What I Read – November 2021


Nostalgia is Heartless Sarah Lahey (She Writes Press, 2021)

We Run the Tides – Vendela Vida (Ecco, 2021)

I hope this finds you well – Kate Baer (Harper Perennial, 2021)

Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch – Rivka Galchen (Harper Perennial, 2021)

Out of the Sun – Esi Edugyan (Anansi, 2021)

Obasan – Joy Kogawa (Penguin, 2016)

The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty – Vendela Vida (Ecco, 2015)

These Precious Days – Ann Patchett (Harper, 2021)

Did Not Finish:

Glorious, Frazzled Beings – Angelique Lalonde

I was excited about this book, which was shortlisted for the Giller Prize. I love short stories and am usually willing to be quite forgiving toward them. I read the first three stories in this collection before giving up. Each one lacked a strong character or central plot point for me. I needed at least some dialogue or some reality point to anchor on before Lalonde took me into her fantastical realm but none of the 3 had what I needed.

Currently Reading:

Gentlemen of the Road – Micheal Chabon

Hope in Times of Fear – Timothy Keller

The Most Wonderful Time of All Years – Darrell W. Johnson

Palmeres – Gayl Jones

2021 Goals:

Books Read: 69/100

Books Reviewed: 58/69

Asian-Canadian Literature Challenge: 5 (Obasan has bumped me up to 5!)

A Virtuous Reading Challenge: 5/12 (I’m counting my reading of Little Pilgrim’s Progress for this one, as I explained in my review, even though I don’t count it for my overall reading this month.)

Current TBR: 221 (previously 225! Woohoo! Down by 4!)

Other Reading:

We finished reading the first half of Little Women with our girls at bedtime and decided to pause before continuing with the second half. Growing up, my copy of Little Women was only this first part and it wasn’t until I was a little older that I read Part 2 in its own book titled Good Wives. I think this isn’t a bad way to do it as the second part has more to do with marriage and being grown up and my kids are still young. We read The Adventures of Miss Petitfour by Anne Michaels, which Pearl especially loved. We are now reading The Secret Garden at bedtime. I also read Little Pilgrim’s Progress by Helen L. Taylor to them, though not as a bedtime book.

My Read the Bible in a Year plan is coming to an end. This month I finished: Ezekiel, Daniel, John, Haggai, 1 John, Zechariah, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Malachi. I am finishing the year now with the books of Job and Revelation.


I’m pleased with the results of November’s reading. 8 books is pretty good for me this year. I’m not going to hit my year target but that’s okay. November had a lot of new books – I always get excited with all the new fall releases each year. Ann Patchett and Esi Edugyan are both automatic reads for me so I was excited to get my hands on their books. I liked reading my first book by Vendela Vida so much that I went straight to the library to see what else they had from her and read 2 in one month. And I’m glad that I finally read Obasan which is a Canadian classic. I wish it had been assigned to me in high school. I hope/plan to still get reviews out for Out of the Sun, Obasan, The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty and These Precious Days but some may not show up here until the new year. It was a good reading month.

What’s Next:

If I’m being realistic, December is probably not going to be a huge month for reading in our household. Pearl will be off school in a couple of weeks and we’ll be travelling to spend time with family, as well as having family visit the Coast. The lead up to Christmas is always full of fun things and I love this time of year. I have learned to enjoy it and not worry so much about reading targets. Some books I would like to read in December are:

Ghost Forest by Pik-Shuen Fung (This is on hold for me at the library so I should be reading it soon.)

26 Knots – Bindu Suresh (a short story collection that’s been on my TBR for a while, I found a used copy)

Jack – Marilynne Robinson (I bought this book when it came out because I love Marilynne Robinson and the world she created in Gilead but I still haven’t read it. It strikes me as a good, contemplative read for the holidays.)

The Shadow King – Maaza Mengiste (I already have this out of the library but haven’t picked it up yet for some reason.)

The other thing I’m looking forward to in December is the return of the Annual Karissa Reads Books Literary Awards, where I look back at my favourite books of the year. More on that later this week!

6 thoughts on “What I Read – November 2021”

  1. Ooh, looking forward to this year’s Karissas! I didn’t realise they now consider Little Women and Good Wives to be the same book – they were definitely separate when I was a kid. Too bad your TBR is still so high – I suppose some people just don’t have the willpower to get it down below 200… 😉

    1. I’m not sure when the two books were put together or even if they are always published as one now. The copy I bought for Pearl has them as Part 1 and Part 2.

      I was sure the TBR had gone up again so at least I’m slowly picking away at it!

  2. I haven’t bought Jack yet – I absolutely love Gilead and Lila, and I am planning to read Home over the next month or so. As you say, hopefully a good and thought-provoking read for the festive season! I also really love Tim Keller’s writing (and teaching), but haven’t read Hope in Times of Fear – if you review it I will be interested to hear what you think.

    I think Little Women and Good Wives are still sold separately in the UK (or at least they were as recently as 20 years ago. Which I guess is no longer that recent).

    1. We’ll be away over Christmas and I think Jack will be the book I bring with me. Keller is probably my favourite living Christian writer. This is his most recent book and so far seems very fitting in our current world. I do plan to review it when I’m done.

      I read Alcott as two separate books when I was a kid (so more than 20 years ago) but the copy I have for my girls puts them in one volume divided as part 1 and 2. No mention of “Good Wives”, which is a pretty dated title! I’m not sure if that’s how all editions do it now or just this one.

  3. I had the exact same issue you had that led me to DNF a book! It was supposed to be a horror short story collection, but things were ethereal and slippery, and I couldn’t tell what was going on with who. And then I was about 3-4 stories in and said NOPE.

    I have a couple of Christmasy books coming up: Miss Claus by J.R. Hart and The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd, which I believe is a book about Jesus and this young woman who hangs out with his family?? Biscuit picked it.

    Can I make a book recommendation for the girls? Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White (author of Charlotte’s Web) is an amazing story about communication and literacy, but it’s very warm and lovely and excellent for kids. I loved it, and it’s a classic.

    1. Yeah, sometimes a short story collection has some stories that are better than others or that you click with better as a reader. But after 3 or so, I think you can have a good sense whether or not you’re the right reader. And I wasn’t the right reader for this collection.

      Oh, I’ll be curious as to your thoughts on the Sue Monk Kidd. I haven’t read it and I’m generally kind of wary of novels that feature Jesus but I’m still intrigued.

      You can always make book recommendations! We have read Trumpet of the Swan actually. I guess it was last year when I wasn’t sharing what we read at bedtime. It was fun and they liked how goofy it was with the swan flying around with so much stuff hanging off his neck! We also read Stuart Little but none of us really enjoyed it as much.

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