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Reading wrap-up: November

November has been a slightly strange reading month. Whilst I wouldn’t say I read predominantly less this month, it certainly felt a little slower. Anyway, this month is not only a new month but also the month of Christmas!

While we get closer to Christmas (yay!), here’s what I read in November:

Hollow City and Library of Souls

Continuing my re-read of the Miss Peregrine series, Hollow City and Library Souls were naturally my first reads of November. To be perfectly honest, whilst I enjoyed these books as much as I did the first time, I am struggling to remember the finer details of either my feelings or the plot lines.

Hollow city:

Author: Ransom Riggs
Published: Quirk Books, 2015
Genre (According to Goodreads): Fantasy

Blurb
This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.

Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerising) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.

 Rating: 4/5 stars

Library of souls:

Author: Ransom Riggs
Published: Quirk Books, 2015
Genre (According to Goodreads): Fantasy

Blurb
As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.

They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all. Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience.

 Rating: 4/5 stars

 The Guernsey Literary and potato peel pie society

Having already read this earlier in the year; in July, I knew the plot. However, I was craving the nostalgic and cosy atmosphere. Just as I expected, this did not disappoint – I loved it just as much as I did during the summer.

The Guernsey Literary and potato peelpie society

Author: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Published: Bloomsbury, 2010
Genre (According to Goodreads): Historical Fiction

Blurb
January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

 Rating: 5/5 stars

Map of days

When a new edition to the Miss Peregrine adventures was announced, I had mixed feelings. I loved the series but, to be honest, had only read them once and was happy with how they ended. However, deep down, I knew that I couldn’t leave the series unfinished. I really enjoyed it! There were moments when the story felt a little slow, and I became slightly confused by all the characters and powers they did or did not possess, but on the whole, it was a great continuation on the story and I am very glad that Jacob and Emma’s relationship was addressed!

Author: Ransom Riggs
Published: Penguin, 2018
Genre (According to Goodreads): Fantasy

Blurb
Having defeated the monstrous threat that nearly destroyed the peculiar world, Jacob Portman is back where his story began, in Florida. Except now Miss Peregrine, Emma, and their peculiar friends are with him, and doing their best to blend in. But carefree days of beach visits and normalling lessons are soon interrupted by a discovery—a subterranean bunker that belonged to Jacob’s grandfather, Abe.

Clues to Abe’s double-life as a peculiar operative start to emerge, secrets long hidden in plain sight. And Jacob begins to learn about the dangerous legacy he has inherited—truths that were part of him long before he walked into Miss Peregrine’s time loop.

Now, the stakes are higher than ever as Jacob and his friends are thrust into the untamed landscape of American peculiardom—a world with few ymbrynes, or rules—that none of them understand. New wonders, and dangers, await in this brilliant next chapter for Miss Peregrine’s peculiar children. Their story is again illustrated throughout by haunting vintage photographs, but with a striking addition for this all-new, multi-era American adventure—full color

 Rating: 4/5 stars

The trauma cleaner

Listened to via the audiobook loan app from the library, this was astonishing. I don’t 61k5QtiwLeLwant to say too much but you should definitely experience this book; the life of Sandra Pankhurst. Interspersed with the stories of the people that Pankhurst (and author, Sarah Krasnostein) has met throughout her years as a trauma cleaner, this is a really a heart-rendering biography of the extraordinary Sandra. Very little of her life was easy, and this listen was no different. However, ultimately this is about hope, dignity, and human resilience. The easiest five-stars ever.

Author: Sarah Krasnostein, Rachael Tidd (Narrator)
Published: Audible Studios, 2018
Genre (According to Goodreads): Biography

Blurb
Before she was a trauma cleaner, Sandra Pankhurst was many things: husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, trophy wife. . . But as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home, she just wanted to belong. Now she believes her clients deserve no less.

A woman who sleeps among garbage she has not put out for forty years. A man who bled quietly to death in his living room. A woman who lives with rats, random debris and terrified delusion. The still life of a home vacated by accidental overdose.

Sarah Krasnostein has watched the extraordinary Sandra Pankhurst bring order and care to these, the living and the dead—and the book she has written is equally extraordinary. Not just the compelling story of a fascinating life among lives of desperation, but an affirmation that, as isolated as we may feel, we are all in this together.

 Rating: 5/5 stars

The Lemon tree cafe

From a heavier read to a lighter one that I enjoyed just as much. I went in expecting a warm and cosy family story, and that is what I got. However, this is also a story about support networks, difficult pasts, and allowing yourself to let go and move on.

Author: Cathy Bramley
Published: Corgi, 201
Genre (According to Goodreads): Chick-lit

Blurb
When Rosie Featherstone finds herself unexpectedly jobless, the offer to help her beloved Italian grandmother out at the Lemon Tree Cafe – a little slice of Italy nestled in the rolling hills of Derbyshire – feels like the perfect way to keep busy.

Surrounded by the rich scent of espresso, delicious biscotti and juicy village gossip, Rosie soon finds herself falling for her new way of life. But she is haunted by a terrible secret, one that even the appearance of a handsome new face can’t quite help her move on from.

Then disaster looms and the cafe’s fortunes are threatened . . . and Rosie discovers that her nonna has been hiding a dark past of her own. With surprises, betrayal and more than one secret brewing, can she find a way to save the Lemon Tree Cafe and help both herself and Nonna achieve the happy endings they deserve?

 Rating: 4/5 stars

Burma Chronicles

I was shelving this title at work when I decided to instead bring it home. following Persepolis, I wanted to try another graphic-novel. My Mum and Dad went to Burma before I was, as we say in my family, ‘invented’, but I know nothing about the country. This seemed like the perfect way to expand my knowledge by even just a little bit. I enjoyed this memoir, however, I feel that it was aimed at a slightly more informed audience.

Author: Guy Delisle
Published: Jonathan Cape, 2009
Genre (According to Goodreads): Travel

Blurb
‘Burma Chronicles’ presents a personal and distinctively humorous glimpse into a political hotspot, putting a popular spin on current affairs

 Rating: 3/5 stars

The garden of the gods

47571377_221932735393276_8069998517004795904_nThe third and final instalment in The Corfu trilogy, I was sad to see this series come to end. However, I was very happy that it ended on such a high note. The entire series was brilliant, however, the second slipped from a five to a four-star read. Garden of the gods was just like the others; warm, nostalgic, funny, charming, and warm.

 

Author: Gerald Durrell
Published: Penguin, 2017
Genre (According to Goodreads): Memoir

Blurb
Just before the Second World War the Durrell family decamped to the glorious, sun-soaked island of Corfu where the youngest of the four children, ten-year-old Gerald, discovered his passion for animals: toads and tortoises, bats and butterflies, scorpions and octopuses. Through glorious silver-green olive groves and across brilliant-white beaches Gerry pursued his obsession . . . causing hilarity and mayhem in his ever-tolerant family.

 Rating: 5/5 stars

Courage calls to courage everywhere

This essay was very kindly sent to me by Canongate Books. You can read my full review here.

Courage calls to courage everywhere

Author: Jeanette Winterson
Published: Canongate, 2018
Genre (According to Goodreads): Essay

Blurb
Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere is a timely and inspiring call to arms by one of Britain’s most acclaimed and important writers. Whilst recognising how far women have come in the hundred years since getting the vote, Jeanette Winterson also insists that we must all do much more if we are to achieve true gender equality.

Examining recent women’s rights movements, the worlds of politics, technology and social media and changes in the law, Winterson calls out all the ways in which women still face discrimination and disadvantage. Like the women who won the right to vote, we need to shout up, reach out, be courageous and finish the job.

 Rating: 4/5 stars

Hamilton: Founding father

I ended the month with a return to my current obsession: Alexander Hamilton. I really Hamiltonenjoy reading non-fiction, especially biographies. However, I have real trouble retaining information. This was my third Alexander Hamilton biography, and I enjoyed it just as much as the others. Depth wise, it sits between Ron Chernow’s epic and my first foray into Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton: The making of America by Teri Kanefield. Accompanied by pictures of painted depictions of the time, documents, extracts of Hamilton’s, and his peers, writing, this was engaging and easy to follow. I’m very glad I can add it to my collection, and it was really nice to start seeing things that fit together in my brain!

Author: Marie Raphael and Ray Raphael
Published: Sterling, 2017
Genre (According to Goodreads): Non-Fiction

Blurb
An illegitimate child, born in the Caribbean, who arrived in America as a near-penniless teenager, Alexander Hamilton did not seem to have much in common with the rest of the Founding Fathers. But the audacious young immigrant quickly proved himself in the cauldron of revolutionary fervor gripping the colonies in the 1770s. After making a name for himself in the Revolution as an artillery officer and aide to George Washington, Hamilton became one of the foremost architects of the new United States of America. He wrote many of the Federalist Papers, established the first national bank, and became the first Secretary of the Treasury before losing his life in a duel. In Hamilton, veteran historians Marie Raphael and Ray Raphael (The Spirit of ’74: How the American Revolution Began) explain how Hamilton’s strong personality, quicksilver intellect, and taste for combat played into the contentious arguments over what kind of country the young republic would become. The debate between Thomas Jefferson’s decentralized approach to democracy and Hamilton’s belief in a strong federal government is still being argued today. Vividly written and fully illustrated, including many colorful and rarely seen pieces of art, Hamilton is a powerful testament to one of the most illustrious figures of American history.

 Rating: 4/5 stars

 

What did you read November? Let me know in the comments below.

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