November was not such a great reading month for me as I hit the reading slump. Nothing I picked held my attention and I ended up starting and not finishing a lot of books. November was also the month for reading nonfiction so I attempted to read some nonfiction this month. I also picked some books from library after a long time and finished them in November. I also have some library books to read in December.
I read 3 nonfiction books – out of which one was a proper book and rest 2 were graphic novels. I read just one fiction novel this month belonging to fantasy genre. Apart from these, I read four more graphic novels/comics – bringing my total graphic novel/comic count to 6 and only 2 novels. When I am in a reading slump, I gravitate towards comics/graphic novels as they can be read in less time and with less mental effort.
So these are the books I read in November –
- Boxers by Gene Luen Yang – 2 stars – Premise was interesting and considering it is a historical fiction, I expected the characters and story to seem more realistic. I just don’t like anything from this author. I found American Chinese also pretty meh. The focus is more on the magical realism and less on the characterization and plot. I never got attached to any character so did not feel anything when someone died in the book. The artwork was good. This book is about the boxer rebellion in China where the Chinese fought westerners/Christians who were converting Chinese into their religion. There is a war between foreigners and this boxers rebellion group along with help from imperial army. The ending did not make much sense.
What would have worked is writing this as a nonfiction perhaps as I knew nothing about this rebellion. Instead of reading a silly fiction, reading about the real rebellion would have been more interesting.
- Saints by Gene Luen Yang – 1 star – This book was boring and it was about a Chinese girl getting converted into a Christian. Jesus and Joan keep making appearances the way Chinese gods made their appearance in Boxers. Too much of religious mumbo jumbo , not an interesting storyline or characters. Basically there was no point to this story. Meaningless book.
- The Interstellar Age by Jim Bell – 5 stars – Amazing, just amazing. The wealth of information that this book carries and the amount of knowledge that I gained after reading this book is really incredible. Must must read for anyone who is even slightly interested in astronomy and our solar system. I learnt everything about the outer planets and their moons in our solar system thanks to this book. Voyager mission is probably the most difficult mission ever undertaken. I appreciate the efforts of all those who were part of this mission, since even a small error from any one person on the team could have resulted in the failure of this mission. I am surprised at the accuracy with which they calculated every single trajectory, flyby and sling shots around planets. Greatest mission indeed.
The audiobook was narrated by the author himself and it was great.
- The Getaway by Jeff Kinney – 5 stars – This is part of the Diary of a wimpy kid series which is one of my favorite series. I read this book on the day it was released and as always, I loved it. Greg goes to a resort for a vacation this time and the adventures that this family has on that island is hilarious. Manny is at his best as always.
- Lazarus Part 1 by Greg Rucka, Lark, Arcas – 4 stars – I enjoyed this first volume. I was not sure I would like it considering how the comic series looks violent. It definitely was gory and pretty violent but I loved the post apocalyptic setting, Lazarus, family dynamics and politics. Best part was not knowing who was lying and manipulating Lazarus for what reason. She doesn’t seem to be having anyone in her life whom she can trust. She belongs to a family and she is supposed to protect them, but is the family manipulating her? I will only know that after reading the other volumes. I am definitely planning to continue with the series. The artwork was good. If I like the next couple of volumes, I am planning to buy a copy of this book as well.
What I don’t know is what exactly a Lazarus is and why they cannot be killed easily by humans? In one of the scenes, they looked like they had a metal body. Are they AI/robots programmed to kill others and protect family or some genetically modified human? I have plenty of questions after finishing this volume.
The main protagonist is a pretty kickass woman.
- Marbles by Ellen Forney – 3 stars – This was an okay one time read. The first 20-30 pages were like pages from a porn comic with too much of nudity (later I realized that the author herself is a porn comic artist) and portraying author’s bisexual life. I felt really uncomfortable with the book to start with. Later on, the book spoke about the therapy that the author started with a psychiatrist and the medicines that she took as part of her therapy. In between, the author spoke about other famous folks like Van Gogh and Sylvia Plath who also suffered from bipolar disorder. The book in general was little boring and lacked substance.
The only parts of the book that I found interesting were the ones that spoke about bipolar disorder and it’s symptoms, medicines and it’s comparison with other mental illness. Those pages were great but the rest of the book was okay. Anyway, this book did help me understand what bipolar disorder is like so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.
- The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – 3.5 stars – World building was worth 5 stars. Loved the Russian cold winter setting for this book. I also loved the Russian fairy tales and characters from the fairy tales. But what fell short for me was the writing I guess. The story was interesting and I also liked the characters but because of the writing style, I got bored sometimes and in few places, I was completely hooked to the book.It started out really well and I loved the beginning. Once the priest came into picture bringing religious twist to the story, I got bored and was on the verge of DNFing the book. Then it got little interesting but I didn’t like the way conversations about mundane stuff would take pages and also the descriptive writing sometimes was too much to handle. Also the plot was all over the place. I had no clue what the book was all about until I had read 2/3rds of the book or so.Overall, a good one time read. I don’t think I will read this book again.
- The Fowl language: The struggle is real by Brian Gordon – 5 stars – I love these comics a lot and find them relatable as a parent. I wanted to have a copy of these comics as they are absolutely hilarious and also want to support the artist.
- The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Sloot – I am still not done with this book but almost done as I just have few chapters left. I am listening to the audiobook version and it is interesting, though some parts were boring. I will do a review once I am done with the book.
I don’t have a December TBR but I am planning to read one or both of these for Christmas –
So what did you read in November and what are planning to read for Christmas?