- Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
- Dreamin’ Sun vol. 1 by Ichigo Takano
- In This Corner of the World by Fumiyo Kouno
- I’ll Be There for You by Kelsey Miller
- Fruits Basket Another vol. 2 by Natsuki Takaya
- Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
- The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
- Severance by Ling Ma
- Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
- Beartown by Frederick Backman
- The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht
- The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
- They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
- The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
- Shakespeare: The World as a Stage by Bill Bryson
- A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
- Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman
- Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
- Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson
- Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
- Sweet Blue Flowers vol. 1 and 2 by Takako Shimura
- Orange: Future by Ichigo Takano
- Emma vol. 5, 6, and 7 by Kaoru Mori
- Yostuba&! vol. 1, 2, 3, and 4 by Kiyohiko Azuma
- The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
- Feed by M.T. Anderson
- The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil
- Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
- Horimiya vol. 6 and 7 by Hero and Daisuke Hagiwara
- Kimi ni Todoke vol. 6, 7, and 8 by Karuho Shiina
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
- The Deepest Roots by Miranda Asebedo
That’s books hauled list though… 😑
It was an accident!! All the books from Severance down were purchased at my library’s used book sale! Every November my library holds their annual book sale and it’s one of my most anticipated events of the entire year. I gave myself a budget of $40 and ended up spending only $33 on 15 books! So I can’t even be mad at myself. And it also gave me the opportunity to rearrange some of my shelves(re: the books on my floor in front of my shelf) in order to fit all of those new books! 😈 So really, was buying this many books this month a mistake? Probably. Do I regret? Not right now, at least. Maybe in like three months when I still haven’t read any of them…
Anyway, November was a MONTH. I feel like I didn’t read a single wrap-up (or watch a single wrap-up video) where someone in the book community had a good month, so clearly I’m not alone. That said, I feel like when I’m struggling reading has been my reprieve, so at least my reading month was great. (Actually this was my strongest reading month of the year by a landslide, which is unreal.)
I read 22 books this month, eight of which I gave 5 stars, and eleven books received a 4 star rating. I’m pretty liberal with my 4 star ratings; I feel like many of the books I read will get a 3 or 4 star rating (either I liked it, or I really liked it). I’m generally really good at reading books I know I’ll like which is why I don’t have a lot of books with 1 or 2 star ratings, but this leaves a wide range of books that received 4 stars.
For this month specifically, I gave Feed by M.T. Anderson and The Deepest Roots by Miranda Asebedo both a 4 star rating, but for completely different reasons. I really enjoyed both of those, but at it’s root, I feel like Feed is probably more of a 3 star read, except the audiobook quality was incredible so I bumped it up. I most likely will not include Feed in many future recommendation lists, but I would recommend the audiobook.
On the other side, The Deepest Roots was one of my favorite books I read this month! I thought it was incredibly unique and powerful, and would definitely recommend it now and in the future. I didn’t give it a 5 star rating, because I just felt there was something missing for me specifically that could’ve bolstered the rating.
Some other high-end 4 star ratings this month included Turtles All the Way Down, The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl, and a few manga. I read Turtles All the Way Down on the train on my way to an ~interview~ and was shocked by how much I enjoyed it. John Green is not one of my favorite authors; I’ve always felt like he was always way over-hyped. I read almost all of his books trying to find The One, and Turtles All the Way Down was definitely it for me! This book was definitely written with a lot of intention and care, and while it still had a lot of the typical John Green quirkiness, there were a lot of real moments that I appreciated.
I requested The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl from the library thinking it was graphic novel 😑 and when I went to pick up, it was actually a YA novel! I choose to read this because I included it one of my Down the TBR Holes, and my personal rules are 1) to go with my gut and not look at summaries and 2) to borrow all graphic novels from the library as soon as the pop-up. Clearly this was the perfect mixture for how I could get confused 😅
I was so disappointed that The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl wasn’t a graphic novel, that I was so salty in the days leading up reading this. So color me shocked when I ended up LOVING this! This book came out a while ago, so I’m not sure if this has made the rounds already or not, but I am so glad I ended up reading it and not booting up off my Goodreads TBR that it made me rethink all of these books I’ve already removed… This book was so unique and I loved all the characters and it was so quirky and funny and just a fun, light read. It also takes place around Christmas time, so if you celebrate Christmas or just like to read Christmas books this would be a great book to pick up!
Ok so, I just HAVE to talk about all the great 5 star reads I read but ughhh I just haven’t stopped thinking about them!
I kicked off this GREAT month by reading Pachinko which was GORGEOUS. This was another audiobook I read this month, and it was just beyond beautiful. Seriously if you’ve been putting off reading this this is your signal to pick it up ASAP!! I know it’s long, but if you listen to audiobooks I highly recommend it. The narrator has such a soothing voice, listening to this was almost like listening to a guided meditation. I literally have no complaints about Pachinko, it was so beautiful and perfect and complicated and I just implore you to read it!!!!
I also loved The Great Alone, but in a completely different way. I actually ended up buying it after listening to the audiobook because I loved it so much, and got my non-reader boyfriend to read it in two days, so hopefully that’ll give you a glimpse to how phenomenal this book was. Reading this was such a great stress reliever; I personally thought there were a lot of graphic moments (but I’m weak and have no pain tolerance and a very weak tolerance for hearing about physical pain and any level of gore) and I would literally scream out loud while driving in my car! But who knew screaming was going to be so therapeutic. It was also the type of book where I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I wasn’t reading, which was a fantastic distraction from my real life. I would put a strong content warning on this for domestic violence, PTSD, and lots of blood and gore. This was a really heavy read and I sobbed while reading this. So I definitely recommend this with my whole heart, but it was a lot of emotional work.
All right folks, let’s get into this manga!!
I took part in Manga Madness Readathon hosted by Jade, and while I didn’t complete all the challenges I wanted to in the allotted time period, I ended up reading much more manga throughout the rest of the month since I borrowed most of these manga from the library. I definitely credit all the fantastic manga I read to get me up to this mind-blowing number of books I read (without the manga, I still read 7 books which is a lot and still beats my goal of 6 books per month).
I’ve been reading Emma, Horimiya, and Kimi ni Todoke for a while, reading one volume each month, but this was the first month where I read multiple volumes from each series back to back and it was so much fun. Horimiya is one of my favorite manga series of all-time and I’ve been loving all of the new characters being introduced as the series continues. Kimi ni Todoke is not necessarily one of my favorites but it’s still be an incredibly enjoyable read, and I gave two of the volumes I read this month 5 stars because they broke me!! Emma has always been a great read for me primarily because I’m trash for historical fiction but also because the illustrations in this series is gorgeous!! I am so sad to be almost done with this series 😭
I wrapped up the Orange series with Orange: Future and was pretty disappointed by the epilogue. I didn’t feel like it added anything to the series, but I also didn’t feel like it took anything away. I love Suwa so I ultimately enjoyed this wrap-up to the series, but I also don’t feel like he was the best character to follow in the epilogue.
I reread the volumes of Yotsuba&! I already own this month as well, and it was one of my best decisions. Yotsuba is just such an adorable character and she is incredibly simplistic and curious and there are so many great laughable moments that just broke up a miserable week! I’m excited to continue on reading this series and will definitely be talking about it in the imminent future.
Finally, I checked out Sweet Blue Flowers from my library which was an incredible mistake because I loved it so much that I absolutely regret not buying it and will probably go buy it anyway!! This is already one of my favorite manga series and I’ve only read two (albeit large) volumes. Sweet Blue flowers features one of the only sapphic manga I’ve read in manga but the relationships are so great and the characters and incredibly likable.
It was definitely interesting for me to see how my reading habits this month reflected (or did not reflect) my overall month. I think reading was definitely used a mental break for me this month, but even books that took emotional work for me to read were used as a reprieve. I read a lot of really great books this month which also propelled me forward to keep reading even as my life was falling apart!!!!
I honestly can’t stop gushing about any of the books I read, so if you’ve read any of these can we please talk about them????? Also, if you were one of the many folks who struggled in November, I am hoping your next couple of months are less stressful ☺️