So, like so many other people, I fell into the post-election reading slump this month and had a hard time getting into what I was reading. It’s not like I didn’t get any reading done, but I definitely didn’t read as much as I wanted to or was planning to. I fell into the trap of starting a ton of books, getting about a third of the way through, and then deciding I needed to start another book before finishing any. I had a really strong reading month in October, and sometimes I tend to follow really good reading months with sort of meh reading months, so that could have played a part as well. It doesn’t look like I’ll be hitting my secret, unstated goal to finish 100 books this year (I kept my actual Goodreads goal low at 50 books to keep the pressure off and leave room in case I wanted to tackle a bunch of really long books; since I haven’t yet hit 90 books and there’s only one month left, it doesn’t look like 100 books will be going down) but that’s okay.
I also participated in (and sort of failed at) the Tome Topple readathon this month. I was unable to finish a single tome (book over 500 pages) in November, although I did start two. I ALMOST finished Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, but I couldn’t quite get there, and I read about a third of The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson.
So, here’s what I did read in November:
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed (4 stars) – this is a perfect example of a book I’d never have thought to pick up if I hadn’t heard a great review of it on BookTube. It’s a collection of advice columns written by Cheryl Strayed, who wrote Wild (which I haven’t read and now absolutely have to read) and at first glance that doesn’t sound at all like something I’d like. But it’s so much more than that. This book is more like short, intensely personal essays that just absolutely gut you when you read them. Strayed’s philosophy when writing as Sugar was that of “radical empathy,” and this book does nothing if not make you feel that, deeply.
Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (3.5 stars) – I’m so glad to have found Jenny Lawson; she’s really perfect to listen to on audiobook and I’ve highly enjoyed both of her memoirs so far. She’s funny, but her writing can also get extremely sad and touching at points. This one focuses more on her early life growing up in rural Texas, as well as her early married life with her husband Victor once they decide to move from the city back out into the country.
Sex Object: a Memoir by Jessica Valenti (3 stars) – I liked this book, but it doesn’t speak well that it’s been less than a month and I don’t remember a whole lot about it. I listened to the audio on a road trip and thought it was a good audio choice–it’s very short and definitely holds your attention–but it wasn’t mind-blowingly memorable.
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (3 stars) – I was a little disappointed in this book. It was really awesome to have actual diversity in a fantasy story set in historical England, and for the most part I liked the three central characters (although Mak Genggang, a badass witch who pops up throughout the book, was clearly the best) but for me the plot in this book was really lacking. Certain reveals took way too long to happen and the book’s sort of frothy, old English style of writing was what carried me through reading it, rather than what was actually happening in the story.
Gutshot by Amelia Gray (4.25 stars) – Amelia Gray actually came to do a reading in my city this month, which pushed me to pick up her book of short stories that I’d been eyeing for awhile. Gutshot is microfiction, it’s weird, and it sticks with you. I loved it, and I’m so glad that I snagged a copy of her novel Threats while at the reading as well so that I can get another Amelia Gray fix soon.
You by Caroline Kepnes (1.5 stars) – I do not at all understand why this book is so popular. It’s not unique, it’s not interesting, and it’s completely predictable. I kept thinking that because it was so popular that it would have a more creative ending, but no. It doesn’t. I recommend skipping this one.