese readers to access. From award-winners to stories that Liu simply loves, this anthology brings a fantastic array of speculative fiction to English-speaking readers, including a short story by Liu Cixin (author of The Three Body Problem).
4. Fish in Exile by Vi Khi Nao (November 1; Coffee House Press)
In this peculiar and poetic novel, a couple grieves the loss of their twins by building coffins for jellyfish, designing outfits for fish, and other unusual ways. A magical and fresh perspective on grief, this beautiful book is like nothing you've ever read before.
5. Virgin and Other Stories by April Ayers Lawson (November 1; Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
This fantastic debut short story collection is filled with characters that are vulnerable and complex. Set in the American South, these stories explore realms of sex, trust, and intimacy in a way that will entirely hook you.
6. Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada (November 8; New Directions)
This wonderfully strange novel chronicles the lives of three generations of celebrity polar bears: one who writes a best-selling memoir, one who joins a circus, and one who lives in a zoo. Set in Soviet Russia and East Germany, each polar bear's story is a fascinating and profound exploration.
7. Swing Time by Zadie Smith (November 15; Hamish Hamilton)
When the legendary Zadie Smith has a new novel out, it's cause for celebration. In Swing Time, we follow two brown girls who both dream of being dancers. Moving from North-West London to West Africa as their friendship evolves, this is a novel that will sweep you up in its rhythms.
8. Moonglow by Michael Chabon (November 22; Harper)
The author of The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and The Yiddish Policeman's Union is back with another spellbinding novel. Partially inspired by the death bed recollections of Chabon's grandfather, this book follows a grandfather as he recounts the escapades of his youth in the mid-20th century, including his time at war and the mysterious origins of a company called Chabon Scientific Co. You'll find yourself in the midst of a wild story that straddles the line between truth and fiction.
9. To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin (November 29; Flatiron Books)
Set in 1865 Paris as the Eiffel Tower is being built, this transportive read tells the story of one of the tower's engineers, Émile Nouguier, and a Scottish widow, Caitriona Wallace as she searches for her place in the world. As class and controversey complicate their relationship, you'll be instantly wrapped up in this novel's vibrant world.