November? Seriously, how is 2020 not over yet?! This year has aged me a decade and not just because I’ve stopped coloring my hair. Even my bookish news is not great—my November reading fell off. There was still some great nonfiction, but my waning attention span (thank you doom scrolling) made great fiction harder to find. I finally let go of trying to read diverse, literary fiction and fell face first into fast paced thrillers.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to say thank you to each and every reader who stops by here to find a book and a special THANK YOU to those who subscribe to this blog and read it regularly. You are why I do this and I’m immensely grateful to you all.
I’m interested (OK, maybe a little obsessed) with royal history. English, French, Russian, what have you. I’ve read a fair amount about most of the big players, but now more fiction is coming out about the women of the times. Tsarina is a novel about Marta, the last wife of Tsar Peter the Great. Born an illegitimate peasant she rose to become tsarina when there was no heir old enough at Peter’s death. This is in the 1700s so I’d never read much about the Romanovs that far back. There was a fair amount of historical detail, but the focus was largely on the sex the aristocracy was having at the time. Lots and lots of sex. Not so interesting to me, but if you’re looking for some spicy reading this winter, give it a try. I quit at 50%.
The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West: Marvelous essays. Review to follow
For a fair amount of the The Hopefuls I was put-off by the main character, Beth. Newly married to Matt, she agrees to move from NYC to Washington D.C. to further his career in politics. Once there, she finds herself adrift without a real job amidst people who are solely focused on politics. In short, she hates everything about D.C.—which doesn’t seem like a stretch to me, but she never stops complaining. She and Matt make friends with another couple, higher up in the power structure and soon enough they’re inseparable.
All of this goes somewhere, but what I appreciated most about the novel was that I came to see it was less about politics and careers and more about marriage. Beth’s attitude started to feel understandable as she watched her husband get swept up following his dream, while she floundered, not knowing what she wanted. All told, if you can relax through Beth’s whining the novel gels into a well-done take on marriage, compromise, and finding yourself.
Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Crosby: Muscle car, grand felony thriller. Review to follow
For whatever, dark psychological reason, I’ve been enjoying true crime this month. I thought The Cold Vanish would be interesting because of its nature. No pun intended—it’s about people who disappear while out in nature, namely national parks. The book jumps from story to story in a disconcerting way. From a marathon runner in Wyoming to toddlers in Tennessee. This, plus the lack of closure for the majority of cases made the book more disjointed and ambiguous than I expected. The book fell prey to my law-of-diminishing-attention and I gave up, but if you enjoy the outdoors, but are also curious as to all the ways a person can disappear then this could be your jam.
How was your November reading? Anything great I should try?
This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I get a small commission (at no cost to you).
*I received a free copy of this book from St. Martin’s in exchange for an honest review.*