We're deep in the Literary Awards Season, a season that is pleasing to some, grueling to others, and extremely stressful for the Pulitzer judges who are supposed to read hundreds of books. Titles that arrive late in the year are usually great. Publishers do not want autumn books to fall by the wayside. Enjoy the harvest of this month. I'll be in my book nerd corner, flipping over upcoming pages. (Books are listed alphabetically by author.)
"The best bad things" by Katrina Carrasco (6 November)
Love thrillers? Love historical fiction? Do I have a book for you? Meet Alma Rosales, a Mexican American, bisexual, clothed and undressed by Pinkerton Detective, whose stolen opium chase on behalf of her boss and the sometimes-beloved dolphins Beaumond keeps you seated and may even wonder if she already has lost your mind. Sexy, funny, serious and undeniable.
"Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and the Secret Genius of Edward Gorey" by Mark Dery (November 6)
Fans of "Mystery!" On PBS know that Gorey's compelling art contradicts categorization. His witty, macabre black and white drawings of fatal accidents and graveyards made him a kind of goth emeritus, especially when he wore his distinctive fur coats. Mark Dery pays homage to newly discovered correspondence as well as interviews with artists such as John Ashbery and Neil Gaiman, who see Gorey as an inspiration.
"Vita Nostra" by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko (November 13)
Russia's "Vita Nostra" – a mix of Lev Grossman's "The Magicians" and Elizabeth Kostova's "The Historian" – introduces us to Sasha Samokhina, who is selected for admission to the Sinister Institute of Special Technologies. Much more to say would risk spoiling Verderber, but rest assured that this English translation (by Julia Meitov Hersey) is a worldwide best-seller of the Anti-Harry Potter that you did not know you wanted.
"Art is Important: Because Your Imagination Can Change the World" by Neil Gaiman (November 20)
A collection of four Gaiman classics, including "On Libraries," this book by one of the most popular writers in the world, should inspire those who already believe in the power of creativity and appeal to those seeking a guru of imagination. Illustrated by Chris Riddell, "Art Matters" shows Gaiman's dry wit and wisdom.
"Harry Potter Filming Page: The Complete Journey of Filmmaking (Updated)" by Bob McCabe (November 13)
"The Bible for all Potter." Do I have to say more? Twelve hundred photographs. A story by Daniel Radcliffe. Memories of cast and crew. The perfect Christmas present for your favorite Potterholic.
"Those Who Knew" by Idra Novey (6 November)
Talk about relevant. Novey ("Ways to Disappear") tells the story of Lena, who was once involved with a powerful senator and is now suspected of taking advantage of another young woman. Surprise, surprise – this woman is dead. Should Lena be silent or speak out? Read this now, because everyone you know will be talking about it in early 2019.
"Kingdom of the Blind: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel" by Louise Penny (November 27)
Penny already has legions of readers and deserves more. Any new book focusing on Quebecois Armand Gamache and his village of Three Pines is better than the last one. This time, a strange legacy paired with drug research, Gamache has faced personal demons.
"Dangers of Time Travel" by Joyce Carol Oates (November 27)
The most prolific writer of our time has written a dystopian novel for our time. In an oligarchically close US state, a high school Valedictorian asks "outrageous" questions about the government that led to her "re-education" in Wisconsin in 1959, 80 years in the past. Writing is not as good as Orwell's – but that can be deliberate. Our times are gloomy.
"Becoming" by Michelle Obama (13 November)
Our former First Lady shows some surprises here. But that may be a good thing. Do not read for juicy delicacies, but for a smart, strong woman who expects a life that began with hard work and then suddenly came into the limelight.
"Churchill: Walking With Destiny" by Andrew Roberts (November 6)
Roberts ("Napoleon," "The Storm of War") was given access to new material for this biography. So if you've read every other book about the former Prime Minister and seen all the movies, expect revelations. For example: The royal family allowed the author to take the notes of King George VI. Read about his war meetings with Churchill. This is happening for the first time.
Bethanne Patrickis most recently the editor of "The books that have changed my life: Reflections of 100 authors, actors, musicians and other notables".