I cannot believe November is over. This year has gone by way too quickly, and there are still so many books I want to get to. But I made it through Nonfiction November, and read a total of seven nonfiction books, mostly a mixture of history and memoir. And somehow I managed to read seventeen books this month. Which is pretty impressive if I say so myself. Since we have a lot to get through this month, let’s start with…
What I Read:
These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung – ★★★★☆. This one took me a bit by surprise. I picked it up mostly because of the title and cover, and ended up getting an extremely impactful novel that addresses the issue of sexual assault and it’s impact. It’s not an easy read, but I highly recommend it. You can read my full review of These Violent Delights here.
Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks – ★★★★☆. Obviously, I had to pick up Tom Hanks’s debut collection of short fiction, and for the most part, I really enjoyed it. If you want more of my thoughts, you can check out my full review of Uncommon Type.
The Dark Half by Stephen King – ★★★★☆. Every Halloween, I read a Stephen King novel, and this year it stretched into November. But I really enjoyed this one! It reminded me why I love Stephen King so much. It was creative and terrifying and made me want to read more.
The Written World by Martin Puchner – ★★★☆☆. I had fairly high expectations for this book about the history of the written world, but it was just “meh”. It didn’t draw me in or contain anything particularly revolutionary; it felt like an elaboration on things I already knew. You can read my review of The Written World if you want to know more.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah – ★★★★★. Now, this one, I loved! It completely deserves the hype, and I can’t believe it took me this long to get to it. It’s just a fantastic memoir, and I can’t recommend it enough, especially in audiobook form.
Royally Screwed by Emma Chase – ★★★☆☆. I rarely read fluffy new adult, but I was in the mood for it this month – after reading so much nonfiction and dark fiction – and this one was pretty satisfying, albeit predictable.
A History of the Wife by Marilyn Yalom – ★★★★☆. I liked this overview of the role of wives, both religiously and socially, throughout history. Unfortunately, this book was focused on western society, but I still think it provided valuable insight of how wives were treated within western religions (something I haven’t seen all that often).
Broadcast Hysteria by A. Brad Schwartz – ★★★☆☆. I have always loved the story of Orson Welles and his on-air reading of The War of the Worlds – look it up if you’re not familiar. I was excited to read more about it, but this book didn’t have that much new information, and I didn’t really like how it was organized. It’s not a bad book, but I didn’t love it.
Buffering by Hannah Hart – ★★★★☆. Another memoir I’ve been meaning to read and ended up loving. I thought Hart’s story was moving and funny (naturally), and I like her more now than I did before I read it. If you’re a fan, this is a must-read.
Artemis by Andy Weir – ★★★★☆. This was one of my most anticipated books of the year, so obviously I had to read it the second it came out. It was a fun, action-packed space romp that I think most fans of The Martian will enjoy. You can read my review of Artemis if you’re interested in hearing more.
The Magician King by Lev Grossman – ★★☆☆☆. After three years and two attempts, I finally finished this book. And I still didn’t like it. I enjoyed the first book in the series, but then I went to grad school and my tastes changed. I don’t think I’ll be continuing, which is a bit disappointing (especially since there is only one more book), but at least I gave it a fair shot.
Missoula by John Krakauer – ★★★★☆. I am so glad I finally picked this up! It was enlightening and gut-wrenching, but totally worth the read. I learned a lot about how the justice system operates when it comes to sexual assault and how people in general view rape. If you think you can handle it, I definitely recommend it.
A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs – ★★★★☆. This has been on my TBR for at least eight or nine years, and I finally read it! I’m definitely an Augusten Burroughs fan, and this was a brilliant memoir about his relationship with his alcoholic father. If you’ve read Running with Scissors, this is like the other half of that story.
Henry IV Part I by William Shakespeare – ★★★★☆. After several of you recommended this one, I made it my Shakespeare play of the month. I did enjoy it, and I’m excited to read Part II next month.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – ★★☆☆☆. I was so sure this would be a five-star read for me, but it just didn’t click with me at all. I think the audiobook might be partially to blame, but I just didn’t love it.
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden – ★★★☆☆. I was so convinced I would love the first book in this series that I requested an ARC of this one before I’d read The Bear and the Nightingale (don’t do this). This book was a bit better, but I still don’t think I’ll be continuing the series.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson – ★★★★☆. The last time I read this, I was on the plane to Edinburgh, the city that inspired this book. Which was a little over ten years ago, so I thought it was time for a reread. Yet again, I really enjoyed it and I’m glad I read it all over again.
What I’m Currently Reading:
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. I think this has been sitting on my shelf, unread, for around twelve years. I finally read another Wharton novel (Ethan Frome) a few months ago, and enjoyed it, so I thought I’d knock this one off my TBR.
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren. I just started the audiobook yesterday, and I like it so far. I’ve heard so many great things about it, so I’m pretty excited about it.
What I Watched:
Riverdale. I put off watching this, thinking it was just another teen tv show I probably wouldn’t like. I wasn’t in the mood for anything else, so I decided to give this a shot. And then I binged the entire series (to date) in three days. It’s like Veronica Mars meets Gossip Girl and I’m addicted.
The Great British Baking Show. Also finally started watching this in November, and now all I want to do is bake. I’m just about two seasons in, and it’s become my go-to show when I don’t feel like watching anything else.
What I Did:
Met My Goodreads Reading Goal! This month, I read my 100th book of the year, and completed my Goodreads reading challenge. It’s definitely an accomplishment, especially since I’ve had a full-time job for the last six months, and haven’t had as much time for reading as I did when I was in grad school.
Peppermint Oil. As soon as the weather started getting colder, I noticed SO MANY SPIDERS (big, nasty-looking ones) coming into my bedroom through the gap under the window air conditioner. I didn’t want to use any sort of poison (because I have cats), so I did some research and discovered peppermint oil. I mixed some with water in a spray bottle, and spray it around my room once or twice a week. And guess what? No spiders! Apparently they hate walking on it. Regardless of the reason, it works and smells nice and is completely natural and cheap, so I’m happy.
I didn’t publish all that many posts in November – I took a few breaks – but I did get another Book Blogging for Beginners post up! I’m so glad this series is helpful for so many of you! I am planning on – fingers crossed! – publishing one post a month.
That’s it for November! Is it really going to be December tomorrow? Because I am not ready for that.
What’s the best book you read this month? Any new releases I should have on my radar? Let me know in the comments!