We’re nearly there folks, and although they’ve have been creeping later and later I have nearly completed another year of these posts. Suck it, past self, you made it way past April in the end!

Reading Life

I read 4 books in November, which seems fine given that I exceeded my own expectations of how much I’d feasibly get through this year some months ago.

  • All were by straight, white, able bodied, cisgender, female writers
  • 1 novel, 2 graphic novels (on my phone using a library app, support your local library please), 1 non-fiction
  • 1 was about a large number of straight able-bodied white men
  • 1 was about child sleep
  • 2 were about a straight able-bodied Pakistani-American girl

Books I listened to on Audible

The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton

Because I listened to this and also know little about astrology, the cleverness of the structure (highlighted by the reviews on Goodreads) somewhat passed me by. Rather than being wowed I found myself astonished (and grudgingly impressed) that a novel whose first half is a long series of monologues, by a woman the same age as me, got picked up. I mean, fair play to Catton, she breaks pretty much every rule I’ve ever been told about how to start a book. And I’ll be honest, I zoned out quite a lot to begin with. But the good thing about listening to a 30 hour book told from the perspectives of 12 different men is that it’s pretty slow paced so I didn’t really miss anything. And as the story unfolded, I did get caught up in the mystery. Rather than getting bogged down in detailed description of the place and time period, the book gives impressions of Gold Rush era Hokitika formed by a series of variously unreliable narrators, and I quite liked that about it. The way it dealt with casual racism against the Maori and Chinese characters felt pretty accurate. The fact that none of the female characters got to monologue also felt true to the style of the book, although wasn’t an aspect I’d say I liked – there are few enough of them as it is without totally sidelining them. The bad guys were properly unlikable. And I would say it is well written and plotted. But it didn’t make me laugh, cry, jump or otherwise experience much emotion other than to go ‘oh I see.’ For a more detailed review that chimes with my experience, I would recommend this one by another reader on Goodreads.

Books I read with my eyes

Ms Marvel Vol 3: Crushed – I still love Kamala and Loki is in this one so y’know, that’s fun – and Ms Marvel Vol 4: Last Days – which is a bit darker and contains Carol Danvers. Both by G.Willow Wilson and as per last month would recommend these if you are looking for a fun time.

The Happy Sleeper – Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright

This is a non-fiction book designed to help you to get your child to fall asleep independently rather than rocking or feeding them and then having to remain by their side to keep them asleep (which is what we’d been doing since December last year..). It takes a science based approach and talks about how various sleep associations impact, and it really helped us a lot because we didn’t want to do the full ‘cry it out’ thing. A game changer for us, leave me a comment if you want more detail though as I appreciate not everyone is as obsessed with infant sleep as new parents…

Writing Life

At the start of November there were a good thirty minutes where I naively thought maybe I could do a NaNoWriMo project this year. On 1 November I signed onto the website and set myself a wee 25k project goal, then wrote a grand total of… 372 words! So that was a bit of a bust. I haven’t really had the brain power to make myself write, but we’re starting to get into more of a routine now thanks to the aforementioned sleep book so I’m cautiously optimistic this will get a bit better soon – maybe in the new year.

Writer Life

November wheelings and dealings included an eat-and-drink-along with Lord of the Rings event, some DIY (I made shelves, am basically a trained joiner now), baking, play dough making, attending a 1st birthday party, and – as discussed – persuading my child to sleep in his own bed at night rather than in with us. This has rather radically changed our evenings. We also watched Tuca and Bertie on Netflix (a very good show which should not have been cancelled) and carried out preventative treatment for scabies along with many other local families (because nursery is a den of disease).