I know I’ve been complaining all year about time’s unnatural speed, but seriously? I cannot believe that it’s November and the year is almost over. I have met my Goodreads goal for the year, but I haven’t read nearly as many books as I would have liked, and there’s not much time left.
This fall has been really disappointing for me in terms of the amount of time I’ve been able to spend reading. Far too often, I have been spending my evenings and weekends sitting comatose on the couch instead of ingesting wonderful words. And I truly hate that, because that feels like so much time wasted, but I simply have not had the mental bandwidth to read. I’m hoping to turn a corner and finish out the year strong.
Anyway, without further ado…
The November Books
The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
Wow! I pre-ordered this book on my Kindle because I knew I would be out of town on its pub day and I didn’t want to wait to get started reading this one. Amor Towles has the gift of bringing an everyday scene truly to life. He does this amazingly in The Rules of Civility and in A Gentleman in Moscow (which I’ve started and read most of but haven’t finished yet). In fact, The Lincoln Highway made me decide to start rereading The Rules of Civility so that I could savor the world a bit more.
This was a great road trip novel, and he does an amazing job of writing multiple voices that actually sound distinct. It starts off with the simple premise of a boy being released from a juvenile facility in the 1950s after his father passed and morphs into this brilliant journey. I think some of my favorite sections featured characters whose voices we only heard once or twice.
Highly recommend it!
A Carnival of Snackery by David Sedaris
I pre-ordered this book close to a year ago, as soon as it was announced (at least I think it was close to a year ago—it’s been a while is what I’m getting at). Sedaris is an auto-purchase for me. I know I don’t need to extol his talent because I’m pretty sure I’ve already done that a time or two in this column.
I love reading his diaries. It’s really cool from a craft perspective to be able to see the evolution of one of his essays from a mention in his diary to a piece in a book or in The New Yorker. I don’t know how so many crazy things happen to him, but it’s highly entertaining reading. (I’d also venture to guess that at this point, people go out of their way to “earn” a mention in one of his pieces.)
Unfortunately, this collection takes us to 2020, so it’s going to be another 15+ years before we are likely to get another collection of Sedaris diaries.
I’m still reading it because I don’t want it to end.
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
I had never read anything by Sally Rooney before. I’d heard tons, of course, about how she’s currently the frontrunner as the voice of Millennial literature. I can see it. As I read this one, I saw a lot of myself and my best friend. We talk about high-level stuff, then veer into vapid and silly topics. We struggle with a lot of the same questions about caring about the future and our ability to effect change.
Reading this prompted me to get her other books to see what else she has to say that speaks to me. I haven’t read them yet, but I can definitely relate to her characters and their disillusionment.
Fleabag by Phoebe Waller-Bridge
This was another wow book for me. It’s the text of the one-woman show written and performed by Waller-Bridge that became a smash TV show that I haven’t seen. I would love to see Waller-Bridge perform this herself (and perhaps that’s available on the internet; I haven’t looked yet).
I loved the gritty tone and attitude of this text. It was a perfect amount of rawness without being over the top, in your face, ugly to be ugly quality that I really find off-putting. My next assignment, yes, is to watch the show and read Fleabag: Collected Scriptures, which is the shooting scripts of the first season (or first two seasons?) of the show.
That’s it for November. Just four books to mention. I started a few others but didn’t read enough to warrant mention in this column. And I’ll be honest, next month isn’t looking great so far either, but we’ll see.
Total Books Read in 2021: 34
Tell me in the comments below: What’s on your TBR for November?
Lori Walker is the Operations Maven at DIY MFA. Though she’s fallen off the wagon as a writer, she’s hoping to return to writing essays (perhaps even a novel!) through her involvement with DIY MFA. She is also Launch Manager, Web Editor, and Podcast Producer for DIY MFA and a Book Coach. She resides in Smalltown, Oklahoma, with her husband and their cat, Joan Didion. You can follow her on Instagram at @LoriTheWriter.