Below I’m highlighting some nonfiction books coming out in November. All of the mentioned titles are available to put on hold in our catalog and will also be made available via the library’s Overdrive website on the day of publication in eBook and downloadable audiobook format (as available). For a more extensive list of new nonfiction books coming out this month, check our online catalog.
“The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family” by Kerri K. Grenidge (Nov 8)
Sarah and Angelina Grimke — the Grimke sisters — are revered figures in American history, famous for rejecting their privileged lives on a plantation in South Carolina to become firebrand activists in the North. Their antislavery pamphlets, among the most influential of the antebellum era, are still read today. Yet retellings of their epic story have long obscured their Black relatives. In “The Grimkes,” award-winning historian Kerri Greenidge presents a parallel narrative, indeed a long-overdue corrective, shifting the focus from the white abolitionist sisters to the Black Grimkes and deepening our understanding of the long struggle for racial and gender equality. That the Grimke sisters had Black relatives in the first place was a consequence of slavery’s most horrific reality. Sarah and Angelina’s older brother, Henry, was notoriously violent and sadistic, and one of the women he owned, Nancy Weston, bore him three sons: Archibald, Francis and John. While Greenidge follows the brothers’ trials and exploits in the North, where Archibald and Francis became prominent members of the post–Civil War Black elite, her narrative centers on the Black women of the family, from Weston to Francis’s wife, the brilliant intellectual and reformer Charlotte Forten, to Archibald’s daughter, Angelina Weld Grimke, who channeled the family’s past into groundbreaking modernist literature during the Harlem Renaissance. In a grand saga that spans the eighteenth century to the twentieth and stretches from Charleston to Philadelphia, Boston, and beyond, Greenidge reclaims the Black Grimkes as complex, often conflicted individuals shadowed by their origins. Most strikingly, she indicts the white Grimke sisters for their racial paternalism. They could envision the end of slavery, but they could not imagine Black equality: when their Black nephews did not adhere to the image of the kneeling and eternally grateful slave, they were cruel and relentlessly judgmental — an emblem of the limits of progressive white racial politics.
“The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times” by Michelle Obama (Nov 15)
There may be no tidy solutions or pithy answers to life’s big challenges, but Michelle Obama believes that we can all locate and lean on a set of tools to help us better navigate change and remain steady within flux. In “The Light We Carry,” she opens a frank and honest dialogue with readers, considering the questions many of us wrestle with: How do we build enduring and honest relationships? How can we discover strength and community inside our differences? What tools do we use to address feelings of self-doubt or helplessness? What do we do when it all starts to feel like too much? Michelle Obama offers readers a series of fresh stories and insightful reflections on change, challenge and power, including her belief that when we light up for others, we can illuminate the richness and potential of the world around us, discovering deeper truths and new pathways for progress. Drawing from her experiences as a mother, daughter, spouse, friend and First Lady, she shares the habits and principles she has developed to successfully adapt to change and overcome various obstacles — the earned wisdom that helps her continue to “become.” She details her most valuable practices, like “starting kind,” “going high,” and assembling a “kitchen table” of trusted friends and mentors. With trademark humor, candor, and compassion, she also explores issues connected to race, gender and visibility, encouraging readers to work through fear, find strength in community, and live with boldness.
“A Book of Days” by Patti Smith (Nov 15)
In 2018, without any plan or agenda for what might happen next, Patti Smith posted her first Instagram photo: her hand with the simple message “Hello Everybody!” Known for shooting with her beloved Land Camera 250, Smith started posting images from her phone including portraits of her kids, her radiator, her boots, and her Abyssinian cat, Cairo. Followers felt an immediate affinity with these miniature windows into Smith’s world, photographs of her daily coffee, the books she’s reading, the graves of beloved heroes — William Blake, Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath, Simone Weil, Albert Camus. Over time, a coherent story of a life devoted to art took shape, and more than a million followers responded to Smith’s unique aesthetic in images that chart her passions, devotions, obsessions, and whims. Original to this book are vintage photographs: anniversary pearls, a mother’s keychain, and a husband’s Mosrite guitar. Here, too, are photos from Smith’s archives of life on and off the road, train stations, obscure cafés, a notebook always nearby. In wide-ranging yet intimate daily notations, Smith shares dispatches from her travels around the world. With over 365 photographs taking you through a single year, “A Book of Days” is a new way to experience the expansive mind of the visionary poet, writer, and performer.
More Notable Releases for November
- “The Philosophy of Modern Song” by Bob Dylan (Nov 1)
- “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir” by Matthew Perry (Nov 1)
- “Have I Told You This Already?: Stories I Don’t Want to Forget to Remember” by Lauren Graham (Nov 15)
- “The World Record Book of Racist Stories” by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar (Nov 22)