November was a fantastic reading month for me. I attained my perfect balance between deep, contemplative books and light, fast-paced reads. 

Here’s everything I read in November:

 

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams. For a fun examination of the importance of romance novels, inside of a romance novel.

  • Can I teach it? Nope.

 

The Witches are Coming by Lindy West. For a humorous look at politics through quirky commentary on everything from Guy Fieri to Chip and Joanna Gaines.

  • Can I teach it? This is too political for the classroom, but short excerpts could be good to demonstrate author voice.

 

A Quiet Life in the Country by TE Kinsey. For a cozy mystery that will also fill the Downton Abbey-sized hole in your heart.

  • Can I teach it? It’s probably not worth it in terms of literary merit, but it would be a great series to keep in your classroom library.

 

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. For an atmospheric read that will transport you to the Victorian sea-side and make you meditate on the nature of friendship, doubt, and belief.

  • Can I teach it? Yes. It’s long and there are some weird scenes including a brief sex scene, but older high schools could handle it. Plus it poses such good questions about God and science and love, and it’s a wonderful representation of the paradigm shifts that defined Victorian culture.

 

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall. For a contemplative, but propulsive examination of faith and marriage.

  • Can I teach it? There’s nothing inappropriate here, but I think teenagers would have a hard time connecting with this plot.

 

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss. For a concise yet beautiful book about trauma and dangerous obsessions.

  • Can I teach it? Absolutely! This book is short and readable, but extremely deep, moving, and relatable. Some of the plot elements are difficult, but not at all graphic.

 

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado. For a story that needs to be told inside a perfectly-written genre bending memoir.

  • Can I teach it? This book is for a mature audience, but I think you could excerpt some sections to discuss style, genre, and voice with students.

 

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett. For a feminist(ish) mash-up of Lord of the Flies, The Crucible, and The Village.

  • Can I teach it? Yes. This would be really interesting to discuss with teens! It’s about Hunger Games level in terms of violence and there is some teenage sex, but it’s solidly a YA book in level of detail.

 

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill. For a devastating impressionist portrait of marriage that will utterly wreck you.

  • Can I teach it? No.

 

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson. For a light-hearted, but not overly sweet story about friendship, motherhood, and spontaneous combustion.

  • Can I teach it? I think so, but it’s so weird that it’d be difficult to figure out how to use it. There’s also a lot of profanity in the language.

 

Bull by David Elliot. For a poetic reimagining of the Minotaur myth that tackles teenage angst, toxic masculinity, and loneliness.

  • Can I teach it? Yes!! When a book simultaneously promotes empathy and models six types of poetic verse, it should be a curricular staple.