I feel like every November, my brain starts the “MUST READ ALL THE BOOKS BEFORE NEXT YEAR!” panic. This year is honestly not all that bad because I have kind of already begun freaking out over how many books I have not managed to get to this year. So while I was going to make this the year I read exclusively nonfiction in November, I think it’s going to just be the year I read mostly nonfiction. Because this month I will be focusing on finishing a lot of books I started. I would really like to go into next year with a clean slate (I have some plans to change up my reading habits and goals, but I’ll talk about that in a different post).
So first, here are the books I would like to finish in November (keep your fingers crossed for me):
Leadership: In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin
I started this book December 31… 2019. And I was really enjoying it. But reading a book about the four presidents who lead us through some of the most tumultuous times in American history at the beginning of 2020 was honestly just making me angry (for obvious reasons). I thought about picking it up many times over the course of the year, but there never seemed like a good time – it just didn’t seem like a good idea to read about competent presidents when we were living through the dumpster fire that was 2020. But I think it might be okay to finish this one now. Mostly, I don’t want this to be on my “currently reading” shelf for a full two years.
The Undocumented Immigrants by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
Yet another book I was really enjoying and had to put down. This time for different reasons. I started this at the end of September, and then put it on pause briefly because I had to finish all of the books for my October reading experiment post. But then my eyes started to rebel. I was stuck with audiobooks for a few weeks until I could see my optometrist and get new glasses (which is fine). But now that I can see without feeling seasick, I do want to finish this book soon.
The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson
I honestly have no idea why I put this one down, other than that it was long and I maybe wasn’t in the best mindset for this story. But I was really enjoying it, and I do want to finish it this month.
Portrait of a Scotsman by Evie Dunmore
For some reason, I was not into this when I started this book. But I did really enjoy the first two books in this series. And I’m thinking maybe this might be a nice break from all the nonfiction I plan on reading this month. Or maybe I’ll force myself to finish it so I don’t carry it over into next year.
Now for the books I have not yet started:
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
After all of the… bullshit… that was 2020, I have been trying to read more books on racism this year. I read Stamped from the Beginning why Ibram X. Kendi last year, and cannot say enough good things about it. I learned so much. Including just how much I still had to learn. It’s important to me for my own journey, and I just want to learn as much as I can because I genuinely feel like it’s making me a better person. I’ve heard great things about this one, and I have yet to read an Isabel Wilkerson book, so I am very excited to see what this has to teach me.
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
I have put off reading this one for years. Not because I don’t think I’ll like it. But because I think it might be a difficult read. I have had many people close to me live with or die from cancer. And it is so very hard for everyone involved (especially those living with it). But I read Mukherjee’s The Gene a while ago and really enjoyed it. There’s still a small chance I won’t get through this one, but I put it on my 2021 reading list because I think it’s time.
The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts by Julian Rubenstein
My blogger friend Kat recently also started doing reading experiments where she focuses on how her reading taste compares to our favorite Marvel actors. She read this book back in August for her Sebastian Stan post, and it sounded so fun that I immediately picked up the audiobook. And even though this post also featured a book Kat and I both hated with a passion – I read it for my Drew Barrymore experiment back in June – I think I might like this one. Hopefully. But seriously, if anyone ever tells you Still Life with Woodpecker is one of their favorite books, RUN.
Those We Throw Away Are Diamonds: A Refugee’s Search for Home by Mondiant Dogon
I kind of forgot I requested an advance copy of this book, but then it was here and I didn’t have time to read it right away. So I am hoping to squeeze this into November, because it is a perfect fit for this month. Hopefully this doesn’t destroy me to the point where I don’t read anything else for three weeks, but I do think I’m going to learn a lot from this one. I just wish I had thought this through because I am just now realizing I’m in the middle of another memoir written by a refugee. It’s fine. I just might be super depressed by the time this month is up.
Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight
Over the past few years, I have been getting pretty into reading biographies. However, the majority I read are of white men (though Leonardo da Vinci was gay, so there’s a little diversity there). And while I did thoroughly enjoy reading about Albert Einstein and Ulysses S. Grant, I wanted to make an effort to read more books about women and people of color. So I added this one to my list. I did read The Narrative of Frederick Douglass earlier this year, and it definitely made me more excited to read this one and learn more about him. Whether I can finish a nine-hundred page biography in a month is iffy, but I’m gonna try anyway!
And that’s it for November! Well, except for the five other books I will be reading for this month’s reading experiment. Don’t worry, they’re mostly all shorter than these. But they are all nonfiction. This might hurt my brain.
I hope you’ve all had a great start to the month! What are you reading in November?