Books, Real Life

November Wrap-Up: Public transit as metaphor

I’m writing this a week late on my least favorite Seattle bus. Said bus was ten minutes late and tipped me into “problematically late for work” territory.

All the rattling is making it hard to type.

This is a pretty accurate reflection of how my life has gone for the last month.

I had a falling out with a friend that disrupted several of my routines.

My parents caught COVID so I skipped Thanksgiving.

While therapy has been rewarding, processing emotions sucks.

It’s been a Time.

It feels like things are constantly changing and I’m tired.

Reading-wise, November was one of my more productive months.

I don’t understand either.

Reading Stats

Last month, I completed a total of 23 books. Of those books,

  • 87% were fiction
  • 4% were non-fiction
  • 9% were graphic novels
  • 9% were physical books
  • 70% were audiobooks
  • 21% were e-books
  • 52% were Adult
  • 48% were Young Adult
  • 48% were new books
  • 52% were rereads

What do I read when I’m in a low mood? Why, gay fantasy romance, of course! (Also, The Princess Diaries.)

November 2022 Genre Breakdown Pie Chart

My top moods were lighthearted, emotional, and reflective, which seems a strange combo.

November 2022 Moods Pie Chart

My rating for the month was 3.59. As you can see from the graph, my ratings were all over the place.

November 2022 Star Rating Bar Graph

Of the 23 books I read, I’m sure some of them were notable.

Notable Books

As I mentioned, I reread the entire Princess Diaries series (sans the horrible interstitials but including Royal Wedding.)

A lot of the humor in the series no longer works and the class politics are something else.

These books still hit. The storytelling is really satisfying.

Forever Princess by Meg Cabot

I’m finally at a place where I can enjoy the finale (for the most part.)

This stays one of my favorite comfort series.

None of the above applies to Royal Wedding.

Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot

(Spoilers for Royal Wedding)

Royal Wedding doubles down on its claim that Princess Mia and her millionaire boyfriend aren’t actually that rich and/or privileged.

Never mind that as soon as Michael learns Mia is pregnant with twins, he arranges to buy a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment. This isn’t something “regular” people can just DO.

Tonally, Royal Wedding is all over the place. It balances Mia’s upcoming nuptials with CHILD ABUSE and a REFUGEE CRISIS.

The book also introduces Mia’s 12-year-old biracial half-sister, though it seems hesitant to actually discuss race.

Also, its idea of a bad home life still includes rich parents, private school, and a room of Olivia’s own.

It had me thinking, “Even Harry Potter handled child abuse more honestly than this.”

Also, if you’re going to write an adult book that touches on The Issues, why would you have the 12-year-old be the one to resolve the refugee crisis?

ALSO, Mia’s unmarried parents get back together??? Who asked for this?? Who is this for???

(End of spoilers)

I hate Royal Wedding. As a Princess Diaries scholar, I consider it a gnostic gospel.

Once I finished rereading The Princess Diaries, I started on The Raven Cycle.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

I never noticed before how strong the first book’s horror elements are.

The genre shift in the later books is heavily foreshadowed in the early books; I just missed it.

I read the long-awaited sequel to The City We Became and…did! Not! Like it!

The World We Make by N. K. Jemisin

Apparently, in the afterword (which wasn’t included in the audiobook), N. K. Jemisin said she almost didn’t finish the series.

This shows in the writing. A trilogy’s worth of set-up is resolved in a single sequel. The book so clearly wants to end but fails to give its characters anything to do.

Over halfway through, Padmini hurtles into a relevant plot point and nobody pays it any mind until the climax.

I’m really disappointed. I almost would have rather had no sequel than this one.

I read Jude Doyle, Fabiana Mascolo, and A. L. Kaplan’s Maw and wasn’t sure what to make of it.

Maw by Jude Ellison S. Doyle, A. L. Kaplan, and Fabiana Mascolo

I think the ending was supposed to feel triumphant. It didn’t quite get there for me.

I am all for revenge-based body horror about survivors. I don’t really get what this story was trying to say.

The Honeys absolutely slapped and everyone should read it.

The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

The Midsommar and The Wicker Man comps are accurate. The body horror is disgusting. The ending doesn’t disappoint. I loved it.

Season of Love is maybe my favorite holiday romance I’ve ever read.

Season of Love by Helena Greer

I love it when romance novels have actual, meaningful things to say about familial dysfunction.

This book explored an unusual premise without writing off the ensuing family drama as hijinks.

The grand gesture made me weep a little bit.

Also: LOVE a fat butch protagonist. More of these.

That was November.

December is shaping up to be busy.

I’m on track to hit my 200-book reading goal for the year. This year I’m grateful for audiobooks.

Wishing everyone plenty of spoons.

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2 thoughts on “November Wrap-Up: Public transit as metaphor”

  1. Reading a lot when shit is going down versus not reading a lot when shit is going down…. I notice a lot of people who struggle o read when Things Are Extra Hard and this makes sense because reading takes energy and effort and if you’re drained it’s not gonna be fun. I also notice people who read excessively when Things Are Extra Hard and this makes sense because reading is an escape from reality and a way to take a goddamn break from the chaos.

    What I notice is that if things are PERSONALLY really rough for me, I don’t have much energy to read. Everything stressing me out is too immediate. But if personally things are pretty okay and it’s just the existential dread of climate collapse and Nazis weighing on me? Reading is a fantastic way for me to rest and have downtime.

    Anyhoo – maybe you’re just the reverse. Maybe there doesn’t have to be a pattern or reason to it. Still, I think it’s interesting to notice when reading is a self care thing versus when it feels like a chore or our brains just Can’t.

    Like

  2. I’m sorry to hear your November wasn’t very good, I hope your December is better!
    That sucks about The World We Make. I haven’t bought it yet, but I was looking forward to getting to it because I absolutely loved The City We Became, now I know to lower my expectations.

    Like

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