Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Graphic: Natalie Peeples

Every month, a deluge of new books comes flooding out from big publishers, indie houses, and self-publishing platforms. So every month, The A.V. Club narrows down the endless options to five of the books we’re most excited about.


Little Weirds by Jenny Slate (November 5, Little, Brown)

Jenny Slate—standup comic, one-time SNL cast member, and writer and star of the best webseries that’s not Marcel The Shell—has penned her first book. But this is not your usual comedy memoir. Following in the style of her meandering, sometimes spazzy, often poignant comedy, Slate offers her own unique take on the form. With Little Weirds, she eschews a simple, chronological retelling of her life (and expectations for a Hollywood tell-all) in favor of vignettes of scenes and thoughts that touch on such topics as going through a divorce, growing up in a haunted house, and sundry odds and ends. The result is a very personal work that is strange, heartbreaking, and sometimes even funny.


A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story Of Stan Lee by Danny Fingeroth (November 5, St. Martin’s Press)

From Stan Lee’s teen days as a gopher at Marvel Comics (née Timely, née Atlas) to taking over as editor in chief, then president, this new biography chronicles the life of the late comics legend, who created some of the most beloved and enduring characters in superhero history. A wide-ranging work, A Marvelous Life doesn’t shy away from the criticism that Lee elicited throughout his time at Marvel, including his contentious relationship with Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. As Rien Fertel writes in his A.V. Club review, “The man known for creating heroes often played a villainous role.”


Space Invaders by Nona Fernández (trans. by Natasha Wimmer, November 5, Graywolf Press)

Chilean writer Nona Fernández’s novella tells the story of a group of friends who, as adults, recall their classmate who disappeared during the waning years of the Pinochet regime. Haunted by visions of the girl’s empty desk and letters she wrote to them, the group slowly pieces together what may have happened to Estrella, who they eventually learn was the daughter of a ranking government officer. Slim yet layered, Spaces Invaders uses a collective voice to ruminate on the nature of memory and dreams.


In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado (November 5, Graywolf Press)

What’s that they say about turning your former lovers into literature? No, really, we can’t seem to find the quote. In any case, Carmen Maria Machado follows up her exquisite, discomfiting short story collection, Her Body And Other Parties, with the memoir/crash course in narrative devices that is In The Dream House. Machado has been forthcoming about the abusive relationship that inspired the book, but don’t expect a tell-all. The chapters are brief, each framed within a familiar construct—the haunted house, the coming-of-age story—which makes this a more stylish reverie than most.


The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West (November 5, Hachette)

A lot has happened since the publication of Lindy West’s first book, Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman, in 2016. West is now a show-business creative herself, thanks to Hulu’s adaptation of said book, so it’s appropriate that she turns to pop cultural criticism in her new book. The 18 essays that make up The Witches Are Coming tackle this particular Trumpian moment with a blend of searing anger, irreverent humor, and memoir, breaking down everything from Adam Sandler movies to the Fyre Festival to Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness empire, all from her distinctive point of view.


More in November: The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (November 5, Counterpoint); Parade: A Folktale by Hiromi Kawakami (November 5, Soft Skull Press); The Worst Kind Of Want by Liska Jacobs (November 5, MCD x FSG Originals); The Book Of Lost Saints by Daniel José Older (November 5, Imprint); Vernon Subutex 1 by Virginie Despentes (November 5, FSG Originals); The Crying Book by Heather Christle (November 5, Catapult); Keep Scrolling Till You Feel Something (November 5, McSweeney’s); Pain by Zeruya Shalev (November 5, Other Press); Essays One by Lydia Davis (November 12, Farrar, Straus and Grioux); Some Of Us Are Very Hungry Now by Andre Perry (November 12, Two Dollar Radio); Destroy Your Safe And Happy Lives by Jack Carneal (November 12, Rare Bird Books); Camgirl by Isa Mazzei (November 12, Rare Bird Books); The Dreamed Part by Rodrigo Fresán (November 12, Open Letter); Carrie Fisher: A Life On The Edge by Sheila Weller (November 12, Sarah Critchton Books); White Negroes: When Cornrows Were In Vogue… And Other Thoughts On Cultural Appropriation by Lauren Michele Jackson (November 12, Beacon Press); Dictionary Of The Undoing by John Freeman (November 12, MCD x FSG Originals); Busted In New York And Other Essays by Darryl Pinckney (November 12, Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Mary Toft; Or, The Rabbit Queen by Dexter Palmer (November 19, Pantheon); The Captain And The Glory: An Entertainment by Dave Eggers (November 19, Knopf); 33 ⅓: Cornelius’s Fantasma by Martin Roberts (November 28, Bloomsbury Academic)

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