November has been my best month reading-wise. I read eight books this month, which I don’t usually manage to do, and many of them averaged between 4.5 and 5 stars. It’s really hard to pick a favourite as I enjoyed the variety of books I read. The genres I covered were: nonfiction/memoir, YA fantasy, middle Grade, and historical fiction. I hope December will be just as successful. I’ve currently read 45/40 of my reading goal, and want to make it to 50 before the end of the year.
Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman
This was my first book of the month. It was recently released in October and I kept hearing a lot of hype about it, plus it was nominated in the Goodreads Choice Awards (which ends today if you haven’t voted yet). While historical fiction, this book, as the title suggests contains magical and paranormal elements. I found the prose to be lyrical and well developed, and this certainly is a well-written novel. I didn’t expect it to be as dark as it was, and I found some parts disturbing, but I tend to be a more sensitive reader in some areas.
The Beauty in Breaking by Michelle Harper & When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
These were my two nonfiction reads this month. Both are medical memoirs, and are equally heart-rending and poignantly told.
Michelle Harper writes of her experience as an emergency room physician with empathy and insight and gorgeous prose. I read The Beauty in Breaking over the space of a day. When she described the death of an infant, and how the mother crumbled to the floor in grief, and the father lay down beside her, embracing her, my heart just broke. This book was published in 2020, and is currently in the finals in the memoir category of the Goodreads 2020 Choice Awards
When Breath Becomes Air is another equally heartbreaking book, written by a thirty-six year old neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, even though he never smoked. This book is both a reflection on his life and journey to practicing medicine and learning empathy for his patients and their families, as well as a contemplation of the beauty and fragility of life and breath, the certainty of death, and the uncertainty of when.
Paul Kalanithi died before his memoir could be published, but since it’s publication it has become a New Yorks Times Bestseller and Pulitzer Prize Finalist, as well as the winner of the Goodreads 2016 memoir winner.
The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline
This is the one book I managed to write a book review for. You can read my book review here. Historical fiction has been one of my favourite genres for a long time, and I loved that this book painted a picture of a time not as often written about as WW2 or Tudor England.
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
I’ve heard a lot of hype about this book on bookstagram, and I feel bad for not loving it as much as others do. I think I found the pacing a little slow for me. The Daevabad Trilogy has taken over my heart, and I think I keep comparing all the fantasy books I read to that!
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
I have no picture for this book, though I’m sure everyone knows what the cover looks like! I’m pretty late in starting to read this series.
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
I didn’t realized when I first ordered Sorcery of Thorns from the library, that it was a book about magical libraries! As soon as I started it, however, I fell in love with the concept of enchanted books, mysterious libraries, and a young librarian as it’s protagonist. I loved Elisabeth Scrivener’s character. I could relate to her a lot at first, but she does get more daring and rush into danger, which I think is not like me. But her love for books…well, what can I say?
The author had a way of transporting you right into the centre of the story, and I felt the setting keenly. After reading it I created a board on We Heart It for fun.
I found the ending a little slow, though I’m not sure why, because there certainly was a lot of drama. I was just coming out of a reading slump, so I blame myself for not being as engaged near the end. I also had fun dressing up in my winter coat and pretending I was Elisabeth.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Set in a fantasy world inspired by Ancient Rome, An Ember in the Ashes follows the story of Laia, a slave girl with a dangerous, life threatening mission to save her imprisoned brother, and Elias, a soldier who wants nothing more than to escape the brutality of the life he’s been forced into since childhood.
This certainly was a heart-pounding, engaging, edge-of-your-seat read! I know books need conflict, but wow, this book has it’s fair share of conflict and it stressed me out! I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment, though I don’t think I’ll get to it this year. I’m definitely going to finish the series in 2021!
How did your November go book wise?
* Book links are only to Goodreads and aren’t affiliate, neither are any of the other links in this post*