November’s Best New Books offer plenty to be thankful for

November’s Best New Books offer plenty to be thankful for

In Reading Lists - Best New Books by Lanie Pemberton

November’s Best New Books offer plenty to be thankful for
Reflecting on what we’re grateful for this month, a few things come to mind: time filled with family, football, food, and fun, especially if your idea of “fun” is reading books. This month’s best new books include a memoir from Friends star Matthew Perry reflecting on his struggles with substance abuse, while Chelsea Lately comedian Natasha Leggero considers parenting through climate change. New perspectives on American history, including the Tulsa Race Massacre, and historical fiction set in Colorado are a few other thought-provoking reads this month. YA lovers will rejoice over the latest by the authors of Blackout along with duology conclusions to Sue Lynn Tan’s Daughter of the Moon Goddess and Laura Pohl’s The Grimrose Girls. Nonfiction titles covering psychology and how to win arguments are sure to come in handy during those upcoming family get-togethers. You’ll even find a cultural exploration of the human butt (yes, a whole book on it), proving that no matter your interests, you can always have your fill of satisfying reads with Scribd’s Best New Books.

Perry is best known for portraying Chandler Bing on the NBC sitcom and cultural phenomenon Friends. Like Bing, who hid his insecurities behind self-deprecating humor, Perry silently battled plenty of demons before, during, and after the show’s heyday. Most notably, his memoir explores his struggles with substance abuse and depression, while seamlessly weaving plenty of humor throughout. “So much has been written about me in the past,” Perry writes on Twitter. “I thought it was time people heard from me.”

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In the aftermath of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, the white mob who destroyed the Black neighborhood of Greenwood and killed hundreds of its citizens faced no repercussions. It took 30 years for the massacre to even be acknowledged on a national level. To this day, no real accountability has been taken and no reparations have been made to Black Tulsans. Young, a Tulsa native, illuminates history with modern context and the effects of intergenerational trauma. Requiem for the Massacre is a historical account, a cultural criticism, and a memoir of Blackness all at once.

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Small Game by Blair Braverman

Mara, who was raised by doomsday preppers, is recruited to compete in a Survivor-esque reality show with an enticing cash prize. But an unexpected twist leaves Mara and her castmates wondering if something darker is at play — and if any of them will live long enough to claim their reward. Braverman’s debut about the will to survive is twisty and strategically paced, creating a tense thrill ride with a remote wilderness backdrop. 

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Chingona by Alma Zaragoza-Petty

Drawing on her experiences as a Mexican American woman and first-gen college graduate (who now holds a doctoral degree), Zaragoza-Petty explores how women, particularly multicultural and immigrant women, can find their inner chingona, or “badass.” Above all, Chingona is a reminder that only by reflecting on our pain can we heal and repurpose those struggles for a greater purpose. A blend of memoir and self-help, this book strikes the right balance between empathic and empowering.

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White Horse by Erika T. Wurth

Kari James, a young urban Native woman in Denver, drowns her anger in heavy metal and heavy drinking until a haunted family heirloom hints at the dark truth behind her family’s past. With a sinister spirit hot on her heels, Kari is determined to solve her mother’s mysterious disappearance. Wurth’s atmospheric ghost story blends Indigenous mysticism with the challenges of modern life, including substance abuse and racism. Ideal for fans of Stephen King and Stephen Graham Jones.

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Toad by Katherine Dunn

Toad is a story of reminiscence and painful realizations. Sally Gunnar, a middle-aged woman with only a goldfish and garden toad for company, dwells on her college days back in the 1960s, including the isolation she felt even when surrounded by her quirky gang of friends. Themes of mental health and belonging play a strong role in this previously unpublished novel by the late, award-winning Dunn (Geek Love), whose legacy of celebrating the freakish side of humanity lives on.

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How Do We Know Ourselves? by David G. Myers

Myers, a professor of psychology and author of many psychological textbooks, offers an essay collection rooted in emerging research. This approachable read is an exploration of the human mind and popular behavior, revealing the surprising truths behind why we feel, think, and act in certain ways. Myers makes psychology extra entertaining with enlightening context for the digital age.

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Someday, Maybe by Onyi Nwabineli

Nwabineli’s debut explores the stages of grief through the eyes of Eve, a London-based woman who’s blindsided after her husband takes his own life. Eve struggles to accept the unacceptable while experiencing job loss, familial support, in-law strife, and more. Someday, Maybe is a bittersweet and bitingly emotional journey that doesn’t shy away from the ripple effects of suicide. 

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Gilded Mountain by Kate Manning

Manning’s (My Notorious Life) latest work of historical fiction unfolds in Colorado at the turn of the 20th century. After working for the wealthy owners of her town’s marble mining company, teenager Sylvie Pelletier becomes embroiled in union organizing and the fight for worker’s rights. Gilded Mountain follows the evolution of racial and class divide through the lens of a girl coming of age and shedding the naivety of youth. 

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This is Our Place by Vitor Martins 

In small-town Brazil, three queer teens across three decades grapple with coming of age, family drama, and first relationships. At first, the only thing they seem to have in common is their home — Number 8 Sunflower Street, which also acts as the novel’s narrator. But as the story progresses, new links are revealed in surprising ways. “This is Our Place” is proof that generational divides are only as big as we allow them to be.

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My Good Man by Eric Gansworth

Brian, an Indigenous journalist for a small white-centric newspaper, must cover a violent attack that took place on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation where he grew up. The victim was once a father figure to Brian, which sparks memories of his coming of age. Gansworth (Apple: (Skin to the Core), Extra Indians), who also grew up in the Tuscarora nation, uses prose, poetry, and Brian’s articles to explore the struggle to find one’s identity when caught between two worlds.

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Salt and Sugar by Rebecca Carvalho

Though their family-run bakeries (the titular Salt and Sugar) have been rivals for generations, teens Lari Ramires and Pedro Molina must work together when a big box store threatens their livelihoods. Along the way, collaboration may just morph into courtship. Set in Olinda, Brazil, Carvalho’s debut is a sweet rom-com to be savored, with the enemies-to-lovers trope enriched by themes of grief, hope, and heritage.

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Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win by Susan Azim Boyer

Iranian-American high schooler Jasmine Zumideh hopes becoming class president will bolster her college application to NYU. But when her competitor uses a crisis in Iran to stir up controversy, Jasmine must decide if winning the election is worth losing herself. Boyer’s witty debut explores xenophobia, identity, and cultural heritage. Set in the 1970s, Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win is as relevant today as ever.

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Bored of smalltown Tennessee life, artsy teens Frankie and Zeke create an offbeat poster with an eerie message, inadvertently sparking local and national attention. Over two decades later, their long-time secret is threatened when a reporter contacts Frankie about the “Coalfield Panic of 1996.” Wilson’s (Nothing to See Here) heartwarming latest bursts with 90s nostalgia, the promise of youth, and the power of art. 

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The Grimkes by Kerri F. Greenidge

Historian Greenidge follows two sides of the Grimke family, including sisters and suffragettes Sarah and Angelina but also their sadistic brother, Henry, who fathered several children with a Black woman he enslaved. Greenidge reveals the prevalent racism on both sides of the Grimke family, offering accuracy in a previously white-washed story of American history.

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Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, Nicola Yoon

The authors of YA fan-favorite Blackout return for a fresh tale that sparkles with young love and Black joy. Rather than summertime NYC, Whiteout unfolds in snow-blanketed Atlanta, where Stevie enlists the help of her friends after an AP science experiment lands her in hot water with her girlfriend, Sola. While Blackout featured interconnected short stories by each author, this novel follows a singular narrative, though there are plenty of side romances, quirky personalities, and friendships to create a rich, relatable world.

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Flight by Lynn Steger Strong

Adult siblings Henry, Kate, and Martin gather their families to celebrate the first Christmas without their matriarch. Discussions of their shared inheritance only fan the flames of personal and sibling strife, but helping a woman in need puts the siblings’ troubles into a broader perspective. Strong (Want) delivers an engrossing saga of family, class, and the clash between expectation and harsh reality. 

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Marked for Life by Isaac Wright, Jr.

Wright shares his remarkable story of standing up to injustice after being falsely accused of drug activity and sentenced to life in prison. A music producer prior to his imprisonment, Wright went on to become a paralegal from prison, using his knowledge to advocate for his fellow inmates and eventually overturn his own conviction. Now a practicing attorney, Wright is a shining example of human resilience and determination, and his story is a stark reminder of the changes needed in the American legal system. Marked for Life inspired the 2020 ABC television series, For Life.

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Anon Pls. by DeuxMoi

Gossip Girl meets The Devil Wears Prada in this autobiographical fiction by the unnamed influencer behind the real-world @Deuxmoi celebrity gossip account. Cricket Lopez blows off steam after a rough day at work by creating an anonymous celebrity gossip account on Instagram. But when @Deuxmoi goes viral, Cricket finds her job, friendships, and sense of self at risk. Anon Pls. goes beyond gossip and into themes of sexual misconduct, abuse of power, and social media’s grip on society. 

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Leggero, an actress and comedian, brings her signature humor to the world of parenting. More specifically, Leggero discusses “geriatric” parenting (she gave birth at 42), breastfeeding, the pressure to choose the “right” child-rearing style, and reproducing despite climate change — lest we leave the next generation to science deniers. Whether you have children, want children, or love your childfree status, this memoir of motherhood is relatable to all who’ve experienced the trials and tribulations of being imperfectly human. 

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Win Every Argument by Mehdi Hasan

Even when everything from politics to social norms is polarizing, Hasan, an MSNBC journalist and broadcaster, asserts that arguing doesn’t have to be contentious. Done right, debates can be productive, healthy, and even fun. Win Every Argument teaches readers to do just that. Based on Hasan’s interviews (and arguments) with celebrities, politicians, and beyond, the tips in this straightforward guide reveal how to remain calm, articulate, persuasive, and compelling.

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Tread of Angels by Rebecca Roanhorse

Lauded for her worldbuilding by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and The Washington Post, Roanhorse (author of the Between Earth and Sky series) pens a historical western fantasy with biblical ties. In a small mining town set in present-day Colorado, Elects look down upon the Fallen, who are descendants of demons. Celeste Semyaza, half-Elect and half-Fallen, must clear her sister’s name after she’s accused of murder.

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Heart of the Sun Warrior by Sue Lynn Tan

Tan concludes the Celestial Kingdom duology (following Daughter of the Moon Goddess) with another heart-pounding adventure rooted in Chinese mythology. Xingyin has finally reunited with her mother, but their companionable life on the moon is disrupted by an interloper with a dark plan. Xingyin must embark on a journey, encountering the Sun Goddess along the way, before a final epic showdown to win the Celestial Kingdom.

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Land of Delusion by Colin Dickey

In the recesses of Reddit and other online forums, ordinary people discuss extraordinary conspiracy theories that are increasingly becoming mainstream and affecting global politics. With both urgency and understanding, Dickey gets to the heart of what makes once-radical alternate histories appealing.

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Butts: A Backstory by Heather Radke

Butt. Backside. Bottom. Gluteus maximus. Whatever you call it, the human hindquarters (particularly women’s) are perhaps the most storied of all body parts. In Butts: A Backstory Radke, contributing editor of the Peabody-winning RadioLab podcast, covers the evolutionary and cultural history of the female butt, from fashion to fitness and beyond. Guided by Radke’s incisive analysis and wit, learn why we have butts — and why we obsess over them.

Start Listening NOV 29

Dr. No by Percival Everett

Billionaire John Sill, an aspiring supervillain out for revenge, has a plan. He’s going to break into Fort Knox and steal a box of…nothing. Lucky for Sill, Professor Wala Kita is an expert on nothing. He’s also too naive to realize Sill’s dark intentions. Everett’s (The Trees, So Much Blue) farcical caper includes clever commentary on racism, and never before has a book about “nothing” packed so much substance.

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Ressa, journalist and cofounder of news outlet Rappler, has dedicated her career to reporting the truth at all costs, including prison. In this eye-opening book, Ressa discusses her work in the Philippines and conflicts with former President Duterte, as well as how social media has tainted society with misinformation. How to Stand Up to a Dictator is more than a memoir: It’s a call to action when our very democracy is at risk. Ressa was the co-recipient of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for her “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.”

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We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds

Queer and biracial high schooler Avery Anderson must relocate from D.C. to Georgia so her mother can care for her ailing grandmother, Mama Letty. Though facing tensions inside the home and out, Avery manages to build friendships and a budding romance — both of which are threatened by dark family secrets and the town’s racist history. Hammonds’ YA debut blends romance, mystery, and historical fiction to reveal the impact of generational trauma.

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Skye and Maya are invited to compete on a reality show to win back their ex-boyfriend, Jordy, who’s now famous. Skye hopes to reconnect with Jordy, while Maya plans to expose him for the lying cheater he truly is. But as the show progresses, sparks fly in unexpected places. Revenge may be best served cold, but this YA rom-com is warm and fuzzy with sapphic love. 

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A Thousand Heartbeats by Kiera Cass

On the cusp of an arranged marriage, Princess Annika is kidnapped by Lennox, a mercenary whose army intends to take the throne from Annika’s father. Despite being enemies, deeper feelings grow as the pair face mutual threats, complicating their political and familial obligations. Cass’ (The Selection, The Betrothed) newest YA romance brims with fantasy and intrigue as the protagonists must choose between heart and destiny. 

Start Listening NOV 29

New books are a beautiful thing, but so are newish books. It’s never too late to read Scribd’s Best New Books from past months. 

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About the Author: Lanie Pemberton

Lanie is a San Diego-based freelance writer with many Scribd Snapshots and recommended reading lists under her belt. She loves reading about animals and the natural world, with plenty of murder mysteries peppered in. When she needs a break from writing and reading, Lanie can be found taking long walks under the SoCal sun, usually alongside her husband and pampered pittie, Peach.

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