Happy first of December folks and welcome to my monthly wrap-up post for November! Before that, are your Christmas decorations up yet? I confess I put up my tree and some outside lights today. The rest is to follow tomorrow.
I usually put mine up the first weekend of December. However, as I have been on leave from work this week, I decided to make my life a little bit easier tomorrow and do some of the bigger jobs. Although I say that, the outside lights only took me 10 minutes as I packed them in the same way I strung them up last year – I just had to clip it all back in place!
Anyway, let’s stop talking about the c-word and start talking about the books I read in November. I had a great month of reading! I’ve also varied how I split my reading this month, making the list more manageable. Shall we get into my monthly wrap-up post and take a look at what I picked up?
At the start of November, I left off from my last monthly wrap-up having only read 30 pages of The Shining. I’d wanted to read the book around Halloween, but it transpired that I only started the book that night.
So, I read the vast majority of this nearly 500 page book in November. Whilst the timing didn’t quite pan out as expected, it didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the book at all. On the contrary, this book was everything I have come to expect from Stephen King. Although I am not a big reader of horror in general, I will always make an effort to pick up his books.
The Shining is a classic novel, and I’m glad I finally got around to it! It was every bit as good as I expected it to be, and I can’t wait to read more of his classics in future.
The Vikings in the Isle of Man
It feels like many moons ago, although in reality it is not, that I featured my Norsevember post. As part of my research for that post, I read a couple of books around Vikings and their presents in the Irish Sea, including and surrounding the Isle of Man. I read the majority of The Vikings in the Isle of Man in November. I had to prioritise reading this at the beginning of the month, so I technically completed this book before The Shining.
The Vikings in the Isle of Man was an informative read and touched upon topics and themes I had also read in Vikings of the Irish Sea. It’s quite a niche topic if we’re being honest. It is only because it relates closely to home that I wanted to pick it up and share a little bit of knowledge. I appreciate it’s not going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Lost Solace has been on my reading list for quite some time. I’ve attempted to get round to the book for the last two or three months as well, and failed. That is, I’m pleased to say in this monthly wrap-up, until this month. At the beginning of November, I told myself that this month was the month I was going to pick it up. I’m glad I did!
If you enjoy science-fiction, and want a relatively short but action-packed novel, this would be perfect for you. Having read some related books by Karl Drinkwater before (Tales of Lost Solace), some of the characters were already familiar to me. I don’t think that specifically contributed to my enjoying the book anymore, but it was nice to go in with a degree of familiarity.
I won’t be leaving it so long to continue with this series!
November TBR Jar – The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz
Historical, whether fiction or non-fiction, is a genre I will enjoy going back to time and again. When I pulled The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz out of my TBR jar at the end of October, I was excited! Although a morbid subject, I have enjoyed multiple books that centre around characters and experiences around the concentration camps in World War II. Heather Morris’ books, The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka’s Journey, are great examples.
Every bit is harrowing,The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz is a true story of a son who could not bear to be separated from his father, and opted to go to Auschwitz with him. They had already spent a good deal of time in captivity before they were transferred to the infamous camp. Shockingly, the treatment there is not the worst they received. Towards the end of the book, I was just begging that the both of them survived. They had already been through so much.
Well researched and written, this is one of the easiest non-fiction books I have picked up in terms of readability this year.
Ashes of Guilt
One of the last books I picked up to physically read in November was Ashes of Guilt by Isabella Steele. I had downloaded a copy of this book through Reidy discovery in order to provide a review by the end of the month. If you haven’t yet checked out that post, you can see my thoughts from Wednesday’s review here.
Ashes of Guilt is another relatively short, but equally compulsive, read. The synopsis was a great hook into the narrative, but quickly we worked through that and found ourselves in uncharted territory.
This is the kind of book that would be a great palette cleanser, or if someone wants to dip that to a genre for a reasonably short time before moving onto something else. I read Ashes of Guilt in just a handful of days. At 222 pages, it has to be one of the shortest books I’ve read this year.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
For the first time in months, I have a mood read to share with you in this November monthly wrap-up. You’ll see why below.
Picking up The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is absolutely because I went to watch the film on Tuesday. It’s been a long time since I went to the cinema and I had a great time watching this film. After spending over 2 and a half hours in a cinema seat, I can remember why it’s not a regular occurrence… But I had a good time nonetheless.
I’ve been threatening to pick up this book since I started re-watching the hunger games films. After watching and loving the film, I literally couldn’t wait. Often, films deviate from content in the books, and I was curious to see what extent this does. As of this post, I am just over a quarter of the way through The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and there isn’t too much variation, which is good!
October TBR Jar – The Flood
Carried over from October’s monthly wrap-up post, I still had half of the audiobook of the flood to listen to this month.
I was a little late starting this considering I had already made progress with the book. I only really made progress in the last week of November. That’s because I’m not very good at listening to audiobooks in and around my normal routine. I started listening to The Flood when I was on leave from work last month. This week I have been on leave again (using the last of my holiday, can you tell?). Because I’ve been out of routine again, I’ve been able to make time to listen to the audio.
Overall, I had a good experience with The Flood. I strongly recommend listening to this book as the audio went along way towards my enjoyment of it. I didn’t anticipate the ending and I enjoyed seeing the mystery on full to reveal the truth right at the end.
Insta Poll Pick – The Minders
Given I had quite the number of books on this reading list, I decided to pick up the audiobook copy of The Minders. This book won my Instagram poll that I posted at the end of October. I was lucky in that I didn’t already have a copy of the book, so I had my pick of the format I went with.
This book would be great in any format, although I am again enjoying the audio. The book is told through multiple perspectives and these are told through two narrators.
As of this monthly wrap-up post, I am about halfway through The Minders. I still have just over 5 1/2 hours left of listening time, and I hope that time that I start to get some explanations as to what is going on. If you are unfamiliar with the book, it is kind of a conspiracy thriller. I’m deliberately not meant to know too much about what is going on, and I am hooked to find out how the plot evolves and ultimately resolves itself.
As experiences go, this is the first time I have picked up a John Marrs book and I doubt it will be the last!
The Witches – Salem, 1692: A History
We have a rare feature in today’s monthly wrap-up post – a DNF. It was quite a decisive one at that too. I ultimately made it through 30 pages of The Witches before I threw in the towel.
The writing style at the beginning was fine. The opening chapter is an introduction to events as they happened, including the numbers of people who died as a result of the witch trials, and a summary of the evidence available to the author, when putting together the book. In short, not much. It was the next chapter that threw me off completely.
I cannot help but feel that in the absence of tangible information, the author, then decided to fill in the gaps with pure fantasy and presented as. For example, the scene describes how two women flew on broomsticks to a given meeting location. This may be what they have been accused of, but presenting it as fact really didn’t sit well with me. It felt like filler and already had me questioning the information I’d been told.
The book is a reasonably lengthy one for a non-fiction, and I’ve already made my mind up at the 30 page mark that I wasn’t a fan. Had I struggled on, I wouldn’t of enjoyed the experience and could well have put myself in a readings lump because I didn’t want to pick it up. Frankly, life is too short… and my reading list is too long. So, onwards we go. Now you know why I picked up The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes instead – the timing of this DNF coincided with me watching the film!
In all, I had a great month. I picked up some varied and interesting reads. That was one miss two, but I didn’t let myself dwell on that one for too long!
In addition to reading some great books, I also met my Goodreads reading challenge of completing 50 books this year very early this month, which is cause for a pat on the back. Last year I read 47 books, so to be going into December having read 55 already is a great achievement. Am I unofficially pushing for 60 by the end of the year? Absolutely!
Here’s hoping for some great reads to get me there. If you’re keen to find out which books I will be picking up in December, I will be sharing my reading list early next week. Stay tuned!
Until then, happy reading!