Zibby Owens is the host of award-winning podcast, “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books.”
Push aside the election rhetoric and instead get lost in one of these fantastic new books.
There are some fantastic books debuting in November, which can transport you or perhaps even propel you closer to the gratitude and family spirit of Thanksgiving.
Open up the pages and block it all out. These books are worth it.
“GMA” November Book Club Pick: “Memorial” by Bryan Washington: This novel explores the relationship between Benson, a Black day care worker, and Mike, a Japanese-American chef, who live together in Houston and the delicate relationships they have with their families — particularly their fathers. Get started with an excerpt here.
‘Stick With Me’ by Jennifer Blecher
A tween girl drama, “Stick With Me” is particularly timely as two very different girls vie for attention and wonder if they can band together to defeat a common enemy. Childhood illness, ice skating, theater and the meaning of “home” mix in this pitch-perfect ode to friendship at any age.
‘To Be a Man’ by Nicole Krauss
Bestselling author Nicole Krauss is a modern-day literary genius: Sylvia Plath meets Gertrude Stein. Her intellect is breathtaking, both in conversation and in prose. “To Be a Man,” her latest collection of short stories, covers relationships, loyalty, spirituality and identity, and will make even the brightest bulbs flicker.
‘Particulate Matter’ by Felicia Luna Lemus
There are only a few words per page in “Particulate Matter,” but that doesn’t actually matter. The words Felicia Luna Lemus does carefully choose serve to paint a brilliant picture of her marriage, of a Los Angeles covered in ash, of dashed hopes and new beginnings.
‘The Best of Me’ by David Sedaris
A collection of hilarious storyteller and bestselling author David Sedaris’ personal favorites, “The Best of Me” will make readers laugh and cry as they follow him through three decades of antics and riffs.
‘White Ivy’ by Susie Yang
I half-expected Susie Wang to be the protagonist in her debut novel, “White Ivy,” given how clearly her main character jumped off the page. I was delightfully surprised to be mistaken; the author seemed beautiful, confident and loved, unlike Ivy. And, also, not a thief. Susie’s artfully written tale of a young Chinese immigrant’s culture clash with the senator’s family she longs to join after falling in love with the scion is both memorable and thought-provoking.
‘Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man’ by Emmanuel Acho
Emmanuel Acho’s book comes out on his 30th birthday. Inspired by his video series in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing that garnered 65 million views in eight episodes, this incredibly important book tackles all the race-related questions people have but are afraid to ask.
‘Dearly: New Poems’ by Margaret Atwood
The bestselling, internationally celebrated author of more than 50 books, including “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Margaret Atwood has written her first poetry collection in over a decade. Aging, rituals and the environment are a few topics she spins her magic yarn around in this structurally creative, soulfully stirring slim tome of what she dubs “late poems.” As she writes to a health class circa 1953, “You like to pretend I’m funny, but I frighten you: I who was once pink gelatin am now a cool grey moon waiting in your future. You’ll need me then.” We need her, now.
‘Loved & Wanted: A Memoir of Choice, Children and Womanhood’ by Christa Parravani
Christa Parravani, a professor, uses her academic acumen to shine an analytic eye on her experience while teaching in West Virginia and becoming pregnant with a third child she didn’t think she could afford. Through personal experience and research, Parravani illustrates how tenuous a woman’s reproductive rights still are and how, even today in some states and for some families, there are simply no viable options. By the end, you’ll want to offer up your own babysitting services to help out.
‘Cobble Hill’ by Cecily Von Ziegesar
The author of “Gossip Girl” turns her observant social eye away from the Upper East Side of Manhattan and onto Brooklyn. Complete with an unproductive resident superstar author and his magazine editor wife, a daughter with her crush on a Latin teacher, the aging rock star, the hippie-dippy school nurse and the mother who fakes multiple sclerosis in order to just chill out in bed all day, Cobble Hill will strike just the right nerve. Xoxo.
‘I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are’ by Rachel Bloom
The throwback cover design of this collection of hilarious personal essays and poems by Golden Globe and Emmy-winning actress and songwriter and creator of the CW show, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” makes me long for those books I inhaled growing up in the 1980s. The features inside are even better than “Sweet Valley High,” from pretend resumes and screenplays to photos and hand-drawn mazes, all illustrating how out-of-place Rachel felt growing up.
‘Here is the Beehive’ by Sarah Crossan
Written like a poem, this story follows a trusts and estates lawyer whose secret paramour dies, a loss she learns about when his wife calls to settle his affairs. A tale of infidelity, loyalty, motherhood and the choices we all make, “Here is the Beehive” establishes Sarah Crossan as a voice not to be missed.
‘Frontier Follies: Adventures in Marriage & Motherhood in the Middle of Nowhere’ by Ree Drummond
No. 1 bestselling author and Food Network star Ree Drummond, the ultimate “Pioneer Woman,” muses about her 25-year-marriage to a cowboy/rancher, wildlife, child birth and family in this must-read celebration of the ups and downs of life.
‘The Orchard’ by David Hopen
A coming-of-age debut novel about an Orthodox Jewish high school student in Brooklyn who moves to Miami, “The Orchard” is powerful and stirring, like a 2020 Jewish version of “The Catcher in the Rye.” Structured into chapters by month throughout a typical school year and tackling the “majestic sadness” that is tragedy, this journal-like book written by a Yale Law School student will definitely take root. (Get it? Orchard?)
‘Home Body’ by Rupi Kaur
An artist, performer and No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of “Milk and Honey,” Rupi Kaur shares more thoughts and encouragement to embrace change, something particularly timely.
‘A Promised Land’ by Barack Obama
The first volume of Obama’s autobiography, “A Promised Land” traces the former president’s unexpected trajectory to becoming the leader of the free world. Reflecting on his experiences through The Oval Office and before, Obama writes in his characteristically articulate and powerful way about his one-in-a-million journey.
‘Confessions in B-Flat’ by Donna Hill
This civil rights love story that takes place in Harlem in the 1950s traces the intersecting lives of Jason and Anita, whose ideologies differ. Written by Donna Hill, who has already had three of her 70-plus novels adapted for TV, “Confessions in B-Flat” will take the reader back to a musically robust time to explore a relationship marred with conflict.