Before commencing with my 2022 reading lists posts, I’m here with a better-late-than-never What I read In November 2021 piece. It includes greek mythology, Gossip Girl, and of course, regency smut.
Let’s cast our minds back to November 2021. For me, it was chocker. There was a surge of creative energy, heavy weekends working, and any pocket of time I did manage to find was stuffed with audiobooks and kindle reads. I managed to plough through 12 books in total. An amazing reading month for me when I compare it to the rest of 2021.
I loved so many of this months reading list. On the flip side however, I also dove into some very questionable poetry and a myth remix that I just didn’t mesh with. You have to have the clouds to appreciate the blue skies.
If you do want to see what I read in November and pick up some recommendations, please see below. Follow me on Goodreads for daily reading updates. Follow me on Instagram for reading round-ups.
The Women of Troy by Pat Barker
Shedding her concubine status upon Achilles’ death, Briseis is now married, pregnant and adjusting to live as a Grecian bride. However, not all of the women who survived the tragic fall of Troy are as willing to erase their past as Briseis is.
A story of brutality, truth, and expectation – The Women of Troy is both beautiful and devastating. Barker empathetically shows how herculean these famous fabled women were, and how powerful telling the truth can be. It can truly set you free.
I couldn’t recommend The Women of Troy enough. The anticipation for the third instalment of Beiseis tale is real.
Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder
Exploring the trope of metamorphosis, Rachel Yoder’s Nightbitch is a social critique of gender roles and parenthood. Also, some really weird shit goes down in the garden.
Nightbitch follows a faceless, nameless Mother who’s career as an exhibiting artist has been paused due to the arrival of her son. Her husband works away. She prefers to keep her distance from the women of the school playground. Oh, did I forget to mention at night she turns into a feral wolf/dog hybrid?
Its writing is graceful and while the main subject is interesting, I found the execution to be overall dull. My interest wavered around the 3/4 mark. It was just so long? I found the lack of action, excessive description and ambiguity too much to enjoy. Ideas didn’t follow through and left me with more questions than answers. For me, it really fell flat.
Nightbitch didn’t live up to my expectations. However, if you like unhinged women, satire, dark humour, and magical realism, then maybe Nightbitch is for you. Rachel Yoder obviously is in possession of a cornucopia of talent, but this original book was a bizarre hot mess.
Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith
Set in Inverness, Girl Meets Boy is written in experimental stream-of-consciousness. It’s a mishmash of themes such as: political discourse, capitalist greed, gender identity, role reversals, and fluid relationships. Its writing is jerky and confusing, yet poetic, and brimming with wit and proverbs. Did I like it? I’m not sure.
Girl Meets Boy is a novella that will definitely not be everyones taste. At this point, I genuinely believe Ali Smith is marmite in human form. While I neither loved nor actively hated it, I cannot deny that it was a fascinating read. You might find some Ovid on my TBR, but for now, I doubt you will discover any more Ali Smith.
I Like it Like That by Cecily von Ziegesar
If you want a story brimming with drugs, sex, love, lust, and filthy rich high school kids running amuck in a ski resort, then I Like it Like That was written with you in mind.
The fifth book in Cecily von Ziegesar’s Gossip Girl series sees old favourites Blair, Serena, Nate, Eric, and the gang swapping out the concrete New York jungle for some steamy snowy mountain action. There’s hot tub escapades, naked arrests, and falling in love with someone you definitely shouldn’t fallen in love with.
These books are definitely not literary award-winning but, my god – are they addictive! I’m obsessed. In November, I also read three more Gossip Girl novels including:
Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
I have been weaving my way through Terry Pratchett’s Discworld discography since 2018. In November, I read book 13 in the series, Small Gods. This novel is a serious stand-alone which showcases the best of Pratchett’s writing. 13 books in, and we’ve found a good one. The golden era has arrived.
Small Gods follows Brutha, a novice priest, whom is visited by the great God Om in turtle form. What follows this chance meeting is a humorous story regarding religion, moral dilemmas, and staying true to yourself. There’s a shipwreck, a cameo of our favourite Discworld librarian, the burning of books (the horror!), and a sweet veil of innocence being drawn back and exposed. It’s moreish to say the least.
I don’t want to spoil anything but this one of my favourite Pratchett book to date. While it hasn’t quite knocked Mort off the top spot, it’s definitely one of the best… So far.
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
A poem collection which notoriously crowded Tumblr aesthetic pages and was on the bedside table of every 15 year old girl at some point – Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur truly needs no introductions.
This poetry book is simple yet somewhat dark. Themes include abuse, violence, loss, and femininity. It isn’t the most profound nor the most cheerful of books, but a quintessential rite-of-passage for those who missed out in the early days of UO.
Did I love it? No. Am I glad I read it? No. And that’s all i have to say about that.
It’s In His Kiss by Julia Quinn
After reading It’s In His Kiss by Julia Quinn, I know for sure that Hyacinth is the superior Bridgerton sister. She’s definitely Quinn’s and my own favourite sister.
Dramatically pulling away from the subtle misogyny and the overwrought sexual power play littered throughout her earlier novels, It’s In His Kiss is a refreshing, funny, and wholesome read.
It’s In His Kiss plays host to an exciting mystery with an uncrackable puzzle. It also features some old faces (Lady Danbury, Violet Bridgerton), and a male protagonist who is tender, charming and warm. It’s a book of self-discovery, standing up in the face of dismay, and love working in mysterious ways. Hyacinth, the titular character, is the solo heroine that the Bridgerton books needed. I can’t wait to see a proper portrayal on the big screen.
I burned through this book in a matter of days. I still want more Hyacinth. I, fact, I need more Hyacinth. Julia Quinn has done it again. It’s In His Kiss was a joy to read, and one of the best of November.
Wings of Icarus by Jenny Oldfield
Jenny Oldfrield’s Wings Of Icarus is an entry-level introduction to the greek myth of Daedalus and son Icarus. It’s the perfect short story for those wanting to get acquainted with the basics of this classic myth. It should be required reading before moving onto the big guns – The Odyssey and The Iliad.
Written with children in mind, Wings of Icarus focuses on the core narrative of Icarus flying too close to the sun. It’s a quick and easy read. The perfect beginning to a life-long mythology obsession. The illustrations might be pretty naff, but it’s the words that count, right?
A Doll’s House by Tanika Gupta
In this retelling we are introduced to Niru, a Bengali woman and Tom, an English colonial businessman. The latter views his wife as little more than a trophy. However, this award of his is harbouring a dangerous secret. One which will alter both of their lives, forever.
A Doll’s House is story of gender roles and friendship, told in the setting of British-occupied India. It weaves elements of race and ownership with female perspective and the first impacts of British colonialism.
A Doll’s House is aimed at performers aged 16-18, making it light on violence but heavy on action.