My book club has been on hiatus since the pandemic began, but, admittedly, we weren’t on a regular schedule anyway. And after being on video calls during the day for work, I’m not ready to jump on more video calls in the evenings on weekends.
But being in a book club isn’t essential for reading these great books. Complicated relationships, complex narrators, and some mental health help all get their moment in the spotlight in these six new compelling reads.
White Ivy by Susie Yang
Jenna Bush Hager at Today picked the novel White Ivy for as her November pick for Read with Jenna. The Amazon Editors also selected White Ivy as the Featured Debut among November’s Best Books of the Month. Says Amazon editor Seira Wilson about the protagonist, “Ivy Lin evokes an almost visceral reaction as she walks the tightrope of her desires, knowing one slip can blow her carefully crafted world apart. White Ivy is a dark exploration of class and race, of obsession and duality, which keeps you on the edge of your seat through every twist and turn of this stunning novel.”
Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life by Christie Tate
Named a Reese’s Book Club Pick in November, Group has also won the hearts of the Amazon Editorial team. Tate’s memoir wraps around the unconventional group therapy she joins and rings with a genuine and unforgettable voice, pulling readers between gasping with laughter and gasping with dismay. Says Amazon Editorial Director Sarah Gelman, “Group is an honest, heart-breaking, and hilarious look at reaching rock bottom and climbing your way back to life.”
Luster by Raven Leilani
Named the most recent read of the Well-Read Black Girl book club, Luster is an unforgettable debut novel about a young Black woman in New York City who moves in with her married white boyfriend and shakes the foundations of his family—and is shook by them as well. Amazon named it one of the Best Books of the Month in August, and Amazon editor Chris Schluep said then, “It’s rare these days to come across a book and a style that’s really different, but Raven Leilani’s Luster is exciting, surprising, sometimes sad, at times awkward, even shocking. And it’s also funny. The book will make you uncomfortable, but that mirrors the discomfort that the characters, especially Edie, feel—about age, status, race, sex, salaries, you name it. Luster has an energy and an honesty that makes the words practically shimmer on the page.” Leilani is a young writer who taps into the truth of the human condition, promising a lot of great books to come.
Memorial by Bryan Washington
Good Morning America named the novel Memorial as the GMA Book Club pick for November, and our editorial team thinks it’s a fab read too. When Mike learns his father is dying, he flies from Houston to Osaka to be with him just as Mike’s mother arrives in Texas to visit. While Mike uncovers family secrets in Japan, his mother and boyfriend develop an unlikely friendship in Texas, causing relationships and identities unravel and rebind. Says Amazon editor Chris Schluep about Memorial, “You will laugh, cry, and ask yourself: What makes a family?”
Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria
Is there any conversation that occurs today that doesn’t swing around to the pandemic in some way? Make that conversation topic official at your next book club meeting by reading Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World. Zakaria looks back at what past plagues have taught people (or haven’t) and predicts how our current pandemic will change our thinking. Read this book and then make your own predictions.
Like many books, Shetty’s Think Like a Monk was originally scheduled to publish in early 2020, but the publisher moved the release date out to the fall, likely hoping that readers could then devote more brain space to finding good books instead of finding hand sanitizer. What hasn’t changed between spring and fall is the need for a happier, healthier way of thinking, and Shetty provides just the guide. Trained as a monk after university, Shetty left the monastery to share his learnings about bringing positivity and power into our busy everyday lives, and he understands the pressures that regular folk feel. And if you want a regular dose of Shetty, try his podcast On Purpose.
We’ve gathered November’s big book club reads plus a few more favorites we think you shouldn’t miss.