Sunday 2 December 2018

Things I Read In November

Ah, November. I really was motivated at the start of the month to do NaNoWriMo, but that motivation veeeery slowly ebbed away as I remembered that I really can't write at all but also mainly that I was quite knackered by work this month and just... didn't want to write? I think what this has done, more than anything, is made me realise that actually if I do want to write, I don't really have to limit it to one month a year and write like a maniac in that time, ya know?

Apart from not-writing, this month has really been quite busy and tiring at work. I'm still new enough that there are lots of things I need to learn, but then I've also been alone and holding the fort for a few days which is also exhausting. However, I had already booked the last week of the month off for annual leave, and so this last week has been me and my honey hanging out and resting and cleaning the house ready for Christmas decorating today (!!!!!!) In book news, we hung out with Katie and Bex in Rochester (always an excellent time!) and went to Cambridge, mainly because I'd never been there before and also this doesn't really have anything to do with books except that I bought a couple there.

Anyway. Reading! Because of the lack of NaNoWriMo, I read more than I had anticipated this month, although still less than most months because I did also get about 15,000 words in before abandoning novel. I would definitely have finished more books but I am currently reading The Count of Monte Cristo and it is the longest thing ever (and also a lot of fun!) and it kind of gets in the way of all other reading. But still, here are November's books:

Let's dive right in:

Wise Children by Angela Carter
Angela Carter writes some really weird books, but there was so much I liked about this one. It's essentially the story of twins, who are the children of a twin and half sisters with two other sets of twins and this is only the start of the weirdness. These twins, Nora and Dora are old, now, but this book is the story of their lives in showbusiness as well as their struggle to connect with their father who refuses to publicly recognise them. There's so much to this book and it is crazy and touching and pretty damn good all at the same time. Also I'm pretty into stories told by old ladies because that is not an age group we are not allowed to hear about much and I am here for it.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Full review of this is upcoming, but I really really incredibly loved this family saga it is so good and I feel like I didn't understand until now how good Ann Patchett is, my eyes have been opened. Please send me all the Ann Patchett books, stat.

The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
I feel weird about his book after reading a review of it that talks about white privilege a lot, and I will explore this more in its upcoming review (I think, who knows what will actually come out of my brain when I sit down to write!) but this memoir was very well written, which I fully expected as Levy writes for The New Yorker. More to be revealed soon(ish).

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
This novel is epic and well researched and fascinating and made me want to learn a lot lot more about the relationship between Korea and Japan. I have a few qualms about it (like, mostly anger at the characters, but there were also characters I wanted to hear more from, and others less) but mostly I found it absorbing and upsetting and just in general a really good read. More to be discussed in its full review (at...some point in life).

Runaway by Alice Munro
Ah, Alice Munro. She's really the queen of short stories, eh? I really really liked this collection, not least because there are three short stories that all connect which is, of course, my most favourite thing. The stories are all loosely tied together by women running away (as the title suggests!) from various situations, and they are just in general a delight to read. So good and true and excellent and there is even a mention of periods which basically never happens in fiction but yes this is an inevitable fact of life, thank you Alice. I didn't realise that this was my second collection of Munro short stories for this year, which makes me feel not-great about their ability to stick in my head, but I know for sure that I have an excellent time reading them, so what more can I ask for?

So yeah, that was November! I read books exclusively by women which of course I LOVE, as long as you ignore all the time spent plugging away at The Count of Monte Cristo (good Cristo that book is so very long). It's December now (yes this post took about three days to write, v sorry) so who knows how much chance I'll have to read, but you KNOW I'll report back at the end of the month with the always exciting (maybe only to me...) end of year stats! YAY CHRISTMAS!

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