Monday, November 30, 2020

A Month In The Life: November 2020


We're definitely closer to winter than summer now! We had one major snowfall this month, thankfully on a day when I didn't need to drive anywhere (I am a total wimp about driving in the snow even though I've had plenty of experience), and otherwise it's mostly been that crispy late-fall feeling outside. I'm actually not bummed about wearing facemasks outdoors lately, it helps keep my nose warm!

In Books...

  • Lazy B: Sandra Day O'Connor was my IDOL growing up. I bought this book, her memoir about her childhood, in college and started it but gave up. I couldn't remember why, so I decided it was time to actually read it, and I figured out why I ditched it back in the day: it is so deeply boring. It has all the verve and storytelling skill of a middle-school book report. Just extremely disappointing.
  • George, Nicholas, and Wilhelm: This is basically my favorite kind of's serious, sometimes dense history, but focused heavily on personalities. Specifically, royal personalities. The King of England, the Kaiser of Germany, and the Tsar of Russia were all cousins, and this book follows how their own relationships did (and not!) impacted the course of events before and through World War 1. It's super interesting, and it's the kind of thing I want to go back and read again because there is a LOT of information.
  • The Yellow House: I do not tend to particularly enjoy memoir, but am a sucker for an award-winning book and this won the National Book Award for nonfiction so I gave it a try. While Sarah Broom is a beautiful, talented writer, she uses that skill as often as not to distance herself from her reader. I had very little sense of who she was, which is unusual at the end of a memoir. It was frustratingly unfocused.
  • Plain Bad Heroines: This book is ambitious in scope, telling multiple stories on multiple timelines about a girls school in Rhode Island called Brookhants, and a tragedy that happened there. It's about choices and consequences, and curses, and fate and centers the stories of queer women. It's horror-adjacent but not really scary so much as creepy, and while it doesn't always quite pull off what it's trying to as well as it could, it's a fun and interesting read.
  • Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls: I do enjoy David Sedaris essay collections, but this one felt like it was more miss than hit. Which is not to say there was nothing to enjoy here, I definitely laughed, but a couple of the essays felt especially cringey and this is far from his strongest work.

In Life...

  • An unusual holiday season: This was the first time in a long time I haven't been with family for Thanksgiving, but in the world we're living in, it just did not seem wise for my husband and me to spend the day with my in-laws the way we have ever since I moved out here. I'm hopeful for a better Christmas, but seeing how many people traveled for this one does not make me especially optimistic.

One Thing:

As a kid, we only had cable tv sporadically, so I didn't watch a lot of shows regularly. One that I did watch and enjoy when I could, though, was Sailor Moon. I found out recently that it's available on Hulu, and since I've always enjoyed a good subtitle, I've been watching the whole series from the beginning in the original Japanese. Sometimes you just need something that's silly and fun and not at all mentally taxing to take your mind off the state of the world!

Gratuitous Pug Picture: 


  1. I wasn't able to get into The Yellow House, it wasn't able to grab my attention in the first few chapters (and I've been particularly unable to stick with books this year). I feel like we're still waiting to see the full impact of Thanksgiving gatherings on COVID cases here in NYC. (There's been a slow, steady increase in the number of daily new cases since the start of November for the city as a whole, though seemingly no huge spike from Thanksgiving...) We're hoping to do Christmas with K's parents after a lengthy strict quarantine, but a lot can change in a short time, so I'm not sure how confident I am that it can happen...

    1. The Yellow House was a book club read for me (it had already been on my own list so it just got bumped up) and proved very divisive! Some people loved it but many of us found it frustrating. Our cases are just continuing to spike and hospital capacity in my county in northern Nevada in particular is a huge problem. I'm trying to keep my movements to the bare minimum level (grocery store/pharmacy type errands only), but with my husband still going into the office daily it's hard to feel like we're able to be sure we wouldn't expose my in-laws at Christmas. I don't feel like we're ready to make a final call either way yet but it's going to be a tough decision no matter what. This whole year just feels like a collection of being trapped into deciding between bad and worse!