Books I Read in November

Right on par with the rest of the year, I read six books in November: two nonfiction, one memoir, and three fiction books. In chronological order, the books I read in November were:

the new jim crow

Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow – This book should be recommended reading for everyone in the United States. I bought the book after a friend mentioned that she was reading it for her book club. I put off reading it for a good half year because I was scared that it would be too depressing for me to read. While it was extremely disheartening and made me furious at times, I think I am a better citizen and human being having read the book. I have recommended it to everyone in my law school classes, and I would sincerely urge you to read this too.

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the magnificent ambersons

Booth Tarkington’s The Magnificent Ambersons – I already wrote about this pretty extensively because it is one of the Pulitzer winners on my list. As I’ve started reading the next winner on the list (Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence) I have noticed a similar obsession with automobiles and the changing urban social hierarchy. I’m really enjoying reading the Pulitzer winners in chronological order, because I think it’s helped me see similar trends and concerns during the 1920s. I’m interested to see if Booth Tarkington has new concerns in his next Pulitzer winner, Alice Adams.

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4:50 from Paddington

Agatha Christie’s 4:50 from Paddington – is part of her famous Miss Marple’s series. Miss Marple is an elderly spinster and amateur detective. In this book, Miss Marple’s friend witnesses a murder on a train that happens to pass the train that she is on. Miss Marple uses some deductive reasoning and tries to solve a crime based on very few facts. I was surprised to see that while she is the brains behind the operations, she isn’t really one of the main characters of the book. Is this how all Miss Marple books are? I may have to read another one to find out for myself!

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musicophilia

Oliver Sack’s Musicophilia – This is the book for our next book club meeting in December. While it’s not something that I may have picked to read myself, isn’t that the whole point of a book club? Oliver Sacks is a world renowned neurologist and in this book he examines how the brain and music are connected. The opening chapter is about a man who, after being struck by lightning, finds himself obsessed with Chopin and composing music, even though he had never showed an interest in or talent for music before his accident. Some chapters were absolutely brilliant, and I’ll be writing about them separately soon!

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right ho jeeves

P.G. Wodehouse’s Right Ho, Jeeves – I will admit I was supposed to read this book in high school, but I never got around to it. If Agatha Christie is the queen of mystery cozies, then I’d argue that P.G. Wodehouse is the king of comedy cozies. The book is like a 230 page sitcom with witty banter and ridiculous situations and miscommunications. This was the first book by P.G. Wodehouse, and while I may not agree with Hugh Laurie that Wodehouse is the funniest writer in the world, I did enjoy the book and found it a lighthearted break in a month where I read some very serious things.

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h is for hawkHelen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk – I’ve seen this book all over the news and Internet this year. The NYTimes recently named it one of the 100 Notable books in 2015. After Helen’s father unexpectedly dies, Helen turns to raising a goshawk as a coping mechanism. She also examines famed writer T. H. White and his experiences in raising a goshawk. Despite all the hype around the book, this is one of the few books I’ve read that absolutely exceeded all of the hype. Words can’t describe how incredible the books is – her writing is clear, lyrical, and an absolute kick in the teeth. I devoured the book and plan on rereading it in the near future.

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Of the books I read this month, I am begging you to read The New Jim Crow and H is for Hawk. These are books that will absolutely change your life.

I can’t believe it’s almost December – there are still so many books that I want to read! I’m currently reading The Age of Innocence, and I hope to get through I am Malala and Alice Adams. What about you? What did you read in November? What are the books you’re trying to read before the end of the year?

 

Honey Pot Book Club: Half a Year Already!

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If you have been following me since the beginning (hi friends!), maybe you’ll remember that I started a book club with some friends about half a year ago.
I posted about it here shortly after our first meeting. Since then, we have gained a member, a friend’s coworker, and we just had our third book club meeting this month. Next time, we’ll be discussing Musicophilia, in honor of the late Oliver Sacks. musicophilia

It’s been a lot of fun to meet regularly with my friends to discuss books. As we approach our final meeting of the year this December, I have been reminiscing on some things that I’ve learned this year, and what I’m excited about for 2016 (can you believe we are talking about 2016 already?)

1. Venue – finding a venue in New York City can prove tricky. We had one meeting in my apartment, one at a Mexican restaurant, and one at a coffee shop in Brooklyn. I think the key is to find something low-key with multiple public transportation options. I’ve loved hosting in my apartment – everyone brought something to eat or drink, but it’s nice having it at a restaurant, because I don’t have to clean or do dishes!

2. Book Choices – we have been mixing it up between fiction and nonfiction, which has been refreshing and has exposed me to some things that I wouldn’t ordinarily pick on my own. One issue that came up though is that new books are harder to find at the library. In fact, two of us settled for the audiobook of Modern Romance because of this. We have all become more mindful of the availability of books as we discuss what to read next.

3. Ideas for 2016 – next year, we want to do a movie night, where we read a book and watch the movie adaptation together. Other ideas include reading a play and reenacting parts of it together or going to see the play on Broadway and reading a food book and having a potluck inspired by foods or recipes from the book.

4. Using Discussion Guides has been particularly helpful for the fiction books that we’ve been reading. When we discussed Modern Romance, we didn’t need a discussion guide – instead, news articles and personal experiences were more than enough to keep the discussion lively. I think this is because fiction is much more subjective to interpretation. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

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Are you in a book club? I’ve been so interested and asking all my friends to share their experiences with me. I would love to hear about yours as well! What kinds of books do you read? How often do you meet? Where do you meet?

Additional Reading: