Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Month In The Life: November 2016

It's the last day of November, so that means it's time for my monthly wrap-up!

In Books: I had a cross-country trip this month, so lots of airplane time (4.5 hours each way with a one hour connecting flight on each end!), which means lots of dedicated reading time. I read more than usual this month...
  • The Confessions of Saint Augustine: From what I knew of the man, he lived a pretty party-hearty life before finding religion, so I was interested in seeing what spurred his conversion. Turns out it was mostly his mom. I had an abridged version, which I was glad of because theological pondering is not my reading sweet spot. 
  • The Queen of the Night (ARC): I finally gave myself permission to skip some of my e-galleys that I'm less excited about and read the ones that I'm actually really intrigued by. This book had gotten a lot of buzz early in the year and it was totally bonkers and I LOVED it. 
  • What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours: I've been wanting to join a real-life book club for a while and now I have, at local indie bookstore Sundance Books. This was the first selection for the club, and immediately pushed me out of my comfort zone because I don't read short stories almost ever. It was an interesting, if not really especially enjoyable, read: I don't usually go for short stories because I like immersing myself in a book and I feel like I'd appreciate the intricate magical realism of Oyeyemi's writing in a long form better.
  • Invisible Man: This I started reading almost immediately after the election, and the reports of racist activity that followed, and although it was coincidence this was a very timely read. Ellison's chronicle of his nameless narrator realizing that he's effectively invisible because of the color of his skin is searing and rich and powerful and a must-read.
  • The Paper Magician: This was a pleasant enough, fluffy little read. The characterizations were pretty thin, but the magic system at the heart of it is intriguing, and the central plot device of being a journey through a heart and what it holds was novel. It was neither great nor terrible, but after the previous book it was nice to read something less substantial.
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine: Alison Weir is a favorite historian of mine, and her account of the incredible life of Eleanor of Aquitaine is, as always, lively and interesting.
  • The Emigrants: This is really more a collection of four short stories on a similar theme than it is a novel. W. G. Sebald spins achingly poignant tales of four different emigrants and the loneliness and dislocation that results from their moves, whether or not they were voluntary in the first place.
  • The Girls (ARC): Emma Cline's book was pretty buzzy this summer, but I didn't get to it until now. Its inspiration in the Manson murders has tended to be what people mention about it the most, but I found that part of the story to really be secondary to the focus on what it means to be a young teenage girl and wanting desperately to be wanted.

In Life:
  • Election Day happened: Apart from my own feelings about politics on the national level (I've outed myself as a Democrat before, so you can assume my disappointment with the outcome), this also influences my professional life since my work concerns the state legislature. Nevada's Assembly swung back to blue from red, and the state Senate did the same. We've got some new faces coming in, so I'm looking forward to meeting and working with them! No really, I like people and relationship-building, so I actually do like getting to know the new legislators. 
  • BFF2K16: My annual girls trip with my best friends since the time I was a kid! This year's destination was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, so we took a long weekend down to the state where we saw more than one person drive in reverse on the highway. It was super fun, we did one day of theme park and one day on the beach (coming from the other side of the country, I had a full day of travel on each end) and mostly hung around and chatted and talked about our changing lives. This is the weekend I look forward to the most every year and I'm already excited for next year!
  • First book club meeting: For all that I'm a die-hard reader, I've never actually been in a real live book club. Like I mentioned above, this one is hosted by our local indie bookstore, Sundance Books, and has a facilitator and everything. It's a good mix of people, and our discussion around What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours was interesting and brought new things to light. Can't wait to discuss The Wonder next month!
  • Family Thanksgiving: As usual, we (me, the husband, and the pug) spent Thanksgiving with my in-laws and their usual holiday crew. Along with the usual things to be thankful for, I'm thankful that the group is mostly aligned along similar political lines, so the most controversial thing was how much food the dog got snuck under the table. No one can resist spoiling him!
One Thing:
  • What's the one thing that I've been particularly into lately? It actually doesn't show in my reading here (yet) as much as it does in my bookshelves, but I am a royalty junkie, and I am loving Netflix's The Crown! Queen Elizabeth has been queen for the vast majority of her adult life, and the look at the human who wears that headpiece and has those duties is well-done and really fun to watch! I already can't wait for next season!
Gratuitous Pug Picture:


  1. The silver lining of a ton of long as you don't have kids with you! And I totally agree about The Girls.

    1. I think all the airplane time definitely helped me read Invisible Man much faster than I otherwise would was really good but really dense and I needed that "nothing else to do but read" forced focus because a lot of it was really hard to read about. I wanted to totally love The Girls, and I did like it quite a lot, but I think it was one of those cases of the hype making me so excited for it that it just couldn't hold up to all my expectations.

  2. Oh my goodness, your pug is adorable! I am super impressed with your reading this month! I hate flying so I am the worst reader on planes and have to reread the same page like three times, oy!

    1. Thank you! We've had Stan for nearly a year now and we think he is just the actual best (and cutest!) little guy around :) I'm totally the opposite...plane time is my BEST reading time. I think it's because my usual distractions aren't available to me, so I can really focus and get lost in a book!

  3. The Crown is number one on my Netflix queue. I can't wait to start it!

    1. I loved it! Let me know what you think of it once you're done with it!