The Best Reads Of November Are Right Here

Elizabeth Kiefer

You know what goes perfectly with a Pumpkin Spice Latte? A brand spankin' new reading list. And while we're not handing out Starbucks cards at the moment, we can supply you with some brilliant book picks for the upcoming month.

In our first batch of November reads, the latest from White Oleander author Janet Fitch is top of the pile: Her new book, The Revolution of Marina M. is a historical coming-of-age drama that brings us back to Russia on the brink of complete cultural (and political) upheaval. Another novel that's similarly sweeping and yet completely different: Paul Takes The Form of a Mortal Girl tells the story of a young man trying to figure out his own identity against the backdrop of the early '90s AIDs epidemic and evolving LGBTQ scene. Also on our list: plenty of whip smart nonfiction. We're especially digging Buzzfeed global copy chief Emmy J. Favilla's A World Without 'Whom', as well as Sarah Lacy's terrific, aptly titled A Uterus Is A Feature Not A Bug. Raise your lattes, folks, to the bookish month ahead!

Read these stories next:
R29 Writers' Entertainment & Culture Picks For November
Everyone Knows Andy’s Boyfriend In The Devil Wears Prada Sucks, Including The Screenwriter
This Novel Promises There's No Wrong Way To Be A Mother


By Krysten Ritter

If you thought you loved Ritter in Jessica Jones, just wait 'til you catch her in novelist mode — she's wickedly good.

It's been 10 years since Abby Williams left her hometown and reinvented herself completely; now, she's an environmental lawyer working in Chicago who thinks she's got life all figured out. But when a case takes her back to the place she grew up, the persona that she's created for herself started to fall apart. Getting to the bottom of what's going on in Barrens, Indiana will ultimately mean ruining reputations and lives — including, her own.

Out November 7

Paul Takes The Form Of A Mortal Girl

By Andrea Lawlor

Paul is a gender fluid jack-of-all trades, a 22-year-old college dropout trying to understand his own shifting identity. Is he a girl? Is he a boy? What’s the clearest route to discovering yourself? Set in America in the early ‘90s, Paul Takes The Form Of A Mortal Girl is an LGBTQ coming-of-age narrative that takes the reader on a winding journey: from ACT UP meetings in New York City to dinner parties in Provincetown and myriad corners of culture at the height of the AIDS epidemic. This book is bound to be a new school classic among narratives about gender, sexuality, and the quest for self-understanding.

Out November 1

Seduced By Mrs. Robinson: How ‘The Graduate’ Became the Touchstone of a Generation

By Beverly Gray

On the 50th anniversary of this classic American film, Gray takes a look back at its legacy — the players involved, what the older-woman-young-man storyline meant at the time, and why it captivated audiences so completely — not to mention how the movie actually got made. With a historian’s eye for detail and a novelist’s story weaving skills, this richly researched work of nonfiction will give a new generation insight into how The Graduate effect is felt to this day.

Out November 7

The Revolution of Marina M.

By Janet Fitch

From the writer of White Oleander comes the story of a young Russian woman trapped in a cage of privilege, who longs to escape — and gets her wish. It is New Year’s Eve in St. Petersburg, 1916, and everything is about to change for Marina Makarova. Swept up in the tides of national renaissance, Marina will join the fight for worker’s rights, fall in love with a young radical, and give up everything she holds dear. But what she never predicted was the betrayals hiding in the shadows, just when she thinks she is certain about everything.

Out November 7

Wonder Valley

By Ivy Pochada

Wonder Valley begins in the wee hours of the morning in Los Angeles, when a naked man darts across the freeway. To explain why, Pochada takes the story four years back: to the Mojave Desert, where two petty criminals are hiding out; to Skid Row; and then the tony Westside neighbourhoods that sprawl along the Pacific's shoreline Along the way we meet Ren — a juvenile delinquent on a search for his mother — and Britt, a former tennis star trying to outrun a dark secret. Then there’s James, who is trying to leave his childhood (included his self-proclaimed “shaman” father) in the dust, and Blake, the dangerous drifter who has set in motion a series of events that explain the naked man bobbing and weaving through the standstill traffic. What emerges is a portrait of a city, the good and the bad, and the people who are trying to survive within its limits and beyond.

Out November 7

A World Without “Whom”

Emmy J. Favilla

Language is evolving faster than it ever has in history, thanks to, you guessed it, the internet and all our myriad forms of textual communication, from emoticons and acronyms to memes and beyond. Favilla, who joined the Buzzfeed back in 2012 and has since become the platform’s global copy chief, literally helping to set the tone for the platform. A lively lesson in everything you forgot from English class, as well as the rules you don’t even realise you’re writing by on the internet today, A World Without “Whom” is a good refresher for writers and editors. But it's also a smart, funny, insider look at the guidelines that govern the way we communicate today.

Out November 14

A Uterus Is a Feature Not A Bug: The Working Woman’s Guide To Overthrowing the Patriarchy

By Sarah Lacy

A rallying cry for working mothers that improves upon the edicts in Lean In by looking at society and career culture in a way that is both more relatable and and accessible, Lacy — a journalist, Silicon Valley entrepreneur, and the founder of PandoDaily — makes a cogent case for how motherhood fits into the modern workplace. Along the way, she also suggests that the most ambitious and successful era of a woman’s professional life can indeed come after she becomes a parent.

Out November 14

Future Home of the Living God

By Louise Erdrich

Fans of The Handmaid’s Tale or The Giver (you know, any novel that posits a dystopian world in which women lose dominion over their reproductive rights): Here’s another title to add to your list. Future Home of the Living God takes place in an America where, because most babies are being born with abnormalities, including a lack of male genitals, women are being whisked away by the government and forced to abandon their pregnancies. The novel, which is dominated by themes of female agency, biological crisis, and natural rights, unfolds through the gripping journal of a mother desperate to save her unborn child — and herself.

Out November 14

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

The Story Of The Face, The Magazine That Defined An Era

How One Photographer Is Documenting Nepal's Exiled Women

Rose McGowan Shares Empowered Cover For Her Memoir, Brave