November Summary and Plans for December

The BookDepository

I read 12 books in November, but unfortunately I enjoyed this month’s selection less than previous ones. My favourite was The Help byKathryn Stockett, which made it onto my list of  The Best Books of 2009.

My favourite this month

Books reviewed during November

The Help – Kathryn Stockett stars4h

Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami stars41

The Nutmeg Tree – Margery Sharp stars41

Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi (Book and Film) stars41

Equator – Miguel Sousa Tavares stars41

Perdido Street Station – China Miéville stars3h

Stalking Richard & Judy – Valentine Honeyman stars3h

The Turn of the Screw – Henry James stars3h

Indignation – Philip Roth stars3h

The Brutal Telling – Louise Penny stars3

Outlander (Cross Stitch) – Diana Gabaldon stars21

The Blind Owl – Sadegh Hedayat stars21

The Magicians – Lev Grossman stars1 (DNF)

Plans for December

I have several books lined up to read in December.

Here are the ones I hope to finish next month: 

Have you read any of the books I plan to read?

I hope that you had a great November and I look forward to sharing more book discussions with you in December!

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  1. the Reader says:

    yep, Ender’s Game is being made into a film, so watch it now!!! Great site btw. ^_^

    The Reader
    I’m a Bookworm

    1. Jackie says:

      the Reader, Thanks for letting me know about Ender’s Game – I’ll have to read that soon too!

  2. Sandy says:

    I’ve got to work on my favorites list here soon, but The Help will certainly be on there, and probably Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. My big activity this month is to read all of my Shelf Discovery Challenge books. Just knock that challenge right out of the park, so I can move on to about a dozen more! Woo hoo!

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, Good luck completing your challenge! I hope that I enjoy the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as much as you did.

  3. Verity says:

    Ooh, a big recommend for An equal stillness – I lovedit!

    1. Jackie says:

      Verity, I have heard lots of great things about it, so I’m really looking forward to it.

  4. Meghan says:

    The Help was such a wonderful book! I think it will be on my list for the year as well. I haven’t read any of the books you’re planning to read this month, but I have heard good things, so I hope you enjoy them!

    1. Jackie says:

      Meghan, I think The Help will be on a lot of people’s lists this year.

  5. lizzysiddal says:


    Just wondering how you line up the books to be read. Do you operate on a first in, first read basis?

    1. Jackie says:

      Lizzy, I’m afraid it is a lot more random than that! A lot of it is down to my mood – so be aware that the above list is likely to change.

      The list is influenced by library books:
      ■An Equal Stillness – Francesca Kay
      ■Grotesque – Natsuo Kirino
      ■Tender Morsels – Margo Lanagan
      Were all new into my library this month – I have checked them out and so will hopefully read them in the next few weeks.

      ■A Redbird Christmas – Fannie Flagg
      ■Snow – Orhan Pamuk
      They are in my TBR pile, but seem to be good things to read in December.

      ■Something’s Wrong – Sam Smith
      ■Right to Die – Hazel McHaffie
      These are books I’ve agreed to review and so I like to get to them as soon as I can.

      ■The Mosquito Coast – Paul Theroux
      ■The Woman in the Dunes – Kobo Abe
      ■The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
      I have been wanting to read these for a while, so I hope that by naming them I will be more likely to read them instead of looking at them on the shelf!

      I hope that explains things, but I am just as likely to pick a book up at random from my TBR pile and throw my list out of the window!

  6. Amanda says:

    I always do pretty bad if I make an actual monthly book list. I read them, but hate it the whole time which burns me out on reading.

    1. Jackie says:

      Amanda, I’ve never written a book list in advance before, so it will be interesting to see how many of them I get round to reading. It is not set in stone and I don’t have a set order for reading them, so hopefully it won’t feel like a chore.

  7. Beth F says:

    Looks like you had a good November — and your star ratings don’t look that bad. I loved Mosquito Coast (read it in the 80s), but I really like Theroux. I also really loved Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

    1. Jackie says:

      Beth, I haven’t read any Paul Theroux before, but it does look good. I hope that I enjoy it as much as you did.

  8. kimbofo says:

    You’ve got some great reading planned for December.

    I’ve read a few from your list: I have very fond memories of The Mosquito Coast, I read it at least 15 years ago when I went through a Theroux phase (he’s Marcel’s and Louis’ dad, if you didn;t know); A Red Bird Christmas is a perfect Christmas read, light and fluffy and suitably sentimental; Snow is heavy going but incredibly rewarding — it was discussed on my blog when I ran an online reading group; and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is a fast-paced crime novel with great characters and a twisting plot, although when I read it last year I didn’t think it as wonderful as all the hype, and I never actually got around to reviewing it.

    By the way, I finished Flowers for Algernon yesterday — brilliant book!! Can’t wait for Thursday’s discussion.

    1. Jackie says:

      kimbofo, I have been wanting to read some Paul Theroux for ages. I love Marcel and Louis, so thought that their father must be worth reading too. I have quite a few of his books here, so could end up going through a few of his books if I like them.

      It is good to hear that you enjoyed a few of the other ones in my pile.

      I started reading Flowers for Algernon yesterday and I am loving it so far. I can see it could easily become a favourite and look forward to finding out what everyone else thinks of it.

  9. Stephanie says:

    I haven’t read any of the books on your December list but I have The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and I am hoping I get to it in December as well–maybe for Galleysmith’s SeriesPalooza

    1. Jackie says:

      Stephanie, I look forward to comparing notes with you.

  10. Steph says:

    Haven’t read any of the titles on your up and coming December list, but I’m really curious to hear your thoughts on the Larsson as I’ve heard mixed things about it and am having a hard time deciding whether to read it myself or not! ;)

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, I haven’t heard anything bad about Larsson – only people who love it slightly more than others – I’ll let you know whether it is worth reading soon, but I’m sure it will be.

  11. Louise says:

    I’ve read Girl With A Dragon Tattoo and loved it. But all the three books in the Millenium Trilogy were fabulous, number one and three the most. I hope you will enjoy it. It may take some pages to get into it, but don’t let the first pages confuse you.

    Also wanted to thank you for your links to book-sites, where I am going to look for that book I cannot find otherwise. Thanks a lot :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Louise, Don’t worry – I don’t mind if the first few pages of a book are confusing. I’ll stick with it. Some of the books I read make no sense until the end!

      I’m pleased that you found my comments on the book you were looking for helpful – I hope that you manage to find a copy cheaply.

  12. Rebecca S. Cox says:

    I started reading The Help yesterday and am half way through. I love the book. I was surprised though on one thing. I kept reading in all the reviews that the dialect it was written in was hard to get used to. Since I am from the south and grew up in that era, I hardly notice any dialect. It reads very normally for me and frankly, a lot of the people in Alabama still talk just like this, especially if they are from the country and living out on the farms. I remember as a little girl there being and colored and white water fountain and bathrooms at the Sears where my mother worked. And the theater having the balcony with a separate door marked colored. Of course I was a little girl and it really didn’t mean anything to me at the time.

    I like reading this so much, because I am learning about what was really going on. I was born in 53 so I was only 10 years old in the era of the book.

    1. Jackie says:

      Rebecca, I have seen a few people say that they struggle with the dialect of The Help. I am from the UK and, although I have no idea whether it is authentic (I assume it is) I had no trouble understanding it.

      Having a personal memory of the situations in the book must make it even more powerful for you – I’m sure that you’ll love the second half as much as the first – enjoy!

  13. Annabel says:

    I enjoyed the Stieg Larsson, but Snow left me cold (!)

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, I love your use of words! Snow does seem to divide people, so it will be interesting to see which side of the fence I am on with it.

  14. Woman in the Dunes is an existential classic although I don’t think it warrants a second read for me.

    Grotesque: really enjoyed this one, better than Out.

    also, good to see that you’re liking Flowers.

    1. Jackie says:

      Damned Conjuror, Out is one of my all time favourites, so I struggle to see how Grotesque can be better, but I look forward to finding out!

  15. David Nolan says:

    Similar to Annabel, I found “Snow” a bit of struggle. It could well have been a case of the wrong book for the wrong reader at the wrong time. Based on other reviews read on your blog, when I saw this on your list I thought you probably would not enjoy it very much. Now is your chance to prove me wrong.

    1. Jackie says:

      David, You probably know my taste well enough to be correct about Snow, but I’ll give it a try anyway – there are always exceptions which I love despite all the reasons I shouldn’t.

  16. Aarti says:

    You did so well this month! I seriously need to read The Help. It’s so popular with everyone and I haven’t gotten to it yet. I’ve heard great things about Tender Morsels, so I’m excited to see what you think about that one, too!

    1. Jackie says:

      Aarti, I have only heard great things about Tender Morsels, so I really hope it lives up to expectations – I do worry about YA books though – they are very hit/miss for me.

      1. David H says:

        Tender Morsels is the only one of the books on your December list that I’ve read, and it’s one of my favourite books of the year. On the YA classification, I’d say it’s a YA book in the sense that it expects its readers to be adults, some of whom may be young.

  17. mee says:

    I’ve read the Woman in the Dunes a while back. Wasn’t very fond of the book, I found it quite dry and slow. But the idea is great and I can appreciate it in some ways. I recommend the movie too, if you can obtain it. It’s old black and white movie, cinematic, and far less slow than the book.

    1. Jackie says:

      mee, I haven’t heard anything bad said about The Woman in the Dunes before, so am sad to hear you didn’t like it. Thank you for recommending the film though – I will try to get a copy once I’ve finished it.

  18. Jeanne says:

    I enjoyed The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Mosquito Coast–there’s an interesting old film version of the novel with Harrison Ford in it. My memory of the film is that it takes a few high points from the novel, of course.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jeanne, I saw that there was a Mosquito Coast film. I’ll have to ensure I get a copy once I’ve read it.

  19. Melody says:

    I can’t wait to hear what you’ll think of Grotesque, Jackie! You know, I’ve got this feeling that Out will still be the masterpiece by Natsuo Kirino.

    1. Jackie says:

      Melody, Out is a masterpiece, so I will be very impressed if Grotesque gets anywhere close. If it manages it then Kirino will instantly become one of my favourite authors!

  20. Beth Nolan says:

    I just loved “The Help”. As for your upcoming ones, I’ve read all of Fannie Flagg’s books. She’s a wonderful writer! I hope you enjoy “Redbird Christmas”. :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Beth, I haven’t read any Fannie Flagg books yet, but I enjoyed the Fried Green Tomatoes film. I’m hoping it will be a lovely book to read over Christmas.

  21. Mome Rath says:

    Hmm – I definitely understand how Snow isn’t for all readers. I really liked the book, though I think it’s because I’ve been to Turkey and loved the deeper insight into the culture. I also loved Pamuk’s use of snow adding layers to the story. But after reading your Persepolis review (a book I just finished and was quite emotionally drawn into), I’m curious to see what your take on Snow is, since the book delves into discussions on religious and secular oppression. It’s not the lightest Christmas fare, but I hope you do enjoy the read!
    BTW – I admire your goal of books to finish within the month. I’ll be lucky if I can get more than four or five finished what with Christmas coming up fast.

    1. Jackie says:

      Mome Roth, You are making me thing that I wont enjoy Snow, as I don’t like political/religious discussion in books. I’ll give it a try, as I like to know what these books are like, but my expectations are quite low at this point.

      I’m not sure how many books I’ll manage to read this month – it may be that I get swept up in Christmas, but I’ll just delay them until January then. I’m not putting any pressure on myself.

      1. Mome Rath says:

        I really do hope that this is a book that you do enjoy even going into it with lower expectations. Have fun reading this month!

  22. Oooh, I’ve read Grotesque. In fact I picked it for a book group and it had mixed reviews but I think that’s because it’s pretty dark. I actually liked it. I’m reading Out now if you like that I think you might enjoy Grotesque. I’m also planning to read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo at Christmas (it’s on my wish list!).

    1. Jackie says:

      Novel Insights, I look forward to comparing Out and Grotesque with you. I’m hoping that I love them both.

  23. Carrie K. says:

    I really, really need to get around to The Help – it’s getting such raves from so many bloggers whose opinions I trust – including you!

    1. Jackie says:

      Carrie, Yes – I’m sure you’ll love The Help. Has anyone seen a bad review for it?

  24. I plucked the second Millennium book (Girl Who Played With Fire) off a library shelf, so now I have to decide if I want to read the first one next, or the last one!
    I haven’t read anything close to a crime book in years, and I was surprised I liked it. It was a nice change of pace for me. Although these books are all pretty thick, you’ll probably zip through Dragon Tattoo.

    1. Jackie says:

      Lija, The first one! I’m surprised that you were able to read them out of order. Did it all make sense? Were there lots of spoilers?

  25. Rebecca Reid says:

    Looks like a great month, and December looks full of promising books too!

  26. Sakura says:

    I read Grotesque as part of the Japanese Literature Challenge, RIP and Hello Japan challenges and was impressed with Natsuo Kirino although it wasn’t an easy read and left me more disturbed than her previous novel Out. And I loved Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which I read last year. I have his second novel and will be reading that sometime next year. I hope you enjoy both! I’m intrigued my Tender Morsels and The Woman in the Dunes which are both on my wishlist so I’ll be looking forward to your reviews.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sakura, I’m slightly worried to hear that Grotesque is more disturbing than Out (which I thought was quite shocking) I look forward to finding out what it’s like.

  27. Rebecca S. Cox says:

    Finished The Help and got “Out” in the mail last night so I will be starting on that one. I ordered it on your recommendation Jackie. The second half of The Help did not disappoint. My review is on Amazon. I probably do have a very different view point of the book having grown up in the middle of the book so to speak. And yes, the dialect is perfectly authentic, then and now.

    1. Jackie says:

      Rebecca, I’m pleased to hear that you enjoyed The Help.

      I hope that you like Out – it is very different, so I hope that you enjoy reading it.

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