Ah, November. The month where it really starts getting cold in earnest here in Pennsylvania, and where we transition from spooky season to turkey season here in the U.S. Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s hard to avoid references to the holiday and the associated call for gratitude.
This year, I’m feeling that call inward moreso than any desire to gather and celebrate. It’s been the most challenging semester of my career in academia, and though I am grateful for my job in so many ways, I’m also… very tired.
Not surprisingly, I have gotten less reading done this month as a result. As much as I enjoyed Blogtober, it was maybe not my wisest idea to commit to extra reading & writing during such a busy semester. The moment November hit, I hit the reading brakes and pulled out my Switch. It didn’t help that the new Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond game came out this month, and I felt the need to ride that particular nostalgia train.
Still, I did get a few books in this month, so here I am with my monthly reading recap full of book recommendations for your TBR!
(Full disclosure: Book links are Bookshop.org affiliate links.)
One Night on the Island by Josie Silver
Josie Silver’s next book, One Night on the Island, comes out in February 2022. By the grace of NetGalley, I got an advanced copy and was able to dig in early, and oh, am I excited for you all to be able to read this book.
It follows Chloe and Mack as they arrive on a remote Irish island only to discover they’ve both booked the same small cabin. The weather and travel schedules don’t allow for either of them to make a quick departure, and forced proximity ensues.
Following in the footsteps of the beautiful and heartbreaking One Day in December and The Two Lives of Lydia Bird, Silver’s latest delivers all the aching, soul-searching goodness we’ve come to expect. This is definitely my favorite read of the month, and you can read more about it in my review: Josie Silver Delivers Again with “One Night on the Island”
Loving Monsters by Laura Eppinger
Is there any joy greater than receiving a package from a friend? Perhaps, if that package is their book! Laura is a friend from my former life as the nonfiction editor of a literary magazine, and I was absolutely thrilled to receive a copy of Loving Monsters, her flash fiction collection.
This book may be small, but it packs a punch, each piece of flash fiction full of powerful imagery and wit that linger long after you finish reading. It is a masterful collection that brings monsters into their humanity and sheds a light on the monstrousness that lurks within us all.
This month, I also read No Judgments by Meg Cabot, because I discovered it lurking in my Audible library from prior purchases unknown. This book follows Bree, who’s moved to Little Bridge Island to escape her ex and his best friend. Hurricane season arrives, and she decides to stick it out on the island with her beloved cat Gary, but of course, things don’t quite go to plan. It was resoundingly fine and kind of a weird ride, to be honest. Can’t say it’s among my favorites this month or from her wide catalog.
Another audiobook I squeezed in was Rainbow Rowell’s Audible-only released short story, If The Fates Allow. I generally ignore the “free books for Prime members” bit of having an Amazon account but when I saw, in between credits, that I could get this one on audio for free, I went for it. This was a COVID-centric holiday short story with a dash of romance, and I wasn’t quite prepared for that, I don’t think. I was glad it was so short, because we spent a lot of time living with the protagonist’s COVID anxieties and fears, which is, frankly, a bit too on the nose for me still.
I’m also a little over halfway through Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, and I’m really, really enjoying it. I’ve no doubt it would make the best of the month list, had I only finished it in November. Stay tuned for December when I will no doubt finally have a full review to offer.
That’s honestly it for me this month. Like I said, not a heavy one on the reading, though I do hope to kick it back into action with some holiday-themed reads in the coming weeks.
Any spectacular books make their way into your reading life this month? Let me know so I can break my reading slump!
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2 thoughts on “The Best Books I Read In November 2021”
I can’t wait for Josie Silver’s new book. I’ve been so far behind on reading lately it’s not even funny.
It’s so good! I feel like being behind on reading is a trend this past month. You’re definitely not the only one!