Tuesday, December 1, 2020

What We Read in November

December is here! Hurrah! My C-section is on Thursday and I could not be more ready to be done!! But the end is in sight!! 

I read a ton in November - 14 books. That might be the highest number for 2020 but I am too lazy to confirm this. I think the main reason I read so many books is that I went off social media for the month of November, mostly because I did not want to see posts about the election - even ones I agree with would trigger my anxiety. I needed a clean break and it's been good for me. I'm questioning whether I want/need to go back on but will likely go back on to share the news of the birth of our son and to sell some maternity items. But I'm thinking social media is not a great use of my time, all in all. 

Back to what I read, though! I broke the 14 books out into 3 groups: Hits, Just Ok, and Misses. I won't go into detail on the Just Ok ones. 


- Notes from a Young Black Chef is a book I'd recommend to fans of Top Chef. The author was on the show several seasons ago. It was interesting to read about his experiences working in the food world, especially as a person of color. 

- Party of Two was the latest installment in Jasmine Guillory's romance series. I find these books absolutely delightful. Highly recommend them if you need something light and easy-breezy. 

- All Adults Here gets mixed reviews but I ended up really enjoying it. It's solidly character-driven literary fiction and there are plenty of unlikeable characters, which can bug me. But in this case, there were enough people that I liked to offset the unlikeable ones.

- Beach Read was another romance that I enjoyed. Nothing earth shattering but it was a light, fun read. 

- A Good Time for the Truth is a collection of essays written by BIPOC who live or have lived in Minnesota. It delves into the racism and inequity that Minneapolis is sadly known for. Sometimes us northerners can think we don't have the issues with racism that the south does, but upon closer examination, we have plenty of problems to work through here. 

Just Ok: These books range from pretty good to fine. They aren't books I would highly recommend to others but I enjoyed them. 


- I read Fahrenheit 451 to complete the final category of the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge I did this year. This filled the 'read a classic' category. I think I just have to accept that classics never seem to be a good fit for me. Phil told me he really liked this book but we definitely have different tastes in books. I found this book to be a complete slog and was glad it was only 158 pages. The fact that it was Dystopian/Sci-Fi probably did not help matters as those are genres that I don't tend to enjoy. 

- Suite Francaise was a book that my friend Kyria and I read together. We've been reading a book set in France each month. I used to own this book but got rid of it during a huge book purge before moving in with Phil so when she suggested we read it, I thought it sounded like a good idea. It was definitely a slog and had it not been a buddy read, I would have abandoned it. It's a 2-part book set during WWII. The first part features aristocrats fleeing Paris during the German invasion. The second part features more ordinary people living in a more rural area of France. The people in the first part were SO AWFUL. The people in the second half were less awful but it was still a slog. The unique thing about this book is that the author died in a concentration camp in 1942. This book was published posthumously many years later. It has been very popular but I did not work for me unfortunately...

- Paris By the Book was another book Kyria and I read together. I liked the concept - a woman and her teenage daughter move to Paris and run a book store when her husband goes missing. Did he die? Did he abandon them? There were aspects I liked, but as a parent, I found the father storyline to be very unbelievable so that impacted my reading experience. It was fun to read about areas of the city I am extremely familiar with. I hope to return to France some day but that is a LONG ways off!  

Paul's reads:

He got a new Ranger Rick magazine this month. He loves these so much so I suggested that the grandparents get him a Highlights subscription for Christmas and my parents took us up on that idea. We keep every Ranger Rick and he will go back and look at them again. He has outgrown the 0-3 Ranger Rick subscription so I am hoping my MIL changes the subscription to the next level up. 

In November, I ordered some books about Thanksgiving and Native Americans. His favorite was this book, Fry Bread. It's about a traditional food made by Native Americans and also addresses, in a child-appropriate way, the challenges the Native American population has experienced. 

Our neighbors brought over a bag of books their kids had grown out of. Paul's favorite was this Elmo potty book with songs. Unfortunately it has not encouraged him to use the potty. He is still STRONGLY resisting potty training so we are kind of throwing up our hands for now and hoping his teachers have some luck at school. I know he is intellectually capable of learning to use the potty but he is VERY resistant and there is no talking this stubborn kid into doing something he doesn't want to do...

And that is our reads for November! Did you read anything great this month?


Stephany said...

BABY WEEK IS HERE! Yayayayayaya.

What an insanely great reading month for you! I don't think I've hit 14 books read in a month this year! Being off social media always does wonders for my reading game, though. You don't realize how much time is spent scrolling! I have Notes from a Young Black Chef and Beach Read on my TBR - need to get around to them soon. I've heard great things about both of them!

Jeanie said...

Counting down with you! What a list. I've read both Suite Franciass and Paris by the book. I know what you mean about the people in Suite Francais. And the other -- it was OK, sometimes intriguing but in the end, not satisfying. I wanted a different ending.

katielookingforward said...

Tomorrow, tomorrow, your c section is a day away! (please read as if its from the musical Annie). The young black chef book sounds great, I will have to check that one out! I really liked reading Delancy, its about a couple starting a restaurant, and is a memoir. It really made me want to go to Seattle to eat!

Grateful Kae said...

I both love your reading updates and dislike them because they make me feel so inadequate!! haha! Just kidding!

I love seeing your lists and I frequently add books to my list based on what you've read, so keep them coming. :)

I'm glad you had a good experience being off social media. I feel so torn about it- I DO like some aspects of it, and I find I sometimes run across fun/inspirational ideas or even just hilarious memes that crack me up and bring some happiness to my day. I have had a little bit of a social media "creep" though this past week as I let myself override a few times when I posted Thanksgiving pics, etc. Not a good plan! I find I then just feel relaxed in general about my "rules" and it's downhill from there. I averaged 20 minutes or less MOST days this past month (with a handful of outliers with about double that) but when I added it all up yesterday it equaled TWLEVE HOURS total in the month of November!!!! OMG... It so doesn't feel like that much. That makes me feel gross to even think that I spent that much time doing that.

Imagine if I had read all of that time instead, I am sure I could have read WAY more books. I thought 20 minutes a day was reasonable, but after adding this up I am rethinking it! I am now playing with the idea of maybe going totally off for 2 out of 4 weeks in the month or something like that. I listened to a podcast recently where the host said she goes completely off for 1 week of every month to "reset" and I thought that could be nice. I like to check in daily and just see what's up, but I'm not sure at the price of 12 hours of my month. I am scared to think how much time I used to spend- the 12 hours in November was at my much reduced amount of ~20 minutes per day! Yikes. Maybe I should just have "check in" hours like 2-3x/ week and schedule it or something. I don't know!

Anyway, I'm rambling. :) BEST OF LUCK TOMORROW!!!! Oh my gosh, I'm so happy for you. I can't wait to see pics and hear all about it. Sending you virtual hugs, happy thoughts, and good vibes!!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I will have to read that book about Kwame; I liked him and I always like reading food/chef memoirs. One of my first was Kitchen Confidential, which I really enjoyed. I love hearing about getting down and dirty and trying all of the local foods and street foods etc. My coworker just finished Eat a Peach (David Chang) and said that one was enjoyable too, so I have put yours and his suggestions on my list!

As you know, I also read a lot in November and a lot of them were pretty good! I also was not a huge fan of either of our Paris books, but like you said, I do love hearing about all the different neighborhoods etc. and hope to visit them again some day (soon!?) I actually went to Paris last year (it seems soooo long ago) and had such a great time showing a newbie friend around the city! We ate so much duck and wandered around all parts of the city; I love doing that.

SHU said...


Shoshanah said...

First of all, wishing you the best of luck today!!!!

As for the books, there’s several in here I’ve been wanting to read Kwame’s memmior and Beach Read being 2.

I read Fahrenheit 451 in high school at soccer camp. I had finished all the books I brought with me and my roommate lent it to me. It was her assigned school reading she brought with her. We joked that I’d rad it and tell her what happened. I don’t remember much, but do remember enjoying it.

And I love that Paul has a magazine subscription! I used to (and still do!) love getting magazines in the mail. Our kids don’t currently have any, but I do think they’d really enjoy.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I read some books I absolutely loved in November. Spark by John J. Ratey was my absolute fave 10/10. It's about what exercise does to our brains. I also loved "The Willpower Instinct - How Self Control Works, Why it Matters, and What You Can Do to get More of it." I gave that a 10/10 too.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

The best thing I read in November was Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. Highly recommend it and would enjoy discussing it with others.