AWM Staff Picks: November 2022

Reading Recommendations from the staff of the American Writers Museum.

We can’t recommend these books highly enough! Check back every month for more reading recommendations, from classics that we reread over and over to new favorites. If you’re looking for your next book, you came to the right place.

Our November staff picks are also available on, which benefits independent bookstores. We also strongly encourage you to support your local bookstore by visiting them in person or ordering online through them directly.

Ask the Dust by John Fante book cover

Ask the Dust by John Fante

From the publisher: “Ask the Dust is a virtuoso performance by an influential master of the twentieth-century American novel. It is the story of Arturo Bandini, a young writer in 1930s Los Angeles who falls hard for the elusive, mocking, unstable Camilla Lopez, a Mexican waitress. Struggling to survive, he perseveres until, at last, his first novel is published. But the bright light of success is extinguished when Camilla has a nervous breakdown and disappears…and Bandini forever rejects the writer’s life he fought so hard to attain.”

–Cristina, Guest Services & Operations Supervisor

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2022 book cover

The Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2022 edited by Rebecca Roanhorse and John Joseph Adams

As a big fan of science fiction and fantasy writing, it comes as no surprise that I look forward to this annual anthology every year. They are the BEST of the genre after all! I am especially excited about this year’s edition from guest editor Rebecca Roanhorse, because there is a “decidedly global, multicultural feel to these pieces, which exemplify diversity and representation” (Publishers Weekly). What’s even more exciting, if you can believe it, is that Roanhorse will be at the AWM this Sunday, November 13 to talk about the anthology along with series editor John Joseph Adams and bestselling author Veronica Roth (the Divergent series). I hope you can spend your afternoon with us! Learn more about the event and register for it here.

–Nate, Digital Content Associate

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean book cover

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean

From the publisher: “Out on the Yorkshire Moors lives a secret line of people for whom books are food, and who retain all of a book’s content after eating it. To them, spy novels are a peppery snack; romance novels are sweet and delicious. Eating a map can help them remember destinations, and children, when they misbehave, are forced to eat dry, musty pages from dictionaries. Devon is part of The Family, an old and reclusive clan of book eaters. Her brothers grow up feasting on stories of valor and adventure, and Devon―like all other book eater women―is raised on a carefully curated diet of fairy tales and cautionary stories. But real life doesn’t always come with happy endings, as Devon learns when her son is born with a rare and darker kind of hunger―not for books, but for human minds.”

–Noelle, Education Program Coordinator

Bunny: A Novel by Mona Awad

Bunny by Mona Awad

From the publisher: “Samantha Heather Mackey…is a scholarship student who prefers the company of her dark imagination to that of most people, she is utterly repelled by the rest of her fiction writing cohort–a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other “Bunny,” and seem to move and speak as one…As Samantha plunges deeper and deeper into the Bunnies’ sinister yet saccharine world, beginning to take part in the ritualistic off-campus “Workshop” where they conjure their monstrous creations, the edges of reality begin to blur. Soon, her friendships with Ava and the Bunnies will be brought into deadly collision. The spellbinding new novel from one of our most fearless chroniclers of the female experience, Bunny is a down-the-rabbit-hole tale of loneliness and belonging, friendship and desire, and the fantastic and terrible power of the imagination.”

–Kaleena, Development Manager

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng book cover

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

From the publisher: “‘Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.’ So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.”

–Christopher, Director of Operations

Fraternity by Andy Mientus book cover

Fraternity by Andy Mientus

From the publisher: “In the fall of 1991, Zooey Orson transfers to the Blackfriars School for Boys hoping for a fresh start following a scandal at his last school. However, he quickly learns that he isn’t the only student keeping a secret. Before he knows it, he’s fallen in with a group of boys who all share the same secret, one which they can only express openly within the safety of the clandestine gatherings of the Vicious Circle––the covert club for gay students going back decades. But when the boys unwittingly happen upon the headmaster’s copy of an arcane occult text, they unleash an eldritch secret so terrible, it threatens to consume them all.”

–Matt, Social Media Coordinator

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

From the publisher: “Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking. To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.”

–Matt, Social Media Coordinator

Inciting Joy book cover by Ross Gay

Inciting Joy by Ross Gay

To be honest, I have not started reading this new essay collection from Ross Gay, but it is next on my list. I’ve been a big fan of Gay’s since we first hosted him for an author program when his collection, The Book of Delights, came out in 2019. We just hosted him again on November 1 for this collection and he did not disappoint. He certainly incited joy! Gay read a fascinating and funny essay about time then had a great conversation as he fielded questions from the audience. You can listen to a recording of this author program as the latest episode of our AWM Author Talks podcast. Give it a listen here and prepare to smile!

–Nate, Digital Content Associate

The Incredible Shrinking Tour by Wilco book cover

The Incredible Shrinking Tour by Wilco

This is a very cool “book” that is especially made for iPad “reading.” Like Wilco, it is genre defying and super engaging.

–Christopher, Director of Operations

Kurt Vonnegut: Novels & Stories 1963-1973 (LOA #216) edited by Sidney Offit

Kurt Vonnegut: Novels & Stories 1963-1973 (LOA 3216) edited by Sidney Offit

Kurt Vonnegut has always been a go-to writer of mine ever since my family moved houses when I was in high school and I discovered my dad’s many boxes of books in the garage. I guess it must run in the family! This November 11 is Vonnegut’s centennial, and what better way to celebrate than reading many of his works together in one collection. Additionally, I will be hosting an upcoming episode of our podcast Nation of Writers with guest Julia Whitehead, Founder and CEO of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library in Indianapolis. With two big Vonnegut fans discussing his legacy it is sure to be a great episode when it is released later this month. Subscribe to Nation of Writers and explore our other podcasts here.

–Nate, Digital Content Associate

Mind of My Mind by Octavia E. Butler book cover

Mind of My Mind by Octavia E. Butler

From the publisher: “Mary is a treacherous experiment. Her creator, an immortal named Doro, has molded the human race for generations, seeking out those with unusual talents like telepathy and breeding them into a new subrace of humans who obey his every command. The result is Mary: a young black woman living on the rough outskirts of Los Angeles in the 1970s, who has no idea how much power she will soon wield. Doro knows he must handle Mary carefully or risk her ending like his previous experiments: dead, either by her own hand or Doro’s. What he doesn’t suspect is that Mary’s maturing telepathic abilities may soon rival his own power. By linking telepaths with a viral pattern, she will create the potential to break free of his control once and for all-and shift the course of humanity.”

–Cassidy, Storyteller

Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters

Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters

Isaac Martin is ready to kick off summer. His last before heading off to college in the fall where he won’t have his best friend, Diego… Knowing his time with Diego is limited, Isaac enacts a foolproof plan: snatch up a pair of badges for the epic comic convention, Legends Con, and attend his first ever Teen Pride. Just him and Diego. But when an unexpected run-in with Davi—Isaac’s old crush—distracts him the day tickets go on sale, suddenly he’s two badges short of a perfect summer…and when things with Davi start heating up, Isaac is almost able to forget about his Legends Con blunder. Almost. Because then Diego finds out what really happened that day with Davi, and their friendship lands on thin ice. Isaac assumes he’s upset about missing the convention, but could Diego have other reasons for avoiding Isaac?

–Matt, Storyteller

Where Are the Snows by Kathleen Rooney book cover

Where Are the Snows by Kathleen Rooney

From the publisher: “Where Are the Snows takes its title from the famous refrain of François Villon’s 15th Century poem ‘Ballad of the Ladies of Times Past.’ Like that poem, the book functions, among other things, as an ubi sunt, Latin for ‘Where are they?’ as in ‘Where are the ones who came before us?’—the beautiful, the strong, the virtuous, all of them? In keeping with that long tradition, these poems offer a way to think about life’s transience—its beauty, its absurdity, and of course its mortality. Allusive and associative, anti-capitalist and unapologetically political, aligned somewhere between comedy and anger, this poetry juxtaposes the triumphs and tragedies (mostly tragedies) of our current age with those of history, and—by wondering ‘Where are they?’—explores the questions of where we are now and where we might be going.

–Kaleena, Development Manager

The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike book cover

The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike

From the publisher: “Toward the end of the Vietnam era, in a snug little Rhode Island seacoast town, wonderful powers have descended upon Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie, bewitching divorcées with sudden access to all that is female, fecund, and mysterious. Alexandra, a sculptor, summons thunderstorms; Jane, a cellist, floats on the air; and Sukie, the local gossip columnist, turns milk into cream. Their happy little coven takes on new, malignant life when a dark and moneyed stranger, Darryl Van Horne, refurbishes the long-derelict Lenox mansion and invites them in to play. Thenceforth scandal flits through the darkening, crooked streets of Eastwick—and through the even darker fantasies of the town’s collective psyche.”

–Cristina, Guest Services & Operations Supervisor

Visit our Reading Recommendations page for more book lists.

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