Reading Wrap-up: November, 2019

This month I read 12 books, which isn’t horrible, but I also was still finishing a lot of books for October I got for Halloween and didn’t have time to finish. So this month felt like I read a mix of Halloween and Christmas-themed books, with some YA fantasy and non-fiction thrown into there. Very weird combination. I won’t say I’m displeased with my reading, but I’ve been pretty much avoiding my Reading Resolutions all month…so there is that.

Reading Resolutions

(my original post of my resolutions)

  1. Read 1 Indie book a month: I did do this, but I’m still behind one from skipping it in October.
  2. Read 2 short stories: I didn’t do this.
  3. Read more challenging books: I didn’t do this.
  4. Reread some books: I didn’t do this…I was really bad this month.

I finished all my reading challenges already, so let’s skip that section and move onto the book reviews, starting with the two stars.

2 Stars

  • Madhouse by Miguel Estrada (released 2017) (Indie)
    • While I really liked the atmosphere created in this book and some of the dark scenes, I honestly felt like it was incredibly repetitive. Even for being such a short novella, most of the story consists of Lucas running and hiding from someone, finding a clue, and then rinse and repeat. Even the twist at the end was predictable. I won’t say this is a horrible horror story, but I just couldn’t really get into it.
  • The Christmas Train by David Baldacci (released 2001)
    • This book was very…quaint. It definitely fits as a Hallmark movie, all sweet but not really making any sense when it comes to character motivations. The book sets up a lot of things–author following the steps of another author, mysterious thief, romance, plot twists, film crew, a journalist’s story…so much going on I had trouble keeping up with it. And the ending just kind of threw things together. I felt the idea of the story was interesting, but the execution lacked any interest for me.
  • Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva (released 2017)
    • This book is supposed to be a fun, light Christmas tale, but I will admit I found it a little wanting and very annoying. The historical context was very off, especially when it came to understanding Dickens himself. There were quite a few sweet scenes, but they felt false and contrived. There were so many “A Christmas Carol” references inserted into the book, and they rarely felt real and organic. Everything was just thrown together in the end with a few random plot twists. I love Dickens’s books, so I was rather excited to read this book. Unfortunately, it missed the mark for me.

3 Stars

  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (released 1929)
  • Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo (released 2016)
    • I didn’t hate this book, but after being so impressed by the first book, I wasn’t surprised that this one wasn’t quite as good. The plot didn’t have as much focus and the stakes weren’t as high. The writing felt meandering, going off into backstories which didn’t matter even more so than the previous book. Some of the character progression was interesting, especially with Wylan, but for the most part it felt misplaced and convenient. It was as if Bardugo put so many scenes in just for fan service, not because it fit for the story. Saying that, there is still a lot to like in this book. I was impressed with the ending, and some of the buildup was really good. In the end, I would say I liked this book, but it wasn’t as enjoyable as the first.

4 Stars

  • Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Berdugo (released 2015)
  • 11/22/63 by Stephen King (released 2011)
  • The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury (released 1972)
    • I have enjoyed, to some extent at least, every book I have read by Ray Bradbury. He is one of those authors with a deep understanding of the world and people. In this short novella, by far the shortest of his books I’ve read, a group of boys go out trick-or-treating on Halloween and get transported to a horrifying and strange world. The creepy atmosphere and poignant commentary on fear and the unknown makes for a fascinating read, with similar themes to Something Wicked This Way Comes, which is another of my favorite books by Bradbury.
  • The Lightning Thief (Percy and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan (released 2005)
  • The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells (released 1897)

5 Stars

  • Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (released 2016)
  • The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton (released 1925)
    • Half philosophy, half theology, this book examines the mythos of other civilizations in contrast to Christianity. What is man? What place does Jesus Christ hold in the history of the world? This is a fascinating book though, like all of Chesterton’s, it is highly dense and difficult to read. I constantly felt the need to stop and reread it to garner fuller understanding of his ideas. In fact, I feel as if his books need multiple readings to grasp the concepts fully. I highly recommend it!

I really enjoyed many of the books I read this month, and I’ve started a couple series I’ve been wanting to read for years. Basically, this month was a good reading month despite not reading that many books. Though next month is December, which means finals for the first two weeks and Christmas for the next two…so let’s see how many books I finish next month.

Have you read any of these books? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more musings and, as always,

Best wishes in your life full of adventure,

Madame Writer

2 thoughts on “Reading Wrap-up: November, 2019

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