Nov. Book Haul + Wrap-Up + Dec. TBR

Another month has come and gone, and it’s time to reflect on all the books I’ve been thankful for in November and for the anticipation of books yet to come. November felt like a slow month, but it’s a good time of year to slow down and take stock. However, it’s also a good time to start planning ahead for 2017, so I acquired some new books that I’m looking forward to reading:

  1. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. I don’t actually know what this one’s about. It’s a very short novel recommended to me by my mom. I’ve read a couple of Wharton’s short stories and enjoyed them, and the cover of this one is winter-y, so I might try to squeeze this one in already in the next month or so.
  2. Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka. This is a beautiful collection of short works by Kafka, and I’ve been in the mood for shorter works. I’ve never read Metamorphosis, but I know the story and find it intriguing. I’ve read one of the other short stories in this book already and enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to perusing the rest of these pieces.
  3. Moby Dick by Herman Melville. I used to be so sure that this story would never interest me at all, but I’ve developed a growing inkling to read this classic. It’s a back-burner book for now, but I found it extremely cheap and decided I wanted it on my shelf for the moment I decide I’m ready to read it.
  4. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes. Fantasy has been creeping higher up onto my want-to-read list lately, and I’ve heard this series is a good one. I did read the premise; I don’t remember it, but I was confident it fit my reading inclinations well enough that I also bought:
  5. Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes. This is the second book in this fantasy series by Rhodes. Again, I came across unbeatable prices and decided to pick it up while it was available. I also bought:
  6. Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes. This is the third book in the same fantasy series. I’ve been buying more books than I can keep up with reading lately, on top of borrowing even more books than usual, so after this I’m going on a book-buying ban and I’m calling this fall’s book binging a preparation for my winter hibernation. I’m going to read all winter and knock out my bookshelf TBR list before I buy more. We’ll see if this plan works…
  7. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I’m really intrigued by the layout of this book. The fact that it’s not a straight-forward story makes me a little wary, but I love books that push the bounds of typical literature, and the fact that this story is told through snippets of unconventional mediums is highly attractive to me. Also, the dust jackets of this series are opaque in some places and transparent in others, so the cover has a layered appearance that’s intriguing and mysterious. Again, although this one’s been on my list, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up in the midst of this book-buying flurry if I hadn’t come across it cheap on Book Outlet.
  8. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This is the sequel to Illuminae, and as soon as I’d ordered the first book I also came across this one for significantly less than list price and I wanted to be able to turn from one to the next once I got started, so I couldn’t pass this one up.
  9. Rooms by Lauren Oliver. I’ve read a few of Oliver’s books. I’ve generally liked but not loved them, so that I don’t read every book she has published, but I am generally aware of all of her books. Or so I thought. This one was in the bargain books section at Barnes and Noble, a passing employee voiced enthusiasm for it as I picked it up, and it sounded intriguing–but I had never heard of it. So I bought it. It sounds like it would’ve been a great Halloween read, creepy and supernatural. Maybe that’s why it was on sale in November. Anyway, I’m looking forward to checking it out.
  10. Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke. Initially I was drawn to the beautiful cover of this book, but from the reviews I read, it was the mention of quirky narration, unique characters, and a confusing plot that really hooked me. I can’t wait to puzzle this one out and see for myself if it’s as beautiful between the covers.
  11. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski. In the past couple of months I’ve gotten a lot of first-in-a-series books. Now I’m uncertain of what to do about them–I don’t want to buy all the volumes of all these series without at least sampling the beginnings, but I’m hesitant to start reading all of these firsts and being stuck only one book into a dozen series until I can acquire the next volumes. So I’ve begun picking up a couple of sequels just to help me get started, and I’ve sorted out the others to work out a plan of which ones I need to start reading before I keep buying. That should also help me stick to my no-buy plan. I hope.
  12. The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee. This is the only one I bought this month that wasn’t on super sale and I bought only because I’ve just really been wanting it for a while. I picked up a beautiful paperback copy that was cheaper than I expected, which is why I allowed myself to purchase it. From what I understand, this is Phantom of the Opera meets new thriller novel, and I’m so excited to see how this one plays out.
  13. The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid. Again, I found this one really cheap, knew I wanted to read it eventually, and so I couldn’t help picking it up. It’s a YA book about a deadly female protector who can only protect her elite charge by pretending to be her, so it sounds like the sort of high-stakes book I enjoy.


Although my book buying in November was fun and fruitful, as soon as November struck, I realized that my TBR for the month was more ambitious than I would be able to manage. I had to cut down on the books I would conceivably be able to finish, and I didn’t even glance at what order I’d initially intended to read them in. That said, although my reading this month felt like trying to sprint through three feet of standing water, I can see now that I didn’t do so badly. I’m glad that I got through the books I did, but also that by sacrificing some reading time I accomplished some other goals as well. Here’s what I read in November:

  1. The Revenant by Michael Punke. 4 out of 5 stars. This one took longer than expected, and the one scene I was fully expecting somehow still managed to be the most shocking. It was frustrating for this short, enjoyable book to be such a slow read for me, and that threw off my reading game early this month. Still, I enjoyed it, I’m glad I finished it, and I can’t wait to finally watch the movie. You can find my complete review of this book here.
  2. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. 3 out of 5 stars. This one went quicker than I expected, although I didn’t like it as much as I’d hoped. Mostly it encouraged me to try a different Colleen Hoover book, although I didn’t have any reticence about finishing this one. It was an odd experience. You can find my complete review here.
  3. Morning Star by Pierce Brown. 5 out of 5 stars. This one felt like my big accomplishment for the month. Maybe I didn’t read a ton of books in November. Maybe I didn’t like the books I read as much as I’d hoped. But I read this colossal, fantastic book, and with it I finished the incredible Red Rising trilogy. I would’ve been happy with my reading this month even if this had been the only book I finished. It’s that good. You can find my complete review of this book here.
  4. Cress by Marissa Meyer. 4 out of 5 stars. I’m still not loving this series (the Lunar Chronicles), but I did think it realized a lot more of its potential in this volume. I could’ve loved this series if all of its books had been this exciting. I’m really looking forward now to see how it will end, and not just to cross off an entire series from my TBR before the end of the year. The plot is a multi-faceted gem, and I can’t wait to finally see the whole picture. You can find my complete review of this book here.
  5. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. 5 out of 5 stars. I did not expect to enjoy this series as much as I am enjoying it. If the Lunar Chronicles have been reminding me why I don’t read YA books as often these days, the Raven Cycle has been reminding me why I can’t stop reading YA books altogether. The writing is fun and immersive, and the plot just keeps growing and getting better. I must keep going. You can find my complete review of this book here.
  6. The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore. 4 out of 5 stars. I saw this one in stores several times, often on shelves of notable new books, but it just didn’t appeal to me until I saw it recently on the library shelf when I already had enough other books to read but for some reason suddenly couldn’t resist it. I think I just needed to be in the right mood for it. It’s a great story set in a time period that interests me, and fills that blurry space between fact and fiction that I find so engrossing. If you want to read a book in which Thomas Edison is the villain, this is the one to try. My complete review for this book will be posted soon.

And with only six books completed in November, suddenly the last month of the year has arrived. Although there are quite a few books I wanted to include in my December TBR so that I could cross some key items off of my list before the end of the year, I know that I will be busy again this month, that I will want to spend some time with my family, and that it really won’t hurt me to carry some of my reading goals over to January. Still, I’m feeling ambitious, and apparently I haven’t learned how to create more conservative goals after my ambitious ones have failed. Here’s what I’m hoping to read in December:

  1. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. I’ve been meaning to get around to reading a Rowell book for several months now, and Colleen Hoover finally put me in the right mood to go through with one. I didn’t want to start with the most obvious choice, Fangirl, so I scoured Rowell’s oeuvre and picked this one. I’ve also borrowed Eleanor and Park from a friend, so I’ll be reading that soon too, but for now I’m starting with Attachments.
  2. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. A little over a month ago I read the first book in this faerie series, primarily because I’d heard the second book was great, so I’m reading the second one now in December. If I like it, I might pick up the Throne of Glass series. If not, I might never pick up another Maas book again. Obviously my hopes are as high as the stakes with this one.
  3. Fairest by Marissa Meyer. I had originally planned to read only the four main books of the Lunar Chronicles, but I’ve discovered that this one’s shorter than the others, and villains are intriguing, so I’m going to give it a try between books 3 and 4, in publication order.
  4. Winter by Marissa Meyer. I am determined to finish the Lunar Chronicles before the end of the year. Cress took longer than expected to read, and I think this one’s even thicker, but I expect this will be the best book of them all and I’m ready to see where it’ll take me.
  5. Agent 6 by Tom Rob Smith. I’m not actually sure yet if I’ll be able to read this one this month. It depends on when it will be available at my library. This is the final volume in a Russian trilogy I started earlier this year, and despite mixed feelings about the first two volumes, I do want to try to finish this set before the end of the year, as well.
  6. Vows by LaVyrle Spencer. This one was lent to me by a family member a couple of months ago, and at the time I was not ready to read it immediately but decided I would get to it before the end of the year. Now it’s the end of the year and it’s time to read it. This is a romance, I believe, so it’ll go well with my recent Hoover and Rowell reads by the time I get to it.
  7. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. This one was lent to me by a friend who had no idea this book was already on my cumulative TBR, which I’m taking as a sign that it’s time to read it now. It’s short, it’s creepy, and I haven’t read Agatha Christie in a while so I’m excited about this one.
  8. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. This is another short one, it’s a new buy, and I think it’s a wintery sort of story, so I think it’ll be a great final read in those lazy/crazy days between Christmas and New Year’s when everything and nothing seems to be going on. Those days usually pass pretty quickly, but I have fond memories of books read in those days. I’ve been neglecting my classics lately, but I don’t want to completely lose the habit and I am starting to miss them. This should be an easy one to sneak into my schedule somewhere before the end of the month.

Have you read any of these books? What are you reading  before 2016 comes to a close? Which books should I add to my TBR to kick off the new year?


The Literary Elephant


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