Farewell, November: My Reading Wrap-Up

fallerWhat can I say about November?  It’s been awful, and every day has felt a little worse.  You avoid the newspapers, let yourself forget for a bit, and then someone on Facebook reminds you that you mustn’t “normalize” or stop fighting.  Do we accept this election, or does two million votes have to count for something?  I’m genuinely scared for racial/religious tolerance in this country, and for the impact this will have on foreign relations and world events.

But here’s the other thing about November – it means holidays and family and putting that stuff aside as best we can.  For us it means planning our annual Holiday Latke Brunch, designing our holiday card, and spending Thanksgiving with my Dad and his relatives.

It means end-of-year donations to some of the causes Trump threatens most, like civil rights, reproductive rights, and immigrant rights.  We’ve developed a giving plan which I feel good about.

It means supporting my good friend who was just diagnosed with breast cancer and is going through chemo.  It means making sure I’m up to date on my own examinations.

It means being the best public servant I can be, and making the most of my new job, even though I’ll be working for The Man in another month.

What does it mean for the blog?  Telling you what I read in November doesn’t feel terribly important, but I really want to get back to this blog and put some life back in it.  I’ve been thinking about goals for 2017 and that’s one of them.

I wrote two posts about the election this month and I don’t know that there’s more I can say.  But I can’t ignore the reality of this world we now live in (and did all along, sadly). I know I’ve appreciated hearing the views of my fellow bloggers, like this post and this one.

railwaySo, with minimal fanfare, here’s what I read in November:

  1. Death at St. Vedast by Mary Lawrence (a medieval mystery, third in the series)
  2. Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt (a fluffy romance novel — comfort read)
  3. The Railway Children by E. Nesbit (a children’s classic)
  4. The Ace of Skulls by Chris Wooding (the last book – sigh – in the Ketty Jay series)
  5. Faller by Will McIntosh (new science fiction/dystopian)

The Railway Children was a really cool book.  I loved Nesbit’s direct writing style and she’s created a very real family even though, like most children’s literature, it’s a bit candy-coated at times.  She deals with some dark themes but the children and their mother stick it out and make it all okay.  More on that to come.  Next up in children’s classics?  I think Sydney Taylor’s All of a Kind Family will pair nicely with The Railway Children.

testamentI also spent a good chunk of the month reading Vera Brittain’s World War I memoir Testament of Youth.  It’s taking me a long time, but the parts she spends working as a war nurse (a VAD) in Malta and France were fascinating. I’m nearing the end and it’s a bit slower but her life is still interesting (particularly given the time she’s writing, 1933).

What’s next?  I just got two books from my library wait list, Before the Fall and The Nest.  Which should I read first?  I’m also waiting on Hag-Seed, The Wonder, Today Will Be Different, What is Not Yours is Not Yours, and Commonwealth.  Those are all books I’m seeing on 2016 “best of” lists, and I really want to read a few of them before the year ends (if you’re interested, here’s a compilation of 2016 best book lists).

Speaking of Best-Of lists, it’s time to work on my own!  Right now I think my best read this year was The Glorious Heresies.  What’s yours?

So farewell, November, and here’s to being almost done with 2016.

  6 comments for “Farewell, November: My Reading Wrap-Up

  1. December 1, 2016 at 6:41 am

    Its bad enough seeing the election news coming through on the UK news channels – must be much worse being amidst it every day. I like the idea of your family’ giving plan – makes you think about what is truly important. Only problem i have is there are so many charities where the management structure has become overpowering that you suspect the donations end up going to fund salaries and offices rather than front line services

    • December 1, 2016 at 8:48 am

      You know, we kept saying here, that Brexit happened, so this could too. Even still I just don’t see how it was possible that so many would vote for him. And now we have this electoral college system that seems grossly unfair and is probably impossible to change. Ugh. The giving plan does make me feel like we’re being thoughtful, and I share your concern about the organizational strength of who we give to. I also grappled with whether to support advocacy versus direct services, both are so important right now. Sadly, I had to eliminate a few charities I care about in order to prioritize.

  2. December 1, 2016 at 7:21 am

    I hadn’t seen Andi’s post, thank you for sharing that. It represents everything I value about blogging — it gives us a place to speak our truth, and connects us to each other. That can help give us strength for the challenges ahead.

    As usual I am terrible about reading the “best of” books from the current year. I used to be more up to date when I lived closer to the library and would browse off the New and Interesting shelf. I’m most curious about Hag-Seed and Today Will Be Different, so my vote would be for you to read those first. 🙂

    Enjoy your time with your family this season. It’s important to hold on to each other.

    • December 1, 2016 at 8:45 am

      I was really struck by her post, which comes a day or two before the election but says so much. I appreciated your post as well because I’m really grappling with whether book blogging makes sense right now — but if not that, what else makes sense?

  3. December 1, 2016 at 7:24 am

    Thanks for the link-up 🙂

    I feel much the same as you about November. Can we just finish 2016 already and file it under ‘Rubbish’?

  4. December 1, 2016 at 10:29 am

    I haven’t read a single 5 star book all year. 2016 has been a dud, reading-wise!

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