What I Read: November 2019

Reading Challenge Update

Can you believe we’re down to the last month of the year? I hardly can. There’s one month left to make my reading goal this year, and I think I’m going to make it. I only read 9 books in November, and I have to read 10 in December to hit my goal of 120 this year. It might be closer than I’d like, but I’m hanging in there. Looking forward, I think the main thing I want to change next year is my consistency. I read in fits and spurts, and somehow manage to keep up my totals (don’t ask me how, because I’m not entirely sure myself), but I think I would do better if I made sure that I was reading consistently through the week as well as devouring books over the weekends.

The Books of November
  1. The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott. This historical novel was a take on the sewing factory strikes in the early twentieth century. It was very good, and interesting to veer away from the ordinary subjects that pepper the genre of historical fiction.
  2. Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas. If you’re parenting boys, I highly recommend this book. It was SO enlightening, and encouraging. I need to read through it again and take serious notes… and probably pester my husband by reading aloud the most relevent chapters. Ha!
  3. Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore. Ever read books that you’re a little bit embarrassed to admit you read? This is one of them. It is exceptionally ridiculous romance. Pros: Witty dialogue, interesting historic backdrop. Cons: Predictable, circuitous, and illogical. The characters make the most maddening, flat-out stupid choices, but somehow it’s like a train wreck that you just can’t look away from. I suppose the fact that I read the whole thing is some kind of recommendation, but it’s half-hearted, at best.
  4. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova. Really interesting novel by the same author as Still Alice. I’ve not read Still Alice, but I’ve read enough about it that I probably should. Left Neglected is a thought-provoking foray into the mentality changes that come when your whole world is upended.
  5. Parents and Children by Charlotte Mason. The second book in Charlotte Mason’s home education series. I’ve been reading through them on my own and with a reading group for the past several years and they are just so good. Very insightful and inspiring.
  6. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow. This one is definitely going on my ‘favorite books of 2019’ list. It was very unique, extremely well-written, and I just loved it. I don’t feel like you can put it in a specific genre box. It’s a little bit historical fiction, a little bit steam punk, a little bit fantasy… So fun!
  7. Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline. Parenthood is punctuated by periods of being fairly certain you’re messing everything up. Whenever we hit these stages, I panic and start reading parenting books. To be honest, I don’t think this was the most helpful book I’ve ever read. I did glean some good tips from it, and I like a lot of the ideas for natural consequences, but I didn’t find it very helpful in regards to the younger years.
  8. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. Oh, Jane, Jane… I thought you were one of my favorite authors–can’t-write-a-bad-book-authors–and then I read Mansfield Park. I didn’t read it so much as slog through it. It was painful. The first few chapters were tolerable, but about 50% of the book was painfully boring vascillation on the part of the main character. I read an article after finishing the book that suggested MP was an insightful excoriation of society and our need to be entertained. While I can’t disagree, writing a boring book is thoroughly unlikely to cure or convict society.
  9. Starry Night by Debbie MacComber. Wanted Christmasy, light fiction after finishing Mansfield Park, which is probably further proof of Jane’s analysis. On the other hand, she is, in a roundabout way, the cause of this detour into the fluffy. Back to Starry Night, it perfectly fit the bill. It was light, entertaining, and romantic without being over the top (*ahem* I’m looking at you, Bringing Down the Duke)

And that’s a wrap for November! If you want to catch up on what I read last month, you can find that post here. Onwards to the last month of the year. I do really want to find some cozy Christmas reads, so if you have suggestions, drop them in the comments box!