Check out these great reads for November and let us know which November books you’re looking forward to!

 

A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka by Lev Gonlinkin

Lev Gonlinkin bursts onto the literary scene with this vivid and darkly comic memoir of two intertwined stories: the first, his family’s escape from the Soviet Union as Jewish refugees when Gonlinkin was nine years old, and the second, his return as an adult to the path they took and his attempt to locate and thank the people who helped his family. With acerbic wit and searing honesty, Gonlinkin takes us on both these physical journeys, as well as his emotional journey to understand his past and his future. More than a refugee memoir, more than a re-tracing of physical steps and places, Gonlinkin explores his own identity and what his past means for his future.

Audio published by Blackstone Audio. Available 11/4/2014.

 

Bittersweet by Colleen McCullough

I’m a sucker for 1920s and ’30s historical fiction, so perhaps it’s no surprise that I’m looking forward to Colleen McCullough’s Bittersweet, a novel of four sisters (two sets of twins) who join one of Australia’s first nursing training programs for women. The story follows each sister’s life as she makes her way into womanhood in what I hope is an exploration of the multifaceted and often opposing choices women had in this time period. Known for her well researched and historically accurate novels, McCullough gives us a rare view into Depression-era Australia and the changing social expectations of the age.

Audio published by Blackstone Audio. Available 11/2/2014.

 

Something Rich and Strange

Novels, poetry, short stories—is there no literary form Ron Rash can’t master? Here we are treated to 30 of his most exquisite stories, with Rash’s signature ability to capture Appalachian life in all its aching complexity. With a poet’s felicity of language, a grand novelist’s complex character development, and a master storyteller’s intimate unfolding of events, Rash pulls us into the hearts and souls of the men and women of Appalachia and the land that shapes them. This is one I want to read slowly, sitting with each story for a while to fully immerse myself in Appalachia’s distinctive world.

Audio published by HarperCollins. Available 11/18/2014.

 

I Must Say

May I never meet a person who doesn’t like Martin Short. There are a lot of memoirs by comedians and comedic actors releasing this fall, but I’m really looking forward to this one from one of the best character actors of our time (who could forget his performances in ¡Three Amigos! or Father of the Bride?). In addition to sharing the spotlight with his many talented co-stars, from Steve Martin to Gilda Radner to Tom Hanks, Short here tells us about his personal life, and the many losses he has suffered, including the deaths of his brother and both of his parents by the time he was 20, as well as the recent loss of his wife of many years, and how his comedy and sense of humor have carried him through such painful losses.

Audio published by HarperCollins. Available 11/4/2014.

 

Autumn Falls

I’ll admit that I didn’t know who Bella Thorne was, but that’s probably because I don’t spend a lot of time around pre-teen girls. The Disney Channel star, teen icon, and Global Ambassador for Stomp Out Bullying is turning her hand to writing. Autumn Falls is her first novel and borrows personal elements from her own celebrity life. Before you roll your eyes at a teen icon taking up writing, think of one name: Chris Colfer. The Glee actor’s Land of Stories series has sold fantastically well, reaching #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. With this book focused on more traditional tween themes—a lovable klutz who’s also the new girl at school, mean girls, and a hint of magic—I’m hopeful that Thorne can follow Colfer’s success.

Audio published by Random House Audio. Available 11/11/2014.