17 Books We Can’t Wait to Read: November 2023

Cover of 17 Books We Can’t Wait to Read: November 2023



The Burden of Joy by Lexi Kent-Monning – November 1 (Rejection Letters)

Lexi Kent-Monning’s debut novel, The Burden of Joy, is an incessant dagger to the heart. After Lexi’s husband leaves her on Valentine’s Day to join a commune that time forgot, her home stops belonging to her. Instead, she discovers a parade of dead animals, a man who turns her blue eyes green, true love in equal parts cocaine and MDMA, and a revolving door of solitude. In the end, Lexi must ask herself, is her craving to nurture virtuous or hedonistic? 


Hot Springs Drive by Lindsay Hunter – November 7 (Roxane Gay Books)

Hot Springs Drive is a dark, heart-pounding exploration of one woman’s deepest desires, and how the consequences of betrayal can ripple outward beyond the initial strike point. In her third and fiercest novel, acclaimed literary voice Lindsay Hunter deftly peels back the fragile veneer of two suburban families and the secrets roiling between them. 


Cross-Stitch by Jazmina Barrera (translated by Christina McSweeney) – November 7 (Two Lines Press)

“Jazmina Barrera’s Cross-Stitch is a beautifully woven tale of friendship, coming of age, womanhood, and loss that never shies away from the complexity of grief–all while honoring the joy that is to be found in life. Masterfully written, and with a fascinating history of the art of needlework stitched throughout, here is a delicate novel in which embroidery becomes a breathtaking language unto itself. Christina MacSweeney perfectly captures Jazmina Barrera’s poetic voice in this incredibly precise and moving translation.” –Isaac Fitzgerald, author of Dirtbag, Massachusetts


The Liberators by E.J. Koh – November 7 (Tin House Books)

From the Gwangju Massacre to the 1988 Olympics, flashbacks to Korean repatriation after Japanese surrender, and the Sewol ferry accident, E. J. Koh’s exquisitely drawn portraits and symphonic testimony from guards, prisoners, perpetrators, and liberators spans continents and four generations of two Korean families forever changed by fateful past decisions made in love and war. Extraordinarily beautiful and deeply moving, The Liberators is an elegantly wrought family saga of memory, trauma, and empathy, and a stunning testament to the consequences and fortunes of inheritance. 


The Future by Naomi Alderman – November 7 (Simon & Schuster)

The bestselling, award-winning author of The Power delivers a dazzling tour de force where a handful of friends plot a daring heist to save the world from the tech giants whose greed threatens life as we know it. By turns thrilling, hilarious, tender, and always piercingly brilliant, The Future unfolds at a breakneck speed, highlighting how power corrupts the few who have it and what it means to stand up to them. The future is coming. The Future is here.


Upcountry by Chin-Sun Lee – November 7 (Unnamed Press)

“Three women, all living in the gossipy hothouse of a small town in upstate New York, but with such differing socio-economic, romantic and religious lives that they might as well exist on different planets. Forced together by neighborly cruelty and a natural calamity, Chin-Sun Lee’s distinct and memorable characters become representative of an American maelstrom of contemporary ills–drug abuse, income inequality, incarceration, climate change. Strange, searing, and powerfully written, Upcountry, is a riveting debut.” –Helen Schulman, author of Lucky Dogs


The Professor by Lauren Nossett – November 14 (Flatiron Books)

On a spring afternoon in Athens, Georgia, Ethan Haddock is discovered in his apartment, dead, apparently by his own hand. His fatality immediately garners media attention: his professor, Dr. Verena Sobek, has been taken in for questioning, and there are rumors his death is the result of a bad romance. Marlitt Kaplan, a former detective turned research assistant, is asked by her mother, a professor at the university and colleague of the accused Dr. Sobek, to look into the case. She finds herself in the impossible position of proving something didn’t happen. Without the credentials to interview suspects or access phone records, she will have to get closer to a victim’s life than ever before. In her relentless pursuit to uncover the mystery behind Ethan’s death, Marlitt will be forced to confront the power structures ingrained in the classroom against the backdrop of a historic campus and an institution that sometimes fails its most vulnerable members. 


At Night He Lifts Weights by Kang Young-sook – November 14 (Transit Books)

A disquieting vision of ecological dystopia in a collection by a major Korean writer. An artist is plagued by desire for her mysterious double as disease spreads through an uncanny suburban landscape. An elderly woman suspects the old man who lifts weights in her neighborhood playground of being responsible for a spate of murders. While elsewhere, a woman who believes she’s been exposed to radioactive radiation inherits a warehouse where those fleeing the city can store their possessions. Beneath the calm surface of the stories collected here, Kang Young-sook offers a disquieting vision of a society grappling with ecological catastrophe and unplaceable forms of loss.


Pritty by Keith F. Miller Jr – November 14 (Harperteen)

Keith F. Miller’s debut novel Pritty is a raw, powerful story of Black queer love that will pull your heart apart. Jay perpetually lives in the shadow of his older brother, who is more masculine and more athletic than Jay could ever hope to be. Jay is a little unsure of how he could stand out to anyone, especially compared to his brother. And yet somehow Leroy sees him. But Jay and Leroy’s blossoming love story is complicated by their family dynamics and the war breaking out in Savannah’s Black neighborhoods. Someone is attempting to destroy the Black Diamonds, who have made it their job to protect the Black community, and the violence won’t stop until Jay and Leroy can discover who it is. Leroy desperately wants to protect Jay, and he knows the only way he can do that is by throwing himself into the crossfire, even if it might mean the end of their relationship. – Emily Martin at Them


The New Naturals by Gabriel Bump – November 14 (Algonquin Books)

“A Blithedale Romance for the 21st century, only less naive and more complex. Race, class and gender collide in all the ways they do in the so-called real world. Bump’s prose is fresh and frequently surprising. This is funny, sad, sad-funny and funny-sad and just plain smart.”–Percival Everett, author of Dr. No


The Book of Ayn by Lexi Freiman – November 14 (Catapult)

An original and hilarious satire of both our political culture and those who rage against it, The Book of Ayn follows a writer from New York to Los Angeles to Lesbos as she searches for artistic and spiritual fulfillment in radical selfishness, altruism, and ego-death.


Alice Sadie Celine by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright – November 28 (Simon & Schuster)

“Alice Sadie Celine is the story of a forbidden love triangle, of the complexities of female friendship, and of the inextricable bond between mothers and daughters. Taut, tense, sexy, and lucid, Sarah Blakley-Cartwright’s debut adult novel is an unforgettable, irresistible, daring page-turner.” –Hannah Lillith Assadi, author of The Stars Are Not Yet Bells and Sonora




Class by Stephanie Land – November 7 (One Signal Publishers/Atria)

From the New York Times bestselling author who inspired the hit Netflix series about a struggling mother barely making ends meet as a housecleaner–a gripping memoir about college, motherhood, poverty, and life after Maid. Class paints an intimate and heartbreaking portrait of motherhood as it converges and often conflicts with personal desire and professional ambition. Who has the right to create art? Who has the right to go to college? And what kind of work is valued in our culture? In clear, candid, and moving prose, Class grapples with these questions, offering a searing indictment of America’s educational system and an inspiring testimony of a mother’s triumph against all odds.


The Risk it Takes to Bloom by Raquel Willis – November 14 (St. Martin’s Press)

“There are too few works written by and for Black trans people, and with The Risk It Takes to Bloom Raquel Willis offers a moving and generous testimony that is as personal as it is political. This memoir is proof that our most ardent and committed leaders put their whole hearts on the frontlines of liberation.” –Janet Mock, New York Times bestselling author of Redefining Realness & Surpassing Certainty


Art Monsters: Unruly Bodies in Feminist Art by Lauren Elkin – November 14 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

“Lauren Elkin’s exhaustive, incisive re-readings of feminist writing and art across several centuries prove that the questions raised in these works are far from resolved. In fact, they’re more timely than ever. The book seems destined to become a new classic. Making a passionate case for the monstrosity entailed in all acts of creation, Elkin shatters the truisms that have evolved around feminist thought.” –Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick and After Kathy Acker: A Literary Biography


Tone by Sofia Samatar & Kate Zambreno – November 21 (Columbia University Press)

Tone is a collaborative study of literary tone, a notoriously challenging and slippery topic for criticism. Both granular and global, infusing a text with feeling, tone is so difficult to pin down that responses to it often take the vague form of “I know it when I see it.” This study treats a variety of questions: How is tone filtered through translation? Can a text hold the feelings that pass between humans and animals? What can attention to literary tone reveal about shared spaces such as factories, universities, and streets and the clashes and connections that happen there? Searching and conversational, Tone seeks immersion in literary affect to convey the experience of reading—and living—together. 


Critical Hits: Writers Playing Video Games edited by Carmen Maria Machado and J. Robert Lennon – November 21 (Graywolf Press)

A wide-ranging anthology of essays exploring one of the most vital art forms on the planet today. From the earliest computers to the smartphones in our pockets, video games have been on our screens and part of our lives for over fifty years. Critical Hits celebrates this sophisticated medium and considers its lasting impact on our culture and ourselves. This collection of stylish, passionate, and searching essays opens with an introduction by Carmen Maria Machado, who edited the anthology alongside J. Robert Lennon. In these pages, writer-gamers find solace from illness and grief, test ideas about language, bodies, power, race, and technology, and see their experiences and identities reflected in–or complicated by–the interactive virtual worlds they inhabit. Elissa Washuta immerses herself in The Last of Us during the first summer of the pandemic. Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah describes his last goodbye to his father with the help of Disco Elysium. Jamil Jan Kochai remembers being an Afghan American teenager killing Afghan insurgents in Call of Duty. Also included are a comic by MariNaomi about her time as a video game producer; a deep dive into “portal fantasy” movies about video games by Charlie Jane Anders; and new work by Alexander Chee, Hanif Abdurraqib, Larissa Pham, and many more. 



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