And here we go, deeper into fall. Shorter days and longer nights loom with this weekend’s time change; colder temperatures beckon. Does that make it the right time of the year to curl up with a book? Well, sure–but is there ever not a good time of year for that? Among the books we’re most excited about this month are bold riffs on detective fiction, genre-defying narratives, and works of fiction and nonfiction that put politics and culture into sharp relief. Here are some November books (plus a pair from the final days of October) that have caught our eye.
Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves, Glory Edim
(Oct. 30, Ballantine Books)
You may know Glory Edim best through her work as the founder of the book club that shares a name with this anthology. Here, she’s brought together essays by writers like Tayari Jones, Morgan Jerkins, and Jesmyn Ward to explore the power of reading and the importance of representation.
Coyote Songs, Gabino Iglesias
(Oct. 31, Broken River Books)
Frequent Vol.1 Brooklyn contributor Gabino Iglesias has followed up his acclaimed novel Zero Saints with another work that blends taut realism with forays into the surreal and the horrific. Here, the setting is the southwestern United States and the border between the United States and Mexico, where the lives of an array of characters converge in unexpected ways.
Appetite for Definition: An A-Z Guide to Rock Genres, Ian King
(Nov. 6, Harper Perennial)
An easy way to immerse yourselves in musical minutiae is to delve into the world of genres, subgenres, and sub-subgenres. (Acoustic black metal, for example: totally a thing.) And thus, Ian King has compiled a comprehensive, entertaining, and stylish guide to the many permutations of rock music out there. We’ll also be co-presenting King’s book launch event next week at Greenlight.
The Feral Detective, Jonathan Lethem
(Nov. 6, Ecco)
Jonathan Lethem’s surreal forays into detective fiction have turned the genre on its head in numerous ways, and helped expand the boundaries of a familiar form. With his latest novel, The Feral Detective, Lethem ventures back to the same terrain as Motherless Brooklyn, albeit on the other side of the country. In other words, this is Lethem’s take on the LA detective novel, which has us very excited.
131 Different Things, Zachary Lipez, Nick Zinner, and Stacy Wakefield
(Nov. 6, Akashic Books)
We’ve been mightily impressed by the books created by writer Zachary Lipez, photographer Nick Zinner, and designer Stacy Wakefield. 131 Different Things is their latest work: a story of a bartender in search of his lost love, traversing a sea of strange spaces within the city as he goes.
Northwood, Maryse Meijer
(Nov. 6, Catapult)
Maryse Meijer’s fiction bristles with intensity, ambiguity, and harrowing moments. Her novella Northwood does the same, but also features a host of bold structural risks, from its use of verse passages to some unorthodox page design. It blends the archetypal with the deeply personal, and creates something new as it goes.
Those Who Knew, Idra Novey
(Nov. 6, Viking)
Author and translator Idra Novey’s followup to her fantastic Ways to Disappear also examines complex personalities and mysterious absences, albeit in a very different way. Here, she examines American geopolitics, fraught personal connections, and horrifying legacies of violence.
Muck, Dror Burstein; translated by Gabriel Levin
(Nov. 13, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Dror Burstein’s novel Muck makes use of a bold literary device: taking the present and the past and merging them into one surreal timeline. (See also: Damien Lincoln Ober’s Doctor Benjamin Franklin’s Dream America and Richard Beard’s The Apostle Killer.) Here, he juxtaposes the history and present of Jerusalem in one setting, making for a surreal and searing story.
K-Punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher, Mark Fisher; foreword by Simon Reynolds
(Nov. 13, Repeater Books)
Whether he was exploring unlikely routes through politics, obscure musical artists, or finding connections between disparate creative works, the late Mark Fisher was frequently inspired–and often inspiring. This collection of his works provides an excellent overview of his thinking.
The Females, Wolfgang Hilbig; translated by Isabel Fargo Cole
(Nov. 13, Two Lines Press)
Wolfgang Hilbig’s gripping, disorienting fiction demonstrates just how a place can be turned into a haunting character in a work of fiction. The latest of his works to appear in English translation is The Females, an unsettling study of gender relations, obsession, and disquieting mysteries.
The Patch, John McPhee
(Nov. 13, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
John McPhee’s books and essays have helped shape the way we think about and discuss nonfiction–and his work continues to impress, decades into a storied career. The Patch is his latest collection of writings, bringing together a number of essays with other writings that his publisher describes as a “covert memoir.” We’re certainly up for that.
My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite
(Nov. 20, Doubleday)
Sibling rivalries are taken to a new and thrilling level in Oyinkan Braithwaite’s new novel My Sister, the Serial Killer. The title gives a hint of what to expect: a tale of two sisters, one of whom lives a quotidian life, and one who frequently murders her boyfriends. Braithwaite’s novel brings bleak comedy together with a tale of a sibling rivalry like no other.
The Diaries of Emilio Renzi: The Happy Years, Ricardo Piglia; translated by Robert Croll
(Nov. 20, Restless Books)
The second volume of Ricardo Piglia’s massive autobiographical novel The Diaries of Emilio Renzi is due out this month in English translation. Here, he traces the dynamics of a bold literary scene as well as the political tensions that wracked Argentina in the 1970s.