Book by Book: My November 2018 Reads

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I was off to a strong start in November… and then didn’t read at all for like two weeks. Times like these are when I’m glad I had some buffer in my reading goal progress! The holidays and a bad cold definitely threw me off my reading game, and I’m looking forward to catching up this month and finishing the year (and my goals!) strong.

HERE'S WHAT I READ IN NOVEMBER:


One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

MY RATING: 3/5

MY REVIEW: A quick Saturday read — it really is true to the description of Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars! Twisty and layered and suspenseful enough to keep you guessing and trying to out the pieces together throughout every new chapter and all the details revealed about each character. I wasn’t shocked by the ending but also didn’t totally see it coming, so I’d say that’s a solid YA mystery plot right there!


Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

MY RATING: 4/5

MY REVIEW: This one surprised me. I haven’t read anything by her before and didn’t know what to expect, but was so moved by her reflections on body image, self worth and confidence, healing from trauma and abuse, and taking up space in the world. Watch out for trigger warnings about eating, sexual abuse, etc. This was a bit hard for me to get through! It’s powerful and beautiful though and I resonated so much with her story. Highly recommend this one.


Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan

MY RATING: 2/5

MY REVIEW:  This was a random book sale grab and it was a quick and easy read. It’s similar to books like The Nest, with a strong family focus told from different female perspectives. It’s much more about the characters and their family’s backstory than it is about plot, and I didn’t honestly find many of the characters especially likable or engaging or the story particularly compelling. Not a bad airplane read, but not a winner either.


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The Caregiver by Samuel Park

MY RATING: 4/5

MY REVIEW: I loved this one. It’s such a timely and powerful story of family, what we will do for freedom and security and love, the immigrant experience, what it means to be human when our circumstances are beyond our control… it’s beautifully written and compelling and just GOOD. Some of the present day chapters didn’t quite connect for me though, and I wished it focused primarily on the mother/daughter relationship instead of the daughter and the woman she’s a caregiver for, but overall, I really liked this one.


The One and Only by Emily Giffin

MY RATING: 2/5

MY REVIEW: This was definitely NOT my favorite of the Giffin novels I’ve read— the romantic relationships were super awkward and made me uncomfortable (like, the girl has a crush on her BFF’s dad after he lost his wife…) and the sports focus felt a little forced and overplayed too… I’d read other books by her and pass on this one. (ps— trigger warnings for relationship abuse/rape)


First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

MY RATING: 2/5

MY REVIEW: Okay, this was better than the last Giffin read, but I still wasn’t super into it. I didn’t like any of the characters or enjoy reading about their lives, I found their attitudes and dynamics frustrating, and it wasn’t really uplifting or fun to read at all. Honestly, don't bother with this one.


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Made for These Times: A Start-Up Guide to Calling, Character, and Work That Matters by Justin Zoradi

MY RATING: 3/5

MY REVIEW: Had an hour between my counseling session and an evening event and was glad I had this one in my bag to read! It’s an inspiring and compelling collection of short and easy to digest chapters about how to find your thing and do it well with what you have and where you are. I found it to be a good blend of personal stories and applicable encouragement, and think anyone with a dream to serve or change the world or make something that matters would find this helpful and motivating!

THANKS TO: BookLook Bloggers


When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger

MY RATING: 2/5

MY REVIEW: I don’t actually think I have read the others in the Devil Wears Prada series (but I saw the movie!) and this one definitely can stand on its own, but it just didn’t really impress me much. There was a lot of name dropping and references that felt forced and a little fake and like this book was trying too hard to be relevant… it some slight Scandal vibes (with the main character being a “fixer” for celebs) and some Real Housewives vibes, but mostly it was must pretty “meh.”


To Shake the Sleeping Self: A Journey from Oregon to Patagonia, and a Quest for a Life with No Regret by Jedidiah Jenkins

MY RATING: 3/5

MY REVIEW: I’m such a big fan of Jedidiah Jenkins. His heart of gold, his wild and pure sense of adventure, his openness and honesty, his authentic desire for connection and exploration, his beautifully poetic style of writing… he is one of a kind and I’m glad he finally wrote this book. His Oregon to Patagonia adventure was incredible, the way he tells stories is engaging, and I didn’t want to put this one down. I loved the way he fictionalized and characterized his companion on the journey— it played as a perfect balance to his personal reflections and experiences. I wanted a bit more depth to his reflections and realizations and felt like he left a lot unsaid that would have been powerful to read, though. Parts felt unresolved in the end too, but overall, this one is worth a read!


She Wants It: Desire, Power, and Toppling the Patriarchy by Jill Soloway

MY RATING: 2/5

MY REVIEW: This was an interesting one for me. Out of my comfort zone for sure (which I welcome gladly!) and challenging to get through, as it required a lot of shifting in my established thinking around gender, sexuality, relationships, self-discovery, and family. I’m actually unfamiliar with the author in terms of the shows/movies she’s made, and I think that would have been helpful in going into this one. I still learned a lot and gained empathy and a deeper understanding of what it’s like to come out as trans or queer and how it affects every aspect of life, work, love, etc. There’s so much I still don’t understand or feel totally comfortable with quite yet (and that’s okay!) but I’m thankful for brave writers who share their stories and by doing so help the rest of us learn and grow and evolve, too. Lots to think about after this one!

THANKS TO: Crown Publishing


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