The Reading List: 9 Can’t-Miss Books for November
Pack your November reading list full of classics, recipes and hilarious ladies.
1. Best Book for Your Next Trip to Florida
Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe
The man in the white linen suit returns with his fourth novel, a characteristically sprawling and provocative look at Anglos and immigrants squaring off in Miami.
2. Most Whimsical CanLit
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
When Life of Pi came out (and snagged the Booker Prize) in 2001, everyone said it was unfilmable-as the bulk of it takes place on a life raft populated by a boy and a tiger. The new movie from Oscar-winning director Ang Lee attempts to disprove that theory. Either way, Martel’s imaginative allegory is worth revisiting.
3. Best Southern Ontario Gothic
Dance of the Happy Shades by Alice Munro
This month’s “Dear Life” feels like an epilogue to Alice Munro’s lengthy career, but the acclaimed author has 15 other collections to mine if you need a fix. Best to start at the beginning-each story in Dance of the Happy Shades captures the taut restraint and muted melodrama for which she’s become known.
4. Best Whodunit
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes has received a modern makeover on TV shows like Elementary and Sherlock, with texts replacing telegrams and painkillers swapped in for opium. Nothing beats the original, though, and this book-the second of the Holmes novels-is as atmospheric and suspenseful as any contemporary adaptation.
5. Most Satisfying Short Stories
Sleeping Funny by Miranda Hill
Miranda Hill’s debut book is an exquisite collection of surreal, funny and oddly unsettling stories, from the tale of a woman haunted by her husband’s country-music-diva ex-girlfriend to the wrenching story of a disfigured young boy living in the shadow of his porcelain-doll-perfect little sister.
6. Best Food Porn
Modernist Cuisine at Home by Nathan Myrhvold
The five-volume Modernist Cuisine is an unwieldy, if beautiful, behemoth of a food guide. The new, condensed version (a mere 465 pages) is a little more manageable, collecting only the most essential techniques and recipes-as well as hundreds of stunning photos-for the home cook.
7. Best Bedtime Reading
Grimm Tales for Young and Old by Philip Pullman
Philip Pullman, the writer of the luminous His Dark Materials fantasy trilogy, is one of the great fabulists of the past 50 years. So it’s only fitting that he put his own spin on the Grimms’ most beloved tales. He’s retold some of his favourites here, from the familiar (“Little Red Riding Hood,” “Cinderella”) to the freaky (“The Juniper Tree,” about a little boy whose stepmother cooks him into a stew and feeds him to his father).
8. Best Love Letter to New York
In Sunlight and in Shadow by Mark Helprin
Mark Helprin’s wonderful 1983 book Winter’s Tale is one of the best (and most under-read) New York novels ever written. He revisits the island in his latest effort, a ’40s-set novel about a romance troubled by the memories of wartime.
9. Best Girl Talk
We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy by Yael Kohen
Women were funny long before Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig. In her paean to female comics, Yael Kohen talks to more than 140 funny ladies-Phyllis Diller, Amy Poehler, Whoopi Goldberg-about the far-from-meteoric rise of double-X comedy.