Book Chat

Reading Log: November 2015

What a crazy month! Even though we’ve been watching the house being built over the past few months, it still came as a surprise when all of a sudden it was time to pack everything up. I was a bit distracted during November, but still managed to get some reading time in. Who knows what December will look like.
Quick note: I don’t have any intention of monetizing my blog, but I’m trying out the Amazon affiliate program on posts where I’m already linking to Amazon products – mostly books, of course! If you purchase anything on Amazon.com after clicking the link, I will get a small referral fee. Consider yourself disclosed!

Below is my Reading Log for November 2015, with my thoughts about each book to help me remember what I read.  I’ve included all the books that I’ve read or finished during the month (even if I started some of them outside of the month).  And of course I keep track of my rating on the grade system, the binding, genre, etc… just for fun!

November 2015

HB = Hardback, PB = Paperback, AB = Audio book, K = Kindle.
F = Fiction, HF = Historical Fiction, NF = NonFiction, YA = Young Adult,
CL = Children’s Lit, B/M = Bio/Memoir, SFF = Sci-Fi/Fantasy, C = Craft

Title Start Finish Grade/

Format

Genre
Invincible Louisa,
by Cornelia Meigs
8/4/15 11/28/15 C
PB
CL
Carry On,
by Rainbow Rowell
10/14/15 11/1/15 A+
HB
YA
The Husband’s Secret,
by Liane Moriarty
10/19/15 11/13/15 A
AB
F
Jane Austen: A Life Revealed,
by Catherine Reef
11/1/15 11/4/15 B
LB
YA Bio
Roller Girl,
by Victoria Jamieson
11/2/15 11/7/15 A
LB
YA
The Grownup,
by Gillian Flynn
11/4/15 11/4/15 A
K
F
Coraline,
by Neil Gaiman
11/4/15 11/8/15 A
K
CL
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking,
by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois
11/7/15 11/7/15 A
LB
C
Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs,
by Sally Mann
11/8/15 Still Reading TBD
LB
M
Love and Other Alien Experiences,
by Kerry Winfrey
11/10/15 11/11/15 B
K
YA
The Secret Keeper,
by Kate Morton
11/13/15 Still Reading TBD
AB
F
10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story,
by Dan Harris

 

11/13/15 11/25/15 A
K
M
The Marvels,
by Brian Selznick
11/22/15 Still Reading TBD
LB
CL
The One and Only Ivan,
by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by Patricia Castelao
11/25/15 11/28/15 A
K
CL
Jackaby,
by William Ritter
11/28/15 Still Reading TBD
K
YA
Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits – to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life,
by Gretchen Rubin
11/29/15 Still Reading TBD
HB
NF

Thoughts:

Invincible Louisa, by Cornelia MeigsC

 The Amateur Librarian // August 2015 Reading Log

Finally finished! I brought it with me on the drive to my parents’ for Thanksgiving, determined to finally plow through. Which pretty much says it all – I LOVE Louisa May Alcott but it was a slog to get through to the end. It’s the very definition of a hagiography (a biography that idealizes its subject) and it’s so hard to get a grasp on what Louisa was actually like. Other than her drive to provide for her family, there was no sense of her personality or humor, and you’re also led to believe that her father was an actual saint even though he spent most of his life pontificating on philosophical ideas while his wife did all the work to keep their family fed and clothed. There was no explanation for several interesting nuggets – especially her lack of romantic relationships and the mysterious illness that plagued her with fatigue – but whether the author didn’t have that information in 1934 or didn’t think it was appropriate for children, I’m not sure. Nowadays, there are theories that Alcott may have had bipolar disorder, her illness was due to mercury poisoning from treatment during her Civil War nursing days, and the reason she never married could be due to romantic relationships with women or a firm feminist resolve never to give control of her life to a man.  Her life was so interesting and varied – it’s a shame to read a dry account of it., although the last couple chapters finally got more interesting. I read this for the first time in the 4th grade drawn in by the tagline “Was there a real Laurie?” (spoiler: no, and you don’t find out until the last 50 pages) but I probably wouldn’t recommend it to an actual kid these days.

Carry On, by Rainbow RowellA+

 The Amateur Librarian // October 2015 Reading Log

I gobble up anything Rainbow Rowell writes, and this was no exception! A celebration of fantasy tropes – a chosen one, a love triangle, prophesies, a hidden magical world, etc. – while still feeling wholly original and magical. The super-meta origin made my brain hurt, so I tried to read it without thinking of Fangirl and the fictional Cath’s slash fanfic based on the fictional Harry Potter-esque book series. Such a cozy fall read that felt like an old favorite even while I wondered what would happen next – a familiar feeling with all of Rainbow Rowell’s characters.

The Husband’s Secret, by Liane MoriartyA

 The Amateur Librarian // October 2015 Reading Log

Not my favorite of Liane Moriarty’s novels but still riveting. Like most of her novels, we follow three different women as their lives become more entwined, the repercussions of a 30-year-old secret still unfurling. I kept waiting for all three stories to connect, but one of them ended up feeling a bit redundant which was disappointing. But even with its flaws, it was still hilarious, thought provoking, and engrossing. The Australian narrator was a hoot, so much more animated that most, and her accent really made my daily commute delightful.

Jane Austen: A Life Revealed, by Catherine ReefB

The Amateur Librarian // November 2015 Reading Log

Well-trod information about Jane Austen’s life, but a good introduction and a nice variety of interesting illustrations from the time period. It was pleasant reading, but nothing earth shattering, and I found the plot descriptions of each published novel pretty tedious. Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin is still the best biography I’ve read, and even if you’re looking for a “young adult” version I’d still recommend that one.

Roller Girl, by Victoria JamiesonA

The Amateur Librarian // November 2015 Reading Log

Perfect middle-grade graphic novel about the confusion of growing up, centered around 12-year-old Astrid as she falls in love with roller derby one summer. I really enjoyed the illustrations, and you could tell the author really took the time to flesh out all the characters. So funny and insightful, I wish I knew a dozen grade-schoolers so I could pass this one around.

The Grownup, by Gillian FlynnA

The Amateur Librarian // November 2015 Reading Log

I picked up this short story when I couldn’t decide what to read next, and a page-turner from the Queen of Thrillers was a great palette cleanser. I thought I was getting into a straightforward a ghost story, but of course devious characters are much worse than any spirits. It was deliciously diabolical, but still managed to end on a surprisingly optimistic note.

Coraline, by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Dave McKeanA

The Amateur Librarian // November 2015 Reading Log

Creepy! Coraline finds a hidden world where everything is not quite as it seems, and before long she’s on her own to outsmart the murky evil forces keeping her from home. The danger isn’t too intense, and it would be a fun read-aloud for kids, but it’s just creepy enough that I don’t know if I would have been able to handle it as a kid reading by myself. I haven’t seen the movie in a long time, but from what I can remember it hits every note of the story.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe FrancoisA

The Amateur Librarian // November 2015 Reading Log

I’ve heard buzz about this cookbook for years and wanted to try it out before deciding if I should buy the new version. The basic premise is that you can make free-form loaves of bread by keeping a large batch of dough in the fridge and taking out only what you need to bake a fresh loaf every day. No kneading or punching, and the dough lasts up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Once you master the basic recipe, there are a ton of variations to make different kinds of bread. I wish there was a one-page cheat sheet for the basic recipe that was easy to copy, but the authors’ website is a great resource. Now that it’s been several years, the recipe is all over the Internet as well. I had high hopes of trying out the recipe but had to put it aside due to our upcoming move – but after raving about the book so much, hubby surprised me with the new edition as an early Christmas present. I hunted down a 6-quart tub (with lid! The hardest part to find.) so I’m ready to go as soon as I have a kitchen again!

 

Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs, by Sally MannTBD

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log November 2015

Still reading. Love the glimpse into Sally Mann’s life and artistic process behind her photography. Unfortunately, I couldn’t finish it before it was due back to the library, so I’ll have to wait until it’s available again (no way I’m paying $17.00 for an ebook!) to keep reading.

 

Love and Other Alien Experiences, by Kerry WinfreyB

The Amateur Librarian // November 2015 Reading Log

Light and fun YA romance, following agoraphobic high-schooler Mallory as she unwillingly goes along with a plan to win Homecoming Queen. I love Kerry Winfrey’s blog Welcome to Ladyville, so of course I had to check out her first book. The characters are a bit one-dimensional, but it picked up steam toward the end. The dialogue felt real and a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments snuck up on me, like a favorite rom com.

 

The Secret Keeper, by Kate MortonTBD

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log November 2015

Still listening. Such a cozy mystery – a grown daughter unravels the mysteries of her dying mother’s past during World War II. Another delightful narrator with an accent – I’m going to be on the hunt for non-American narrators now that I’ve discovered how much fun they are!

 

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story, by Dan Harris A

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log November 2015

So interesting! After ABC news anchor Dan Harris had a panic attack on air, he started a journey into the world of Self-Help and found meditation to be the most helpful habit for a happier life. The irreverent tone was engaging and the behind-the-scenes look at TV news and the “religion beat” was a fun bonus. Self-Help books written by skeptics are always so much more credible to me, and this one was really intriguing. It even convinced me to take a few baby steps into meditation, so I guess it worked!

 

The Marvels, by Brian SelznickTBD

The Amateur Librarian // November 2015 Reading Log

Still reading. Marvelous storytelling, first in wordless black-and-white pictures followed by a traditional story. I’m excited to see how the two disparate stories are connected, but sadly I had to return this one to the library before I could finish it.

The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by Patricia Castelao A

The Amateur Librarian // November 2015 Reading Log

Ivan the gorilla was raised by humans and lives in a small cage, but as conditions worsen he resolves to find a new home using the only tool he has to communicate: his art.  I don’t mind reading sad children’s books, but animal cruelty really bothers me, which is why I put off reading this Newbery winner for a long time. It was certainly sad, but it was so poetic and sweet that the ending made me even happier than usual. I would rather read this as a physical book to see the illustrations better, but I snapped up the eBook when it was on sale and it was well done. Definitely a new favorite from my Newbery challenge!

Jackaby, by William Ritter – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log

Still reading. I’ve picked up and put this one down a couple times, but we’ve started watching Sherlock on Netflix, which renewed my interest in quirky detectives. So far so good – especially if I imagine Jackaby as Benedict Cumberbatch.

Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits – to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life, by Gretchen RubinTBD

The Amateur Librarian // May 2015 Reading Log

Still Reading. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to finally start this book, but I’m glad I did! So fascinating to look at how habits shape my life and how to work with my own personality to keep them.

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of November.  I’m always looking for more book recommendations – are you reading any good books?

The Amateur Librarian is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Reading Log: November 2015

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.