Wrap Up | November 2019

Welcome one, welcome all, to my November Wrap Up! ‘Emma,’ you may be saying, ‘it’s 23rd December, why are you only just posting your November wrap up?’ Well, that’s a good question and to be perfectly honest, I don’t have a decent explanation or even an excuse. November felt like a blur, as did December for that matter, and it was mostly mildly stressful at any given moment.

A large part of this is because the building work started at our house in the back-half of November, work which has rendered the entirety of downstairs a no-go area – to the point that we ended up moving out to Liz’s parents house, thank god for their hospitality! In the middle of that, it was Liz’s birthday and we went to London for a couple of days to celebrate. We saw Hamilton (again, but for one last time with the cast we have come to know and love!) and Phantom of the Opera and it was great. We also went to The Science Museum, a place which I have somehow managed to never go into despite going to London a whole bunch of times, and saw their From Ciphers to Cybersecurity exhibition which was really good and would definitely recommend! Because we can’t stop/won’t stop, we also managed to somehow squeeze in visiting Dishoom twice in one day. Sorry/not sorry.

In food-related happenings, we also celebrated Thanksgiving courtesy of Liz’s godparents and, guys, frozen pumpkin pie is INCREDIBLE, it turns out. Imma need that recipe and maybe I can try making it once we have a fully functioning kitchen again!

As far as books went, reading was a bit a lot rocky this month. I was still in something of a reading and blogging slump (and I think one doesn’t help the other) and my motivation was just very low, what with everything else going on in the house. So, this will be a very short wrap up, you’ll be pleased to know.

In November, I read a total of 2 books 2 fiction and 0 non-fiction – and 1 was a re-read (marked by *). This amounted to 851 pages in total.

In terms of format: 1 was hardback and 1 was an audiobook. As for genre, 1 was children’s fantasy, and 1 was literary fiction.

Onto the books themselves…

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman *

Rating: 5/5
Genre: children’s; fantasy
Format: audiobook
Pages: 399
Read: 4th – 7th November
Review: This is probably my favourite from the His Dark Materials trilogy and it’s certainly the only one of the trilogy which I have re-read (repeatedly, in fact). I decided to listen to this on audiobook in preparation for the TV show starting up and I’m so glad I did because it reminded me just how much I love this story. Every re-read I end up focusing on a slightly different element of this and I think this time I was struck by the differing philosophies on Dust and original sin and the Magisterium is bloody terrifying, guys. This time I also noticed Iofur Raknison carrying around a doll that looked like Mrs Coutler as a faux-daemon of his own and was struck by how incredibly sad and creepy it was, all at once. That’s why I love this book – you can come to it from just a slightly different POV on any given day and get something different out of it. (As a sidenote: aside from a slight production issue where the transition from the narrator speaking to the character speaking isn’t all that smooth, I would still highly recommend the audiobook, Lyra is lovely and rebellious and Pan is adorable.)

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Rating: 4/5
Genre: literary fiction; contemporary
Format: hardback
Pages: 452
Read: 10th – 30th November
Review: I found myself very pleasantly surprised by this book. Out of stubbornness, I was determined to like this book; I saw the aftermath of the Man Booker Winner announcement and found myself disappointed (but not surprised) by the fact that a lot of people were letting Margaret Atwood’s joint-win completely overshadow Bernardine Evaristo. It made me confront a lot of things about my own reading tastes and even if that hadn’t been underpinning my reading experience of Girl, Woman, Other I think I still would have really enjoyed this book. Telling the interwoven (in various ways, sometimes closely, sometimes tenuously) story of twelve characters, it spans generations, decades, countries, politics, social classes, sexualities, gender identities etc. etc. and in each, Evaristo manages to immediately settle the reader in the character’s voice and thought process, each are unique and each are distinct. I found myself hating characters, at the same time as loving them, and I think she lets you enjoy reading about a character without necessarily agreeing with any of their decisions. The novel was heartfelt and clever and a lot funnier, in a wry way, than I expected it to be. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would thoroughly recommend it. (People other than I have written cleverer reviews that are worth a read!)

How did your November reading go?
What was your favourite book you read this month?
Please do share in the comments below and let’s chat books!

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