I thought I’d do a little catch-up on what I read in November, since I haven’t been good about writing it all up as I go.  I posted about my slump a while back, and I don’t think I ever quite recovered from it – at least in terms of speed and quantity, although there have been a few great books along the way.

  • Icefall by Matthew Kirby – as I said before, this is pretty fabulous.  I loved the claustrophobic atmosphere and the way Kirby kept me guessing, even through the dramatic conclusion.  It’s not fantasy, but it as a lot of the same appeal factors in terms of world-building and tension.
  • The Boy at the End of the World by Greg van Eekhout – a lot of fun, and it will be easy to recommend to young scifi/futuristic fans, but it was a let-down compared to Icefall.
  • After Hamelin by Bill Richardson – enjoyable, but it never quite caught me up in its magic (this one was for bookgroup).  Funny, though – last night I was talking to a now-college-student who was in the bookgroup long ago, before my time, and they read the book then, and it made such an impression on him that he told me about it out of the blue (while I was helping him try to remember historical fiction he’s read, for a class).
  • Marty McGuire by Kate Messner – an awesome, funny short chapter book that begs to be handed to young tom boys (and maybe the princessy girls, too, to see what life is like for other girls, and I think most boys would enjoy it, too).
  • A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todda character-driven mystery set in WWI, perfect for those of you waiting for the next Maisie Dobbs, or for people who like thoughtful historical mysteries in general.  I think I like this series more than Maisie.
  • Captive Queen by Alison Weir – here’s what I said in my Goodreads review: “Interesting enough to keep me reading, but it was never quite satisfying. Part of this is probably due to the fact that true stories don’t always make the best novels, but I had a hard time developing real interest in the characters. The sense of history and the world of Eleanor was great, but the rest was more mediocre. By the time I reached that conclusion, I was so far into the book that I figured I should just finish it.”
  • Strings Attached by Judy Blundell – I loved the atmosphere and mood, and found the characters intriguing.  The resolution felt a little disjointed and not as satisfying as I hoped.
  • An Impartial Witness by Charles Todd – back to the Bess Crawford series for another satisfying installment.  The fact that I love this time period doesn’t hurt, but I’m also drawn to the mysteries that are as much about human emotion as they are about solving crimes.
  • This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel – the only audio book I managed to finish in November (seriously?)  I didn’t give it the attention it deserved, since I listened while distracted at the gym, but what I did absorb I really enjoyed.  Goodreads review here.
  • Hidden by Helen Frost – this is off this year’s OLA/WLA Mock Newbery, which I will (sob) not be attending due to a previous engagement with (yay!) The Nutcracker and two young ladies who will see it for the first time.  However, I’m still trying to read through the list and I’m glad because otherwise I might have missed this one.  It’s gripping from page one and one of those verse novels that justifies its existence as a verse novel (ie, not just prose broken up randomly into shorter lines).
  • Tighter by Adele Griffin – which just made me think I should really get around to reading The Turn of the Screw (should I?)

And then suddenly it was December!  Yikes.  Time to sort out which Christmas traditions I can squeeze into our schedule (and a tiny apartment).  We skipped a tree last year, but I’m itching for a smallish one that will fit on the end table and hold a few of my lighter ornaments.  We have stockings to hang (off the bookshelf with cheer) and there will be Christmas cookies and a little party in the week between Christmas and New Years.  Just the words “little party” make me feel all warm and cozy (especially if there are cookies and leftover-from-the-wedding sparkling wine along with good company).  I just have to figure out how to fit more than four people at a time in the apartment.