So October’s Reads was late going up because I had a cold. And November’s is late going up because I got round two of that cold! I hope that’s it gone and it doesn’t come back again. November was a quieter reading month than I thought it would be. I’m still getting through some books I started during the month and as I write this, I’ve only finished one book so far in December. Sickness has just sapped me of my interest to read. I did read more non-fiction in November, which I mentioned in this Non-Fiction November post.
Cheer Up, Love by Susan Calman
Susan Calman is a Scottish comedian and in this book she talks about her experiences with depression and anxiety. Susan characterises her depression as The Crab of Hate, sitting on her shoulder spitting out spiteful remarks. The book was interesting, I always find it interesting to read about other people’s experiences with depression and anxiety. Susan is very honest and at times I found myself nodding along in agreement. We find out about Susan’s life as well and some of her anecdotes were very funny. There’s lots of helpful advice too, though like every book I’ve read on mental health it isn’t the be all and end all. Susan’s view on depression is hers and the way she deals with her depression suits her and it isn’t for everyone. I enjoyed reading this and I look forward to seeing more from Susan Calman.
Danny Wallace and the Centre of the Universe by Danny Wallace
I love Danny Wallace books and I picked this up for one of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenges to read a book out loud. It’s under 100 pages and it was perfect to read to my boyfriend (we tried a longer book but he kept falling asleep and we weren’t getting anywhere with it!). This is a story where Danny goes to a town called Wallace in Idaho, who claimed they were the Centre of the Universe. Danny spends 24 hours in Wallace and it was an interesting enough story. I did find it very repetitive though in some of his sentences and phrases which I found really tiring when reading out loud. I don’t think it’s a must read if you’re a Danny Wallace fan, it’s really just a blog post or article stretched out to fit into a short story for a book.
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
I LOVED A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet when I read it in May. It was such an interesting and heartwarming story and when I found out there would be another book set in the same world coming out this year I couldn’t wait to read it. A Closed and Common Orbit follows two characters we briefly see in A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (we don’t see any of the main characters from that book). The story is told in the present, starting after the end of A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet as well as a flashback story of Pepper and how she grew up. I don’t want to say too much about the characters or story in case it gives anything in the first book away but the two storylines mirror each other at times before they merge into one. It was a beautiful story, I love love love this world and even though this is sci-fi and that might scare some people away, please give these books a chance! They are full of interesting characters and worlds and Chambers had me in tears several times reading this. I loved both the books and I can’t wait for the 3rd one (which is listed on Goodreads but I’m not sure if Chambers is writing one. I hope she is!). I can’t wait to reread these as well. Wonderful!
Mandela: An Audio History by Desmond Tutu
This is a short audiobook, just over an hour long. I listented to it on the train on the way home from the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards. This is more like a documentary or podcast than a traditional audiobook, it has clips of people recounting their experiences during the time, speeches, radio and television reports and singing. It documents Mandela from his rise in popularity against apartheid, his trial and sentencing, what was going on politically at the time while he was in jail and his release in the 90s. Some of the elements I didn’t know about, like how school children protested at the introduction to Afrikaans as the language schools had to teach in and the brutality of the police at these protests was truly shocking. The book is beautifully produced and I love that we get to hear such things as Mandela’s speech at his trial which ends with his famous words ‘It is an ordeal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But my lord, if it needs be, it is an ordeal for which I am prepared to die’. A short but powerful listen.
Christmas at the Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant
This book sees the return to Honeybourne, the small cosy village in Wiltshire. And it's Christmas time! The book picks up 10 months or so after the end of the last book and there's been some big changes. Millie and Dylan were the main focus for the first book and while they're in this book too, the main centre of the story is Spencer. We're also introduced to new characters in this book like Millie's cousin Darcie and Spencer's parents. Tilly does a great job of writing loving characters and setting the lovely cosy village of Honeybourne. It's a great Christmassy read too and you could possibly read this book as a festive read without reading the first one (though one or two references will be unexplained). Overall it was a fun festive read that I enjoyed. [NetGalley]
The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
Kameron Hurley is a successful science-fiction and fantasy writer and this book is a collection of essays that centre around feminism, geek culture and Hurley’s experiences of being a genre writer. Having a read a few books on feminism this year, this was a different voice than the other books I read, especially the section of what it’s like being a woman within geek culture and writing speculative fiction. All the essays aren’t *just* about feminism, a lot of them are Hurley’s memoirs and own personal stories. And while there isn’t a lot of intersectionality, Hurley does address this, tries to be inclusive and admits that in the past she’s made mistakes about things and has always tried to correct herself when she has made mistakes which is a refreshing attitude. I was slow reading this (I started at the end of August so it took me 3 months to read) but I did enjoy it. I found myself reading an essay here and there when I had a spare moment. A lot of these essays can be found published online if you’d like to read some to decide if this book is for you. I’m looking forward to picking up some of Hurley’s fiction, any suggestions can be left in the comments below! [NetGalley]
Number of Books Read- 6
Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 2:4
Number of eBooks- 2 (Christmas at the Little Village Bakery and The Geek Feminist Revolution)
Number of Audiobooks- 1 (Mandela: An Audio History)
Number of Books Borrowed from Library- 3 (Cheer Up, Love, Danny Wallace and the Centre of the Universe and A Closed and Common Orbit)
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge Completed
Listen to an audiobook that has won an Audie Award- Mandela: An Audio History
Read a book out loud to someone else- Danny Wallace and the Centre of the Universe
And that’s it! Just one more book to check off the Read Harder Challenge (read a food memoir. I have several listed on my TBR so I don’t know why I’ve been so slow on this one!). Hopefully I’ll read one. I want to finish the books I’m currently reading as well this month before I sit down to plan my reading resolutions and TBR for next year. Which I’m very excited about actually, seeing all the upcoming releases for next year!