Noteworthy November New Releases (just in time for Jolabokaflöd)
Tis the season when my mind starts to fantasize about homey holiday gatherings, decked halls, finding the perfect gifts, and fun family traditions. And one of our family's newest holiday traditions is celebrating Jolabokaflöd thanks to one of our Monthly Book Club's Founding Members. (Thanks, Amy!)
I had just started Pretty Literate's Monthly Book Club, so hand-picking classics to share, pairing each one with clever bookish souvenirs, and shipping the book box monthly to my members was still new. My Founding Members went above and beyond, helping me to refine and hone Pretty Literate's Monthly Book Boxes into what they are today. (Thank you, ladies!)
Imagine my surprise when one day in December I received a book box of my own in the mail complete with a newly released novel alongside noshable chocolate to enjoy while I read it! This one gracious gift of kindness sparked an entirely new family tradition for us - that of celebrating Iceland's Jolabokaflöd.
What is Jolabokaflöd?
Jolabokaflöd is the Icelandic tradition of gifting a new book and chocolate to family, friends, coworkers - absolutely everyone! - on Christmas Eve. The idea is to prepare your peeps to hunker down on Christmas Eve to enjoy both their new book and the goodies that came along with it. (You can learn more about the history of Jolabokaflöd here or different ways to celebrate it here.)
Knowing that we want to participate in Iceland's bookish tradition again this year, I began gathering Noteworthy November New Releases (just in time for Jolabokaflöd) this month so that I could start picking titles up when I saw them out in the wild. If you're looking for a few good book recs to start your own Jolabokaflöd tradition, here are four of my favorites this year.
📙 Class: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hunger, and Higher Education by Stephanie Land
I first discovered Land's debut novel, Maid, because Netflix picked it up as a miniseries. After watching the trailer Netflix kept suggesting for it, I pressed play - and then got hooked. I laughed. I cried. I felt. So naturally by the the time to credits rolled I had ordered a copy of the memoir that reached even into the deepest crevices of my heart.
Seeing that Land penned a follow-up memoir that released earlier this month was like running across an old friend. I cannot wait to get (and gift!) what is sure to be a thoughtful, honest, and raw story of survival. Release date: November 7, 2023
(Check out my thoughts on Maid by Stephanie Land here.)
📗 Endgame by Omid Scobie
Being a royal watcher since Middle School, I have kept a side-eye on a few of my favorites over the years. Diana and her boys have continually ranked among the best-loved and most-watched which is why when I saw there was a new book by longtime royal journalist Omid Scobie about the current state of Britain's royal family in the wake of Queen Elizabeth's death, it easily made my Jolabokaflöd short list. If you (or someone you're shopping for this holiday season) love a little royal watching, too, jot this title down. Release date: November 28, 2023
(Check out my honest thoughts on SPARE by Prince Harry here.)
📕 Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros
Of my two daughters, one has loved to read since she learned how to do it. The other has been a much slower burn, but now that she's in her twenties she has definitely begun making up for lost time. And one series they both absolutely love is Yarros' Empyrean Series. Following hot on the heels of the best-selling Fourth Wing, the second in the series, Iron Flame, is guaranteed to be a hot ticket this holiday season - in fact, many of the coveted black stained edged editions sold out the day of its release! (I know because both of my daughters pre-bought and one still went to buy a copy in person the morning it released.) So, if you have a fantasy-loving female on your nice list this season, keep an eye out for the black stained edges edition. Release date: November 7, 2023
📘 The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose
One of my favorite contemporary novels of 2022 was The Maid by Nita Prose, a thriller featuring a loveable main character that I believe was on the spectrum. The novel reads through the main character's eyes as she goes about her daily routine in the wake of her dearly loved Gran's death. As the maid in a fancy hotel, Molly sees a lot, but she never expected to see herself in the middle of a murder investigation. I loved every page of The Maid and was thrilled to learn that Prose has brought back the loveable maid, Molly, in this stand-alone follow-up novel to her original best-seller. Release date: November 28, 2023
Which New Releases Top Your List?
I love looking for new titles, especially this time of the year. Share the titles and authors of the NEW RELEASES you are most looking forward to releasing this season in the comments.