November Reads 2014

I seem to have read more than I thought I did in November. A mixed bag, but some really good books, and one new favourite.

the absent womanThe Absent Woman by Marlene Lee (Novel)

This was ok: not bad, not great. Not one I’d particularly recommend.

keep the aspidistra flyingKeep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell (Novel)

I loved this. It has an excellent unlikeable narrator, which is always fun. Full review here.

bird boxBird Box by Josh Malerman (Novel)

This wasn’t a scary as I was expecting, but it was still enjoyable. I think it would work better as a radio play or enhanced ebook, so might be one to seek out in audiobook rather than print. Full review here.

he wantsHe Wants by Alison Moore (Novel)

I love Moore’s writing style; it’s sparse, deceptively simple and full of the good stuff. He Wants is about an older man realising he hasn’t really lived his life the way he wanted to, and reconnecting with a friend from his childhood. Definitely recommend.

ragnarokRagnarok by A. S. Byatt (Novel)

I’m not sure what I think about this one. Most of the Canongate Myths series are re-tellings of old myths/stories, but this is more of a straight telling of Ragnarok with Byatt’s experience of reading it as a child. I actually really liked the short chapter at the end where this is explained, but much of the story itself is a bit dry in the way it’s written.

girl with all the giftsThe Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey (Novel)

This had a really strong beginning, and I liked the very end, but the main, middle chunk was a bit flabby. I did enjoy it though, and I think it’s one a lot of people will like. Full review here.

Girl meets boyGirl Meets Boy by Ali Smith (Novel)

I absolutely loved this. It’s another in the Canongate Myths series, a re-telling of the myth of Iphis. Greek mythology and lesbianism were always supposed to go together. Her writing is, as always, beautiful, but because it’s more plot-driven than some of her other work I think it would be an excellent place to start with her stuff. My favourite read of the month.

santaland diariesSantaland Diaries by David Sedaris (Non-fiction / short stories)

This is a very short collection of non-fiction and short stories, all grumpy Christmassy tales. It opens with an essay about Sedaris’ time working as an elf in Santa’s grotto in a shopping center (this essay has also been turned into a one-man play), and also includes a fictional story in the style of those annoying family newsletter-type letters and the true story of when a prostitute came to stay over for Christmas. As with all collections, some work better than others. My favourite was actually the letter because the mother writing it is so excellently horrible.

You can listen to his elf story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5XLjG_S6eE

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