The Red team's book recommendations for November

<span class="caption">The books the Red team recommend for November</span>
The books the Red team recommend for November

At Red, we’re always on the hunt for great reads and we know you are too. So, each month, the team and our contributors will share what we’re reading with you. And that doesn’t always mean something new (Sarra Mannings’ monthly selection should be your go-to for hot-off-the-press works). Instead, we’ll tell you about the fiction and non-fiction that’s got us thinking, laughing, crying or even angry this month (or all of the above!).

Zlata Rodionova, Red Acting Digital Editor

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Crying in H Mart might be the best book I have read this year. In this intimate and raw memoir, Michelle Zauner (best known as the lead vocalist of indie band Japanese Breakfast) explores her complicated relationship with her late mother and the incredible bond they shared through Korean food. She also shares her experience of growing up as young Korean-American woman and the difficulties of straddling two cultures. A book about food, grief, and memory – it made me both ravenous, emotional, and eager to discover more about Korean culture

Abigail Southan, Senior Fashion Ecommerce Editor

Motherwell: A Girlhood, Deborah Orr

Though the late journalist and editor Deborah Orr lost her battle with cancer in 2019, her frank and vivid voice lives on in every page of the posthumously published Motherwell. If memoirs have a tendency towards narcissism, Orr’s approach feels totally fresh – basically, you’ll learn a lot reading this book. While chronicling her journey from Lanarkshire council estate to Guardian news room, Orr weaves in apt commentary on post-industrial Scotland, working class family life, bourgeois fantasies and feminism. Once you’re done devouring Motherwell, move on to Google and delve into her impressive body of work.

Ciara McGinley, Deputy Digital Editor

Yoga: A Manual For Life by Naomi Annand

Yoga: A Manual For Life by Naomi Annand is a gorgeous and inspiring read for anyone who wants to live a more balanced life. For beginners and experts alike, it will help you master yoga poses with its picture-led sequences and discover the power of your breath in an accessible way. All while delving into how this traditional practice can be applied to modern day life and teaching you how to sleep better, calm an anxious mind and wake up feeling energised. It really is the ideal life-long companion for those practicing yoga at home.

Sarah Coleman, Digital Design Lead

The Cypress Tree by Kamin Mohammadi

Mohammadi's memoir explores the past hundred years of the history of Iran through the eyes of three generations of women – Mohammadi herself, her mother and her grandmother. Her family fled Iran during the 1979 revolution, and her family remained in exile in Britain, where she shunned her background, choosing to assimilate with her British peers instead. At the age of 27, she took steps to reconnect with her rich heritage, taking us on her emotional journey of rediscovery. Although, the book was released over 10 years ago, it provides essential context for the current struggles of Iranian women today.

Lauren Codling, Ecommerce Home and Garden Writer

Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

Claire is only a child when her sister Alison goes missing during a family holiday on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Two local men are arrested – but are later released without charge. Years later, Claire is living in New York when she encounters one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister, triggering an obsessive pursuit for the truth. Saint X sounds like your standard pacey thriller – but it cleverly delivers acute social commentary on white privilege and racism, community and class, and society’s morbid fascination with white female murder victims. A hugely intelligent, atmospheric novel, this stayed with me long after I’d turned the last page.

Rosie Davenport, Ecommerce Fashion Writer

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

When mother Joy Delaney goes missing, her perfectly perceived family falls apart. Through a story of twists and turns, a mysterious house guest and a suspected murder investigation, Liane Moriarty explores the complexities of marriage, the burden of a family business and the toil of motherhood. After speeding through her bestselling novels (and now major TV series’) Big Little Liars and Nine Perfect Strangers, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Moriarty’s ninth book Apples Never Fall. If like me you’re here for the family drama and end of chapter cliff hangers, pick this one up ASAP.

Mayola Fernandes, Ecommerce Intern

No Exit by Taylor Adams

Anyone who likes the sound of a fast-paced, dark and edgy thriller should read No Exit. This novel centres around college student Darby Thorne who, while on her way to visit her sick mother, gets stuck in a blizzard with a group of strangers. While sheltering with the group Darby stumbles upon a kidnapped little girl who is hidden in the back of one of the stranger's van. Shocked by her discovery, she takes it upon herself to rescue the child while searching for the kidnapper. The result is a gripping, action-packed thriller with plot twists you won’t see coming.

See our editors' October picks below

Sally Newall, Editorial Director, Ecommerce

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Elizabeth Zott is the feminist icon we all need right now. Living in conservative 1960s California, she’s a brilliant but overlooked scientist turned unconventional TV cook. (She wears a lab coat, calls salt ‘sodium chloride’, and implores fans to subvert the patriarchy.) We follow her fighting – literally at times – against the deep inequalities in the lab and TV studio, while bringing up daughter Mads in her mould. Garmus tackles themes of sexual assault, grief and injustice with sensitivity, yet never without the humour that comes when resolutely rational minds collide with an irrational status quo. Inspiring, joyful and angry – this is my book of the year.

Zlata Rodionova, Red Acting Digital Editor

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith’s debut novel White Teeth was published in 2000, yet feels so prescient. Spanning a period from mid-1970s London and leading up to the turn of the century, it follows the lives and families of two first-generation immigrants, Samad Iqbal from Bengal and the English Archie Jones. Smith fully inhabits her characters – the novel is told from ten distinct perspectives – to deliver a vibrant, intimate portrait of multicultural England and the complexity of the immigrant experience. It’s also a story of familial ties, misunderstandings, coming-of-age, and our inability to escape our past – all told in a beautifully crafted and incredibly witty narrative.

Abigail Southan, Senior Fashion Ecommerce Editor

Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Fleishman Is In Trouble is the first novel from The New York Times journalist Taffy Brodesser-Akner and now an upcoming mini-series starring Jesse Eisenberg as the titular Toby Fleishman and Claire Danes as his ex-wife. The book depicts the chaotic-yet-mundane life of a divorced dad, sending up mid-life crisis stereotypes while also tenderly exploring the complexities of marriage and parenthood. Brodesser-Akner's witty writing, as well as the plot's thriller undertones, is what makes this well-trodden territory feel so fresh. The author’s voice is like a woke, female Philip Roth and a breath of fresh air if you’re tired of millennial chick lit.

Ciara McGinley, Deputy Digital Editor

Working Hard, Hardly Working by Grace Beverly

At just 25 years old, Grace Beverly is the founder of two businesses: eco-conscious activewear brand TALA and fitness app SHREDDY. The influencer-turned-author has already landed a spot on the Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list and now adds author to her list of credentials. Working Hard, Hardly Working is a practical guide to feeling more fulfilled and less stressed. With plenty of career advice and tips on boosting productivity while still prioritising self-care – it’s a fresh take on the modern world of work, where hobbies, passions and businesses overlap, and lines can easily get blurred. It’s a must-read for those who want to shake up their work-life balance with realistic solutions.

Hattie Parish, Deputy Wellness Ecommerce Editor

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

A "tale of two sisters" sounds at best heartwarming, at worst twee. But there’s nothing saccharine about this story of teenagers linked by their bigamist father. One sibling is oblivious to her sister’s existence, the other navigates coming-of-age in full knowledge that, as an illegitimate lovechild, she'll always come second. Set in 1980s Atlanta, we follow African American Dana as she grapples with the role of secret sister; envy conjuring up an idyllic imagined life for Chaurisse, the daughter of her father’s public family. We soon learn that Chaurisse’s lot is far from perfect, and the girls have more in common than a philandering father. Alongside exploring identity as a woman of colour in Reagan-era America, Jones delves into issues of class, sisterhood and family. It's a moving, beautifully written novel about womanhood, the weight of the truth and the irresistible pull of kinship.

Lauren Codling, Ecommerce Home and Garden Writer

The Last House on Needless Street

This gothic horror-cum-thriller feels an apt read in the run up to halloween. Catriona Ward’s genre-bending tale centres upon Ted, a lonely man who lives in a ramshackle house on Needless Street with his 12-year-old daughter and cat. Meanwhile, a new neighbour arrives with a hidden agenda – she's convinced that Ted is behind her younger sister’s disappearance. Told from the perspective of a string of unreliable narrators (including the cat), Ward keeps you guessing. Tense, compelling and utterly unique, it’s no surprise that Stephen King’s a fan.

Rosie Davenport, Ecommerce Fashion Writer

The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

I am ashamed to say I knew very little about Vietnam’s vast and complex history before reading Nguyen Phan Qué Mai’s The Mountains Sing. However, if you’re going to learn about this resilient country, Mai’s poetic novel (that was written in tribute to her family) is the best place to start. This epic spans two decades, beginning with the notorious bombing of Hanoi in 1972. Amid the conflict, Huong’s grandmother recounts The Great Famine of 1945 and Land Reforms of the ’50s. If, like me, you enjoy historical fiction told through the lens of a family saga (see also my September's recommendation, Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko), you’ll love this novel that focuses on sacrifice, forgiveness, and determination.

Mayola Fernandes, Ecommerce Intern

Verity by Colleen Hoover
It was TikTok where I heard about Verity. (If you haven’t joined yet, trust me, it’s worth it alone for recommendations from the #booktok community.) Anyone who likes the sound of a twisty, gothic thriller with some steamy romance in the mix should look it up. The novel centers around Lowen Ashleigh, a struggling writer who accepts a gig from Jeremy Crawford, husband of the eponymous Verity, a best-selling author now injured and unable to finish off her work. Lowen stumbles upon Verity’s unfinished autobiography, which is filled with shocking revelations – including the truth about her daughter’s death. The result is a bone-chilling page turner with deliciously unexpected turns.

See our editors' August picks below

Zlata Rodionova, Red Digital Editor

Sisters by Daisy Johnson

Atmospheric and haunting, Daisy Johnson’s second novel, Sisters, explores the uncomfortable and increasingly toxic relationship between siblings September and July, who were born less than a year apart. Following a mysterious tragic event, the girls have moved to an isolated cottage on the edge of the North York Moors with their troubled mother, Sheela. In poetic, fragmented parts, Johnson gradually reveals the story. This is a gothic tale at heart – think bleak landscapes, sinister characters, and creaking old houses – and its beguiling eeriness had me hooked.

Abigail Southan, Senior Fashion Ecommerce Editor

Hungry by Grace Dent

Grace Dent’s first book is a self-professed ‘memoir of wanting more’. The now acclaimed food critic describes her upbringing in Thatcherite Carlisle, eating ‘beige’ foods like chip butties, tinned macaroni and ‘sketty’ (spaghetti). Dent reminisces through these dinnertime tales; recalling her rebellious teens, wryly poking fun at her on-the-make mother and delicately chronicling her father’s dementia. She also explores metaphorical hunger: her drive for success – any Millennial would submit to snowflake slurs after reading about Dent squatting in London – and its subsequent impact on her relationships. Despite now eating at Michelin-starred restaurants weekly, she never once scorns the comfort food of her working-class childhood. This book made me hungry for simpler times – and more memoirs from Dent.

Sally Newall, Editorial Director, Ecommerce

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

We all know the story of Jack the Ripper, right? But what about his victims? Before I read The Five, all I could recall was hearing the brutal ways these "prostitutes" were murdered, dressed up as entertainment. Historian Hallie Rubenhold is on a mission to change the too-often misogynist narrative and put the women front and centre. Here, she painstakingly unearths their varied and surprising pasts. For social history nerds like me it’s a fascinating look at Victorian life, but more importantly, it’s a battle cry to reclaim power and an identity beyond victimhood for the murdered. There’s an accompanying podcast, Bad Women: The Ripper Retold, but I recommend the book for the impeccably researched detail.

Sarah Coleman, Digital Design Lead

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

It's 20 years since The Secret History was first published and countless people have recommended it to me. Psychological thrillers aren’t my usual bag but it turns out ‘dark academia’ just might be. The novel follows six American students at an elite New England college studying classics under the tutelage of an eccentric professor. The lessons become all-encompassing and things swiftly descend into chaos, with morality left at the door. We know events have escalated to murder right from the start, but are tantalisingly drip-fed the story through the –complicit – narrator’s eyes. It’s a hugely intelligent book with such compelling characters. I might be late to the party but I’m now talking about it to anyone who’ll listen.

Lauren Codling, Ecommerce Home and Garden Writer

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

Counting Reese Witherspoon and Marian Keyes as fans, Miranda Cowley Heller’s debut is as gripping as it is moving. The protagonist Elle’s story takes place at her family’s Cape Cod holiday home (aka The Paper Palace), where she has a passionate encounter with her childhood best friend. Disturbed, Elle reflects upon her life, exploring the tragic events that led her to this moment. Although I’ll forever recommend it, it isn’t an easy read – I guarantee that your copy will be tear-stained by the time you finish.

Rosie Davenport, Ecommerce Fashion Writer

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Love historical fiction? You’re in for a treat with Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko. Spanning eight decades and four generations, this epic novel follows the lives of a family from Yeongdo, Korea and delves into themes of discrimination, trauma, and belonging. It’s much more than a family drama though – through beautiful-yet-heartbreaking prose, Lee uses a Dickensian approach to hone in on each character. The result? We’re transported into the life struggles and racism endured by Koreans living in Japan during World War II. If you’ve already sped through this tear-jerking page-turner, be sure to check out this year’s Apple TV adaptation.

See our editors' July picks below

Natasha Lunn, Features Director

Every Family Has A Story by Julia Samuel

Love so often traces back to family. To the losses we inherit and the patterns we recreate; to the childhood insecurities that creep into adult relationships; or the unsaid things that steer our fears and desires, without us even knowing it. Thankfully, psychotherapist Julia Samuel has written a book to help us understand how love is shaped by family and how families shape us.

Through eight stories, Samuel explores the complexities that come with family ties, from trauma to divorce, bereavement and addiction. Rather than clinical case studies presented from a distance, these stories are intimate and beautifully told. They made me see my family – and myself – with fresh empathy.

Sally Newall, Editorial Director, Ecommerce

Boys Don’t Cry by Fiona Scarlett

I’ve just finished this for my book club and I can’t stop recommending it. Fiona Scarlett’s debut centers around brothers growing up on a Dublin estate, where family life is steeped in crime and violence. At 17, Joe, a talented artist, is determined he won’t follow in his Da’s footsteps and, on his watch, nor will his 12-year-old brother, Finn. Life has other plans: Finn falls dangerously ill and, with their father in prison and their mother cocooned in her grief, Joe has to make some tough decisions.

It's an intensely moving story that’s so evocative of working-class Dublin life. It puts in sharp focus the toxic societal pressures – not least for boys and men to keep any emotion buried – that can make breaking destructive cycles so hard.

Ciara McGinley, Deputy Digital Editor

Manifest: 7 Steps to Living Your Best Life by Roxie Nafousi

It’s the little orange book you’ve seen all over your Instagram feed this year, and it really does live up to the hype. I’ve been devouring Manifest by Roxie Nafousi this month – it’s a must-read for anyone who wants to feel more empowered. The seven-step plan to manifesting your best life will help you better understand the practice (and how much action really is involved in the process), explore anything that’s holding you back (fear, doubt or lack of self-worth) and help you get clear on what you want out of life and how you can align your behaviour to get it. A roadmap for embracing gratitude, cultivating self-love and unlocking the magic within you so you can turn your dreams into your reality.

Lauren Codling, Ecommerce Home and Garden Writer

If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha

Frances Cha’s debut novel follows four women in South Korea, for whom spending money on plastic surgery is as commonplace as getting a haircut. Their lives revolve around strict social hierarchies, chasing wealth and striving for unattainable beauty. It’s a bleakly captivating look into the cut-throat world of contemporary Seoul, that’s incredibly written with a distinctive cast of characters. I finished it in two sittings, have re-read it twice since and I’d still happily read it again – it’s a serious contender for one of my favourite books ever.

Joanna Whitehead, Editor and Writer

The Transgender issue by Shon Faye

There’s a lot of noise in the UK media about the alleged “risks” posed by trans people, yet these are largely pronounced by cisgender people (those whose gender is the same as that assigned at birth). That we so rarely get to hear from trans people themselves seems to fly in the face of parity, whilst doing us all a disservice. Thankfully, Shon Faye has taken up the mantle with this accomplished state-of-the-nation work that conveys the reality of trans lives in the UK, from housing to healthcare, work to family and beyond. Read this to discover the truth behind the salacious headlines.

Rhalou Allerhand, Ecommerce Editor - Wellness

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

What would you do if your entire family were gunned down in front of you by a Mexican drug cartel and you were forced to flee overnight to save your life? This fast-paced thriller about a mother and sons’ treacherous journey along Mexico’s lawless migrant trail towards the US border takes you on a breathless, heart-in-your-mouth journey into the world of displaced people. Admittedly the author has come under fire for cultural appropriation, so it’s worth keeping the authenticity of the narrator in mind. But if you’re looking for an action-packed, pacey, and emotive read that stays with you, this is it.

Mayola Fernandes, Ecommerce Production Assistant

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

You might have seen the buzz around Ghost Lover, Lisa Taddeo’s new collection of short stories that explore female desire. But if, like me, you need to catch up on her original delve into the subject, Three Women, why not start now? It traces the complex relationships and needs of Maggie, Lina and Sloane – three very different, but innately connected, American women. Taddeo is meticulous in her research; she worked on the book for eight years, even moving to the subjects’ towns to entwine herself in their lives. The result is a hugely compelling deep-dive into female sexuality, in all its messy complexity.

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