Back in July and August, I read 25 books as a judge for a self-published competition. I even made time to read books on my own TBR list. I mentioned in a previous wrap-up that I read 29 books in August. It was an insightful and fun experience, but when it was over, I had a hard time simply reading for pleasure again. I hit a slump. Before the judging, I had been reading between 6 to 15 books a month, having read 92 books by the end of August. Now, I am averaging 3 a month.
While that is still something to be proud of, I am ashamed to admit how many good books I set to the side due to this slump. I fear I may never get back to them. So without further prattle, here are the books I read in November, with a gentle hint of the ones I missed telling you about the past couple of months.
Read This Month
- A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djèlí Clark
- Story Genius by Lisa Cron
- This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
Thoroughly enjoyed all three of these books, and let’s just say they are vastly different from one another. A Dead Djinn in Cairo is a fantasy-science fiction-steampunk-detective mashup. Story Genius is the science behind what makes a story work. And This Is How You Lose the Time War is a science fiction-time travel-war-LGBT-romance. All are amazingly well-written. I recommend This Is How You Lose the Time War on audiobook.
Since I didn’t write this post for the past couple of months, here is briefly what I read in September and October.
- Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
- The Hidden by Ivy Asher
- Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism by Barry M. Prizant
- Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
- Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
- City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennet
I suppose that while I read less than my normal, all of these books were four or five stars for me. Maybe less means I find the right books that I need at that moment.
Did Not Finish
- Ravenwood by Nathan Lowell
- Beloved by Toni Morrison
- Bad Blood by John Carreyrou
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
- The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
- Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? by Caitlin Doughty
As I am sure you can tell from this list, it was not the quality of the books that made me put them down. Some were audiobooks (which I hardly ever have time for). Some I forgot I had even started. And for the others, it just wasn’t the perfect time for me to read.
You may have noticed that I didn’t really review or critique any of these books. I talked about how much I enjoyed them. This year has really opened my eyes to how I view reading, blogging, and reviewing. In my last TBR post, I wrote about how I had several ARCs I needed to read and review. A couple, like Black Sun, I had been looking forward to. Others felt like an obligation.
When I began reading Black Sun, I was taking extensive notes, pushing myself to write better, more detailed reviews. About a third of the way in, I realized how little I wanted to pick up the book to read. And that’s not what I needed in my life right now. With my editing business, I do enough critiquing, I am kind of over judging books so harshly for something an author worked so hard on. I also just want to read for me again.
This is the year we need to focus on mental health and just enjoying the ride. And so, I’ll keep doing star ratings, mostly for my memory keeping, but most reviews will have to do with how the books made me feel. At least for a while.