6 books you should read this November, according to local booksellers

Booksellers at three local bookshops shared their fiction and poetry recommendations.

Harvard Book Store in Cambridge. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

As temperatures drop, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a good pile of books to curl up with. 

Booksellers at Trident Booksellers & Cafe, Porter Square Books, and Harvard Book Store shared some of their favorite books and we’ve put them together to help you fill out your November reading list. 

Whether you’re looking for a monster thriller, a family saga, or some contemplative poetry, there’s something on this list for you. Plus, tell us what you’re reading and loving in the survey below.

“Ancillary Justice” by Ann Leckie

When an act of sabotage turns Breq from a colossal starship with artificial intelligence into a mere human, she goes on a quest to get revenge. This science fiction novel was the winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards and was called “thrilling, moving, and awe-inspiring” by the Guardian.

“This story of a ship that learned to sing belongs in the new sci-fi canon,” said Trident Booksellers & Cafe’s manager Geoff Raywood.


Buy it at Trident Booksellers & Cafe

“House of Caravans” by Shilpi Suneja

This historical fiction novel tells the story of the dissolution of the British Raj into what is now India and Pakistan through a family epic about the everyday people it affected.

“A line drawn on a map was supposed to separate peoples of different faiths, but as history has shown again and again geography is not so simple. Families were ripped apart, hundreds of thousands died, and the repercussions are still being felt to this day. This amazing debut explores a family as it grapples with the scars of this event, and how they move on,” said Harvard Book Store’s Brad Lennon.

Buy it at Harvard Book Store

“Starling House” by Alix E. Harrow

Opal, an orphan, high school dropout, and part-time cashier, is desperate to give her younger brother Jasper a better life away from their small town in Kentucky. When she gets an opportunity to make extra money at the town’s mysterious mansion, she doesn’t hesitate — even with its dark past. Engel Williams, bookseller at Porter Square Books, called it their favorite 2023 release.

“‘Starling House’ is a contemporary Southern gothic novel about a small town, a haunted house, and a young woman trying desperately to be a ‘Good Adult.’ Charming, heartbreaking, delightfully creepy, and hilariously romantic, this is a great addition to everyone’s fall to-be-read list!” Williams said.


Buy it at Porter Square Books

“The Children on the Hill” by Jennifer McMahon

This “genre-defying” monster novel is inspired by Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” The book explores the mysteries of childhood and the monsters that live among us.

“Told in split timelines, this novel of epic suspense will keep you hooked from page one. From simple childhood summers in 1970s Vermont to hunting a kidnapper across the country in the 2010s, we follow this cast of characters to hell and back. You’ll truly question your own morality and be left wondering who the real monsters are,” shared Jen Fryer, bookseller at Porter Square Books: Boston.

Buy it at Porter Square Books

“Transcendent Kingdom” by Yaa Gyasi

This novel follows Gifty, a young woman from Ghana studying neuroscience at Stanford University. Her family’s journey from Ghana to the United States includes a father who becomes an absent figure, a brother struggling with addiction, and a mother battling severe depression.

“Moving between past and present, Yaa Gyasi deftly juxtaposes science and faith, happiness and sadness, good and bad,” said Courtney Flynn, bookseller at Trident Booksellers & Cafe. “Above all, she captures the hidden life we all have, the part that is too difficult to explain, but the part that drives us nonetheless.” 


Buy it at Trident Booksellers & Cafe

“Vinegar Hill” by Colm Tóibín

Irish writer Colm Tóibín is well-known for his novels “Brooklyn” and “The Magicians.” His first poetry collection, “Vinegar Hill” is as compelling as his prose. In it, Tóibín writes about religion, sexuality, and Ireland shortly after the Brexit referendum passed, among other topics. Hannah Wolfe, a bookseller at Harvard Book Store, loved this book for its intimacy.

“The poems present themselves as musings, redacted short stories in some cases,” she said. “They feel like a close friend sharing fragile memories or shards of thought as they walk with you on a quiet, gray morning through a park.”

Buy it at Harvard Book Store 

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