Slow reading month, November. I’ve started stitching Christmas cards and test-baking/cooking foodie gifts. I’m in the process of forcing some balance between editing Writers Bloc and my normal reading patterns. After a month of it, I feel like I’m starting to reach some kind of sweet spot. I also spent a large portion of November reading (but not finishing) Game of Thrones, in preparation for meeting George RR Martin. He was wonderful, and I pretended I’d read more than half of the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire.
I finished reading Murder In Mississippi for KYD Book Club. I’m not much of a true crime reader – in fact, I’ve got some on my shelf but I’ve never given it a shot, not even Truman Capote, which I know is something I should have read. Anyway, I jumped into Murder In Mississippi pretty innocent, I guess. And I loved it. I’ve always enjoyed watching John Safran on TV (in a hand-over-mouth, ‘Oh, he didn’t!’ type way), and probably brought a lot of this with me to the book. Safran makes a loveable, if highly self-conscious and flawed, guide through racist Mississippi. He looks into the murder of a white supremacist by a young black man, and I found myself in the palm of his hand. Red herrings, dead-ends, disappointments and surprises all got me. Murder in Mississippi is well worth a shot.
I also finished reading Marbles, by Ellen Forney. I’ll post a longer review of this one soon.
Loads of great books published this month, and I only bought the following few: Nick Hornby’s got a book out that talks about his books column, called Stuff I’ve Been Reading. I guess it’s kind of similar to what I do here. I look forward to reading it, and hopefully getting some insight to what could work better here.
Ruth Field’s Run Fat B!tch Run is a hilarious, no-nonsense approach to getting off the couch and into your runners, which came along at just the right time for me as I trained for my first 5km run last year. She’s got another one out now, Get Your Sh!t Together, which employs the same straight-talking Grit Doctor that the first book did. I look forward to abandoning multi-tasking and list-making, and getting my shit together. …When I actually get around to reading it.
The Best Australian series came out at the beginning of November, too. I’m chuffed to see mentor-man Laurie Steed’s story The Knife in this collection. He’s done amazing work this year, and Best Australian Stories really tops it off. BAS now sits next to my study chair, and I’ll be working through story-by-story before the end of the year.
I was pretty stoked to find a copy of HHhH by Laurent Binet at my local Salvos. (I’ve said it so many times, I’ll say it again: Kew Salvos for books. Do it.) Picked it up for $3.99, and as I walked out the door I noticed the “Reading Copy” notice down the side of the book. It looks like not everyone has the squirmy feeling about giving reading copies to op-shops that I do.
Speaking of reading copies – managed to swindle myself a copy of Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing. I’m really looking forward to this: on picking it up, it looks totally disjointed and unreadable. But then you start reading, and notice that half-sentences and fragmented thoughts kind of swirl and accumulate. No sentence by itself makes a great deal of sense, but working with all the words around it, the prose here makes deep impressions in a cumulative way. It’s a debut novel, and this is such a brave way for a debut novelist to write. It’s not safe at all. And I can’t wait.
I was also sent a copy of Kristen Krauth’s Just_a_girl, which has been getting good reviews.
McSweeny’s 44 finally emerged from my post-box too, after delays at the printers, then delays sending, then delays receiving. It’s mine now. Mine.
I got along to the Hardie Grant book sale last week, and managed to limit my spending to Christmas gifts for others, and one book for myself: Dave Eggers’ latest, The Circle.
So, the verdict for November: so much more came in than went out, and I didn’t really notice this until I started writing this post. But I feel excited about all the great reading I’ve got lined up!