We’re nearing the end of the year and I’m currently in the midst of a huge reading sprint toward the finish line of 2022. For some reason, I convinced myself it’d be a good idea to try and reach 100 books read by the end of the year, which means December will have a giant wrap-up (we’re talking 18 books if I’m not mistaken). It’s a dumb, slightly crazy, goal, but I’m having a lot of fun with it, and that’s what it’s all about.
In between all of that reading, there isn’t much time for anything else (besides, you know, work and taking care of myself) – but I still have a November wrap-up to write, so here we are! November was a great reading month! I managed to finish two more books off my list of 10 books to read in 2022, and one of them is going to end up on my list of favourites at the end of the year. I’m also feeling the itch to film a YouTube video again, so there’s a good chance my favourites will be coming to you in the form of a video.
Anyway, enough chatting! Let’s move on to my reviews…
Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper ★★★⭑☆ (3.75)
This was such a fun sapphic Halloween romance! Emmy returns home to the magical town of Thistle Grove after leaving in a heartbroken hurry years ago. She’s not planning on staying long; only until she has fulfilled her duty as the arbiter of an ancient spellcasting competition, and then she’s going back to her non-magical life in Chicago. What she hadn’t counted on was how good it would feel to be back home, with her family and best friend. Add a budding romance with the stunning Talia Avramov to that equation, and suddenly this short visit has gotten a lot more complicated. At the heart of the story lies a payback scheme to get back at her ex Gareth Blackmoore, but that aspect of the novel wasn’t that memorable to me. I loved the moments between Emmy and her friends and family (and Talia), as well as the descriptions of the lovely, magical town of Thistle Grove. The perfect book to read around Halloween.
Finding Home Volume 1: The Traveller by Hari Conner ★★★★★ (5)
This was a reread – I read this for the first time a couple of months ago as a pdf on my laptop, but I caved and got the physical editions as well, because this graphic novel series deserves to be enjoyed in print. Finding Home tells the story of Janek and Chepi, who meet on their travels and decide to travel together. They’re very different people, but there’s a definite connection between them, and this is the story of their slow-burn romance as well as their learning more about themselves. It features quite a few heavy topics (anxiety and trauma being the two major ones), but it does so with such tenderness and love. The art is so beautiful that I want to hang it on my walls and look at it all day. Amazing!
The Deep by Rivers Solomon ★★★☆☆ (3)
I’d seen The Deep floating around on Instagram and BookTube a few times and I’d gotten curious about it so I decided to listen to the audiobook, which is narrated by Daveed Diggs (of Hamilton fame). This novella was inspired by a song called The Deep by Diggs’s rap group Clipping and it tells the story of the water-dwelling descendants of African enslaved women thrown overboard by slave owners. The history of these people is so painful and traumatic that, long ago, they designated one person, the historian, to hold onto all of the memories. We follow Yetu, who is the current historian but doesn’t want to be. The story is quite haunting and the heaviness of the historian’s role comes across very well, but nonetheless, I could never quite connect to The Deep. I think it might have had something to do with the narration: he was great in Hamilton, but Daveed Diggs’s voice was perhaps a bit too monotone for the narration of this novella.
The Brontës: a Life in Letters by Juliet Barker ★★★★★ (5)
I cannot believe I waited over seven years to finally read this book! I bought it in a charity shop in London in 2015 and have been intimidated by it for a long time, but it’s one of the best books I have read this year. It’s a collection of letters written by but also sent to the Brontë family, although it mostly centers around Charlotte, who corresponded with other people more than her sisters Emily and Anne did. These letters, presented in such a brilliant way, paint an extraordinary picture of the lives these women led, much better than any biography could ever do, in my opinion. Charlotte, especially, didn’t hold back in the letters she wrote to her friends, throwing her entire heart and soul into them. I felt for the Brontës as if they were my own sisters and I was quite beside myself when I finished the book, grieving for a family that lived almost 200 years ago. I have no idea whether this book is even still in print, but if you’re a Brontë fan, I highly recommend reading it!
Sensory: Life on the Spectrum by Bex Ollerton (and others) ★★★★★ (5)
I came across this collection of comics by autistic artists about their autism on Instagram and immediately preordered it. It was originally published through the help of a Kickstarter campaign, if I’m not mistaken, but it’s now been traditionally published and I’m so glad that more people have access to it, because this was so wonderful! The comics are ranging in length from only one page to six or seven, and most of them are by different artists. This means that you get to read about the viewpoints and experiences of many different people, which I thought was really nice because autism is different for everyone. I highly recommend this collection if you want to learn more about autism!
Beyond Time: Classic Tales of Time Unwound by Mike Ashley (editor) ★★★★☆ (4)
This short story collection was another book on my list of 10 books to read in 2022 and I enjoyed it a lot! All of the stories in this sci-fi collection are about time travel and together with the introduction they map out the evolution of time travel stories. The oldest story is a bit of an outlier (published in 1881), but most of the other ones are from the first half of the 20th century, with a few being published in the 1950s. I love sci-fi and the concept of time travel so I had a lot of fun reading these stories. Some were better than others, of course, but they were all quick reads and a few of them were truly fascinating. The introduction was really interesting as well, and managed to make me really excited to read the stories featured in the anthology.
The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor ★★★★☆ (4)
My final book of the month was the last book in the Binti trilogy, which is a series of sci-fi novellas I’ve enjoyed immensely. This last book was slightly longer than the first two and although I did enjoy it, I didn’t end up loving it as much as book one and two. The Binti trilogy tells the story of a young woman named Binti, who’s the first of the Himba people to ever be offered a place at the prestigious Oomza University, which is located on a different planet. The Himba people are very close-knit and it is very rare for one person to leave on their own. Nevertheless, Binti leaves for Oomza University, since her thirst for knowledge is unquenchable. This all happened in the first book, and I don’t really feel like I can say much more because I don’t want to spoil anything. There’s something about this series that feels very different from any other sci-fi series I’ve read. Even though the novellas are all very short, there’s a lot of depth and richness to the world and the characters, and I felt deeply for Binti. She’s a very interesting character and I loved reading about her. If you’re into sci-fi, I’d highly recommend giving this series a go.
And those were all the books I read in November! Have you read any of these? And what was your favourite book you read last month? Let’s chat in the comments!
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