Fiction, New Releases, Nonfiction, Young Adult

New This Month: November & December 2020

Happy November! The first three Tuesdays of this month have a reasonable number of new releases, but after this it dies off a bit until the end of January. I’ll still have lots of books to tell you about for January, but this month will actually be two-fold, November & December.

As the book buyer for a local independent book store, I have the great joy of being able to see what books are coming, what publishers are excited about, and more, a good three to nine months before the books are actually released. While this is normally very exciting, it also means that by the time the book comes out, I’ve most likely already read, and therefore forgotten, about it. My hope here is to a, share some exciting new titles with you, lovely book lovers and b, remind myself of all the books that will be arriving in the store this month! While the release dates are for US editions, most will be available internationally around the same time or shortly thereafter. In the USA, I recommend purchasing through Bookshop, in the UK, and many other parts of the world, I recommend Blackwell’s, and if neither of those cover where you live, I recommend checking out your local booksellers before turning to major chains/online for your book buying needs.

I’ve chosen a collection of books in a variety of genres because I have a myriad of tastes and interests, hopefully one, or a few, will appeal to you. Reviews will be posted for some of the titles as they are released. Each title links to it’s Goodreads page so you can add it to your TBR list!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

  • The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein – I love Elizabeth Wein’s Verity world of WWII. She writes her characters in such a way that makes them feel like they’ve come off the page and you’re interacting with them in real life. Jamie has always been a favorite of mine and I was so excited to see him front on center in this book! I can’t wait to share it with customers at the store!

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

  • The Forgotten Sister by Nicola Cornick – I’m a sucker for Queen Elizabeth I stories, and am usually even more drawn to them if Robert Dudley is involved. I absolutely loved this book – bouncing back and forth between Robert’s wife, Amy, and QE1 as well as between past and present, it’s not just a mystery and historical fiction novel, but a thought provoking work as well.
  • Answers in the Form of Questions by Claire McNear – I, like Claire McNear, am a Jeopardy! couch shouter – I watch and holler out the questions to the answers asked by Alex Trebek. I’m not great, but better than most contestants when it comes to the book categories! As my step-father made it to live auditions for Jeopardy! as few years ago, I knew a bit about the behind the scenes side of the show, but not nearly to the extent that Claire delves into here. It’s a great book for even just casual fans of the show, and diehard fans will absolutely love it!
  • Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls by Lisa Robinson – A fascinating look at women in the music industry written by a long-time music journalist. Covering over 40 years of music history and based on thousands of interviews conducted by the author in that time, as well as her own writing, it’s an integral work of feminist music history that should resonate with music lovers and should be studied and read for years to come.
  • One Life by Megan Rapinoe – I’m an obsessive sports fan and have been my whole life. Megan has been one of the most compelling and compulsively watchable female athletes I have seen in my two and a half decades of obsessive sports watching. I really enjoyed reading One Life, her memoir and call to action, and hope that she, and it, will continue to inspire people to take a stand for what’s right and to support each other in this divisive time.
  • We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper – I’d never read true crime before and boy did it make me jumpy! I found it very engrossing from the get go – I guess it’s that macabre fascination that has made the genre take off in recent years. I appreciated the back and forth between the ’60s and present day and found it all very suspenseful. I also thought it was neat to get to see the author’s research process and dissection of Harvard culture as well.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

  • I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are by Rachel Bloom – I enjoyed Rachel’s essay collection – definitely entertaining and her spectacular writing is on full display. A bit gimmicky for me, but will certainly appeal to her fans!
  • No One Asked for This by Cazzie David – Cazzie is a good writer, and definitely funny in a early comedic way – she says she’s more like her dad than mom and the resemblance is obvious. I could overwhelmingly relate to her relationship with her sister and appreciated how the lighter essays still had some deeper resonating themes – despite her claim of not having lived long before writing, she is a keen observer of human nature and writes unabashedly about mental health.
  • Philosophy for Polar Explorers by Erling Kagge – A fascinating look at how the mindset needed for polar exploration applies to us non-polar explorers as well. With a focus on calming, unplugging, and recentering oneself on nature, it’s the perfect book for heading into the cooler weather.
  • HRH by Elizabeth Holmes – I’m always a sucker for everything pertaining to the royal ladies, and have been curating a Kate Pinterest board for a decade. As a student of historical costume, I studied how fashion changed over time and this book will serve a role for generations to come who are fascinated by how we dressed – it’s the celebrities and royals we looked at most in the past and will, most likely, continue to be in the future.
  • Two Dollar Radio Guide to Naming Your Baby by Travis Hoewischer – As someone who has celebrated numerous births of friends and families babies with names from Maeve to Seb, I couldn’t wait to see what this irreverent baby naming book had between it’s covers. It’s funny and witty, and I love the interludes with name lists. I was also relieved to not find my own name within its pages, I shuddered to think what Travis would have to say about Sarahs! (This one’s not on Goodreads so links to the Bookshop page for the book)
  • A Promised Land by Barack Obama – Obviously I haven’t even blurb read this one, no one has. But, like Michelle’s memoir from two years ago, I am anxiously anticipating this one and very much look forward to reading it this winter.

December 2020

  • December 1: Expedition Deep Ocean by Josh Young – Part bio, part adventure story, it’s an intriguing look at the expedition to explore the last unknown frontier on earth: the bottom of the ocean.
  • December 1: The Arctic Fury by Greer MacAllister – Greer’s writing is always so atmospheric – you immediately feel transported to the time and place of her story. The characters of The Arctic Fury immediately drew me in and I couldn’t wait to see how the expedition turned out based on the opening scenes.
  • December 8: Mozart by Jan Swafford – As a classically trained violist, I’ve played a lot of Mozart (and always appreciate how he doesn’t neglect his violists) and have always been fascinated by him as a person. Jan does a great job of making this bio very accessible to the non-musically inclined and it thoroughly captures Mozart’s humor and dispels a number of the myths created about his life – he’s less legendary, more human being.
  • December 15: The Berlin Shadow by Jonathan Lichtenstein – I love a good family memoir and Jonathan’s story of retracing the path of the Kindertransport that his father took from Germany to the UK is well written and fascinating, an interesting look at a lesser known piece of WWII history.
  • December 29: The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little – I’ve always been intrigued by Mademoiselle Chanel, but I didn’t know much about her before her iconic fashion house. I delighted in getting a glimpse into her childhood, as well as her family connections. This book inspired me to admire her even more than I already did.

While I enjoy doing this monthly collection, I ultimately hope that it is helpful to you, dear readers! Are there any books that I didn’t include that you’re excited for this month?

4 thoughts on “New This Month: November & December 2020”

  1. Have you already read all of these (aside from Oabam’s)?? If so; amazing! I really liked We Keep the Dead Close. I’ve cut way back on true crime reading lately but that one was a highlight for me this year.

    I really liked Erling Kagge’s book Walking so I’m excited to hear about Philosophy for Polar Explorers. I think I’d like to read it, it sounds very meaningful right now. I’m curious about Expedition Deep Ocean but want to read some reviews first. Thanks for this wonderful and varied list!!


    1. Depends on your definition of “read” – in my role as a book buyer, I need to have read books thoroughly enough to write blurbs for each major publisher every month. So some I’ve done a close read of the first and last 50 pages, some I’ve sped read, and others I have “really” read if I really enjoyed it or it’s a favorite author. (I really read The Enigma Game, Keep the Dead Close, and Philosophy for Polar Explorers – which I totally loved).

      Honestly, Expedition Deep Ocean was the one I’d forgotten by the time I did this list. We have Indie deadlines about 2 1/2 months before the pub dates, so it’s also always a nice test for how well I remember them all to do this post each month (though most of what I wrote I wrote when I first read them back in August).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh how interesting! A really good way to decide whether you want to read the whole thing too. I’m terrible about writing out full reviews immediately after reading a book, just some notes and quick thoughts, so I also use that as a barometer for how meaningful it ended up being in the long run.

        Great to know about Polar Explorers, I’m excited for that one!

        Liked by 1 person

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