November 2023 Dispatch

Melissa Morano Aurigemma
3 min readDec 6, 2023


The first of November feels like it was 5 months ago. Here we are. December. What did I read last month and, if you are considering gifting someone a book for the holidays, what might you consider?

Life Ceremony — Sayaka Murata

Sometimes I read something that Murata has written and I gag. Because, its horrifying and surreal. Disturbing, often. Grotesque. Beautiful and genius, always. This particular book is a collection of stories, really anything by this author will leave its imprint on your brain. Good for the not very easily impressed horror enthusiast or the person in your life who’s favorite work of art is Goya’s Saturn Devouring His Son.

The Diving Pool — Yoko Ogawa

Ogawa is brilliant in my opinion. Every story surprising in its own way. This collection of three stories — leaves you pondering the many ways in which humans can be so cruel to one another.

Exteriors — Annie Ernaux

I’m a real bandwagon fan when it comes to Ernaux. Despite my often reading female authorship in translation, I’d only picked up one Ernaux book before she won the Nobel Prize in Literature a few years ago. Buy this book for your friend who is going to Paris at the end of December.

Winter in Sokcho — Elisa Shua Dusapin

I know I just said I read a lot of works in translation, but I need to humble myself again to confess that I can’t think of many (female) Korean authors whose translated work I have read. Loved this one — in a short book there was tremendous depth and variance of relationships. For the person that likes seasonal reads.

Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory — Raphael Bob-Waksberg

If you liked BoJack Horseman or if you like David Sedaris — I would say, read this book, from the creator of the former. This book felt like donning your favorite sweatshirt. Melancholic, but perfectly so. Humorous enough to not leave you in tears.

Other books I enjoyed:

  • Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit — J. Winterson: what a novel; for anyone eager to ponder their own qualms with fire and brimstone Christianity
  • The Voyeur — A. Robbe-Grillet: a slowly suspenseful labyrinth; if you like unreliable narrators this is for you
  • In Search of Lost Books — G. van Straten: a sweet book; the Walter Benjamin chapter leaves you a bit gutted


  • Negative Money — Lillian-Yvonne Bertram: I’ve read this twice now. Really incredible work.
  • The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On — Franny Choi: The poems contained in this book were like a balm that my eyes/brain/heart needed.
  • Alive at the End of the World — Saeed Jones: Is there a theme with my poetry choice? Maybe? Human history is overwhelming, human history happening in real time is overwhelming. This collection is a beautiful reflection that encompasses the pain and the beauty in survival, in community, in care.

Highly recommend buying all your poetry (and any other books you need!) from Reparations Club. They have the best curated collections, stock incredible books — honestly one of the better poetry stockists that I have found. They very kindly ship!



Melissa Morano Aurigemma

Philosopher, artist, poet, etc, etc by night and by day Chief of Staff at Exceptional Capital