What I Read – November 2020


Monday was a Simpler Time: Reflections on a Pandemic

Waiting for a Star to FallKerry Clare (Doubleday Canada, 2020)

Halfbreed – Maria Campbell (McClelland & Stewart, 2019)

He Must Like You – Danielle Younge-Ullman (Viking, 2020)

Did Not Finish:

Flights – Olga Tokarczuk

I grabbed this one off a library display shelf (because I never have time to browse when I’m with Rose) on a whim but with confidence because I loved Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead. But this book just didn’t work for me. I think it was the tiniest bit because it’s all about travel with a main character who is permanently on planes, in airports, and visiting new places, and that just feels very strange and distant and hard to relate to in the time of COVID. But the main issue for me was simply the lack of plot. There are stories and hints of stories but nothing came together cohesively and I gave it up on page

Everybody Always – Bob Goff

I actually received this as a gift and thought it might be an uplifting read for lockdown. It take some thought to put my finger on what wasn’t working for me but here’s what I came up with: 1) Goff is far too enamoured with his own quirkiness and this is something that never works for me in books, especially non-fiction. I’m sure Goff is a great guy, a good neighbour, and a caring man to know in person but I found all his quirky activities annoying to read about. Okay, so you throw an annual neighbourhood parade. Let’s move on. 2) The book’s message is Love Everybody, All the Time and this is one I absolutely agree with. It is at the core of the Christian faith – “Love your neighbour as yourself” – and I believe it is a message that should be spread. I was disappointed though that the book never went deeper than that. Goff is a Christian but there’s very little in terms of Biblical reference or theological challenge. I think there’s definitely a readership out there for but it wasn’t doing much for me.

Currently Reading:

A Book of Good Stories – ed. G. Fred McNally

I picked this book up in a second hand book shop in Powell River in the summer. Originally published in 1934, it’s a short story collection designed for high school students with the hope it will be “an inspiration to further reading of this type of literature”. Not sure yet if I will do a full review of this book but it has proved a nice way to keep me reading through a bit of a slump.

2020 Goals:

Books Read: 85/100

Books Reviewed: 74/75

Current TBR: 196 (previously 187)

What’s Next:

November was kind of a weird month. Close to the beginning we went into a two week lockdown, limiting all of our social interactions while keeping schools and most businesses open. A week later that lockdown was extended a further two weeks (until December 7th) and it remains to be seen what will happen after that.

I also turned 35 in November. For months I’d had a good hunch that with my birthday coming in the middle of a cold and rainy COVID autumn, it was unlikely to be the year for much celebration. Lockdown squashed most of the small things I had hoped to do but I was still well-celebrated by Peter and the girls. We had a quiet dinner at home; Rose and I made a cake and I let the girls decorate it 100% on their own. On the weekend, we did some off-roading and found some snow to play in and that night Peter and I ordered in food after the. girls went to bed and had an at-home date. I feel fortunate that these are my people and this is my life.

December is very much up in the air right now. Last year, I only read one book in December, what with travelling for holidays and working extra hours and a flu that went through our household. Chances are good that this year will involve a lot less of all of that but it remains to be seen if that translates into extra reading time. As such, I am keeping my expectations low. There is a copy of Say Nothing waiting for me at the library but other than that, I plan to focus my attentions on my own bookshelf and perhaps work through some old TBR titles. We shall see…

Stay tuned though because in December I will be doing my 3rd Annual Karissa Reads Books Literary Awards. This is my way of looking back at my top reads of the year and I am excited to do it again.

11 thoughts on “What I Read – November 2020”

  1. That 1934 collection of stories for high school kids sounds interesting. Even if you don’t review it, I’d love to read a reflection sort of post on how the stories differed from what you read in high school.

    And welcome to the 35 club! There are a few of us there: me, Anne, and Jackie. 1985 was a solid year, lol.

    1. I think I will try to do a little review because it was pretty interesting to see how it clearly wouldn’t be a book used in schools today.

      And thank you! 1985 was a good year indeed!

  2. Sorry to see Flights didn’t work for you, that’s one I’ve been looking forward to for the same reason, though I can certainly understand giving it up for a lack of plot and an excessive of travel in this of all years! And I’ve also got a copy of Say Nothing on its way to me so I’m excited to see your thoughts on that book if you get to it. I hope December will be a good month for you and your family, however you end up spending it!
    And last but not least- Happy Birthday! That looks like a truly magnificent cake, and it sounds like you found some great ways to make the day special even in these strange times. 🙂

    1. I could see Flights being a book I try again in the future so I would say you should still give it a read. Say Nothing is not a book I would have picked up on my own but I’ve seen many rave reviews so I’m looking forward to it.
      The cake was fun! They loved doing it. In the end, there was so much frosting that it was really too sweet for me (and I have a major sweet tooth!) but worth it for the excitement!

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