The 13 Best Books to Pick Up This November
Novelist Jennifer Egan tells a thrilling World War II tale set in Brooklyn, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver offers a collection of her most poignant observations on life and nature, plus more must-reads.
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Grant, by Ron Chernow—the biographer whose book Alexander Hamilton was the basis for the Broadway megahit—tells the colossal story of Ulysses S. Grant, the general who won the Civil War and became our 18th president. How did an alcoholic, who aspired only to be an assistant math professor and was once so down on his luck he was forced to peddle firewood on the street, find it within himself to prevail on the battlefield, to oversee Reconstruction, to confront the Ku Klux Klan? The author drills down on these paradoxes, revealing a character rich in courage and complexity. And how does Chernow figure out when he’s met his match, subject-wise? “It’s not until I’m a year or two in that I know who the person really is,” he tells O. “The process is a bit like breaking into somebody’s house and rummaging around in their drawers, discovering things they probably wanted to hide. I keep digging, because the goal is to make the person so real and vivid that readers will feel they know them as well as any friend or family member.”
— Leigh Haber