Rearview Mirror // November 2021

Hmmm, a November wrap up, and it’s only halfway through January!  Amazing!  Only the sheer stubbornness and determination to actually someday be caught up on reviews is carrying me through at this point, but hey! Whatever works!

Favorite November Read

Honestly, it’s Wodehouse here – Sam in the Suburbs was such a delight, and I don’t remember reading it before.  I laughed on almost every page.

Most Disappointing November Read

Although I ranked a couple of other books lower than this one, I think I was most disappointed with The Singles Tablemostly because I had enjoyed the first two books so much, and found this one rather lacking.

Other November Reads

November Stats

  • Total Number of Books Read:  23 (one on Kindle)
  • Total Pages Read:  6529
  • Average Star Rating for November:  3.72
  • Longest Book: Aurora’s End (493 pages)
  • Shortest Book:  The Shallow Waters of Romance (65 pages)
  • Oldest Book:  Chronicles of Avonlea (published 1912)
  • Newest Book: Aurora’s End, Sleigh Bells Ring, and The Singles Table were all published this year.
  • Number of New-to-Me Authors:  5

November DNFs

Oh man, Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall!  I had almost forgotten about this one!  I hated to bail on it because it was actually for the traveling book club, but wow, it was maybe the worst book I’ve tried to read all year.  I absolutely hated it and wasn’t willing to put myself through an entire story with this whiny, self-entitled, obnoxious, snotty, judgy, touchy main character, even for the sake of the traveling book club.  She literally just sat around in every single freaking conversation adding up all the perceived slights from the other people there.  Rosaline is bisexual and spends all of her time looking for ways to condescendingly correct literally even complete strangers who make incorrect presumptions about her, all while explaining how long-suffering she is for having to put up with everyone else not magically knowing her precise sexual preferences.  Her daughter was an absolute horror, despite being extremely young, I can’t remember, younger than ten anyway, she talks like she’s 22 and is turning into someone just as judgy as her mother, constantly finding ways to shame everyone around her for not knowing obvious things, like the fact that her mother’s best (female) friend used to be her mother’s girlfriend but they decided they were better as just friends but still do everything together even though the best friend is now married to another woman.  Like, duh, why wouldn’t you just know that right off the bat?  Ugh.  People.  I’ve noticed this trend in modern romcoms to still write the main romance as being M/F but to make the female character be bisexual so the author can still get lots of props for being so modern and inclusive, but it really just turns into an opportunity for the author to preach at everyone and also to make the female MC be even more pervy than ever, because now she can spend all of her time talking/thinking about sleeping with literally EVERY PERSON SHE MEETS no matter their age, gender, or marital status (because in fiction, bisexual = horny for everyone, apparently).  I’m way over it.  I also just… I’m okay with reading a book that has some sex scenes, because they are easily skimmed/skipped.  But what I actually hate is when a book is just plain vulgar.  And that’s what this one is – it’s full of swearing (I counted 10 “fucks” on one page) and the characters are constantly thinking and talking about sex – having it, getting ready for it, who they wish they could have it with, whether or not someone would be good at it, how ridiculous it is that someone doesn’t realize that they enjoy having sex with all kinds of people, on and on and on and on.  It’s just gross and so unnecessary, and also – not a story??  If your main character trait is “talks about sex a lot,” I’m not sure you’ve really gone out of your way to actually create a real character.  After almost 100 pages of self-righteous Rosaline going around feeling soooo exhausted because she has to spend allll her time setting everyone straight on what bisexuality is really all about, I decided this book was not worth my time.

TBR Update

This I keep updated as I go, so it’s current as of today, rather than as of the end of November.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m weirdly obsessive with organizing the TBR, and have it on a spreadsheet divided into six different tabs:

  • Standalones:  497 (up three)
  • Nonfiction:  129 (up one)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  640 (up three)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  250 (down one!)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 110 (holding steady)
  • New Arrivals – (I have a lot of books that I have been gifted or that I pick up somewhere and they get put on my “oh I’m so excited about this shiny new book” shelf… and then of course don’t actually get read.): 151 (down one)

Current Reads

Quite a few because January always means I jump into a bunch of buddy reads, many of which fizzle out by the middle of the year haha

  • The Year-Round Gardener by Nikki Jabour – As always, one of my 2022 goals is to read more nonfiction. I’m really trying to constantly have a nonfiction book in the rotation, one chapter a day. This one is about extending the gardening season by using things like cold frames and row covers.  Super interesting, but not 100% sure it’s going to be for me haha
  • David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – Another goal for the new year is to check off some “difficult” books from my list, mostly older classics.  David Copperfield was my random draw for January, and I’m actually really enjoying it.  Dickens has such a wry sense of humor and does amazing character studies.  David himself is so likable as well.
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – The only Bronte book I’ve ever read was this one, back in high school, and I hated every page.  The Litsy group that read through all of Jane Austen’s books last year has decided to branch out into some other classic female writings, so I decided to join them for another tour of Wuthering Heights to see if it has improved as I’ve gotten older.  Short answer – no, everyone is still incredibly stupid.  But now I’m finding it rather hilarious.  The small chunks of just a chapter a day are definitely helping as well.
  • Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi – I’ve never read this children’s classic, so when a Litsy group picked it for January, I thought I would read along.  Believe it or not, it’s even more bizarre than the Disney version.
  • The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery – The Kindred Spirit Buddy Readers are continuing their way through Montgomery’s books, with The Story Girl and its sequel, The Golden Road, next in line.  I’ve read these, but it’s been a really long time, so I’m enjoying the revisit.
  • Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie – This is the actual book I’m “really” reading haha  I just started it after spending almost an entire week working my way through The Eight by Katherine Neville.  I really enjoyed The Eight and am looking forward to the sequel, but my brain needed a break, so I turned to some classic Christie instead!

Last Time on “Up Next…”

Did I actually read my probably next five reads from last time?

  • The Waterfire Saga – Yes!  I finished and really enjoyed this four-book series about mermaids!  Who would have thought??
  • All the buddy reads I just talked about up above – yes-ish!  They are all in progress!
  • From Blood & Ash – No, not yet!  It’s still on January’s hopeful list.
  • Dumb Witness – So random that this is the one I decided to start next!

Up Next

The probable next five(ish) reads…

  • The Fire by Katherine Neville – even though it took me forever to get through The Eight, I really did enjoy it and definitely am planning to pick up the sequel.
  • Sarah’s Ground by Ann Rinaldi – this is one of those books I picked up at a booksale in like, the 90s, and still haven’t read. With a major 2022 goal being to read from my own shelves, this one is next on the list, especially since it’s one of those books that I think will be fine to read once but isn’t going to be my new favorite that I need to keep around for another 20 years.
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway – you would think that since this classic is so short, I would have gotten around to reading it already, but no!
  • For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten – this is my traveling book club book for this month. So far, it’s gotten mixed reviews from our group, so we’ll see if it’s any good.
  • The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water by Erin Bartels – this is a copy from the publisher for review, so it needs to be read before the end the month!!

Well, that’s the November update – I’ll be back soon with loads of fluffy romance reviews from December!!!