Goodbye, November, hello, December! Did anyone else find November to be a rather placid month? It went a bit faster, but as I age I always think that. I just can’t remember anything extra good or bad that happened—which is great, right? My reading felt the same way as I bounced between thrillers and literary fiction. A lot of enjoyable reading, but very little that wowed me.
Along those lines, to anyone new to The Gilmore Guide, it may seem that I’m always cranky in my monthly recaps because the books highlighted often get low ratings. Yes, I may be cranky without provocation, but not when it comes to books. I write longer reviews every week of books I loved (and link to some of them in this post). The end of the month post is quick reviews, mostly books I didn’t like, because I don’t have as much to say about them, but still want to keep readers informed. I save my creative energy for the books I want everyone to read.
I’m almost afraid to write this because so many people I know who listened to this loved it. I DNFed Greenlights. I listened to it and while McConaughey has a great voice, his folksy, hard-won “wisdom” did nothing for me. I admire someone who can be completely comfortable in every single choice they’ve made throughout their life, but it came off as cocky and rationalized. Granted, I gave up while he was finishing college so maybe his self-confidence was tempered with a bit of humility later, but I didn’t care enough to find out.
Tell Me How to Be by Neel Patel: An Indian American mother and son come back together after the father’s death to empty out the family home. Review to follow.
Abbi Waxman is firmly ensconced in the narrow niche of ‘go-to-authors-I trust-for-comfort-without-sweetness’. I loved The Bookish Life of Nina Hill and have now enjoyed a third book of hers, I Was Told it Would Get Easier. It’s about Emily, a successful lawyer and single parent whose daughter Jessica is getting ready to choose a college. They embark together on an expensive weeklong group tour of prestigious schools on the east coast. It’s written from both their viewpoints so brings back a lot of memories of what-is-said and what-is-heard between mothers and daughters. Once again Waxman gave me the reading I needed.
Intimacies by Katie Kitamura: Review to follow
Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult
Published by Ballantine Books
Publication date: November 30, 2021
Jodi Picoult fans may want to hate on me, but I DNFed Wish You Were Here at 10%. The COVID-based premise of a woman opting to go on vacation to the Galapagos Islands as the global lockdowns were beginning should have been a tip-off that this one wouldn’t work for me. Instead, the story is frontloaded with more drama than I could wrap my head around: fiancé can’t go, luggage is lost, she doesn’t speak the language, the island has shut down when she arrives (and she opts not to take the last ferry out). I couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough to keep reading.
The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale: Started this thriller about three friends all in pursuit of a ballet career. Review to follow
I loved Samantha Downing’s last novel, For Your Own Good so much that I thought I ought to go back and read her debut, My Lovely Wife. I’m happy to report that while it was not a great experience it did show me that Downing’s talent is maturing. My Lovely Wife is about a couple who finds killing women enhances their marriage. This premise might waive a lot of people away, but I was curious and as always, November is my month of thrillers. This novel kept me reading, but the portrayal of the husband just didn’t ring true and the plot went off the rails. Downing maintained enough momentum that I finished, but just barely.
That’s all for my November reading. How about you- any great books to recommend?
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*I received a free copy of Wish You Were Here from Ballantine Books in exchange for an honest review.*