Dr Alice Violett
Book thoughts and PhD-related posts

What I read in November 2019

November has been a busy month, both book- and life-wise. I had lots of reservations come in at once, many of which were brand new books with queues on, so they jumped straight to the top of my TBR (that’s my excuse for not reading all the books I said I would this month, anyway…). I’m not letting myself make any reservations on titles that are already available until January, by which time I’ll have hopefully cleared the decks a little.

I read 11 books around an intense Information Architecture (IA) project at work, a book pre-launch dinner for local booksellers and bloggers (an awesome night that I talk about in my latest book review), and a Halestorm gig (NGL I’m still buzzing from it four days later). Oh, and a day on the library frontline, and my monthly writing group.

The Sun Sister, The Light Years, Ninth House, Starve Acre

The Sun Sister, by Lucinda Riley. I love this series because the stories are so interesting and wide-ranging, with lots of action and social/women’s history.

I’m glad, though, that Electra has a less rose-tinted view of Pa Salt than her sisters. It’s taken a while for one of them to raise that it’s maybe a little weird and selfish for a rich single man to adopt babies from all over the world to fulfil his fantasy of having seven daughters named after the Pleiades, then be largely absent due to his mystery job while they’re brought up by the housekeeper and sent to boarding school with no knowledge of where they came from. I’m looking forward to seeing some questions answered in the final book next year! - 4.5*

The Light Years, by Elizabeth Jane Howard. First part of a family saga in the same vein as Elizabeth Goudge’s Eliot Chronicles. It features similar tropes (men damaged by war, women frustrated by the limitations placed upon them by society/marriage/motherhood but nonetheless judging others with similar issues, an incredibly selfless and helpful unmarried daughter, children having their own separate society and concerns to name just a few) but - having been written 50 years later - is much darker, as the characters get to have sex, be lesbians, and overstep the mark in the creepy father/daughter relationship - 4*

Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo - 4.5*

Starve Acre, by Andrew Michael Hurley - 4*

Freak Like Me, Every Dead Thing, Shadow and Bone, Confessions of a Bookseller

Freak Like Me, by Malcolm McLean - 5*

Every Dead Thing, by John Connolly. The trouble with crime novels set in America is that they can be a bit… gunny. But I’ll persevere with the series in the hope it becomes more spooky, like Connolly’s Nocturnes short story collections, which I really enjoyed - 3*

Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo - 4*

Confessions of a Bookseller, by Shaun Bythell - 5*

Murder by the Minster, Dark Matter, The Lost Ones

Murder by the Minster, by Helen Cox. A quick and enjoyable read that plays slightly distressingly fast and loose with police practice and arrest procedure - 3.5*

Dark Matter, by Michelle Paver - 4*

The Lost Ones, by Anita Frank - 5*

Looking ahead…

What a Carve Up!, How It All Began, Mindf*ck, Who Did You Tell?, The Raven King

I know I keep saying I’ll read certain books each month, and usually don’t achieve it, but I really have to read these books this month. I’ve renewed What a Carve Up!, How It All Began and The Raven King six times each (at seven I have to return them and get them out again, which feels like some sort of failure). It’s not that I haven’t wanted to read them, it’s just that other titles have arrived and taken precedence.

Similarly, I need to read Mindf*ck: Inside Cambridge Analytica’s plot to break the world by pink-haired whistleblower Christopher Wylie because it has a reservation on it. It was me who asked our stock librarian to buy it, though he didn’t respond to my joke about using it to learn how to manipulate our Facebook fans into donating to the library service… anyway, it looks really interesting, if rather scary.

I picked up Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara at the pre-launch dinner in her honour mentioned at the top of this post, and I really want to read it and review it in time for its release in January!