I’m having one of those “How the heck did we get to this point in the year so quickly?” moments as I write up the November book poll. But here we are. Guiding us next month will be Julia Edelstein, who last led the group in October 2011, when we read Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists. Since then, Julia has been promoted to staff health editor, but she still handles a lot of the books-oriented content you see in the magazine. Needless to say, I’m happy to welcome her back. Below, you’ll find Julia’s four picks: new works by literary award-winners, a much buzzed about real-life story, and an out-and-out thriller. Vote for your choice: The poll is open until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, October 27.
Orange Is the New Black, by Piper Kerman
Kerman’s nonfiction account of her fall from Smith College grad to convicted drug smuggler (and the relationships she forged while in prison) is the inspiration for the hit Netflix series of the same name.
Enon, by Paul Harding
Three years after winning a Pulitzer Prize for his debut novel, Tinkers, Harding revisits the same New England family in a beautiful meditation on grief and what it means to make a desperate grasp at survival.
TransAtlantic, by Colum McCann
In the latest from the National Book Award winner (Let the Great World Spin), three transatlantic crossings over the span of 150 years drive what are, essentially, three novellas: one set in the 1840s, one just after World World I, and one toward the end of the twentieth century. Characters both fictional and nonfictional swirl through the ultimately connected tales of Ireland and the New World in a novel that has been called “masterful and profoundly moving.”
The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes
This magnificently creepy story offers a unique twist on the serial-killer thriller: The murderer preys on bright young women—the shining girls—then vanishes with the help of a house that is a portal to the past and the future.