01 December 2011

Last Month in Review: November 2011

It's been a fair-to-middling reading month for me.  With the power outage at the very opening of November, I got into a reading slump quickly.  And while I read a couple of books that will really stay with me, much of what I read was, sadly, forgettable.

1. Fracture by Megan Miranda. YA. Girl almost dies, girl recovers, girls falls in love with a troubled young man who may or may not have tried to kill her, girl senses when people are dying, girl almost dies again.  Ho-hum. I thought it would be riveting but it wasn't.  I blame the power outage for getting through it.  Review here.

2. Delirium by Lauren Oliver.  YA.  Surprisingly, I didn't care much for this, at least not the first 200 pages.  The last 150 pages were exciting but overall I thought it was derivative of the myriad dystopian novels I've already read, particularly Matched.  (I freely admit that if I'd read Delirium first that I might have thought Matched was the derivative one.)  Read this one during the power outage, too. Review here

3. Austenland by Shannon Hale (audio version).  Picked this up for $5.99 'cause I'd been recycling a LOT of Harry Potter and David Sedaris audios for my commute.  Alas, I'm not sure it was worth the money.  Made me want to pull my hair out, and yet I finished listening to it. 

4. Artist of Disappearance by Anita Desai.  Read an ARC of this for work as a possible First Editions Club selection.  Liked the book, but alas, the publisher had sold out of first printings 3 weeks before the official release date.

5. The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson.  This was quite the ride: North Korea, military ops, secret intrigues, kidnappings, killer peaches, fishing boats, and loneliness in the dark.  Oh, yeah, baby.  This was good.  I hope to get off my arse and review it soon.  It comes out in January and it will be that month's first edition club selection for my bookstore.

6. The Conference of the Birds by Peter Sis.  I can't bring anything new to the table in terms of discussion and praise, but I will say that it's beautiful on multiple levels and its production qualities are impressive, particularly for the price point.  It also happens to be my store's first editions club selection for December. 

7. I Am an Executioner by Rajesh Parameswaran.  This was a book of stories I could only force myself to read about 3/4 of the way through.  Everything felt stiff and two-dimensional.

8. The Darlings by Cristina Alger.  This book was a bit of a surprise to me and it acted like a palate cleanser after trying to read a few books and not being able to finish them.  It's the glittery world of privilege and money both old and new, set on Wall Street and the Hamptons, poised at the brink of the financial collapse a couple of years ago.  I picked it up one night to help me fall asleep, but it kept me reading until the wee small hours and I finished it the next day. 

9. Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron.  Holy cow, but this book was good! Forthcoming from Algonquin in January, it's the latest of the Bellwether Prize winners.  Here are some comments I wrote earlier about it, and with luck I'll have a full review for it in the new year.

10. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  Yup, this was the second time I read it this year.  First time was back in April.  Then I got in another reading slump and picked this up to see if the magic was still there.  It was. I have a couple of Night Circus posts on this blog, one of which describes my dedication and dyeing my hair a bright red for the occasion. 

11. Arcadia by Lauren Groff.  I love Groff's writing, which carried me through this book despite its subject, which I dislike and distrust: so-called utopian communities. Review here.

So, two YA novels, one audio, one re-read, one not-quite-completed, and one picture book help comprise my list of 11 books here: not exactly a towering achievement, but that's okay.  It is what it is. And hopefully my reading slump won't carry over into December 'cause I've got a big stack of books I'm looking forward to!


  1. Ugh. I love Shannon Hale's YA writing, but I kind of hated Austenland. Just anything contributing to the Mary Sue Austen trend and Austen fans being portrayed as love-starved women in search of Mr. Darcy.

  2. 11 reads is "not a towering achievement"?!? I am dutifully impressed. Found the mini reviews very helpful So appreciate you taking the time for us!


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