What I Read in November 2021

Happy Friday, everyone!

And guess what?! I’M FINALLY FREE!!!

As of yesterday, I have officially defended my master’s thesis, so now I really have nothing left to do. Except read. And sleep. And bake Christmas cookies. And play lots of violin, piano, and ukulele. And watch Lost in Space, Season 3. All of which I’m totally down for!

(Get it? Master’s thesis – master? Yeah, I know, my sense of humor is terrible 😁)

But I’m getting ahead of myself. After all, this is supposed to be my November wrap-up and not about a post about all the cool things I’m planning to do in December… (Though did you know that December is obviously the best month of the year because it has both my birthday and Christmas in it? And that we currently have a ton of snow here, which makes everything even better? πŸ€—)

Anyway, returning to November, I’d say the best way to describe that month is “pure chaos”. I was simultaneously preparing my thesis defense, moving from my apartment back to my parents’ place, attending a whole bunch of extra rehearsals for orchestra and choir, running from store to store to try and find one where rapid COVID tests, which are now a prerequisite for doing basically anything here, hadn’t sold out yet, and struggling to understand which health insurance plan I should switch to once I start working… It was a lot, to say the least.

Somehow, though, I survived, and I even managed to read a few books while I was at it! So, without further ado, let me tell you a little bit about them:

Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3) by Brandon Sanderson (4/5 Stars)

I am now, officially, beyond obsessed with this series. Okay, fine. Maybe I was already obsessed after Words of Radiance. Or even The Way of Kings… BUT I CAN’T HELP IT! Everything about The Stormlight Archive is so amazingly epic that I’m seriously questioning how I’m supposed to survive once I’ve read Rhythm of War and will possibly have to wait several years for the next book to come out 😭

Anyway, since Oathbringer is the third installment in the series, I obviously can’t say all that much about it. You’ll just have to trust me that it’s good. The characters have to deal with the aftermath of what they discovered in Words of Radiance and get involved in all kinds of additional political and magical intrigue. There are several major reveals relating to some of the protagonists’ backstories and the history of Roshar. There’s action, betrayal, and lots and lots of pain.

That being said, though, I don’t think Oathbringer is quite on par with the first two books in the series. In contrast to The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, it focuses a lot more on plot than character development, and, though this might be slightly masochistic, I will take Kaladin depressively reminiscing over all the people he failed to save over Dalinar fighting endless epic battles any day. In the first half especially, I really missed that closeness we had to the characters and all those wonderful small interactions between them!

Still, I loved Oathbringer, and particularly in the second half, things got so suspenseful that I just couldn’t put it down! I would definitely highly recommend this series to any fellow high fantasy fans who haven’t read it yet! And to anyone who has read Oathbringer and would like to know more of my thoughts: You can find my seriously long and seriously spoiler-filled review here.

The Christmas Pig by J.K. Rowling (4/5 Stars)

Yes, I realize this is a Christmas book, but since our local Christmas market already opened back in October, I really don’t see how anyone can complain about me reading Christmas books in November. That’s basically Christmas, right?

Besides, as much as I disagree with certain statements that J.K. Rowling has made in recent years, I just love her writing too much to ever stop reading what she puts out – and this book was no exception. It was so wonderfully magical and Christmassy and heartfelt that I couldn’t not love it!

Our protagonist Jack is a schoolboy whose most trusted confidante has always been his stuffed pig, Dur Pig – or DP for short.

Can we please take a moment to appreciate young Jack’s naming skills? As someone who spent quite a huge chunk of her life dragging around a stuffed dolphin named Delphini – the German word for dolphin is Delfin, which, until 2006, was still primarily spelled Delphin – I felt very represented 🀣

Much like Delphini, DP is objectively kind of disgusting. His color has long since faded to gray, he’s already on his second set of eyes, and Jack’s mom says he smells. But Jack loves DP. DP was there for him when his mom and dad start yelling at each other. He was there for him when Jack’s dad moved out. He was there when Jack’s mom starts seeing someone who is not Jack’s dad, and when Jack suddenly finds himself with an older stepsister who inexplicably hates him. But then, DP is not there anymore. He’s gone, because Jack’s stepsister Holly threw him out of the car window and thought that giving Jack the Christmas Pig as a replacement would make everything okay. Which it obviously doesn’t. So, with the Christmas Pig’s help, Jack decides to travel to the Land of the Lost to rescue DP…

Quite honestly, it doesn’t get much more Christmassy than The Christmas Pig. It perfectly captures that beautiful combination of sadness and joy that only the best family stories have, and even though it is primarily targeted towards younger kids, I think anyone could enjoy this. True, I probably would have liked the middle section even more as I child – as an adult, it was a bit simplistic and predictable, which is why I decided to dock a star – but I still think this is something I could see myself rereading for future Christmases!

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (4.5/5 Stars)

Yup, I now get what all the fuss surrounding this book is about, and pretty much all I have to say on the matter is that I agree with it πŸ₯°

Americanah is a thought-provoking novel that masterfully combines beautiful prose, wonderfully complex characters, and a slow-moving plot into an unputdownable story about immigration, race, and love that I couldn’t help but devour.

It mainly follows two characters, Ifemelu and Obinze, who fell in love when they were teenagers growing up in Nigeria but grew apart when Ifemelu left to study abroad in the United States. Over the course of several years, we watch Ifemelu and Obinze struggle with their ambitions, with their regrets, and with their relationship to their home country. Until Ifemelu suddenly decides to return to Nigeria…

I loved basically everything about this novel. It had the precise type of character-drivenness I absolutely adore, and it made me think about so much! My own experiences as an immigrant. Issues surrounding race and the way we talk about it. How small decisions we make can end up having a huge impact on our lives.

The only criticism I have is that, after all the build-up, the ending felt a bit rushed. The first half was, in my opinion, definitely the stronger of the two, and I would have liked to see a bit more of its multi-layeredness in the latter half of the book as well.

Overall, though, I’d say the hype surrounding this book is definitely justified!

Komm, ich erzΓ€hl dir eine Geschichte by Jorge Bucay (2.5/5 Stars)

(This was translated into German from the Spanish original DΓ©jame que te cuente by Stephanie von Harrach; The title of the English edition is Let Me Tell You a Story: A New Approach to Healing Through the Art of Storytelling.)

To be perfectly honest, I probably never would have picked this up if I hadn’t been outvoted when my friends and I chose our latest book club pick. Self-help books are not usually my thing, and this one was a perfect example as to why. While I could see what it was trying to accomplish, the way it was written frustrated me to no measure, and it was a huge relief when I had finally finished it.

Written by the Argentinian gestalt psychotherapist Jorge Bucay, the book guides the reader through a series of fictional therapy sessions attended by the narrator, a patient called Demian, with the author. In each session, fictional Jorge Bucay tells Demian a story which is supposed to be the key to Demian reflecting on his own life and turning it around.

To be fair, the book did get me to reflect on some things. Some of the stories in it were interesting. I can see it being useful for some people. But it annoyed the heck out of me!!!

First of all, I thought it was really weird that the author was describing his own therapy sessions from the point of view of a patient. I mean, maybe that perspective could have been interesting, but Jorge Bucay mostly used it to point out how fat and all-knowing and mysterious the fictional Jorge was, which seriously creeped me out! Seriously, why would you feel the need to comment on the obesity of your literal self-insert character every five pages?!

Secondly, I absolutely HATED how blatantly the book forced an interpretation of the stories in the therapy sessions on the reader. Instead of letting the stories stand for themselves and letting the reader reflect on what they might mean to them, Komm ich erzΓ€hl dir eine Geschichte was like, “Oh, I don’t think the readers are going to get it, so let me make it abundantly clear that these stories are meant to be metaphors for Demian’s life.” πŸ™„

Yeah, so, unfortunately, this one wasn’t really my thing. Still, I did like the insights it gave into gestalt therapy, so for that reason and the fact that the book might genuinely be able to help people, I’ve grudgingly decided to add half a star to the two-star rating I was originally toying with. I really don’t think this is a bad book; I just don’t think I belong to its intended target audience.

The Bridge of Little Jeremy by Indrajit Garai (2/5 Stars)

This one was, unfortunately, also a bit of a letdown. When a friend of the author’s reached out to me, asking whether I would like a review copy, it sounded so intriguing! I mean, it is set in Paris! It has a mystery! It’s literary fiction about a boy and his dog trying to save their family from being evicted! Everything about it sounded like it would be right up my alley, and I was fully prepared to make up for my cancelled travel plans by taking a mental trip to France and reading a touching, character-driven story.

Apart from beautifully lyrical descriptions of Paris, however, not many of my expectations were fulfilled. While the story was endearing, I ultimately found the characters to be quite bland, and it frustrated me to no end that its narrator, who was supposed to be a twelve-year-old boy, sounded like he was either an encyclopedia or a sixty-something-year-old legal practitioner. Furthermore, while the novel touched upon some very interesting topics, it never went into great depth regarding any of them. I wanted nuanced discussions, but instead, I got one-sided arguments that were brought up over and over again πŸ™„ Also, can someone please explain to me why a boy so ill that he was kept home from school was allowed to strut around Paris day and night?

Overall, this unfortunately wasn’t really my thing. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, but if you’re still interested and would like to know some of my more detailed thoughts, you can check out my full review here – it’s spoiler-free, for a change!

Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters, #2) by Talia Hibbert (3.5/5 Stars)

You can definitely tell when my university stress levels hit their peak because that’s when I start craving mindlessly smutty, fluffy romance novels πŸ˜‚ And right in time for the final thesis defense preparation countdown, Scribd came through and recommended this one! I’d quite enjoyed Talia Hibbert’s Get a Life, Chloe Brown when I read it sometime last year, so obviously, I wasn’t going to turn Scribd down.

Overall, I did have a fun time with this. The main character, Dani, is a PhD student specializing in post-colonial literature – and if there’s anything I related to at the time I was reading this, it was people struggling with their thesis! And our love interest, Zafir, was beyond cute. A hopeless romantic with a tragic past? What’s not to like? And then the two of them somehow get mixed up in the most adorable fake-dating scenario… 😍

Still, I found this to be a pretty average romance book. Nothing about it particularly surprised me, and, if we’re being honest, the only obstacle in this book was Dani’s inability to acknowledge what she really wanted. Also, remember how I said that Talia Hibbert went overboard describing the characters’ physical attraction to one another in Chloe Brown? Well, I kind of want to take that back now, because Chloe Brown was NOTHING compared to Dani Brown. Dani and Zafir pretty much only have to catch a glimpse of, like, a sliver of the other person’s toenail, and then they’re so horny that they’re unable to work for the entire remainder of the day πŸ™„ How on Earth did these people spend almost an entire book thinking they were just friends?

But, anyway, my overall verdict? This one was fun, but ask me about it again two months from now and I probably won’t remember all that much about it.

And that was it for November! As you can probably tell, I had a pretty mixed bag of books, but overall, I’m very happy with what I read considering all the other stuff that was going on in my life. And hopefully, December will be even better! After all, I have loads of time to read now – and desperately need it, too, because I’m 21 books behind on my goodreads reading challenge… 21!! I don’t think I’ve ever been this behind before, and my perfectionistic side doesn’t like it at all 😩 But we’ll see – since I highly doubt I’ll be able to read 30 books during the rest of December, I might just have to lower that goal and give myself enough time to guiltlessly read Rhythm of War and the Liveship Traders trilogy… 😁

Anyway, feel free to tell me down below whether you’ve read any of these books and what you thought of them if you have! And while you’re at it, are you caught up on your goodreads challenge? Do you have any interesting childhood-stuffed-animal-names? Or any special plans for December? I would love to know!

48 thoughts on “What I Read in November 2021

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I’m glad you loved Americanah as well! And I agree with you on Obinze, too πŸ˜‰ Especially after he returned home from England, I felt like so much happened in his life that we could have been told about! But nonetheless, as you say, it was still a great book πŸ₯°

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Nehal Jain says:

    Wow, you play three instruments?! NOW, I need a song!!
    And oh, Dobby can be your new nickname 🀣. Except no-
    And oh your birthday is this month, that’s so cool! When is it?
    And hmm, good to know dani brown was a disappointment, I was getting tired of hearing too many good things about it 🀣.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Haha, I actually play more than three, but only violin and piano at least semi-decently πŸ˜‰ I can’t write music for the life of me, though, so nope, I don’t think you’ll be getting that song from me any sooner than I will from you 🀣
      And no, I can’t be Dobby – that’s already my ex-roommate’s nickname! 😁
      And I wouldn’t say Dani Brown was disappointing, really. It was fun while I was reading it, and I definitely enjoyed it; it just didn’t really leave a lasting impression on me, you know? πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ
      Also, my birthday is pi-rounded-down days before Riddhi’s. I hope that clears things up πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Riddhi B. says:

    Congratulations on being finally free from the thesis!
    And I watched the first season of Lost in Space, never caught up with the second one haha! But maybe I will πŸ€”
    And December is a good month for another reason too, hope you remember that, hahaha

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Line says:

    So happy to hear you have your freedom back! πŸ₯³ And you should definitely lower your Goodreads goal if that means you’ll use your freedom to read Rhythm of War and LIveship Traders 😁 21 books in a month does sound a little excessive, even for you.

    Out of the books you read this month, I’ve only read Oathbringer but that Spanish/German one sounds really weird. It sounds like the author was commenting so much on his own obesity because he wanted someone in his real life to tell him that he isn’t actually fat. Like he was fishing for compliments or something πŸ˜…

    And about the naming of stuffed animals? I’m also quite impressed with DP, but maybe less so with your delphini πŸ˜‚ I’m not that much better. I got one that was a horse when I was about one or two years old, and apparently I named it BR… which is the name of the toystore it was bought from. My mom says she thought I wanted to go back to that store a lot until she realized it was the name of the horse πŸ˜‚ I still do not know what BR stands for.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Yes, I’m kind of favoring the lowering my goodreads goal option myself πŸ˜‚ Especially since being 21 books behind schedule means I would actually have to read even more than 21 books in December – the 21 books I’m behind on plus the books I’m regularly supposed to read this month πŸ˜… Which just isn’t going to happen. But, to be honest, I’m a lot more excited to read Rhythm of War and more Robin Hobb than meeting that goodreads goal anyway πŸ˜‰

      I also think you might be on to something regarding that self-help book πŸ€” It was bizarre! Especially since I don’t think the author is that overweight in the first place. (Yes, I googled pictures.) I definitely would not recommend you read it, but who knows? My two book club friends who study psychology and medicine were over the moon and said it was super interesting from a therapeutic perspective πŸ˜… But our fourth friend also hated it, which made me feel very validated 😁

      And I love that BR story πŸ˜‚ I don’t think I’ve ever named anything for a shop before, so you definitely get creativity points for that. Although I’ll just say that Delphini is a beautiful name! I definitely had good taste as a one year old 😊 The only thing that was not okay is that when my sister turned four and was at the height of her copycat phase, she also wanted a stuffed dolphin. And then she named him Delphinio 😀 Thankfully, my mom was able to convince me that it was actually a huge honor for Delphini to get someone named after him, or we would certainly have come to blows over it πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Line says:

        Well, I think I’m more inclined to trust your opinion over your friends’ on that self-help book, so it’s a pass. I’m not really a fan of self-help books anyway πŸ˜„

        And that sounds like some A+ parenting from your mom right there πŸ˜‚ And yes, Delphini is a very beautiful name.

        And happy birthday!! πŸ₯³ I hope you have an amazing day and get all the books you want!

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          Haha, thanks – I’m glad I haven’t recommended enough mediocre books to you yet to make you mistrust my opinion πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚

          And thank you! Apart from the fact that my siblings and I may have slightly overeaten ourselves on Christmas cookies, it’s been a great day so far 😊 And my parents did come through and got me the entire Liveship Traders trilogy, so I’ll be reading that once I’ve finished Rhythm of War! πŸ€— (I’m currently very thrilled that we seem to be getting more Kaladin again – please tell me it stays that way? πŸ₯Ί)

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Lesserleaf says:

    Congrats on defending your thesis and regaining your freedom!
    I’ve heard lots about Americanah, but haven’t read it yet. Maybe I should — your review makes it sound good, just up my alley, really.
    I’ve got a small stuffed green dog that I’ve had since I was a baby and he’s called “Der grΓΌne Hund” πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thank you!
      And yes, I would really recommend Americanah, especially if you like character-driven books – and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has such a beautiful writing style as well!
      Also, I love your stuffed dog’s name πŸ˜‚ Though I’d say you were already more creative than me simply by adding the adjective. That makes his name sound much more sophisticated, kind of like a royal title πŸ˜‰


  5. Anoushka says:

    Congrats on successfully defeating your masters thesis!! Ahhh, hope you enjoy the 3rd season Lost in space (I didn’t know it was coming out?? I kind of lost track after the first one?)!! I haven’t read any of these books, but Brandon Sanderson books, I need to read. And The Christmas Pig sounds nice, definitely adding to TBR. Hope your December is going great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thanks, Anoushka!
      And lol, one of my brothers and I have almost binged our way to the end of the season, and we’re definitely enjoying it! 😁 It’s so good!! πŸ₯°
      I also agree that you should check out Brandon Sanderson’s books for sure. That man knows how to write epic fantasy at its best! And The Christmas Pig is definitely a cozy holiday read as well 😊
      I hope you’re having a great December, too! πŸ’™


  6. asic says:

    take a hint dani brown seems so fun to read!! i’ve been seeing brandon sanderson books everywhere i go, so i’ll definitely check it out. also christmas pig sounds super fun to read!! lovely post🀍

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rabeeah says:

    Happy birthday for whenever it occurs this month and congratulations on getting through everything November threw at you! Such a short yet endless month, isn’t it?

    Your monthly reads continue to remind me I need to get around to reading The Stormlight Archive (one day!). Talia Hibbert’s series is also on my TBR, I actually have the second book but I’m too set in my ways not to start from book 1 πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thanks, Rabeeah! It really is surprising how much stuff one month can throw at you πŸ˜‚

      And yes, I’d highly recommend The Stormlight Archive! πŸ₯° People had been telling me to read it for years, and now that I have, I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner! And as for Talia Hibbert’s books, I actually like Chloe Brown more than Dani Brown, so starting from book 1 doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me 😁

      Liked by 1 person

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