Books & Looks: November

There are books that match our current shift in season: a sudden change in pace, melancholic episodes, a yearning for lighter days. And then there are books that propel you forward: fiery in the midst of cold, pages that blaze as if to remind us that in the flurry of transitions, we only need to keep moving.

New releases like The Nobodies, Make Your Moment and When You Ask Me Where I’m Going are always a thrill to plow/cry/feel through, while classics like Letters to a Young Poet and Giovanni’s Room anchor us in the power of literature through time.

Here are the book and outfit pairings I’ve put together for November:

The Nobodies by Liza Palmer

Emmy-nominated writer Liza Palmer will have readers rooting for Joan Dixon, a true-to-heart journalist suddenly thrust in a millennial workplace as a junior copywriter. As Joan develops friendships and builds up the way she sees herself, a potential controversy at her workplace may just become the very thing she needed to get back to her core.


Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust and Infidelity is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free by Wednesday Martin, Ph.D.

Untrue unfolds the “fascinating journey to reveal the unexpected evolutionary legacy and social realities that drive female faithlessness” as told, researched and provided by feminist author and cultural critic Wednesday Martin, Ph.D. With a social science perspective and interviews, Martin goes deep into the lives of women, monogamy and sexual autonomy.


Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

A classic, the correspondence between a poet and Rainer Maria Rilke comes alive with this collection of letters penned by Rilke. Brimming with earnestness and a deep affection for the poet’s craft, life and coming of age, Rilke’s letters are odes to the things that we struggle with daily: love and relationships, the process of honing our craft, and best of all, how we live our way through questions, stumbling upon life’s answers.


Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

Olive, Again follows after Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, a novel that centers around the seventh-grade math teacher and wife of a pharmacist in Crosby Main. In the sequel, this novel is a collection of 13 stories and the central force that connects them all. After the death of her husband, the indomitable character loved by many readers evolves in her 80s and continues to be a compelling force for the people around her.


The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Set in the Antebellum South, Ta-Nehisi Coates dives into the story of Hiram Walker, the black son of a plantation owner with an uncanny ability to remember every single detail except for the memory of his mother. The story focuses on the Underground Railroad and the many layers of slavery as he lives his life. What makes Coates’ first foray in fiction is that it also employs magical realism, rendering the prose emotional, beautiful and cathartic.


Make Your Moment: The Savvy Woman’s Communication Playbook for Getting the Success You Want by Dion Lim

Make Your Moment by Dion Lim is a book like no other – it focuses on the micro-interactions that many women face daily in the modern workplace. As an Emmy-award winning anchor, Dion pulls from her personal experiences and the many ways she has had to communicate and fight her way to success. From dealing with office politics to #MeToo incidents, this book is an example of owning our voices and amplifying our own agency.


See You at the 7: Stories from the Bay Area’s Last Original Mile House by Vanessa Garcia

See You at the 7 by Vanessa Garcia is a compilation of the origins, the stories and all the ways that the restaurant 7 Mile House has touched people’s lives. The local restaurant has been a historic site, standing at the intersection of San Francisco, Brisbane and Daly City for 161 years. The book is an homage to the rich history it has contributed to the Bay Area, as well as a testament to the tenacity of Vanessa, her family and her community in preserving the establishment.


Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin tells the story of an American man in Paris, coming to terms with his own sexuality. It is a story of love and repression, of choosing what to do with the lives we are given, as the main character navigates his own journey and process for understanding himself. When he meets the enigmatic Giovanni, he suddenly comes face-to-face with everything he has known in his heart all along. What transpires is a story of what it means to live our lives out loud.


When You Ask Me Where I’m Going by Jasmin Kaur

Jasmin Kaur’s long-awaited debut When You Ask Me Where I’m Going is a collection of prose, poetry and illustrations which carry the depth of Kaur’s sensibilities throughout the book. From immigration, trauma and feminism to a fictional story about being a brown woman living away from the homeland, Kaur’s poetry tugs and inspires across boundaries and borders.


A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar

A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar is the writer’s homage to the city that cultivated a lifelong appreciation for art. It speaks to the ways that art – particularly from his time at the Sienese School of Paintings – and place play a role in understanding many of life’s struggles, and how paintings can continue to illuminate beyond their time.

*Disclosure: The links above are affiliate links. These picks are editorially selected, but if you purchase, She Reads may get something in return. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. 

Pia Cortez

Contributing Editor

Pia Cortez is a writer and a book blogger based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the creator and curator of the book blog Libromance, where she publishes book reviews and other literary features with a queer, Filipino immigrant perspective. She is currently a contributor for Lambda Literary, New Life Quarterly, Positively Filipino and Hella Pinay. When she’s not writing, reading or reviewing books, she’s working on Booklook, a project on the intersection of literature and fashion. You can also find Pia surfing in Pacifica, or somewhere in the Bay on the hunt for the next best Filipino fusion food.

1 Comment
  1. What a brilliant idea! I have a book coming out next fall and one of the main characters wants to be a fashion designer. You’ve inspired me to want to find (and wear outfits) like those in the book. Now if only I had some fashion sense myself!

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