The best books we read in November!

by |December 2, 2019

November was an amazing month of reading for all of us here at Booktopia. Stunning contemporary literary novels, urgent works of non-fiction, vivid graphic novels … you name it, we’ve read it (and loved it).

Scroll down to see all of the best books we read in November!

Mark Harding – Brand and Content Manager

The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells

Best Books November - The Uninhabitable Earth

Why I loved it: What will it be like to live in a world that’s suffered the worst effects of climate change? This book lays it out in all its horror, examines what can be done, and why we haven’t done it (yet). It’s a devastating and important read, and an urgent call to action.

Buy it here

Olivia Fricot – Senior Content Producer

The Falconer by Dana Czapnik

Best Books November - The Falconer

Why I loved it: The Falconer is Dana Czapnik’s astonishing debut novel, a coming-of-age story that I loved so much, I’m not sure I can do it justice here. Set in New York in the ’90s, in the wake of second-wave feminism, it tells the story of a Jewish-Italian teenager named Lucy who learns to navigate the politics of love and friendship on and off the basketball court. Czapnik has an incredible grasp of character and Lucy’s voice rings out off the page with a perceptiveness that is somehow both wise and youthfully naive. This book is a fierce ode to womanhood, independence and first love that I cannot wait to re-visit – definitely one of my favourites of the year.

Buy it here

Bronwyn Eley – Social Media Coordinator

Backyard to Backpack by Evie Farrell

Best Books November - Backyard to Backpack

Why I loved it: As someone who lives to travel, Evie Farrell’s Backyard to Backpack was just what I needed in a moment of restlessness. It’s the true story of Evie and her then-6 year old daughter Emmie, who threw off the stifling blanket of convention, packed up their lives and travelled the world. It is a read that is both comforting and inspiring. Comforting, because of its underlying message that it’s okay to dream big, dream wild, dream different … and that it’s more than okay to act on those dreams! Inspiring, because it made me want to explore the world some more, to meet new people and experience new cultures. Backyard to Backpack is a delightful read that gives us a glimpse into the lives of two people who were brave enough to stop saying ‘what if’ and actually take the leap.

Buy it here

Ben Hunter – Fiction Category Manager

The Topeka School by Ben Lerner

Best Books November - The Topeka School

Why I loved it: The Topeka School is my new favourite brain-buster. A perfect blend of honesty and intellect, it hones in on an American family living through the end of the 20th century to show us the stacking of the ideological dominoes that would eventually topple into our frankly disastrous present. It deftly examines modern psychology, neoliberalism and the new right, public speech, free speech, modern masculinity and more. Sally Rooney herself has called it “a novel of exhilarating intellectual inquiry, penetrating social insight and deep psychological sensitivity.”

Buy it here

Sarah McDuling – Kids & YA Category Manager

The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

Best Books November - The Lady Rogue

Why I loved it: The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett is so much fun! An action-packed mystery adventure with a dash of romance – I enjoyed every second! I’m a big fan of Bennett’s contemporary YA books and was interested to see what her fantasy writing would be like. Turns out I’m a fan of that too!

Buy it here

Joel – Non-Fiction Category Manager

Yellow Notebook: Diaries Volume One 1978-1987 by Helen Garner


Why I loved it: A few years ago some of Garner’s diary entries were published as part of Everywhere I Look. For those of you who read this book or perhaps extracts of it that were published widely and loved it, then Yellow Notebook is for you. This is a younger, harsher and more vulnerable version of Helen Garner, but with all her acerbic wit, humanity and uncanny ability to observe truth. If you’ve never read anything from Garner before, then this is a great entry point into her world as it captures the things that readers like most about her. Well worth a read.

Buy it here

Shanulisa Prasad – Lifestyle Category Manager

Generation F by Virginia Trioli


Why I loved it: I was totally gripped by this book, particularly by the way in which so much of what was written 20 years ago was still relevant for today. It also really made me think about generational change in feminism and what the next wave will be able to achieve, as well as the mechanisms that will be used to do so. Fascinating!

Buy it here

Cass Sharpe – Merchandising Coordinator

Nailbiter: The Bloody Truth (Vol. 6) by Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson (Illustrator)

Best Books November - Nailbiter: The Bloody Truth

Why I loved it: Nailbiter introduced us to the charming serial killer Edward Warren, the bewildering town of Buckaroo, and law enforcement agents Finch and Crane. The Bloody Truth has us saying goodbye, amid vigilante violence and a series of shocking revelations. I raced through this in one night, and had to reread sections to ensure I understood some of the twists properly! And that ending … Williamson and Henderson toy with the reader until the very last page. This graphic novel is gory, disturbing and darkly comedic – perfect for horror fans.

Buy it here

Ashleigh Berry – Campaigns Coordinator

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Best Books November - Ask Again, Yes

Why I loved it: The more I think about this book, the more I love it. Spanning several decades, Ask Again, Yes tells the story of two families and the tragic moment that reshapes their lives. What comes next is a complicated exploration of mental illness, addiction and forgiveness in a beautiful character-driven story. I was so gripped by the unfolding plot and powerful prose that I consumed the first 3 chapters in one sitting. A story of trauma, endurance, heartbreak and hope, Ask Again, Yes is one of those books that will stay with you.

Buy it here

Rob O’Hearn – Academic & Professional Category Manager

All Good Things by Stephen Ellcock

Best Books November - All Good Things

Why I loved it: In 2013, I came across Stephen Ellcock’s Facebook account. He quietly curates wide-ranging visual art: from all cultures, all periods, mostly obscure, all beautiful. He is now on Instagram and regularly brightens my day, re-balancing the social media dirge with uplifting, even joyful and stimulating visuals. This book is Stephen’s treasury of his favourites, wonderfully collected with (obscure but apt) quotes. A perfect gift, All Good Things is my current form of therapy that is permanently parked on my book stand, reigniting my imagination whenever I need it. A soothing cornucopia of gifts to the eye, brain and heart, for all who wonder. Art heals.

Buy it here

Jane Opie – Account Consultant

Beyond Bad: The Life and Crimes of Katherine Knight, Australia’s Hannibal by Sandra Lee

Best Books November - Beyond Bad

Why I loved it: This book tells the story of a crime so horrific that apparently the detective who was on the case is still in counselling, This goes down as one of the most macabre crimes in Australian history. Katherine Knight was completely insane and all her friends were scared of her. An abbatoir worker from Newcastle, one day her boyfriend annoyed her so much that she killed him, expertly skinned him, cooked bits of him and made him into a meal for his kids. Well written, but very gruesome. A perfect beach read!

Buy it here

What’s the best book you read in November?

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