The 5 New Books You Should Be Reading This November

DH Lawrence's essays, Elena Ferrante's non-fiction and a stirring remembrance of the Berlin Wall

best books to read november 2019
Read these books while you avoid talking to your family this holiday season
By Jason Diamond / November 2, 2019 5:00 am

Remember summer? Yeah. That was a long time ago. Now we’re hitting the cold months, the time of year when you’re stuck inside with a mug of spiked cider, wearing wool socks on and trying to avoid the cold November rain. That, and in a few weeks you’ll probably be stuck in a house filled with hungry relatives speaking over each other while they wait for the Thanksgiving turkey to hit the table.

You know what will save you? Any of these great new titles, which either just hit or are about to hit the shelves of a bookstore near you.

The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness by Susannah Cahalan (Oct. 5)


Brain on Fire was one of the most gripping, fascinating memoirs to come out in the last decade. Susannah Cahalan is back with what should be one of the most talked about books of 2019 as she explores what happened when a group of people who showed no signs of mental illness underwent an experiment in the 1970s to see if they could go into mental asylums and “prove” their sanity. The result changed our views of modern mental health forever.

Checkpoint Charlie: The Cold War, the Berlin Wall and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Iain MacGregor


Weird story: I was talking to somebody born in 1992 and they had to remind me that they weren’t alive when the Berlin Wall separated East and West Germany. It’s getting hard for some of us to remember (especially my Clinton-era baby friend) how horrific and menacing that eleven-foot-high barrier truly was, and why its downfall was such a watershed moment. With this book, Iain MacGregor reminds us.

In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado (Oct. 5)


Already drawing rave reviews from The New Yorker and New York Times, Carmen Maria Machado has already rewritten the rules for modern fantasy and horror with 2017’s Her Body and Other Parties. Now she’s set her sights on changing our perception of everything we think know about memoir with this book. It feels like a thousand sharp jabs to your stomach in its unflinching portrayal of abuse and the childhood scars we never can get rid of.

The Bad Side of Books: Selected Essays of D.H. Lawrence by D.H. Lawrence (Oct. 12)


David Herbert Lawrence is one of those authors you’re always talking about trying to get into, but never quite know where to start. We all know about Lady Chatterley’s Lover, but is that the one you want to go with? Whether you’re deep into his work or not, this collection, edited by Lawrence superfan Geoff Dyer, is a must.

Incidental Inventions by Elena Ferrante (Oct. 19)


You’ve read Elena Ferrante by now, right? Or, at the very least, you promised somebody you’d pick up the “Neapolitan Novels,” but still haven’t. If you’re looking to at least get the wheels moving, this collection of her collected works of non-fiction for the Guardian could at least kickstart your foray into the brilliant mind of Ferrante.