Working Titles: 6 Must Read Books for November

It’s official – the time has come.

Putting back the clocks doesn’t just make your mornings lighter, it makes your evenings darker. Faster.

And what better way to battle the onset of winter than buying yourself a snuggie, steeping some tea, and settling into a good read?

So if you want to look smart while you get smart (alone on your couch, presumably), picking up one of these must-reads for November is the best way to do it.


Brother of the More Famous Jack
Barbara Trapido
Penguin CA

This isn’t technically a new book, it was first published in 1982, but it’s being re-released in 2014 because it showed up on the favourite book lists of several contemporary authors, like Maria Semple, (author of the wickedly funny Where’d You Go, Bernadette?). Brother of the More Famous Jack is the coming of age story of a young British woman named Katherine who gets caught up in the eccentric family of one of her university professors, Jacob Goldman. Set in Britain in the 1980s, the novel follows Katherine over a ten-year period in which she falls in love, has her heartbroken, flees to Italy, and finally returns home to the enigmatic Goldmans.

Reunion: A Novel
Hannah Pittard
Grand Central Publishing

Kate Pulaski is in a pretty dark place. Her marriage is falling apart, her career isn’t going that well, and she’s got a sizable debt to contend with. On top of all that, her father suddenly commits suicide, and she has to go home to Atlanta to reunite with her brother and sister, and her father’s fifth wife. Sounds like the makings of a pretty depressing book, but Pittard, author of the wonderful The Fates Will Find Their Way, is a master at describing dysfunctional families in a way that makes them compelling, even if the members aren’t particularly likable.

Armstrong’s War
Colleen Murphy
Playwrights Canada Press

Full disclosure: this book is a play. And while you may not have read a play since your first-year university drama course, what better time to get back on the horse than right before Remembrance Day, with a play about a Canadian soldier. Halley is a 12-year-old Pathfinder, trying to earn her volunteer badge by reading stories to soldiers in a veteran care facility. When she meets Michael, a young soldier injured on a tour of duty in Afghanistan, he has a story of his own to tell her, which challenges some of her most deeply-held beliefs about life. Armstrong’s War is a story of two people trying to make sense of the hand that they’ve been dealt by life – and what it all means.


Yes Please
Amy Poehler
HarperCollins Canada

What can we tell you about Amy Poehler to convince you to read her book? That she killed on Saturday Night Live for years? That she and her bestie Tina Fey are the best awards show hosts we’ve seen since the heyday of Billy Crystal? That she invented the character of Leslie Knope? Yes Please is part advice column, part memoir, and lots of funny stories told in a way that only Poehler can.

How to Breathe Underwater: Field Reports From an Age of Radical Change
Chris Turner

How to Breathe Underwater covers a dizzying array of topics: video game design, online gambling, the state of the Great Barrier Reef, and software development in Malaysia are just a few of the topics touched on in this book. Luckily, environmental activist and journalist Chris Turner is whip smart, and able to pull all those diverse topics together to create a many-pronged investigation into how human industry is changing the planet’s foundations.

The Portlandia Cookbook: Cook Like a Local
Fred ARmisen, Carrie Brownstein, Jonathan Krisel
Crown Publishing Group

Did you read it? Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein have created a companion cookbook to their cult favourite TV show Portlandia. The cookbook includes recipes from some of their best food-related gags, like determining the true origin of your chicken and pickling everything, along with illustrations and stories from food-obsessed Portlandia characters.


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