What I Read in November 2020

Happy Friday, everyone!

I hope you’ve all had a great start into December!! ❄️ Or, at the very least, I hope you’ve had a better week than I have… Between the pandemic and those exams, this year was never really going to make it into the highlights of my life, but these past few days have been rough even by 2020 standards.

On Tuesday, the Bavarian government shut down all universities again, so I’ve basically been working day and night to prepare the classes I now have to teach or attend online. One of our cats is really sick and I’m not sure if she’s going to get better. And, to top it all off, my dad came home Monday evening with the news that my grandmother had passed away. She’s been sick for a while now, so I suppose I should have been prepared for it, but I really wasn’t. Her death came as a huge shock, and I think what is hitting me hardest is that I didn’t even get to say goodbye properly. Due to the pandemic, I haven’t been able to see her in months, at least not in person. And I guess I just assumed that things would go back to normal and we’d get to visit again eventually. Only now, we won’t. Which hurts more than you can imagine.

So to all of you who left a comment this week or wrote an engaging post that cheered me up – thank you! Believe me, your kind words made a huge difference in helping me stay somewhat upbeat 💕

Because as awful as this week has been, I’ve been trying to see the positives, too. Like the fact that my siblings and I baked so many Christmas cookies that we were almost drowning in them on Advent Sunday 🍪 Or that we still managed to decimate said cookies so substantially that we will definitely have to keep baking this week 👩🏼‍🍳 Or that when I look out of my window, everything is white ☃️😍 I absolutely love snow, and we haven’t had a really snowy December in years. So it had better stay this way!!!

snow anna GIF by Disney

And overall, November definitely wasn’t bad. I finished my exams! I finally understand a little bit of Mori theory! I got my own office! Granted, it might not really be that useful now that the university is closed, but still… Ever since I picked up my keys yesterday, I feel extraordinarily accomplished 😁

Reading-wise, though… Well, let’s just say this wrap-up is for those of you who were extremely impressed back when I read those 17 books in August. Because in November I read a very impressive … wait for it … TWO. And no, I didn’t re-read anything either. Which most definitely makes November 2020 the worst reading month I’ve had since January 2019.

But oh well 🤷‍♀️ It’s not the end of the world. Would I have had the time to read if I hadn’t binged loads of terrible Christmas movies on Netflix instead? Sure I would 😁 But somehow, those awful movies seemed way more enticing than reading this month, so who am I to force it? I love reading, and I know I’ll always return to it eventually. [Which in this case, probably means tomorrow. I fully intend to turn at least half of my birthday into a readathon 🤗 Even though I technically have tons of work to do, I think I deserve a break, and since I can’t invite people either, I’ll have loads of time to myself! It’ll be awesome! 😃]

But yeah – I think I’ve rambled on long enough. Since this is supposed to be a reading wrap-up, let’s get into the books I did actually get to this month!


Beloved by Toni Morrison (3/5 Stars)

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I finally read a Toni Morrison novel in its entirety! After having been bombarded with excerpts from her books in various literature classes, I’ve been meaning to pick Beloved up for ages, and this month, I finally did!

I must say, though, that I have very mixed feelings about this book. While I really appreciated the nuanced way in which the book explored certain themes and how this story was able to get me thinking, I didn’t particularly like the way it was written. At times, I thought it was trying so hard to be literary that it came off as pretentious, some parts of it were, honestly, kind of repetitive and boing, and the erratic jumping around between different timelines was sometimes quite confusing.

For those of you that don’t know, Beloved is a ghost story, centered around a mother who murdered her own baby. Throughout the course of the novel, you slowly start to piece together the details of what happened, why it happened, and how it changed the lives of the people involved. It is not so much about physical ghosts as the ghosts of one’s past. This is mainly a story about slavery, about family, about trauma. It unflinchingly looks some of the United States’ more brutal past straight in the eye and I think it’s a great pick if you’re looking for something that will get you thinking and start conversations.

But boy, the writing 🙈 It annoyed me to no end. There were tons of sentences that seemed to throw in random words just for shock value, particularly ones that related to feces or sex. Like this one, for example:

How different they were without her, how they laughed and played and urinated and sang.

(Morrison 27)

Like, how is the urinating part relevant here??? It just seems a little jarring and weird, if you ask me…

And then there were all the experimental things, like consistently spelling “could have” as “could of” in dialogue, endless descriptions of absolutely irrelevant details, and chapters without any punctuation at all. Just to give you an idea, here is a snippet from one of those:

All of it is now it is always now there will never be a time when I am not crouching and watching others who are crouching too I am always crouching the man on my face is dead his face is not mine his mouth smells sweet but his eyes are locked

(Morrison 248)

I mean, I do get what Toni Morrison was going for here, but that didn’t stop me from finding it extraordinarily annoying…

So yeah – this book has lots of depth, but it’s also a real pain to read 😅


Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell (3/5 Stars)

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Did I read this solely because it was short and I didn’t want to have to say I’d only read one book in all of November? Possibly 😁 But overall, I did enjoy this, and I’m glad I decided to give it a try when I saw it in my Scribd “recommended” feed.

Pillow Thoughts is a poetry collection mainly centering around love, feeling inadequate, heartbreak and healing. I found many of the ideas it explored to be extremely relatable, and some of the darker poems in particular really spoke to me. (Does that mean I’m slightly masochistic? 🤔)

However, I did also think that this collection was extremely repetitive. Many of the poems regurgitated the same idea over and over again, and I only felt like around ten of them were truly original. The others felt like poor imitations that were only there to get the word count up… I mean, I guess a collection with an overarching theme is bound to include poems that are similar to each other, but I really would have liked to see a bit more variety!

Overall, though, I’d still recommend it 😊


So yeah – that’s pretty much what I was up to reading-wise in November. It may not have been the most exciting wrap-up, but I hope you got something out of it nonetheless!

Anyway – What were you up to in November? Did you discover any new bookish favorites I should eye during Christmas break? Got any good movie recommendations? Any favorite holiday traditions you think I should try? Let me know in the comments!

24 thoughts on “What I Read in November 2020

  1. Riddhi B. says:

    Hey Naemi, I am really sorry for the fact that your cat is sick and that your grandma passed away- I hope she may rest in peace and I know it must be difficult for all of you, but i hope you are all fine.
    On the upside though, congratulations on getting your own office! That is super awesome!!!
    Also, Happy Birthday in advance!! I dont know if you will post tomorrow or not, so i thought i would just wish you today 🙂
    Also, i will be posting some funny content on my blog in maybe 2 or 3 days, so i hope you enjoy reading that and that it might cheer you up.
    Take care
    P.S.- i didnt know where to fit this in the comment, but in case you ever need one virtually (unless you come to India or I to Germany)- you have my back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thank you, Riddhi! That means a lot ❤ You will always have my virtual back as well, should you ever need it 😉
      And thank you! I originally thought about posting something tomorrow, but since I still have loads of homework I have to finish, I think I’m just going to do that and then take the rest of the day off for reading 🤗 So wishing me a happy birthday now was probably a good call 😂😂
      I’m also looking forward to that funny content! I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Abby @ Beyond the Read says:

    I’m so so sorry to hear about your grandmother, Naemi — I can’t imagine how much it must hurt to have her pass away without being able to see her again. I’m keeping you in my prayers… and don’t forget we’re always here for you ❤️

    On a lighter note, I enjoyed reading your thoughts on Beloved! I’ve been thinking about starting on Toni Morrison’s books for like forever, so this was a nice insight into what that might be like. The writing style certainly sounds… interesting 😂

    I hope you have a lovely December, Naemi! And happy early birthday 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thank you, Abby! That really means a lot to me, especially right now ❤

      And gosh, yes – “interesting” definitely describes the writing style in Beloved well 😂😂😂 Though, to be fair, I also chose some of the most annoying excerpts for the purpose of this wrap-up… Parts of the book were actually almost normal! But should you ever read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts! This book definitely wasn’t what I was expecting 😁

      I hope you have a great December, too! With Christmas and everything surrounding it, it usually turns out to be my favorite month of the year, so I have high hopes that this year will be no different 😊❄

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Line says:

    Very sorry about your grandmother and your lousy week in general 😟. I wish I had a Lost in Translation post ready to help cheer you up just a tiny bit. I can tell you that the next one is going to have more stuff about Romeo in it 😉

    Your day of Christmas cookie baking looked a lot like mine! We just made confectionary instead which is something my mom and I do every year. We make way too much and eat it way too fast 😅 Other than that I don’t have that many holiday traditions, except for maybe watching Love Actually and a version of A Christmas Carol. But since you’re mainly into bad Christmas movies I don’t know if they are for you 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thank you so much, Line! Though I must say – the prospect of more Romeo facts does cheer me up considerably 😂😂 I can’t wait to read it! 🤗

      And it really is amazing how fast Christmas food always ends up disappearing… I wish there was some way of multiplying it, since it just tastes so good! 😊 And I do also love non-bad Christmas movies! I tend to start out with the trashy ones and make my way to the better ones as Christmas draws closer. We actually have three different versions of A Christmas Carol on DVD, which should tell you a little bit about how obsessed I am with it! 😁👻👻👻 And I really like Love, Actually, too! My favorites, though, are these old German black and white adaptations of Erich Kästner’s novels from the 30s and these fairy tales that some German and Czech studios coproduced together ages ago. My own parents grew up watching those, and they’re a big tradition here in general 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • Line says:

        Christmas food is so good! I also seem to develop a second stomach or something in December. I can never get enough 😂😂
        And I’m happy to hear you also like the good movies and I like your system. Smart move. You can also never own too many versions of A Christmas Carol! It’s just one I have to watch on the 24th.
        Those old ones sound really nice too!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Nefeli says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Naemi ❤. It’s always hard to lose a grandparent and I can only imagine how harder it must be to deal with that loss in the current conditions. I’m sending my good thoughts to you and your family ❤. May your cat get better soon, too!

    As for your monthly reading, if it makes you feel better I started reading one book at the beginning of November and I still haven’t finished it 🙈. Watching Christmas movies on Netflix sounds great, though! It’s something I’m really looking forward to doing during the school break. And Christmas baking is the best baking! We’re planning to start baking our Christmas treats tomorrow and I can’t wait!

    I’ve only read The Bluest Eye in full by Morisson, where the style wasn’t that extra. But, from the excerpts you posted and from the ones I remember reading in university I can safely say that Morisson’s style is quite difficult to get into.

    Happy birthday in advance! May you always be healthy and happy and may everything you wish for tomorrow come true! Eat some extra cookies as a gift from me and have a great rest of December!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thank you, Nefeli! That really means a lot ❤ On the bright side, our cat just started eating again this afternoon, so we’re cautiously optimistic that she might get better.

      And it does feel kind of good to know that I’m not the only one in a reading slump right now! Though I’m very sorry you’ve had a bad reading month, of course. But then again – as long as you’re still having fun, I don’t think it matters how much you read! Christmas movies and baking is definitely a good alternative plan 😉 I hope you have fun baking those treats tomorrow!

      And thank you! (Though I really shouldn’t be eating any extra cookies – you honestly have no idea how many I’ve already stuffed myself with 😂).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lesserleaf says:

    So sorry about your grandmother. And I hope your cat gets better. It’s always horrid when pets are ill.
    Congrats about the office, though 🙂
    Beloved is one of my favourite novels, I like the style, but tastes differ 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thank you – that means a lot 🙂 And I’m actually quite hopeful about our cat – she finally started eating again this afternoon and has walked more than a few paces for the first time in days, so we think the medicine we’ve been giving her might finally be kicking in. At least I’m cautiously optimistic…
      And I’m glad you like Beloved more than I do! I did really like the story itself, but I’ll leave that writing style for you to enjoy 😂

      Like

  6. Pilar says:

    I’m so sorry about your grandmother Naemi. I lost my grandfather about a year ago, so I know how jarring it can be. I’m sending you all of my love and support from the other side of the world 🤗 I hope you and your family are doing better.

    On another note, I hope you had a wonderful birthday despite the circumstances ☺️ And cookies, movies and snow… It sounds so cozy!! I’m so glad you got a little break to relax 😴

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thank you, Pilar! That really means a lot ❤

      And I did have a nice birthday! I took the morning off in order to read some of my new books, ate a ton of food, and had a really nice evening with my family and my best friend from school, who surprised me with a visit 😊 So overall, it was pretty great!

      Liked by 1 person

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