Essay collections. Anthologies. Memoirs. Novels. November brings an abundance of stories offering a particularly wide range of perspectives. What better way to understand another person's lived experience than by listening to their stories?
Fifteen tales from the Latinx diaspora collected by Saraciea Fennell highlight the role of identity. A group of beautiful short stories by Lily King about relationships shine a light on personal dramas. Fifty-three essays by bestselling and notable authors inspired by five things we're all too busy to do help readers feel less alone while giving them a sneak peek into famous authors' personal lives. An intimate essay collection by beloved bestseller Ann Patchett brings her life into focus. Plus, many novels and memoirs by powerful and masterful authors set our imaginations on fire.
This Thanksgiving season, bring extra copies of these favorites for you and your loved ones while remembering the many things you're thankful for -- one of which should be the power of storytelling itself.
"Mothertrucker: Finding Joy on the Loneliest Road in America" by Amy Butcher
A tribute to the power of female friendship to get us through anything, including domestic abuse, "Mothertrucker" is a compelling story of a professor, Amy, who seeks out an Instagram celebrity ice driver, and rides shotgun on an unforgettable, 400-mile trip through Alaska.
"The Stranger in the Lifeboat" by Mitch Albom
A billionaire's boat cruise goes awry in this allegory about life, death and God by masterful storyteller and bestselling author Mitch Albom. When a life raft shows up on shore, a detective, mourning the loss of a child himself, finds it and realizes that perhaps not everyone had perished as widely believed. Spiritual, thought-provoking, told from many viewpoints and showing the randomness of life and relationships, this short novel will stay with you.
"The Sweet Spot: The Pleasures of Suffering and the Search for Meaning" by Paul Bloom
Paul Bloom, an award-winning former psychology professor at Yale University and current professor at the University of Toronto, will change the way you think. Perhaps suffering isn't a bad thing? He explains why the experience of pain enhances subsequent pleasure and that a life without it would actually be boring.
"Wild Tongues Can't Be Tamed: 15 Voices from the Latinx Diaspora" edited by Saraciea J. Fennell
The Bronx is Reading founder Saraciea J. Fennell compiled these 15 gorgeous, thought-provoking essays that collectively shed light of the Latinx experience. Contributors like Naima Coster, Zakiya Jamal, Mark Oshiro and other powerhouses tackle tough topics surrounding identity, belonging and even the afterlife.
"Carry the Dog" by Stephanie Gangi
Perhaps this is a fictitious version of what photographer Sally Mann's children might be going through? Bea, the daughter of a famous photographer who grew up posing nude in her mom's photos, must face her own past traumas when fame chases her decades later.
"Five Tuesdays in Winter" by Lily King
Bestselling author of "Writers & Lovers," Lily King is back with a beautiful collection of short stories. In "North Sea," a 12 1/2-year-old girl and her mother are disappointed by their first, long-saved-for vacation as they cope with loss. In "The Man at the Door," a mom of three tries desperately to write, only to be met with a puzzling publisher at her door. Told in the first person, "Creature" follows a 14-year-old babysitter coping with her parents' divorce. More stories swirl, raising questions and delving deep in this breathlessly beautiful book.
"The Family" by Naomi Krupitsky
A modern-day "Sopranos," this debut novel tracks lifelong best friends Sofia and Antonia, whose fathers are in the mafia. As they grow up and one of their fathers disappears, their bonds are truly tested.
"Moms Don't Have Time to Have Kids" Edited by Zibby Owens
This collection of 53 essays by 49 bestselling, award-winning and notable authors gives literary fans and book lovers a behind-the-scenes look at the interior lives of their favorite writers tackling what none of us have time to do: sleep, see friends, get sick, write and lose weight. Lily King shares her daughter's Lyme disease diagnosis. KJ Dell'Antonia discusses her battle with breast cancer. Super Bowl star and children's book author Malcolm Mitchell writes about growing up in poverty. Jeanine Cummins tackles identity. Stephanie Danler, Cecily von Ziegesar, Richie Jackson, Jean Kwok, Shannon Lee and many other superstars share their stories collected by podcaster and publisher Zibby Owens (aka: me!).
"The Fastest Way to Fall" by Denise Williams
Britta Colby is writing an article for a lifestyle website about Wes Lawson's new fitness app. Motivated by his own issues, Wes decides to start training clients from the app he created. Britta is his first client. The one he wasn't supposed to fall for. This entertaining read will have you sweating through your next workout.
"Woodrow on the Bench: Life Lessons From a Wise Old Dog" by Jenna Blum
If you love dogs, you will cry. That warning should be affixed to every copy of "Woodrow on the Bench," bestselling author Jenna Blum's memoir about the last six months of her black lab's life. Divorced, with her own losses, Blum learns how to be truly present by saying goodbye.
"Just Haven't Met You Yet" by Sophie Cousens
Cousens' last novel, "This Time Next Year," was a New York Times bestseller. Her follow-up has the same sense of humor, wit and curiosity as her previous one as she introduces us to Laura, who picks up the wrong bag at the airport on a vacation. Perhaps the fact that she has returned to the very place her parents fell in love might bode well for her prospects? As Laura writes about romance, fiction slowly becomes truth in this highly enjoyable, delectable tale.
"Will" by Will Smith
Written with Mark Manson, author of "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F---," actor Will Smith's memoir isn't just a rags-to-riches tale of success in Hollywood. It probes deeper into the meaning of achievement and gives the reader takeaways on how to live a life without burnout, how to be your true, authentic self and what it really means to succeed.
"The Deeper the Roots: A Memoir of House and Home" by Michael Tubbs
Growing up "Black and broke" with a father in jail, Michael Tubbs kept his private life, being raised by three "bad-ass women," resolutely private. After he became the first Black mayor of Stockton, California, and the youngest mayor in history, with a Stanford University degree, Tubbs decided to tell his story of what he overcame to succeed. His poignant memoir includes lessons in governing with cameos by both Oprah and former President Barack Obama.
"These Precious Days" by Ann Patchett
A collection of essays by beloved author and owner of Parnassus Books, Ann Patchett's "These Precious Days" touches on Ann's life as she weaves a complex tapestry of emotion and reflection. Interweaving many books that have been meaningful to her with experiences she can't forget, Patchett takes life's everyday moments and makes them masterpieces. Anyone who loves her previous works, like "Bel Canto," "The Dutch House" and "Truth & Beauty," will absolutely adore this open, honest and revealing collection.
"Wish You Were Here" by Jodi Picoult
No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult tackles a not-so-fictitious "what if." What if your life was going well and then a virus came and messed everything up? For Diana O'Toole, a Sotheby's art specialist aspiring to be married by 30 to her boyfriend Finn, that's what happened. When Finn stays to fight the outbreak at the hospital, Diana takes their planned vacation alone and gets stuck in the Galapagos Islands, home of Darwin's theories, where she changes her worldview forever.