Best November reads

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Best November reads

1Tess_W
Modificato: Dic 1, 2021, 11:18pm

I will have to say that Bastard out of Carolina was shocking for sure and got my attention--made me nauseous with child abuse and rape. Not "good" in that sense, but the writing the feelings it elicited were superb. Would not recommend it.

My favorite for the month of November, I have not finished yet...Go tell the bees that I am gone, Gabaldon's last in the series. It will be like a friend is gone. I will grieve when I've finished.

2nohrt4me2
Modificato: Nov 28, 2021, 10:24pm

The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Legal History. Interesting look at the legal code in colonial America and how the witch trials ushered in revised notions about hearsay evidence, the use of coerced confessions, and use of capital punishment. The inability of secular courts to deal with supernatural and theological issues probably also influenced later ideas about the separation of church and state. Also gives a good overview of the social stresses in Salem at that time that contributed to the trials and how ambitious factions and individuals exploited the trials for their own gain. Families of those executed during the trials were still trying to get reparations for seized goods as late as the 1750s. One of my ancestors was hanged in the Salem debacle.

3John5918
Modificato: Nov 28, 2021, 10:45pm

Unsettled: Denial and Belonging Among White Kenyans by Janet McIntosh was given to me by a friend. It was much more interesting than I expected, dealing not only with the descendants of colonial settlers who remain in Kenya but with some wider issues around colonialism, neocolonialism, language, identity, culture and racism. It's a product of academic research, but nevertheless it's an easy enough read.

This month's best fiction was again a Vera Stanhope book by Ann Cleeves, The Seagull.

4Crypto-Willobie
Nov 29, 2021, 12:43am

Fiction -- The Crock of Gold by James Stephens

Non-fiction -- my new subscription to the Times Literary Supplement.

5vwinsloe
Nov 29, 2021, 8:43am

I read two surprising books back to back. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue who we find out made a deal with the devil to stop her arranged marriage. The novel goes back and forth between the 18th Century and the early 21st, because the deal that Addie made was that she could keep her soul until she got tired of it, and that hadn't happened for 300 years. During those 300 years, we see Addie make some interesting choices, free of the judgment of others.

The second surprising book was Such A Fun Age. The title and description of this book deceptively makes the reader believe that it is a "chick lit" romantic comedy. But the title seems to be ironically referring not only to the young child that the protagonist babysits, but also to the age in which we live. This clever book is really about race and class and a young woman being true to her self.

62wonderY
Nov 29, 2021, 9:33am

I gave up on Such a Fun Age about half way. The female lead was determined not to examine her life; and then the story line was relying so heavily on serendipity/coincidence.

I’ve fallen heavily for the author of A Man with One of Those Faces. Every character, even the passing guy on the street, has a vivid life to be glimpsed.

7vwinsloe
Nov 29, 2021, 9:37am

>6 2wonderY:. That's unfortunate. I agree that the whole premise of Such A Fun Age was based on unlikely coincidences-but isn't every romantic comedy? The book did depict some interesting issues and had a satisfying ending though.

8nohrt4me2
Nov 29, 2021, 10:36am

>5 vwinsloe: The Addie LaRue book sounds interesting. Gets to something about our fear/dread of death that is tied up with memory. The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier explores a similar theme.

9vwinsloe
Nov 30, 2021, 9:18am

>8 nohrt4me2:. Yes, I was pleasantly surprised as I had a fear that it would end up in the tired old time traveling romance fantasy trope. But nope! :>)

10LyndaInOregon
Dic 1, 2021, 5:31pm

I lucked out with three outstanding books in November, all of which will end up on my Best of 2021 list. Two of them are mostly wordplay, and the third is a piece of fiction with a totally unique concept. All highly recommended.

The Liar's Dictionary, by Eley Williams;
The Grammarians, by Cathleen Schine
The Tattoo Artist, by Jill Ciment