The Best Books to Read This November – Novels and Non-Fiction for Fall 2021 – TownandCountrymag.com

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Our picks for the 13 standout new releases of the month.
This month, dive into a memoir by a royal whose legacy was cut short, immerse yourself in the history (and present) of a Hollywood’s stalwart who’s seen it all and is telling the tales, tear into a new novel in the series that’s inspired one of our favorite literary (and television) obsessions, investigate the intricacies of the British aristocracy and royal marriages, or visit some of the world’s most beloved destinations without ever leaving home.
Written by Empress Farah Pahlavi—Iran’s first and final crowned Empress—in 1976, this memoir, released only now, tells the story of how she came to find herself on the throne, the ways in which she and her husband envisioned a new Iran, and reality that the couple and their country faced. It’s a fascinating story of power and hope, and a glimpse at how the world we live in could have been. 
James Ivory has spent his life telling other people’s stories as a director (A Room With a ViewHoward’s EndThe Remains of the Day) and screenwriter (Call Me By Your Name), but in this revealing new memoir, the filmmaker unveils a tale he’s nevertold before: his own. It’s a touching, illuminating story about growing up in a world to which he didn’t quite belong—seasoned, of course, with delicious stories of a life in showbiz—that’s essential reading for any fan of his work on screen. 
Featuring written works from Barry Jenkins, Lynn Nottage, Bryan Stevenson, Natasha Trethewey, and more, this book expands on the New York Times Magazine‘s award-winning 1619 project with essays, poems, and works of fiction that examine how the legacy of slavery has impacted nearly every aspect of American life. 
In what might be the first great novel to address the recent pandemic, Gary Shteyngart (Super Sad True Love Story) tells the tale of a group of friends who head to a house in the countryside to wait out lockdown restrictions. Over the next six months, the crew—writers, techies, friends, foes, and a movie star—stumbles hilariously through good times and bad, raising questions about the strength of friendship, the limits of chosen family, and the things that happen when we’re all trapped inside. 
Career retrospective can be the dreariest of literary forms but not when written by the comedian and filmmaker Mel Brooks, who has worked with some of the most interesting people on the planet. Brooks got his start on the Catskills circuit and then landed a spot in the writers room on Sid Ceasar’s Your Show of Shows, which included Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, and Larry Gelbart. His autobiography delves into his inspiration and process creating films like Young Frankenstein and The Producers (both the film and theater versions) and his creative partnerships with people like Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, and of course, his wife Anne Bancroft.
The newest book in the Outlander series—which, of course, inspired the TV phenomenon—is set in North Carolina around the beginning of the American Revolution, but no matter where Diana Gabaldon’s characters find themselves, you can expect that trouble (and love and loss and time travel) won’t be far off. 
This fourth and final chapter of the late biographer John Richardson’s series on Pablo Picasso follows the artist from 1933 though 1943 in France, Spain, and beyond—as he creates “Guernica” and “Minotauromachie” and meets Françoise Gilot. Richardson not only captures Picasso’s genius in this work, but is brilliant himself in his observation and prose; reading his work can feel akin to standing in front of a great piece of art. 
This book, by the author of Diana’s Boys explores the adult lives of princes William and Harry and investigates how this relationship could shape the future of the British monarchy. It goes beyond the headlines to explore how these two brothers (and the women they married) relate to one another and maneuver the world around them, and what it could mean for the future of one of the world’s most watched dynasties. 
Artist Ashley Longshore’s latest is a collection of her unmistakable portraits, and the subjects are all inspiring women who’ve made their mark on the world, from Marie Curie to Maya Angelou, Peggy Guggenheim, Queen Elizabeth II, and Amanda Gorman. (Signed copies are available!)
It might be hard to recall now, but at the height of the recent pandemic, some of the world’s busiest sites—from the Great Wall to the Colosseum—were eerily empty. Seeing these iconic places in new ways was strange, but also often striking. In this new book, Jeffrey H. Loria and Julie Loria recall the look of 15 global cities during their lockdowns, reminding us of the beauty that can be found in stillness and the resilience of the human race. 
Clocking in at 260 pages, with nearly 200 images, this arresting love letter to natural diamonds celebrates the world’s most coveted stone by telling the history of some of its most famous examples (including the Hope and Beau Sancy diamonds) and sharing insight from designers and aficionados. It might not replace the gift of jewelry this holiday season, but it’s a truly excellent addition to any enthusiast’s collection. 
Whether or not you’ll be spending time in Windsor—the destination community in Vero Beach, Florida—this winter, you can enjoy the distinctive look of the fabled getaway, including homes built by star architects and designed by the likes of John Stefanidis, Steven Gambrel, and Alessandra Branc, in this eye-catching new tome. 
Luxury: A History is an ambitious title, one that demands a lot of moxie, reportorial rigor, and depth of experience of its author. The journalist Jill Spalding, a longtime magazine editor, critic, and radio broadcaster more than fits the bill, and her newest work is not just any old coffee table book but a Leviathan that admirably traces the arc of this hotly debated and sought-after concept, from Cleopatra all the way to Jenny from the Block. Its big takeaway: Love may not cost a thing but luxury does. 

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