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What to Read in November and Other Book News

Barbra Streisand’s memoir, how to live better, the National Book Awards and a gift idea

spinner image from left to right book covers my name is barbara by barbara streisand then day a novel by michael cunningham then the mystery guest by nita prose
Viking / Random House / Ballantine Books / Getty

The month’s big reads

The biggest of the big? My Name Is Barbra by Barbra Streisand. The long-awaited memoir from Streisand, 81, finally arrives on Nov. 7, with the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner opening up about, among other things, her early hopes to become an actress, famous friendships (including Marlon Brando), 25-year marriage with James Brolin and spectacular career as not only a singer but an actress on stage and screen. Vanity Fair offers a sneak peek in its November cover story.

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And in the novel Day by Michael Cunningham (Nov. 14), the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1998 novel The Hours focuses on a family — Isabel and Dan, their two kids and, until he leaves for Iceland, Dan’s younger brother — stuck (and unraveling a bit) together in their Brooklyn home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The audiobook is narrated by actress Julianne Moore.

Also: Michael Connelly’s Resurrection Walk (Nov. 7) brings back Lincoln lawyer Mickey Haller and retired LAPD detective Harry Bosch; and The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose (Nov. 28) is a sequel to 2022’s huge bestseller The Maid (a movie starring Florence Pugh as maid Molly Gray is reportedly in the works for next year).

spinner image left book cover how to know a person by david brooks right lessons for living by phil stutz
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Be-Better books

Among the notable new self-improvement/mental health books is How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen by David Brooks (Oct. 24). Making others feel valued, heard and understood is the “one skill that lies at the heart of any healthy person, family, school, community organization or society,” Brooks writes, with advice on how to do so, including “things like how to be a great conversationalist, how to disagree well, how to ask for and offer forgiveness, how to break up with somebody without destroying their heart,” he noted in a PBS NewsHour interview. “These are just skills.”

And coming soon: Lessons for Living: What Only Adversity Can Teach You by Phil Stutz (Nov. 28), the subject of the Netflix documentary Stutz who’s known in Hollywood (to his purported chagrin) as the psychiatrist to the stars. Here he offers thoughtful advice for better mental health despite (or even because of) life’s inevitable pain. It comes 10 years after his popular 2013 book The Tools: 5 Tools to Help You Find Courage, Creativity and Willpower — and Inspire You to Live Life in Forward Motion, written with Barry Michels.

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Henry Winkler at 77: He’s waaaaay more than the Fonz

The latest issue of AARP The Magazine includes an interview with Henry Winkler (read it here), the Happy Days star whose new memoir Being Henry: The Fonz … and Beyond describes his rich life before and after his decade starring on the sitcom (1974-84). Born in New York City to Jewish parents who’d fled Nazi Germany, he struggled in school, unaware until later that he had severe dyslexia — a condition that has affected him profoundly throughout his life, as detailed in his memoir. The famously likable actor, who’s recently been lauded for his Emmy-winning role on Barry, began a six-week, cross-country book tour on Halloween in New York City.

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spinner image from left to right book covers chain gang all stars by nana kwame and adjei brenyah then temple folk by aaliyah bilal then lilianas invincible summer by cristina rivera garza
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National Book Award winners announced this month

The 2023 National Book Awards will be announced on Nov. 15, hosted by actor and longtime literacy advocate LeVar Burton and featuring “special guest” Oprah Winfrey (you can register to watch the livestream online). The Lifetime Achievement award will go to the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rita Dove, and the fiction award will go to one of these five finalists:​

  • Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
  • Temple Folk by Aaliyah Bilal  
  • This Other Eden by Paul Harding 
  • The End of Drum-Time by Hanna Pylväinen 
  • Blackouts by Justin Torres 
  • The nonfiction finalists are:
  • The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History by Ned Blackhawk
  • Liliana’s Invincible Summer: A Sister’s Search for Justice by Cristina Rivera Garza
  • Ordinary Notes by Christina Sharpe
  • We Could Have Been Friends, My Father and I: A Palestinian Memoir by Raja Shehadeh
  • Fire Weather: A True Story From a Hotter World by John Vaillant
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AARP loves books!

Join Shelley Emling, editor of AARP’s The Girlfriend, for a live discussion with author Ann Patchett — a Pulitzer finalist for her 2019 novel The Dutch House — on Tuesday, Nov. 7, at 7:30 p.m. ET, about her latest novel, Tom Lake. The event is free, but you need to be a member of The Girlfriend Book Club, a private Facebook group, to watch. It’s easy and free to join. 

And AARP has added a fun perk for its members, who now can receive a discount on a gift subscription to the Book of the Month Club, a service where every month subscribers can select a new hardcover book. From Nov. 1-22, AARP members and registered users can save $10 off a 6-month or 12-month gift subscription from Book of the Month. This is in addition to the current AARP benefit. To redeem the offer, use promo code JINGLE. There are usually between five and seven book options from which to choose, and they tend to be a good mix of genres and styles. November’s, for example, includes David Grann’s best-selling — again! — Killers of the Flower Moon (timed to the film’s release) and a fun-sounding new romantic comedy called The Last Love Note by Emma Gray.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 3, 2023. It has been updated to reflect new information.

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