Well that was embarrassing. I hit the reading slumps HARD this month for one reason or another and ended up reading less than I did even in August, though it at least wasn’t as bad as it was in April. It would be less accurate to say that I lost my reading wrath and more accurate to say that I had no reading wrath. And on that note, I am officially scrapping the monthly TBRs because obviously when we get right down to it they don’t mean a damn thing.
Also as you can clearly see I don’t have a featured photo this month and I’m not even remotely sorry because I’m still in a mild post-holiday slump and I am officially out of excuses.
November Reading Stats
- Dearly – Margaret Atwood
- The Lost Queen – Signe Pike
- Wicked / Son of a Witch – Gregory Maguire
- Gideon the Ninth – Tamsyn Muir
- Spy x Family 3 – Tatsuya Endo
- Catherine, Called Birdy – Karen Cushman
Total Pages Read: 2,347
A full review of Wicked / Son of a Witch is pending. I enjoyed Wicked. I did not enjoy Son of a Witch, and I have decided that Gregory Maguire is not for me. I like his ideas, but I couldn’t get past the rambling. On the bright side, Dearly was the first poetry collection I’ve read all the way through in quite a while, and it was astounding. I recommend it to anyone into poetry, reflections on life and death and loss, and zombies. No, really. I’m not sure why I haven’t read any of Atwood’s poetry, given the frequency with which I rave about her fiction, but I will definitely be looking into the rest of it. The Lost Queen was another good find, and I’m planning to read the sequel if it ever arrives at the library. I capped off the month by finishing Catherine, Called Birdy, which I reread in tandem with Lori in an effort to fix her unfavorable memories of one of my most beloved childhood books. Did I succeed? The answer to all that and more is in her November reading wrap-up.
And, now that we’ve got the pleasantries out of the way, it’s time to talk about my favorite book. If this month has one saving grace, it’s that GIDEON THE NINTH WAS FUCKING AMAZING. OH MY GOD I AM STILL FREAKING OUT ABOUT IT AND NOW I NEED TO GET STARTED ON HARROW THE NINTH. I am of course going to have a full-blown spoiler-ridden review of Gideon, but that’s a ways off because I haven’t written it yet and in the meantime I neeeeeeed to talk to somebody about this book or I will explode. It was funny, irreverent, profane, and full of necromancers. It was literally the book I wish I had written, only I don’t really think in sci-fi so maybe it’s just as well Tamsyn Muir got to it first. I have no idea why there are people out there who don’t like it. (If you’re one of those people, don’t enlighten me. I don’t give a flying fart.)
Gideon holds an extra special place in my heart because it also happens to be the hundredth book I finished this year. I may whine about “only” finishing six books and 2,347 pages, but, placed in context against the beginning of 2020 (i.e., that point in time where I thought for sure I’d only make my 60-book reading goal with the help of mangas), November actually doesn’t look so bad. For sure it’s a fuck of a lot better than January, when I read 1,339 pages and finished six books (five of which were mangas) and still said “AWWW YISSSSS.”
I give up. November was obviously a disaster, so December is going to be a free-for-all.
The Burning God
Current rating: 5 stars. I scored this a couple of days before it was supposed to be released (really appreciating BN’s habit of putting out new books ahead of their release dates because I don’t really have time on the weekdays to scoot out to the store to grab new book drops) but then immediately squandered my good fortune because as of this writing I have only gotten to page 110. I literally had to check my goodreads just now to see what fucking page I’m on. I know. Headdesk. This is what I mean when I say I’m slumping hard, because this book is SO GOOD. The Poppy War was good, The Dragon Republic was better, and The Burning God so far has been amazing. Kuang just keeps getting better and better, and I can’t wait to see how this ends. I’d better get on that.
Current rating: 4 stars. This is another new release, and the first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy. I am currently smack dab in the middle of this one, in the most literal possible sense of the word. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I like it and it goes by really quickly. Black Sun is narrated in turns by Serapio, a young man who summons shadows and talks to crows; Naranpa, the Sun Priest, whose efforts to unite her community have so far been met with insubordination and assassination attempts; Xiala, a boat captain who was thrown in jail for sleeping with the wrong woman, and who is currently charged with delivering Serapio to his destiny; and Okoa, a warrior who rides on the back of a giant crow specifically bred for that purpose, and whose mother has just died under suspicious circumstances. All of them are hurtling towards the next eclipse, which is coming up in the next 20 days, and which will affect all of them. So far the story and the characters have all been very interesting; I love the setting, and I’m excited to see how this all resolves. I do wish there were some more in-depth explanation of the other gender(s). Most of the characters are either male or female, but Naranpa’s best friend/ex-lover, Iktan, is non-binary, and uses the pronouns xe/xir. I would love to learn more about Iktan’s identity, and am hoping this will be explained later. So far all we’ve gotten is the pronouns, and it’s made me curious. Iktan is the only character thus far to identify as xe/xir. Are those pronouns unique to xir, or do they refer to any person who doesn’t identify as either entirely masculine or entirely feminine? Do they have anything to do with Iktan’s rank in the hierarchy of the celestial tower? Are there other non-binary genders, or is this the only one? I’m hoping to finish this no later than tomorrow (because it’s been sitting on my nightstand for a week omg I’ve been so bad about reading it seems like it’s been longer than that), so I guess I’ll find out soonish.
The Thirty Names of Night
I haven’t actually started this one yet BUT IT FINALLY ARRIVED YESTERDAY AND IT’S NEXT ON THE LIST. If you’re sick of hearing me gush about this book you’d better buckle up because this is one of my five-star predictions (literally just learned that was a thing this morning so I thought I’d give it a try) and I fully expect to be shedding buckets of tears over the characters, the writing, and the Unfortunate Events that are no doubt going to take place between these covers. Also I had to take a picture of it because it’s gorgeous:
Funny story: I had preordered Thirty Names out of what turned out to be an overabundance of caution, but was very very sad when it showed up early on BN’s shelves and I had no natural reason to buy it. I haven’t completely lost my reason and at this point in my life am not into needlessly purchasing extra copies of books I already have, so I ultimately decided to leave it where I saw it and kicked myself all the way home for giving in to preorder panic. (I really did not want to take chances with this one. That is literally all I have to say in my defense.) I did toy very briefly with the idea of buying it anyway and then canceling my preorder, but in the end I stuck it out because I wasn’t sure if it had already been shipped or not and it finally did get here so I’m happy :’)
Since the monthly TBRs are a bust, let’s do this instead: I’m going to guess which books will wheedle five stars out of me this month. From the top:
- The Burning God – R.F. Kuang
- The Thirty Names of Night – Zeyn Joukhadar
- Harrow the Ninth – Tamsyn Muir
- The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E. Schwab
- The Forgotten Kingdom – Signe Pike
Miscellaneous Reading News
This should already be fairly obvious from the number of times she’s shown up on my blog, but Lori and I got a full-on bookmance going, which basically means we buddy-read like nobody’s business, stalk each other’s blogs, and occasionally send each other books. (Have I mentioned how much I love having book friends? I LOVE HAVING BOOK FRIENDS.) This week Lori, who is a wonderful human being in addition to being a fantastic book buddy, sent me this for Christmas.
ASD;JKFLFGHPH brb freaking oooooouuuuuuuutttttttt!!! I’ve never read V.E. Schwab but I’ve been intrigued by Addie LaRue since it came out in October, (1) because the cover is gorgeous and (2) in slightly less shallow news, I have heard a lot of good things about this book and about V.E. Schwab in general and I also read a few tweets where she was talking about the misogynistic idiots she’s had to deal with throughout her career and it really made me want to support her. I’m super excited about this, and if we’re being perfectly honest I’m probably going to boot one of my 2020 TBRs off the list because I want to read this right NAAAAAOOOOOOWWWWWWW.
Also, I don’t know who needs to hear this, but if you’re on the fence at all about getting a BN gift wrapped, they do a pretty good job. Just saying.