November 2017 Reading List.

november 2017 reading list | the stripe

This was another great month for books. So many good ones! It was such a well-rounded month in terms of books. A political memoir that I absolutely loved (if you are an Obama fan it’s a MUST), a great historical fiction novel, a thriller, a novel that really made me think AND a fun, juicy YA read. Lots to share and pretty much something for everyone!

If you’re looking for a book, don’t forget – you can always check out my Book Club Page. I have literally listed I’ve read in the past few years…. and you can filter + search (memoir, light read, historical fiction, thriller, etc!) to find exactly what you’re looking for And of course, you can also take a peek at last month’s reading list, which was one of my favorites to date.

AND… (if you have a moment!) Please comment and tell me what you are reading… your suggestions are always my favorite… I literally shop the comments section of these posts (a few of this month’s books were recommendations from you)… you always have such good recommendations for me, which I really appreciate!

* Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?, by Alyssa Mastromonaco was the first political memoir I’ve read in a while and I really loved it. I know not all of us share the same political views so if you aren’t an Obama fan go ahead and skip this one but I personally LOVE and MISS the man every day so this was fun for me. I also just took such a liking to Mastromonaco. She seemed like the funny, smart, humble old sister I always wished for. She held so much power as his deputy chief of staff yet manages to be humble and realistic, joking about bathroom problems, splitting her pants, and all sorts of things. I tore through this on my trip to London and Ireland – finding myself inspired, laughing, and kind of wishing I worked in politics. I really loved it!

* The Address, by Fiona Davis (who is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors) was so good… if you’re into historical fiction, you’ll love it. (Fiona Davis also wrote The Dollhouse, which I reviewed (and LOVED) back in February’s reading list.) Similar to The Dollhouse, it takes place in a historic building in New York City, alternating back and forth between two different time periods. In this case, it’s the 1880’s and the 1980’s. There’s a bit of a murder mystery going on and it alternates between the story of Sarah Smythe (the “managerette” (what a title) of the building in 1885) and Bailey Camden (a struggling interior designer in 1985). The characters are incredibly likable and relatable and I could not put it down!

* The Silent Sister, by Diane Chamberlain, is a little older (from 2015!) but hadn’t been on my radar until one of you suggested it in a previous reading list. I had read other books by the author (Pretending to Dance) Oh my goodness, if you want a thriller that you won’t be able to put down, this is your book. I stayed up until 4am one night just to finish it. Elements remind me a lot of Gone Girl. The main character, Riley, grows up thinking that her older sister Lisa committed suicide. After her father passes away, further details unwind and we learn that the older sister may still be alive. I don’t want to spoil anything for you but there are tons of great plot twists… just when you think you’ve guessed it, another twist arises. I really, really loved this one.

* The Power, by Naomi Alderman, has me torn. The idea is pure brilliance. Like, I hope they make it a television show. But I felt like the writing could be better. There were a lot of grammatical errors (maybe because it was the first run) and syntax issues. (I feel badly saying this as I couldn’t write a book like this), but the way that it was written took away from the plot. The plot was so good but it didn’t read smoothly… if that makes any sense. This could just be a personal thing but I had to point it out. Anyway, like I said, the plot is such a good one. Suddenly, teenage girls discover this new power inside them… with a flick of their fingers, they can send a jolt of electricity.. hurting, even killing others. The whole world goes into chaos. It alternates between the stories of an ambitious politician + her daughter, a down and out girl from London, a foster child who runs away, and a Nigerian boy who leaves home to document it all. I loved the story, I loved the feminist angle and the way that gender roles end up totally reversed… but the writing just felt a little off for me, especially when some critics are calling it the next Handmaid’s Tale. I just expected more.

* The Dazzling Heights, by Katherine McGee is the sequel to The Thousandth Floor which I read and wrote about last month and LOVED. This trilogy is one of the best YA series I’ve read in a while – I just tear through them. It’s like Gossip Girl, but set in the future, a hundred years from now in 2118. It picks up right where the first one left off (I don’t want to give away too much in case you haven’t read the first one!!) after the death of one of the main characters. I just love it. It’s juicy, guilty pleasure YA at it’s best. Basically a slightly sci-fi, futuristic version of Gossip Girl. If you love YA and/or Gossip Girl you have to get started on this trilogy ASAP!!

Disclosure: With the exception of The Dazzling Heights (the author saw my review of the first one and sent me a copy) everything was purchased with my own money.

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  1. Always excited for new book recommendations! I love thrillers and The Silent Sister sounds perfect!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    11.9.17 Reply
  2. Thank-you so much for these! I’m always on the lookout for something new to read and this gives me loads of inspiration!

    I hope you’re having a lovely Thursday!

    11.9.17 Reply
  3. If you love YA like me, check out Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J Maas. Six of crows is like a magicky teenage ocean’s 11 and The Throne of Glass series by Maas is my legitimate guilty pleasure. Also fantasy though rather than realistic. Love these posts! Happy Reading!

    11.9.17 Reply
  4. Thanks for all of these suggestions! I need to find something new to read and I definitely want to check out Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?

    xx Chelsea

    11.9.17 Reply
  5. sharon:

    Just reading “The heart’s invisible furies” right now and am loving it. Love your recommendations!

    11.9.17 Reply
  6. sydnee:

    Just added The Silent Sister to my TBR list. x

    Design by Sydnee | A Lifestyle Blog

    11.9.17 Reply
  7. Adrienne:

    I’ve just started “Kiss Carlo” by Adrianna Trigiani. I’ve been a big fan of her books for a long time. Teachers in high school and college always said “Write what you know” and she certainly does. Her characters are usually Italian, and she thoroughly immerses a reader in the culture. That said, I haven’t loved all her books -read the 2 Valentine books, The Shoemaker’s Wife and the Supreme Macaroni Company. (I didn’t care for the “Big Stone Gap” books) Anyway, she writes really well!

    11.9.17 Reply
  8. Michelle:

    If you love Alyssa Mastromonaco, you should check out Crooked Media and Pod Save America. Called a political podcast for people who aren’t ready to give up or go insane, it is a 2x weekly pod by 4 former Obama aides/speechwriters. Alyssa frequently is on the pod to give her take. I know what you’re thinking – I don’t need to hear more of this bad news! But the pod feels like you’re listening to friends talk and Crooked really emphasizes activism. Listening is one of my favorite parts of my week!

    11.9.17 Reply
    • I am SUCH a fan of Pod Save America!! It’s such a good one. I think it’s really helpful.

      11.9.17 Reply
  9. Christina:

    I also loved “Who Thought This Was a Good Idea” – Alyssa has also guested on Keepin It 1600 (before they moved onto Pod Save America) and it was so comforting to listen to in the wake of the election, similar to the way her book is.

    If you haven’t read “Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History” by Katy Tur, you absolutely should! Her take on everything that happened and her insane experience on the campaign trail are so real, heartbreaking and enlightening.

    11.9.17 Reply
  10. I love the book series! I just ordered two books from your previous lists—you’re my go-to when I need a new book! Thanks!!

    11.9.17 Reply
  11. Kathryn:

    Just started Good Morning, Midnight. An aging stargazer stuck at the North Pole and an astronaut returning from a journey to Jupiter and somehow their stories become intertwined, not sure how yet!

    11.9.17 Reply
  12. Caitlin:

    I love your reading lists – I always walk away with at least one book I want to read! I’m currently reading The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante. There are four and I’m on the second one – I think it’s called The Story of a New Name. HBO is making a mini series based on the books. Highly recommend!

    11.9.17 Reply
  13. I haven’t read her book, but Alyssa Mastromonaco is often a guest on the Crooked Media suite of podcasts, like Pod Save America. If you’re an Obama fan you’ll probably like their podcasts 🙂 Often when I’m reading about politics I don’t understand the full scope of why a politician is doing/saying something, and then I listen to the pod and they explain how X action will likely lead to or prevent Y action which could cause Z outcome down the road. I’ve loved learning from them so now I’m off to read Alyssa’s book!

    11.9.17 Reply
    • I LOVE Pod Save America!!! You will absolutely love Alyssa’s book if you like that podcast 🙂

      11.9.17 Reply
  14. Sarah:

    Loved “Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?”! I work in politics at the state level and really enjoyed Alyssa’s insight into the political world, working for Obama (fantasy job), and how to succeed as a woman in a traditionally male-dominated work environment. It’s also such a fun and light read–her conversational tone made me feel like I was having a chat with a friend.

    11.9.17 Reply
    • I felt exactly the same way! Just like chatting with a friend. I would love to meet her someday (though I’m sure everyone says that!!)

      11.9.17 Reply
  15. janielle:

    The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs

    I can’t remember if you’ve read this one, but it’s such a beautiful read.

    11.9.17 Reply
  16. Amy:

    Always love your recs, Grace! Here’s one for you – The Lilac Girls is an amazing historical fiction read based on true events – it is seriously the best, most important book I’ve read in the past few years.

    11.9.17 Reply
  17. Emily:

    I recently finished My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent. It became one of my top ten all time favorite books. I can’t remember the last time I read something so beautifully written. I’m telling everyone I know about it–but with a BIG disclaimer–it contains very graphic, awful, hard to stomach, scenes of child abuse. It’s 100% not for everyone. But if you can get through those handful of pages, you’re rewarded with a treasure of a novel.

    I always love your reading list and have never commented before, but I just wanted to share the book and say thank you for sharing yours! I’ve read so many you’ve recommended. As the daughter of a librarian, there is little I love more than learning what someone else is reading!

    11.9.17 Reply
    • Thank you so much for the suggestion!!!!
      I can do graphic – that is a glowing review! I feel the same way, I get so excited for everyone’s comments on these posts!

      11.10.17 Reply
    • I had to stop after the first awful graphic scene in that book…but now I’m wondering if I should have stuck with it?

      Grace, if you liked Alyssa Mastromonaco’s book, I bet you’ll like Thanks, Obama by David Litt. He’s another Obama speechwriter– Jon Favreau hired him, and he talks about Favreau and Lovett pretty frequently in the book. I laughed out loud so many times.

      PS Did you cry when Alyssa’ cat died and Obama called her? I 100% did…

      12.2.17 Reply
  18. Sholeh:

    I just finished reading The Alice Network- you would love it! And going to the library tonight to pick up The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo- thanks to your recommendation! Love your book suggestions!

    11.9.17 Reply
    • I have heard such good things about that! Hope you LOVE the seven husbands – it’s a good one!

      11.10.17 Reply
  19. Regina:

    I’m reading The Burning Girls by Claire Messud, and having a hard time putting it down. I loved her earlier book, The Woman Upstairs. Both are worth the time.

    11.9.17 Reply
  20. Judy Barker Shappley:

    I’m almost finished with House. Tree. Person. by Catriona McPherson. This is a very good suspense novel. I saw it on Entertainment Weekly’s reading list where they gave it an A-.

    11.9.17 Reply
  21. Judy Shappley:

    I am almost finished with House. Tree. Person. by Catriona McPherson. It is a great suspense novel. I grabbed it after seeing it on last week’s Entertainment Weekly book list.

    11.9.17 Reply
  22. Hi, I just discovered your blog, so I’m not sure if you have already read my favourite book of 2017: Ready Player One.. it’s an oldie so chances are you already read it. I found it incredible good.. with all the references to the 80’s.

    11.10.17 Reply
  23. I’m glad to know that Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? is worth a read! I have it on my Kindle and will have to actually get around to it now.

    Just finished Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, and it is excellent. It starts with a teenage girl setting her family’s house on fire, and the rest of the book is how things got to that point, driven by the internal lives of the characters. Really good.

    11.10.17 Reply
  24. I’m cureently reading Open by Andre Agassi, and love it. I’ve never been a huge tennis fan, but his story is fascinating.

    11.10.17 Reply
    • Ah sounds interesting!!! I am not into tennis either but I’d imagine his story is pretty interesting.

      11.10.17 Reply
  25. Lia:

    I’m reading some great YA novels! An Ember In the Ashes and The Star Touched Queen!

    11.10.17 Reply
  26. Caitlin:

    I’m recommending YA books for you. I’m loving John Green’s new book Turtle’s All The way Down. You should also read Wonder by RJ Palacio. Thank you for your book recs I love them!

    11.10.17 Reply
  27. I look forward to these reviews every month!

    I just finished The Light We Lost from your June list – wow. this one stayed with me. i loved reading it, and I loved her love story but I wanted to shake her. I felt so bad for her husband. I couldn’t imagine ever a) marrying someone if I wasnt 100% or b) treating my husband who surprises me with houses and trips like she did. I knowww no marriage is perfect and neither was he but it just kept me in a constant state of thought like – what the heck, she didn’t deserve him. Thank you for recommending.

    Also Loving this month:
    It’s Always the Husband + Before We Were Yours.

    11.10.17 Reply
    • I totally hear you – it stayed with me for the same reason. I simultaneously could NOT put it down but also got so frustrated with her!!!
      Thank you for the suggestion – I will check that one out! xx

      11.11.17 Reply
  28. I’m reading The Ten Thousandth Floor now because of your recommendation and also ordered The Dollhouse!

    11.10.17 Reply
  29. Melissa Klusek:

    If you’re looking for more YA to add to your list, read everything by Ally Carter! Her Gallagher Girls books need to be turned into a series on Netflix (school for teenage girls who are spies- yes please!), her Heist Society novels are so fun, and I’m currently reading the third novel in her Embassy Row series and I love it. I recommend everything by her! But those three series are especially amazing 🙂

    11.10.17 Reply
  30. I think you will really like The Silent Sister! I can’t wait to read your review. I gave it 5 out of 5!

    11.10.17 Reply
  31. Currently reading Option B by Sheryl Sandberg! I also just finished the Handmaid’s tale which was great 🙂

    11.11.17 Reply
    • Thank you for the suggestions! I have been meaning to read The Handmaid’s Tale but worry I wont’enjoy it as I already have seen the show!

      11.11.17 Reply
  32. Erin:

    I always look forward to your recommendations! Major bookworm over here…
    I recently finished “Playing Dead” by Elizabeth Greenwood. It’s all about whether or not people can disappear from their normal lives with all the technology/cameras we have today, and whether it’s worth faking your own death to escape debts, relationships, etc. I found it fascinating!

    11.11.17 Reply
  33. Shelley Ahmed:

    I just finished behind Closed Doors by B.A Paris. Wow!! Chilling, haunting, amazing. I was hooked from the first chapter.
    I’m listening to The Secret Wife, byt Gill Paul (on Audible) now. It’s too soon to say whether i like it yet as I’m only on the 3rd chapter- but Goodread reviews are good!
    As for a podcast- Have a listen to Someone Knows Something.

    11.11.17 Reply
    • Thanks Shelley!!! Behind Closed Doors was SO CHILLING!!! I couldn’t put it down either.

      11.13.17 Reply
  34. I just finished Alyssa’s book and absolutely loved it! I enjoyed how she framed it as a memoir for women through the lens of having a career in politics, rather than just a “political memoir.” It read like one of Mindy Kaling’s books to me, all of which I loved and that she mentioned inspired her!

    Your thoughts on the Power are interesting. The concept piqued my interest, but I didn’t select in when it was a Book of the Month purchase. I hate when a strong concept isn’t backed by strong writing, it’s so unfortunate! Maybe I’ll put a hold on this at my library instead of purchasing.

    I’m currently reading “Her Body and Other Parties” and it is a really powerful and well writer read focusing on the treatment of women’s bodies. It’s gotten great reviews and I’m loving it.

    11.13.17 Reply
    • I totally agree! It felt like a Mindy book!!!

      I’d skip The Power… I enjoyed it because of the idea but the writing wasn’t all that good.

      11.14.17 Reply
  35. Alex:

    You have the best reccs! This reminded me to start The Thousandth Floor which I am loving! I also just read Matthew Weiner of Mad Men’s new book ‘Heather, the Toyality.’ It’s so disturbing but amazing, I highly recommend. x

    11.13.17 Reply
  36. I just finished Push by Sapphire. It was the book the movie Precious was based on.

    11.17.17 Reply
  37. Susie Forte Gilman:

    I just finished Who Thought This Was A Good Idea? after seeing it on one of your stories and LOVED it. I get books from the library and returned it today and stood in the Library and almost cried because I already missed her! Such a good book and I definitely love Obama even more now (and the book is not even about him!).

    11.21.17 Reply
  38. Lauren Rose:

    I’ve been really into Gina Nahai and her magical realism lately. I would recommend The Luminous Heart of Jonah S and Midnight on the Avenue of Faith.

    11.26.17 Reply
  39. I just mentioned Who Thought This Was a Good Idea in my comment on your December book post lol. Clearly we have the same taste in books!
    I’m really in the mood for historical fiction these days so will check out The Address!

    2.7.18 Reply
    • Haha! One of my favorites. I loved it. I am obsessed with Alyssa… I follow her on twitter and just find her to be so smart/funny/inspirational.

      2.8.18 Reply