16 New Books Coming in November

‘1,000 Years of Joys and Sorrows: A Memoir,’ by Ai Weiwei. Translated by Allan H. Barr. (Crown, Nov. 2)

In this story of family, politics, art and exile, the author traces the life of his father, who was a prominent poet in China, alongside his own.

‘The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story,’ created by Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times Magazine (One World, Nov. 16)

Building on the Pulitzer Prize-winning project led by Hannah-Jones that ran in the Magazine, this book includes new essays, fictional works and poems that explore the legacy of slavery in America.

‘The Archivist,’ by Rex Pickett (Blackstone, Nov. 9)

In this new novel from the author of “Sideways,” Emily Snow is hired as an archivist for a Pulitzer-winning novelist, Raymond West. But as she carries out her work, she discovers an illicit affair between West and her predecessor, who died under mysterious circumstances.

‘Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds,’ by Huma Abedin (Scribner, Nov. 2)

Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton who was once married to the former congressman Anthony Weiner, reflects on her career on the Hill and the uncomfortable scrutiny trained on her personal life after Weiner’s transgressions came to light. “This journey has led me through exhilarating milestones and devastating setbacks,” Abedin has said, but promises a “story I look forward to sharing.”

‘Essays Two: On Proust, Translation, Foreign Languages, and the City of Arles,’ by Lydia Davis (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Nov. 30)

Davis has been producing literary translations since she was in her 20s — mostly from the French, but she notes here that she’s worked in German, Swedish, Spanish and other languages, even “translating” older English works into a more contemporary idiom. Several essays describe her experience working on Marcel Proust’s “Swann’s Way.” Altogether, the collection makes a case for the singular pleasures and rewards of translation.

‘Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone,’ by Diana Gabaldon (Delacorte Press, Nov. 23)

The latest novel in the blockbuster Outlander series finds Claire and Jamie in the American colonies in the late 1770s as the Revolutionary War grows ever closer. The time-traveling couple has caught up with their daughter, Brianna, and her husband, who are grappling with their own decision to abandon the 20th century.

‘Justice on the Brink: The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Rise of Amy Coney Barrett, and Twelve Months That Transformed the Supreme Court,’ by Linda Greenhouse (Random House, Nov. 9)

Greenhouse, who covered the Supreme Court for The Times for years, now contributes Opinion pieces on the subject. This book traces the court from July 2020 to July 2021, and is anchored by a central question: “Is this still John Roberts’s Supreme Court, or does it now belong to Donald Trump?”

‘A Life of Picasso IV: The Minotaur Years, 1933-1943,’ by John Richardson (Knopf, Nov. 16)

This fourth and final volume in a highly acclaimed study of Picasso’s life, published two years after his biographer’s death, unfolds during the Spanish Civil War and World War II as the artist completed some of his most significant works, including “Guernica” and portraits of Marie Thérèse and Dora Maar.

‘Our Country Friends,’ by Gary Shteyngart (Random House, Nov. 2)

Shteyngart’s latest novel is one of the first serious literary renderings of the pandemic, following a cast of friends who converge at a Russian-American family’s Hudson Valley estate in March 2020.

Read our profile of Shteyngart | Read our review

‘Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks, 1941-1995,’ edited by Anna von Planta (Liveright, Nov. 16)

During her life, the author of “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” “The Price of Salt” and other acclaimed novels was resolutely private — but she made clear that she wished for her journals to be published posthumously. After Highsmith died in 1995, her longtime editor began sifting through the diaries, ultimately distilling thousands of pages into this volume.

‘Scientist: E.O. Wilson: A Life in Nature,’ by Richard Rhodes (Doubleday, Nov. 9)

Over his seven-decade career, Wilson published groundbreaking work about the sociology of ants and humans, and became a vocal advocate of biodiversity and conservation efforts. This new biography draws on conversations with Wilson and his colleagues, and explores how his research and contributions have led many to consider him Darwin’s successor.

‘The Sentence,’ by Louise Erdrich (Harper, Nov. 9)

In this new novel, a Minneapolis bookstore specializing in works by Indigenous authors is haunted by the ghost of one of its most irksome customers. One of the employees, Tookie, whose love of reading helped her cope during her incarceration, sets out to understand what’s happening — as the city around her grapples with the killing of George Floyd and the pandemic.

‘A Splendid Intelligence: The Life of Elizabeth Hardwick,’ by Cathy Curtis (Norton, Nov. 16)

The critic and writer has often been overshadowed by her marriage to Robert Lowell, but this biography traces her childhood in Kentucky to her arrival in New York, where she befriended Susan Sontag, Elizabeth Bishop, Mary McCarthy and others. Curtis sets out to portray Hardwick as an “exceptional woman,” whose life experiences shaped her novel “Sleepless Nights.”

‘Termination Shock,’ by Neal Stephenson (Morrow, Nov. 16)

The near future, in Stephenson’s imagination, has been ravaged by the effects of climate change. High temperatures turn deadly, apocalyptic storms are on the rise and feral pigs roam the planet — leading an eccentric entrepreneur to propose shooting sulfur into the atmosphere to cool things down.

‘These Precious Days: Essays,’ by Ann Patchett (Harper, Nov. 23)

A new collection from the author of “Bel Canto” and “The Dutch House” takes up everything from her parents and friendships to life in the public eye. The title selection is centered on Patchett’s acquaintance with Tom Hanks — and the deep relationship she formed with his assistant, Sooki.

‘Will,’ by Will Smith, with Mark Manson (Penguin Press, Nov. 9)

No matter how long you’ve been watching Smith — from his days on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” to “Men in Black” and “The Pursuit of Happyness” — this memoir promises to show readers a new side, reaching back to his childhood in West Philadelphia and offering a look at what he’s learned after “a profound journey of self-knowledge.”

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