Hello everyone and welcome back to one of our favorite posts of the each montth– our Book of the Month predictions. Keep in mind that these are only well thought out guesses and it quite possible we could be wrong. Though we did guess 5/9 correctly last time WITHOUT clues.
Possible Main Picks
Nights When Nothing Happened by Simon HanNights When Nothing Happened by Simon Han
Published by Riverhead Books on November 17, 2020
From the outside, the Chengs seem like so-called model immigrants. Once Patty landed a tech job near Dallas, she and Liang grew secure enough to have a second child, and to send for their first from his grandparents back in China. Isn't this what they sacrificed so much for? But then little Annabel begins to sleepwalk at night, putting into motion a string of misunderstandings that not only threaten to set their community against them but force to the surface the secrets that have made them fear one another. How can a man make peace with the terrors of his past? How can a child regain trust in unconditional love? How can a family stop burying its history and forge a way through it, to a more honest intimacy?
Han’s literary fiction debut is the epitome of a Book of the Month pick. In fact, when I first read the book’s synopsis I instantly thought of books like Miracle Creek and Little Fires Everywhere. What’s more, it’s blurbed by Bryan Washington, Kevin Wilson and Angie Kim who are all previous Book of the Month authors. It’s quite possible that one of these past authors will write a note for why they love it on the site. More broadly, the novel follows an immigrant family trying to find community and a place of belonging. Additionally, while the books tone and style is literary that is a mystery that give the novel a page turning quality that Book of the Month is always on the look out for.
Memorial by Bryan WashingtonMemorial by Bryan Washington
Published by Riverhead Books on October 27, 2020
A funny, sexy, profound dramedy about two young people at a crossroads in their relationship and the limits of love.
Benson and Mike are two young guys who live together in Houston. Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant and Benson's a Black day care teacher, and they've been together for a few years -- good years -- but now they're not sure why they're still a couple. There's the sex, sure, and the meals Mike cooks for Benson, and, well, they love each other.
But when Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives in Texas for a visit, Mike picks up and flies across the world to say goodbye. In Japan he undergoes an extraordinary transformation, discovering the truth about his family and his past. Back home, Mitsuko and Benson are stuck living together as unconventional roommates, an absurd domestic situation that ends up meaning more to each of them than they ever could have predicted. Without Mike's immediate pull, Benson begins to push outwards, realizing he might just know what he wants out of life and have the goods to get it.
Both men will change in ways that will either make them stronger together, or fracture everything they've ever known. And just maybe they'll all be okay in the end. Memorial is a funny and profound story about family in all its strange forms, joyful and hard-won vulnerability, becoming who you're supposed to be, and the limits of love.
Bryan Washington is a repeat Book of the Month author, subscribers might remember him for his short story collection: Lot. Memorial has also received rave reviews from previous Book of the Month authors such as Jasmine Guillory. What’s more, the novel follows a gay couples, one a Japanese chef and the other a black day care worker, whose relationship has seen better days. Unexpected events lead to humorous living arrangement, heartwarming moments and major transformations for both men. We also found out that Memorial is the Good Morning America Book Club pick for November making it a highly likely pick for November.
White Ivy by Susie YangWhite Ivy by Susie Yang
on November 3, 2020
A dazzling debut novel about a young woman’s dark obsession with her privileged classmate and the lengths she’ll go to win his love
Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar—but you’d never know it by looking at her. Raised outside of Boston, she is taught how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops by her immigrant grandmother. Thieving allows Ivy to accumulate the trappings of a suburban teen—and, most importantly, to attract the attention of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy of a wealthy political family. But when Ivy’s mother discovers her trespasses, punishment is swift and Ivy is sent to China, where her dream instantly evaporates.
Years later, Ivy has grown into a poised yet restless young woman, haunted by her conflicting feelings about her upbringing and her family. Back in Boston, when she bumps into Sylvia Speyer, Gideon’s sister, a reconnection with Gideon seems not only inevitable—it feels like fate.
Slowly, Ivy sinks her claws into Gideon and the entire Speyer clan by attending fancy dinners and weekend getaways to the Cape. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she’s worked so hard to build.
Filled with surprising twists and offering sharp insights into the immigrant experience, White Ivy is both a love triangle and a coming-of-age story, as well as a glimpse into the dark side of a woman who yearns for success at any cost.
White Ivy is an ownvoices novel featuring, one the one hand, a young Chinese American protagonist who struggles to find herself as an adolescent and then gets entangled in the machinations of lives of a rich, wealthy from her past. The story shares themes ubiquitous among Book of the Month picks including issues of class, race, family and identity and it challenges one’s perceptions and stereotypes frequently surrounding these issues. What’s more, it’s blurbed by Kevin Wilson, alongside all those are raving about the book as a must read November release.
The Killer’s Shadow by John Douglas and Mark OlshakerThe Killer's Shadow: The FBI's Hunt for a White Supremacist Serial Killer by John E. Douglas, Mark Olshaker
Published by Dey Street Books on November 17, 2020
The legendary FBI criminal profiler and international bestselling author of Mindhunter and The Killer Across the Table returns with this timely, relevant book that goes to the heart of extremism and domestic terrorism, examining in-depth his chilling pursuit of, and eventual prison confrontation with Joseph Paul Franklin, a White Nationalist serial killer and one of the most disturbing psychopaths he has ever encountered.
Worshippers stream out of an Midwestern synagogue after sabbath services, unaware that only a hundred yards away, an expert marksman and avowed racist, antisemite and member of the Ku Klux Klan, patiently awaits, his hunting rifle at the ready.
The October 8, 1977 shooting was a forerunner to the tragedies and divisiveness that plague us today. John Douglas, the FBI’s pioneering, first full-time criminal profiler, hunted the shooter—a white supremacist named Joseph Paul Franklin, whose Nazi-inspired beliefs propelled a three-year reign of terror across the United States, targeting African Americans, Jews, and interracial couples. In addition, Franklin bombed the home of Jewish leader Morris Amitay, shot and paralyzed Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, and seriously wounded civil rights leader Vernon Jordan. The fugitive supported his murderous spree robbing banks in five states, from Georgia to Ohio.
Douglas and his writing partner Mark Olshaker return to this disturbing case that reached the highest levels of the Bureau, which was fearful Franklin would become a presidential assassin—and haunted him for years to come as the threat of copycat domestic terrorist killers increasingly became a reality. Detailing the dogged pursuit of Franklin that employed profiling, psychology and meticulous detective work, Douglas and Olshaker relate how the case was a make-or-break test for the still-experimental behavioral science unit and revealed a new type of, determined, mission-driven serial killer whose only motivation was hate.
A riveting, cautionary tale rooted in history that continues to echo today, The Killer's Shadow is a terrifying and essential exploration of the criminal personality in the vile grip of extremism and what happens when rage-filled speech evolves into deadly action and hatred of the “other" is allowed full reign.
The Killer's Shadow includes an 8-page color photo insert.
In the follow up to The Killer Across the Table, the authors returns to their analysis of the country’s leading serial killers and the motivation behind their heinous act. The Killer Across the Table was am incredibly popular Book of the Month title and it would be shocking if The Killer’s Shadow is not a pick, either as a main selection or as an add on.
Little Threats by Emily SchultzLittle Threats by Emily Schultz
on November 10, 2020
Both a taut whodunit and a haunting snapshot of the effects of a violent crime, Little Threats tells the story of a woman who served fifteen years in prison for murder...and now it's time to find out if she's guilty.
In the summer of 1993, twin sisters Kennedy and Carter Wynn are embracing the grunge era and testing every limit in their privileged Richmond suburb. But Kennedy's teenage rebellion goes too far when, after a night of partying in the woods, her best friend, Haley, is murdered, and suspicion quickly falls upon Kennedy. She can't remember anything about the night in question, and this, along with the damning testimony from a college boy who both Kennedy and Haley loved, is enough to force Kennedy to enter a guilty plea.
In 2008, Kennedy is released into a world that has moved on without her. Carter has grown distant as she questions Kennedy's innocence, and begins a relationship with someone who could drive the sisters apart forever. The twins' father, Gerry, is eager to protect the family's secrets and fragile bonds. But Kennedy's return brings the tragedy back to the surface, along with a whole new wave of media. When a crime show host comes to town asking questions, believing the murder wasn't wasn't as simple as it seemed, murky memories of Haley's death come to light. As new suspects emerge and the suburban woods finally give up their secrets, two families may be destroyed again.
Little Threats is the sort of psychological suspense novel that Book of the Month loves. It follows two sisters, one of whom please guilty to the murder of a friend. Told in alternating timelines, the reader is privy to not only what enfolded fifteen years previously but what happens after Kennedy has served the full sentence for a crime she doesn’t remember commiting. Thematically, the story treats issues fo guilt, the fragility of life, and family secrets. The book is also blurbed by a handful of previous Book of the Month authors: Kimberly McCreight (A Good Marriage), Wendy Walker (Emma in the Night), and Bryn Greenwood (All The Ugly and Wonderful Things).
Possible Add Ons
Ready Player Two by Ernest ClineReady Player Two (Ready Player One, #2) by Ernest Cline
Published by Ballantine Books on November 24, 2020
An unexpected quest. Two worlds at stake. Are you ready?
Days after Oasis founder James Halliday's contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything. Hidden within Halliday's vault, waiting for his heir to find, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the Oasis a thousand times more wondrous, and addictive, than even Wade dreamed possible. With it comes a new riddle and a new quest. A last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize. And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who will kill millions to get what he wants. Wade's life and the future of the Oasis are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance.
Lovingly nostalgic and wildly original as only Ernest Cline could conceive it, Ready Player Two takes us on another imaginative, fun, action packed adventure through his beloved virtual universe, and jolts us thrillingly into the future once again.
Readers return to the Oasis, in this imaginative follow up to the previous Book of the Month pick, Ready Player One. While the synopsis for the sequel is vague and sparse, the hype surrounding it is worth noting. Plus, it seems that Book of the Month has been trying to offer subscribers completes series. Likely to assuage a complain they were getting in their monthly surveys. I would honestly be shocked if Book of the Month didn’t offer it in some way in November.
The Violent Delights by Chloe GongThese Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1) by Chloe Gong
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on November 17, 2020
Perfect for fans of The Last Magician and Descendant of the Crane, this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River.
The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.
A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.
But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.
With Book of the Month’s recent commitment to be more diverse, it is unsurprising that These Violemt Delights would be offered in their November selection This queer Romeo and Juliet retelling is set in 1920s Shanghai and it sounds a bit like Crazy Rich Asians with magic. It is blurbed by past Book of the Month author Joan He (Descendent of the Crane) and is a violent, suspenseful ride that those who enjoyed the gore of Mexican Gothic will want to pick up.
The Best of Me by David SedarisThe Best of Me by David Sedaris
on November 3, 2020
David Sedaris’s best stories and essays, spanning his remarkable career—as selected by the author himself
For more than twenty-five years, David Sedaris has been carving out a unique literary space, virtually creating his own genre. A Sedaris story may seem confessional, but is also highly attuned to the world outside. It opens our eyes to what is at absurd and moving about our daily existence. And it is almost impossible to read without laughing. Now, for the first time collected in one volume, the author brings us his funniest and most memorable work. In these stories, Sedaris shops for rare taxidermy, hitchhikes with a lady quadriplegic, and spits a lozenge into a fellow traveler’s lap. He drowns a mouse in a bucket, struggles to say “give it to me” in five languages, and hand-feeds a carnivorous bird. But if all you expect to find in Sedaris’s work is the deft and sharply observed comedy for which he became renowned, you may be surprised to discover that his words bring more warmth than mockery, more fellow-feeling than derision. Nowhere is this clearer than in his writing about his loved ones. In these pages, Sedaris explores falling in love and staying together, recognizing his own aging not in the mirror but in the faces of his siblings, losing one parent and coming to terms—at long last—with the other. Taken together, the stories in TheBest of Me reveal the wonder and delight Sedaris takes in the surprises life brings him. No experience, he sees, is quite as he expected—it’s often harder, more fraught, and certainly weirder—but sometimes it is also much richer and more wonderful. Full of joy, generosity, and the incisive humor that has led David Sedaris to be called “the funniest man alive” (Time Out New York), The Best of Me spans a career spent watching and learning and laughing—quite often at himself—and invites readers deep into the world of one of the most brilliant and original writers of our time.
Out of all our guesses this is probably the one that we are the least sure of. It should be noted that David Sedaris is a two time repeat author and for those looking for a good laugh his books are pleasant relief with styles and themes that would be perfect for election month reading– an extra side of stress anyone??? This collection of essays has been getting rave reviews and might give subscribers the laughs we all desperately need right now.
We Keep the Dead Close by Becky CooperWe Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper
Published by Grand Central Publishing on November 10, 2020
You have to remember, he reminded me, that Harvard is older than the U.S. government. You have to remember because Harvard doesn't let you forget.
1969: the height of counterculture and the year universities would seek to curb the unruly spectacle of student protest; the winter that Harvard University would begin the tumultuous process of merging with Radcliffe, its all-female sister school; and the year that Jane Britton, an ambitious 23-year-old graduate student in Harvard's Anthropology Department and daughter of Radcliffe Vice President J. Boyd Britton, would be found bludgeoned to death in her Cambridge, Massachusetts apartment.
Forty years later, Becky Cooper, a curious undergrad, will hear the first whispers of the story. In the first telling the body was nameless. The story was this: a Harvard student had had an affair with her professor, and the professor had murdered her in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology because she'd threatened to talk about the affair. Though the rumor proves false, the story that unfolds, one that Cooper will follow for ten years, is even more complex: a tale of gender inequality in academia, a "cowboy culture" among empowered male elites, the silencing effect of institutions, and our compulsion to rewrite the stories of female victims.
We Keep the Dead Close is a memoir of mirrors, misogyny, and murder. It is at once a rumination on the violence and oppression that rules our revered institutions, a ghost story reflecting one young woman's past onto another's present, and a love story for a girl who was lost to history.
Recently, True Crime have been rather popular genre among Book of the Month subscribers and Cooper’s true story of an unsolved crime from the 1960s is certain to keep some up at night. It is also blurbed by past Book of the Month author Stacy Schiff (The Witches). We Keep the Dead Close is a solid addition to the true crime stories out there and has been compared to books like I’ll Be Gone In the Dark. Also, with A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder ever the popular Book of the Month choice, this title seems right at home in a round of monthly selections.
Group by Christie TateGroup: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life by Christie Tate
Published by Avid Reader Press / Simon Schuster on October 27, 2020
“Hilarious and engrossing.” —People * “Fearless candor and vulnerability.” —Time * “Funny, emotional, and insightful.” —Good Morning America * “Honest, addictive” —HelloGiggles * “Wonderful...sparkle and intelligence.” —Booklist * “Dazzling.” —Publishers Weekly
The refreshingly original debut memoir of a guarded, over-achieving, self-lacerating young lawyer who reluctantly agrees to get psychologically and emotionally naked in a room of six complete strangers—her psychotherapy group—and in turn finds human connection, and herself.
Christie Tate had just been named the top student in her law school class and finally had her eating disorder under control. Why then was she driving through Chicago fantasizing about her own death? Why was she envisioning putting an end to the isolation and sadness that still plagued her in spite of her achievements?
Enter Dr. Rosen, a therapist who calmly assures her that if she joins one of his psychotherapy groups, he can transform her life. All she has to do is show up and be honest. About everything—her eating habits, childhood, sexual history, etc. Christie is skeptical, insisting that that she is defective, beyond cure. But Dr. Rosen issues a nine-word prescription that will change everything: “You don’t need a cure, you need a witness.”
So begins her entry into the strange, terrifying, and ultimately life-changing world of group therapy. Christie is initially put off by Dr. Rosen’s outlandish directives, but as her defenses break down and she comes to trust Dr. Rosen and to depend on the sessions and the prescribed nightly phone calls with various group members, she begins to understand what it means to connect.
Group is a deliciously addictive read, and with Christie as our guide—skeptical of her own capacity for connection and intimacy, but hopeful in spite of herself—we are given a front row seat to the daring, exhilarating, painful, and hilarious journey that is group therapy—an under-explored process that breaks you down, and then reassembles you so that all the pieces finally fit.
Group by Christie Tate is being widly hailed as a hilarious novel about what its like to go to group therapy. Lighter in tone than some of other books on this list, this memoir is both heartwarming and evocative. What’s more, not only is this thought to be Reese’s book club pick for November, but it’s also blurbed by Lori Gottleib who wrote the popular nonfiction title, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. Just like the Sedaris title above, it seems like the perfect, post US election read.
What About You?
What do you think of our November predictions? If these are correct, which books are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!