Grown-Up Reads

The Best Grown-Up Reads of November 2018

by Jennie Yabroff

Photo credit: jayk7, Moment Open/Getty Images

November is notable for several events: midterm elections, Thanksgiving, and the official start of the holiday run-up (though in reality, you’ve probably already seen holiday decorations make an appearance). The month also marks the end of daylight savings time, which means darker, longer nights, perfect for evenings under the covers with a great read.

Any of the selections below is sure to satisfy — and will leave you with far less guilt than that third slice of pumpkin pie.

  • Churchill: Walking with Destiny

    by Andrew Roberts

    Working with never-before-published diary entries, War Cabinet meeting transcripts, letters, and recollections of Churchill’s contemporaries, this new biography of the man who stood up to Hitler promises to shed new light on who Churchill was and how he got to be that way. The book traces the leader from his early youth through death and beyond, drawing parallels between the challenges Churchill faced and those of contemporary statesmen.
    (On sale: 11/6/18)

  • Those Who Knew

    by Idra Novey

    In this disturbing and irresistible novel set in an unnamed island country, poet and translator Novey mixes the fantastic with the all-too-real in a tale of political and spiritual corruption. Shifting between perspectives, she describes the familiar situation of a politician whose involvement with a young female acolyte ends tragically. More than a #MeToo moment, the book explores our responsibility as witnesses to speak up about what we know — despite the cost of giving voice to the truth.
    (On sale: 11/6/18)

  • The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War

    by Andrew Delbanco

    Long before the Civil War, the issue of slavery threatened the fabric of the United States. In fact, as Delbanco writes in this history of fugitive slaves, there never was a truly united nation but rather two separate Americas — one inhabited by slave-owning whites, the other inhabited by indentured African Americans, desperate for freedom. Delbanco traces the way those slaves’ attempts to emancipate themselves, and the government’s pitiful response, set the stage for the Civil War.
    (On sale: 11/6/18)

  • Becoming

    by Michelle Obama

    Before she was First Lady, Michelle Obama was a girl growing up on the South Side Chicago, then an executive, and finally a wife and mother supporting a man making history. In this memoir, Obama writes about her life, and the challenges, highlights, and wisdom she’s learned along the way.
    (On sale: 11/13/18)

  • Fox 8: A Story

    by George Saunders, illustrated by Chelsea Cardinal

    The crazily inventive, impossible to pin down George Saunders follows up his prize-winning bestseller Lincoln in the Bardo with a slim yet haunting tale of an irresistible fox trying to singlehandedly fight off the encroachment of human civilization. An exploration of language and the way humans use it to hide the truth as much as a cautionary tale about our vanishing wilderness, the book will both charm and devastate you.
    (On sale: 11/13/18)

  • A Ladder to the Sky

    by John Boyne

    Part pyschodrama, part literary thriller, and part investigation of what it means to create art, this novel follows a charming and devious protagonist who wants fame more than anything else — and considers his lack of talent a minor inconvenience that can easily be surmounted. He finds the success he craves, but leaves a trail of broken lives in his wake.
    (On sale: 11/13/18)

  • Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back): A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc.

    by Jeff Tweedy

    As the front man for the Chicago rock band Wilco, Jeff Tweedy has made a life of music. But in this candid and affectionate memoir, he proves himself no less talented as an author. Tweedy describes his upbringing in Illinois, his decades-long partnership with his bandmates, and the most important collaboration of all — with his wife and two sons.
    (On sale: 11/13/18)

  • Queer Eye: Love Yourself, Love Your Life

    by Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Jonathan Van Ness, Bobby Berk, and Karamo Brown

    If the original “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” series was revolutionary, the reboot is simply good TV. The five hosts are no less influential than the original crew, though, and in this book they give advice from the practical to the philosophical. Their basic message: Love yourself, embrace who you are, and live how you want. Serving the right wine, choosing the right shade of concealer, or finding the perfect glasses for your face shape are all just icing on the cake.
    (On sale: 11/13/18)

  • The Circuit: A Tennis Odyssey

    by Rowan Ricardo Phillips

    Tennis is a simple game: two players, two racquets, one net, one ball. Yet in a year in the life of a professional tennis player, traveling the world following the circuit of major events, anything and everything can happen. In this book, which traces top male and female players through 2017, Phillips argues that rather than being a genteel game protected from the realities of the world, tennis mirrors and refracts the culture at large.
    (On sale: 11/20/18)

  • The Adults

    by Caroline Hulse

    The perfect novel for the age of “conscious uncoupling,” this witty and shrewd story tells what happens when grown-ups promise to act their age — and fail. Ex-spouses Claire and Matt think a shared vacation with their daughter and their new partners is an excellent idea, so plan to visit Happy Forest holiday park as a group. What could go wrong? Well, everything, proving that when it comes to love, we never really grow up.
    (On sale: 11/27/18)

What new releases are you excited to read this month? Let us know in the comments below!