November was a very light month for me on the book front. To be honest, the majority of my spare time was spent doing this:
When I had that finished, I started this:
Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner - Freakonomics
This was a Rick O'Shea Book Club pick for November. It reminded me a little of Ben Goldacre's Bad Science but with a lot less wit and a lot more filler. I didn't find it an enjoyable read at all, and found myself skimming it a fair bit. Much as Clarissa didn't actually explain it all, these guys do not "explore the hidden side of everything". I found this really boring.
Aimee Bender - The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
Rose is almost 9. Without warning, she gets a hollow, overwhelming feeling of sadness after eating lemon cake made by her mother. The book follows Rose as she deals with her "gift" but the gift is not the subject of the book. Simply Irresistible this is not (that's probably a good thing) - it's a very strange quirky little tale that focuses more on family relationships than on Rose being able to taste emotions.There's a story arc involving Rose's brother that is just bizarre, but altogether it was a good book and wasn't a taxing read.
Amy Poehler - Yes Please
I enjoyed this. I thought that the idea to bring other people in to tell their opinions on some stories were genius - like her parents' anecdotes about Amy's birth. I didn't start this book as a fan of Amy Poehler, and I'm not sure I ended it as one, I just thought it was a funny, witty book that had a lot of heart without being too try-hard. I will take the quote "Good for her, not for me" to the grave with me, I have thought of it several times since reading the book. This isn't a behind-the-scenes of Saturday Night Live, nor is it Bossypants II. It's just Amy.
Neil Gaiman - The Ocean at the End of the Lane
I got a gorgeous hardback copy of this book last Christmas and to my shame never picked it up until I saw it one morning and it called out to me. I adored it - it's the story of a man returning to his homeplace for a funeral. He visits a spot he used to frequent in childhood, and reminisces about the summer that changed his life, when the family lodger took his own life and set in motion a series of horrible events. It's a beautiful book, I think fans of Coraline would enjoy it.
Andrew Kaufman - The Tiny Wife
Shortly after 3pm on Wednesday 21st February, a thief (dressed like Prince, it has to be said) walks into branch #117 of the British Bank of North America. He doesn't demand money from those inside - instead, he demands to have the item currently in their possession that holds the most sentimental value. As the customers and staff hand over their items, they are unaware of what will happen. What happens is a series of bizarre and unexplained events - the titular character begins to shrink, until she is the size of a car key. Another woman witnesses her lion tattoo jump off her ankle, grow to full size, and chase her. The husband of a third woman turns into a snowman. A fourth woman discovers she is now made of candy. A man's family history literally collapses on top of him. This was an odd book, and a quick read - but nothing was explained. It's filled with metaphors about facing fears, but we weren't told why the thief wanted the items or who he was. It was all a little disjointed and rushed for me, I would have liked a longer book with more explanation and more detail into the individual stories.
The two books I began in November that I'm currently reading are:
David Nicholls - Us
Written from the point of view of Douglas, who has just been told by his wife Connie that she wants to leave him. I'm finding this a hard slog, I don't like Douglas' voice as a narrator. He actually reminds me a lot of Don Tillman from The Rosie Project. I have heard that it picks up though, so I'll stick with it.
Lena Dunham - Not That Kind of Girl
I'll be honest, I know nothing about Lena Dunham. I've never seen Girls and I don't think I've ever seen or heard an interview with the woman. I picked this book up after the recent controversy over supposed "confessions" made in the book, because I had some opinions on it but felt like it was unfair to speculate without reading the book. So far it's okay - pretty standard fare.
One pretty cool book-related thing happened in November - a while back, I reviewed Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng for Little Brown via Netgalley. They recently contacted me to get permission to incorporate some of my review into a graphic as part of a huge twitter drive on the day it was published - it was such a cool thing to be involved in!
If you haven't read the book, I really recommend it. You can see my full review on Goodreads here.
Bring on the Christmas reads! If I ever get the stockings finished........