The 19 Best New Books Of November 2019
Look, I get it: There's football to watch, pumpkin pies to bake, holiday presents to buy, and apples to pick. Reading is probably the last thing on your mind right now, but I promise if you take some time to explore the 19 best new books of November 2019, you'll want to cancel all your plans to stay home and read instead. (Maybe you want to do that anyway, and this is just a really good excuse.)
There's one debut author on the list below who everyone needs to read: Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old environmental activist from Sweden who recently sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to attend the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City. (She gave up air travel to reduce her carbon footprint — you have to stan.) In her first book, No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference, a collection of her most inspiring speeches, she encourages readers to follow her lead and make big changes in their own lives — while advocating, loudly and persistently, for movement on a systemic level.
There's more where that came from: This month prepare yourself for the long-anticipated second novel from The Night Circus author Erin Morgenstern, the second essay collection from Shrill writer Lindy West, and the conclusion to Holly Black's explosive young adult series The Folk of the Air. Plus, keep your eyes peeled for the winner of the 2019 Booker Prize by Bernadine Evaristo, a new book from beloved mystery writer Lisa Jewell, and the memoir of National Book Award finalist Carmen Maria Machado.
Here are the best new books to watch for in November 2019:
The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care by Anna Borges (Nov. 1)
Written by the senior health editor of Self (and the writer of the viral essay "I Am Not Always Very Attached to Being Alive," published on The Outline) Anna Borges, The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care is a compendium of 200 tips and stories (from experts and regular people just trying to make it through the day) about how to move through the world with a little more kindness for yourself.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (Nov. 5)
The winner of the 2019 Booker Prize (it shared the honor with Margaret Atwood's The Testaments), Bernardine Evaristo's Girl, Woman, Other is a stunning reflection on Black personhood, from the experience of women and femmes.
The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West (Nov. 5)
Lindy West is pee-in-your-pants funny, a trait only amplified by her thoughtfulness and perceptiveness. In her first book since Shrill (which has since been adapted into a critically-acclaimed Hulu series), she examines how pop culture has sustained and amplified the patriarchy — and in one essay that honestly made me choke on my coffee, she dissects, in great detail, the sexist drivel that is an Adam Sandler movie.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (Nov. 5)
In 2011, Erin Morgenstern released The Night Circus, which would go on to sell two million copies in the United States and is slated to become a movie helmed by the man behind the Harry Potter films. It was a huge hit — on the internet and in bookstores. Eight years later — to the delight of all her fans — Morgenstern is releasing her second book, and it's about an ancient library called The Starless Sea with a mysterious (and magical) secret.
The Crying Book by Heather Christle (Nov. 5)
Few people understand the physical, political, mental, and emotional power of tears like Heather Christle, the poet behind The Crying Book. It isn't a traditional memoir, or a traditional nonfiction book; it's both a personal reflection on grief, depression, and motherhood and an examination of the science, history, and literature of crying.
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell (Nov. 5)
In the latest Lisa Jewell thriller, one woman's life changes in a single minute when she receives the letter she has long desired. It holds the names of her birth parents, as well as the unexpected news that they have bequeathed her a mansion in London. But what the letter does not contain is the full story: 25 years earlier, police arrived at that mansion to find three people dead, one baby crying, and four teenagers missing. Narrated by three characters with ties to the event of that night, The Family Upstairs twists-and-turns until the very last page.
The Great Pretender by Susannah Cahalan (Nov. 5)
From the author of Brain On Fire comes another incisive look at the understanding and treatment of mental health. The main focus of The Great Pretender is the landmark study of Stanford psychologist David Rosenhan, who, along with seven other people, went undercover in asylums in the United States in a study that dramatically changed the course of mental health care. But, as Cahalan explores in this book, the story of that study isn't quite as simple as it's been portrayed to be.
The Likeability Trap by Alicia Menendez (Nov. 5)
You probably don't need me to explain the "likeability trap." If you're a woman or femme, you're more than familiar with the paradox of being too "warm" and thus perceived as a pushover, or too "cold" and thus perceived as a bitch. It often seems like there's no way to win. Don't worry: This book isn't going to try to teach you how to play the game and attempt the Sisyphean task of being more likeable. Rather, MSNBC anchor Alicia Menendez (and Bustle contributing editor) wants you to interrogate the systems that promote the idea of "likeability" and give you the tools to achieve success without succumbing to it.
The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (Nov. 5)
Margaret Wilkerson Sexton's new novel is a poignant exploration of Blackness in the American South about two women in two different eras dealing with the same kind of racists. In the 1920s, farm owner Josephine becomes uneasy friends with Charlotte, the white woman next door with ties to the Ku Klux Klan. A century later, single mother Ava moves in with her wealthy white grandmother, only to discover that her behavior — like Charlotte's a hundred years earlier — puts her in danger.
Little Weirds by Jenny Slate (Nov. 5)
It's hard to describe these stories any other way than with the perfect, concise phrase "little weirds." In these quick, literary bites, Jenny Slate writes about heartbreak, love, loss, divorce, and ghosts. If you read it and love it, don't miss Samantha Rollins's profile of Jenny Slate for Bustle.
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado (Nov. 5)
In the Dream House, the memoir of National Book Award finalist Carmen Maria Machado, is a haunting account of her experience in an abusive lesbian relationship. This memoir unfolds like a haunted house story — a floor creak suddenly gives way to a chill which suddenly gives way to a moan which suddenly gives way to a full-on apparition. The abuse creeps up slowly, until it's a demon that's become near-impossible to escape.
On Swift Horses by Shannon Pufahl (Nov. 5)
The American West comes to life in vivid color in this story about newlywed Muriel, who escapes the confines of married life in San Diego by visiting a local racetrack. Her story intertwines with that of her brother-in-law, Julius, who leaves behind his job at a Las Vegas casino to search for his lover, a card shark, in Tijuana.
Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Steifvater (Nov. 5)
Finally, the sequel series to The Raven Boys is here, and it centers on fan-favorite character Ronan Lynch. As readers of the original series know, Ronan has the power to pull objects — and creatures, and people — from his dreams and into reality. But he's not the only one with this power, and not every dreamer has good intentions, as you'll discover in Call Down The Hawk.
Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (Nov. 5)
Chloe Brown, a chronically ill computer geek, almost died. With her second chance, she wants to "get a life" — so she makes a to-list: Move out of her parents' mansion, ride a motorcycle, have meaningless sex, etc. The only problem? She has no idea where to start — which is why she enlists the help of Red, a sexy tattooed handyman with a motorcycle.
We Met In December by Rosie Curtis (Nov. 5)
Are you looking for a novel that combines the vibes of The Holiday meets Something Borrowed? Have I got the perfect winter gift for you: In Rosie Curtis's We Met In December, 29-year-old Jess moves to London, takes up residence in a Notting Hill house share, and immediately falls in love with her roommate. The only problem? He's fallen for the girl who lives upstairs.
No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference by Greta Thunberg (Nov. 12)
Greta Thunberg is perhaps the most recognizable climate activist living today (though Jane Fonda is certainly coming for that title.) This book compiles all of her speeches, including the passionate address she made at the United Nations earlier this year: "You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying." If that gives you chill, brace yourself for the rest of this book, which will certainly motivate you to do your part to fight climate change.
Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge by Sheila Weller (Nov. 12)
Though this biography has been disavowed by Carrie Fisher's family, biographer Sheila Weller stands by her reporting of the late, great actress, author, and screenwriter. ("It is my great admiration for Carrie Fisher’s life and work that compelled me to write the book in the first place," Weller said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly.) If this biographer piques your interest in the infamous glamour girl, don't miss Fisher's memoirs.
All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney (Nov. 12)
All-American Muslim Girl is a story that so many teens need right now. In it, Allie Abraham decides to embrace her faith. Her parents aren't practicing Muslims, and they've raised her to keep it quiet. But she wants to show the world — and the right-wing shock jock father of her boyfriend — that she isn't any less All-American because of her faith.
The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black (Nov. 19)
No one writes fairies better than Holly Black, and in the diabolical conclusion to the Folk of the Air trilogy, she proves it. When the novel opens Jude, the mortal Queen of Faerie, is still living in exile in the world of mortals. But when her twin sister, Taryn, returns with an unexpected proposal, Jude finds herself back in the land of the faerie with a strange mission that will lead to a face-off with the very person responsible for her ever being in the land of the fae the first place: her father.