Monday, November 29, 2021

What I Read in November


A little romance, a little war, a little nostalgia, a little nonfiction advice, and gorgeous heartbreaking prose. November was a good reading month in la Casa Bryant. 

I picked up Somewhere in Time by Richard Matheson mostly because I've long been a fan of the movie featuring Christopher Reeve. I listened to it as an audiobook, read beautifully by Scott Brick, who got the breathless desperation so key to the story. 

As always seems to happen in these cases, my reading was all about comparing the movie, which I already loved, to the book. 

Luckily, everything I loved about the movie was there in the book: time travel by sheer stubbornness, star-crossed lovers, gorgeous setting, sparkling chemistry, and unapologetically sappy romance. There were some new layers, lending more ambiguity to whether the events happened or were a flight of fancy, and I liked that a lot. 

At the same time (because I'm crazy like that and often read multiple books at the same time), I was reading Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach on Kindle. I picked this one up mostly because I read a book of writing advice by the same author, and wanted to see what kind of work she's able to create using her system. For a book with a lot of military and hand to hand combat scenes, there was a surprising amount of romance in this one. Although this genre isn't my typical cup of tea, I found I really enjoyed it. Enough so, that I was frustrated by the reversal at the end. 

The only thing that stopped me from immediately buying book 2 to see what happens next was sticker shock. I'm a hard sell for ebooks over $5. After all, I don't get a physical object at all. 

I read Black Beauty by Anna Sewell in audiobook/ebook combination, moving back and forth between the two editions.  It's the December pick for my First Monday Classics Book Club, and I'm looking forward to the discussion. I read it with wide-eyed wonder when I was a child, and still found it pretty affecting with my more cynical adult brain. I hadn't realized the full range of politics surrounding care of horses. 

Structuring Your Novel by KM Weiland was suggested by a friend when I mentioned I wanted to try and learn to outline to see if that might speed my writing process. I found some good food for thought within its pages, but didn't get as many a-ha moments as I'd hoped for. Where's my magic bullet, darn it? Reading writing advice books at this stage is often dodgy as most of them are aimed at absolute beginners and I'm a little further along in my path than that, though I still have plenty to learn. 

Everything We Left Unsaid by Ashley Cade is the second volume in a romance series by a woman I know on Instagram. I read and enjoyed the first book, Something That Could Last, last year. While I still ended up cheering for our hero and heroine to get to their Happily Ever After, this one was a little less up my alley, with a large part of the early plot relying on delayed communication. Not my favorite trope. I'm glad I stuck with it, though, and enjoyed watching the next stage of this romance develop. 

I finished my reading month on a high note, like an operatic, break the wine-glass on the table note. So good! 

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell explored an imagined version of Shakespeare's marriage and the death of his son.  The prose was gorgeous, and the narration in my audiobook version by Ell Potter was perfect for the story--calm, unhurried, but with deep currents running beneath. 

This one is in the running for the best book I've read this year. 

So how was your November life in books? Anything wonderful make to the top of your TBR? I'd love to hear about in the comments!

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