The must-read books of November 2021 | –

Perhaps the best of the COVID-pandemic-inspired novels so far, Our Country Friends plays with the social and cultural woes of early lockdown. A group of friends and colleagues decamp for an estate in upstate New York, each packing their own specific blend of neurosis and desire for self-destruction; as the pandemic wanes on, their collective plights become more and more complicated, all to the reader’s delight. (Nov. 2)
A World War II novel that feels fresh is a rare commodity. The Tin Man author begins her story in 1944 Tuscany, as the Allied troops advance, and London, where a British soldier returns after riding out part of the bombings in an Italian wine cellar with an art historian. As the consequences of that chance encounter play out for the next two decades, constant literary surprises abound. (Nov. 2)
Hillary Clinton’s top aide is famous both for her privacy and the way in which her personal life has played out on the public stage. Here she finally takes the chance to tell her own story in her own words, tracing her life through the lens of straddling cultures, identities, faiths, and more. (Nov. 2)
The actor, of Harold and Kumar, How I Met Your Mother, and Obama administration fame, recounts his upbringing, his time in the Ivy League, and what it was like breaking into Hollywood. (Nov 2)
After captivating readers with last year’s Writers & Lovers, King returns to the page with a collection of short stories that continue to prove her prowess in all things love and human connection. (Nov 9)
Building on the momentum of her smash-hit essay for The Cut, “Buying Myself Back,” Ratajkowski delves further into her relationship to feminism, sexual politics, objectification, and yes, her body. (Nov 9)
Sang Young Park is one of the best-selling new authors in South Korea, and he makes his English-language debut with the translation of his novel about a student dealing with life — and loneliness — in Seoul. (Nov. 16)
The poet’s viral erasure poems — Baer takes Instagram messages from disgruntled followers and collages them into feminist works — journey to the page for her next book, which will also use op-eds and court testimonies as source material. (Nov. 9)
The groundbreaking project from The New York Times, which created a new origin story for America based on the very beginnings of American slavery, is expanded into a very large, very powerful full-length book. (Nov. 16)
Robison, an investigative reporter for Bloomberg, looks into the deadly 2018 and 2019 crashes of the 737 Max plane, exposing the disasters within Boeing that led to the tragic outcome. (Nov. 30)
A true portrait of artists young and old, White is narrated by a graduate student who rents an apartment from an older professor but is surprised to learn that his wife, a painter, will be joining her for much of her time abroad. Intrigue mixed with delight turns into something closer to horror as the painter’s life — along with her marital drama and occasional madness — begins to overcome them both. (Nov. 30)
EW alum Jeff Jensen teams up with illustrator George Schall for a graphic novel based on the life of Kate Warne, America’s first female detective. (Oct. 27/Nov. 2)