30 November 2013

Last Month In Review: November 2013

A rare sunny moment in November, near sunset
Oh, November, my natal month.  I have such a love-hate relationship with you.  I've come to admire that stark beauty that marks this month: the shades of brown, the bare tree branches outlined against a gray sky, the dregs of the more gloriously colorful autumn months, the harbinger of snows not yet flown. It is an in-between month like no other--neither fall nor winter. I think November is, more than any other month, a time of contemplation and reflection for me.  True, it marks another year older for me, but because I work in the retail world, it also marks the last deep breath that I draw before the mad rush of the holiday season is upon me.

Here, then, is a list of what I've read this month.  Though I write this on November 30, it's not likely that I will finish another book before the day's end to be included here. It's a small list--I think the smallest that I've had in years--but I'm not going to beat myself up about it. In chronological order:

1. Loud Awake and Lost by Adele Griffin. (not yet released) This was a YA book.  An amnesiac girl returns to her old life after being released from the hospital, slowly piecing together the two months leading up to the car accident that almost killed her. Not bad.  No doubt it would have resonated more if I'd read it at a more melodramatic age.

2. The Death of Santini by Pat Conroy. Memoir/audio book.  Pat Conroy is an author who doesn't know the meaning of understated prose. That being said, this book has as powerful a message of family forgiveness and healing as I've ever read.  This was a good month for me to read/hear that message. The reader was generally quite good, but his voicing of Santini was excellent.

3. And the Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass.  (not yet released). This novel is an extension of, but not a sequel to, The Three Junes--it involves a few of the same characters such as Fenno and Malachy's mother, but they are minor characters here. I think Glass is a master of depicting family relationships in fiction. And I've often thought that that line from Louis Armstrong's song is one of the most poetic of 20th century lyrics.

4. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira. (not yet released) This is another YA. Main character writes letters to various dead people (Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Judy Garland, Amelia Earheart et al) as a means of coping with the death of her sister.  Not bad, and it will no doubt be a teen hit, but it grossly abuses the epistolary format.

5. Hurricane Island by Ellen Meeropol. (not yet released) Ellen Meeropol is my coworker and I was lucky enough to be an early reader for this, her second novel.  A weather data specialist is abducted by the FBI and Homeland Security from JFK airport and transported to a tiny offshore detention center to be held for questioning regarding a terrorist threat.  (Sorry, no image available yet!)

6. Prairie Evers by Ellen Airgood. Middle grade. My goodness, what a sweet and funny story. I don't read much middle grade fiction, but when I read a book as good as this one, it makes me wonder why I don't read more. Think of Clementine's good intentions but frequent mishaps, and add in a little of the old-fashioned sweetness of the Penderwicks series and that will give you a pretty good idea of Prairie Evers.

And now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to read.  Mostly for work, but I cross my fingers in the hope that it will also be for pleasure.  What about you and your favorite November reads?


  1. Wait wait wait, it was your birthday?! Happy belated, I hope you had a great time!

    And six books isn't too shabby at all, lady! I literally read 3 books in November, so... You're doing fine :)

    1. Aww, thanks, Laura. November was largely a blur, including my birthday. Re: books: Yes, but one of those six was an audio book, one was a middle grade, and two were YA e-books and eminently skimmable. YOU on the other hand read Stephen King among those three books, so I reckon you're ahead of me.

  2. Looks like you've been busy. Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. BookBelle, I somehow accidentally deleted your comment instead of publishing it. Sorry! But no, I'd never read The Great Santini before listening to this audio. The prose is seriously purple, but every once in a while Conroy nails the most beautiful and unexpected metaphor.

  4. Hmmmmmm none of these look up my alley, but I am of course grateful to booksellers such as you for vetting them. Kind of bummed that love letters one isn't that good, because now I totally want to write a letter to Amelia Earhart. ("DEAR AMELIA: WHERE ARE YOU.")

    1. actually, I can see you enjoying Prairie Evers. But the rest are totally skippable for you, as far as I'm concerned.


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