November was a bit of a strange month reading wise because I was in a slump. I’d had such a good October that it probably had to happen. To try and get myself out of it, I had a week of reading short stories. It worked and I discovered some new authors as a result, which was a bonus. Here’s what worked, and didn’t, for me this month.
All told, I read one book I loved this month, Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica. I had heard great things about it and was a bit worried I would be disappointed. I wasn’t. It was a really interesting story with great characters and great twist. I couldn’t stop turning pages. Highly recommended!
Liked a Lot
Two of the three I liked a lot were short stories, The Octopus Nest by Sophie Hannah which I thought was really clever and well written and A Sheltered Woman by Yiyun Li, possibly the comple opposite of Sophie Hannah in that it was intimate portrait of a Chinese American Nanny – who only stays with families for the first month after the baby is born.
The last of the three books I liked a lot was Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith and it wasn’t much longer than the short stories, coming in at around 80 pages. Part of the Canongate Myth series it took a new, feminist look at a story from Ancient Greece and made it very relevant.
Two more short stories made the list here, BBC national short story winner Briar Road by Jonathan Buckley and The Memory Man by Helen Smith. Both took different looks at the world of psychics, showing how being able to talk to the dead might not be quite a blessing some might think it is.
The short stories gave me the motivation to pick back up Little Girl Gone by Alexandra Burt, which I enjoyed though not as much as I had hoped. It was a little too long so felt like it ran out of steam for me, though it was a good idea and well written. My main problem was not liking the main character. I may be in the minority here though.
Not for me
The characters were a big part of the problem in the two books that just did nothing for me. In Fair Play by Tove Jansson they felt too stylised and I just couldn’t warm to them or quite get why they were behaving how they did, whilst in The Bed I Made by Lucie Whitehouse the bad guy was just not bad enough and the central character left me cold.
These two were at the start of the month and I am laying blame for my reading slump firmly at their door 😄. Thankfully, things did pick up and all in all it wasn’t a bad November in hindsight. How was yours – what should I be looking for or avoiding in December?