Fresh books! Get your fresh books here!

As we hurtle towards the end of 2011, books just keep coming out with utter disregard for the fact that many of us are drowning in piles of to-be-read books.

Here’s six November books, (soon to be) hot off the presses, that I just can’t wait to read.

Click here for a archive of previous “The Can’t Waits” features.

– — –

The Nerdist Way by Chris Hardwick

Release Date: November 1st
Read it yet? No.
Why I’m excited: This one is a bit of a shot in the dark for me. I really like Hardwick’s stand-up and the Nerdist blog and podcasts, but I have no idea if he can translate that stuff into a self-help book.

Still, I’m going into this one optimistic. There’s no question that “The Nerdist Way” system has worked for Chris, who’s been having huge success in recent years.

At worst, it’ll still be the funniest, nerdiest self-help book I’ve ever read.

As a lifelong member of “The Nerd Herd,” as he calls it, Chris Hardwick has learned all there is to know about Nerds. Developing a system, blog, and podcasts, Hardwick shares hard-earned wisdom about turning seeming weakness into world-dominating strengths in the hilarious self-help book, The Nerdist Way.

From keeping their heart rate below hummingbird levels to managing the avalanche of sadness that is their in-boxes; from becoming evil geniuses to attracting wealth by turning down work, Hardwick reveals the secrets that can help readers achieve their goals by tapping into their true nerdtastic selves.

Here Nerds will learn how to:
• Become their own time cop
• Tell panic attacks to go suck it
• Use incremental fitness to ward off predators

A Nerd’s brain is a laser-it’s time they learn to point and fire!

— — —

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Release Date: November 1st
Read it yet? Parts of it.
Why I’m excited: A point-by-point, three-part guide to my excitement.

Point the first;  Kaling has proven herself to be a hilarious writer, writing 19 episodes of The Office - including early classics “Diwali,” “The Dundies” and “Take Your Daughter to Work Day.”

Point the second; The excerpt of the book available at BEA this spring was one of the first things I read after the show, and it left me itching for more. Mindy’s self-deprecating, often sweet and always charming voice meshes perfectly with my sense of humor.

Point the third; This isn’t yet another same-y memoir - it’s a mix of lists, short essays and other comedy pieces and bitlets.

Sign me up.

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”

Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!

In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

— — —

Brewed Awakening by Joshua Bernstein

Release Date: November 1st
Read it yet? Yes.
Why I’m excited: Now, I know that there’s a lot of craft beer books out there. The trick these days isn’t to write about the topic well, but to approach it in a new, interesting way. I went into Bernstein’s book a skeptic (”joy, another *yawn* book about the growth of craft beer”), and came out a true believer.

The genius behind Brewed Awakening is that it doesn’t waste time covering topics explored by dozens of other beer books. Bernstein doesn’t devote chapters and chapters to the fall and rise of good beer in America, the history of brewing, how to homebrew and the science behind beer. Instead, he speeds through them in a couple of pages. The real meat of the book is the here and now of craft brewing, with hundreds of interviews with industry insiders and reviews of plenty of brews.

The book dances from topic to topic, profiling styles new (Cascadian Dark Ale) and old (Gose), and devoting pages to recent trends like barrel-aging and “green” brewing. Where many beer books are devoted to brewing’s history and recent past, Brewed Awakening has both feet in the present of the industry with an eye on the future. It’s hard to say if the writing will feel as vital five or ten years down the road, but right now it’s a comprehensive overview of the craft beer landscape in 2011.

Two more pluses for the book; Bernstein is a engaging and funny interviewer and reviewer (he writes that one beer got better with age, “like Joseph Gordon-Levitt”), and the full-color hardcover is packed with gorgeous photos.

Fine wine has always had its expert guides to taste and terroir. Why not beer? Funky, young, and smart, this is the ultimate beer geek’s companion, covering everything from the homebrew renaissance to nanobreweries to many of America’s preeminent beer events and festivals. There’s a revolution brewing among craft beer makers: They’re reviving long-forgotten recipes, dosing brews with wild yeasts to create new flavors, and using organic grains and hops to forge a delicious new frontier of beer. And no one’s better equipped to tell us what’s happening than Joshua M. Bernstein, former writer and one of the world’s foremost beer experts.  He covers all of today’s top trends, including high-alcohol, bourbon barrel-aged, cask-conditioned, and even gluten-free beers. Designed to look just like Joshua’s notebook and featuring labels and photos, this extreme guide is a one-stop shop for cutting-edge beer technology, taste, and information.

— — —

The Art of Pixar by Amid Amidi

Release Date: November 2nd
Read it yet? No.
Why I’m excited: Let me quote one line from the jacket of The Art of Pixar.

“The complete color scripts for every film published in full for the first time.”

Uh, yeah. Sold.

Over the past 25 years, Pixar s team of artists, writers, and directors have shaped the world of contemporary animation with their feature films and shorts. From classics such as Toy Story and A Bug s Life to recent masterpieces such as Up, Toy Story 3, and Cars 2, this comprehensive collection offers a behind-the-scenes tour of every Pixar film to date. Featuring a foreword by Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter, the complete color scripts for every film published in full for the first time as well as stunning visual development art, The Art of Pixar is a treasure trove of rare artwork and an essential addition to the library of animation fans and Pixar enthusiasts.

— — —

11/22/63 by Stephen King

Release Date: November 8th
Read it yet? No.
Why I’m excited: I run pretty hot and cold on Stephen King - some of his books really scratch my weird horror itch, and some leave me wondering why I plowed through the pages. Almost without fail, I’ve enjoyed his longer books more, and 2009’s Under the Dome felt like a return to form for King. At 800+ pages, 11/22/63 fits the doorstopper criteria, and I’m hoping that it gives him the space to tell an epic story and let the characters breathe and grow.

Plus, I love a good time-travel yarn, and a quote from King about the book has me hopeful. The premise reminds me of Back to the Future, as well as that Simpsons episode where Homer goes back in time and sits on a bug.

So, y’know, there’s that.

On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King’s heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination—a thousand page tour de force.

Following his massively successful novel Under the Dome, King sweeps readers back in time to another moment—a real life moment—when everything went wrong: the JFK assassination. And he introduces readers to a character who has the power to change the course of history.

Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk.
Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.

A tribute to a simpler era and a devastating exercise in escalating suspense, 11/22/63 is Stephen King at his epic best.

— — —

And So It Goes by Charles Shields

Release Date: November 8th
Read it yet? No.
Why I’m excited: My regular, requisite interest in anything relating to Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Charles Shields looks to be a spot-on choice for Vonnegut’s official biographer, with the enjoyable Harper Lee bio Mockingbird under his belt already. Though the writing was sharp, the biggest strike against Mockingbird was Shields’ lack of contact with Lee. With a year of access to both Vonnegut and his letters - and years beyond that actually researching and writing the bio - Shields is set to give us a comprehensive, personal portrait of the man. PW’s early review of the book has me even more excited for the release.

Bonus mention for Gregory Sumner’s Unstuck in Time, an exploration of Vonnegut’s work that comes out on the same day. They promise to be great companion reads.

In 2006, Charles Shields reached out to Kurt Vonnegut in a letter, asking for his endorsement for a planned biography. The first response was no (”A most respectful demurring by me for the excellent writer Charles J. Shields, who offered to be my biographer”). Unwilling to take no for an answer, propelled by a passion for his subject, and already deep into his research, Shields wrote again and this time, to his delight, the answer came back: “O.K.” For the next year—a year that ended up being Vonnegut’s last—Shields had access to Vonnegut and his letters.

And So It Goes is the culmination of five years of research and writing—the first-ever biography of the life of Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut resonates with readers of all generations from the baby boomers who grew up with him to high-school and college students who are discovering his work for the first time. Vonnegut’s concise collection of personal essays, Man Without a Country, published in 2006, spent fifteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has sold more than 300,000 copies to date. The twenty-first century has seen interest in and scholarship about Vonnegut’s works grow even stronger, and this is the first book to examine in full the life of one of the most influential iconoclasts of his time.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>