The November Outlook

Normally I’d start the month off with a few recommendations for new books, but I’ve only finished one November book I can recommend (Skating on the Vertical, short stories by Jan English Leary; not yet reviewed); I DNFed another couple and skimmed one more. So instead I’ll give a quick survey of what the month holds.


  • Young Writer of the Year reviews and events. I’ve read The Lauras; expect my review on Monday. I’m currently reading The Lucky Ones, Conversations with Friends, and the Steven Runciman biography, which will be my doorstopper for the month. There will be a shortlist event in London on the 18th, and on the 24th the shadow panel is meeting up to select a winner.

  • I’ll be finishing up a brief climate change feature for Foreword Reviews magazine, consisting of mini-reviews of four upcoming books on an environmental theme.


  • Review books I owe write-ups for: Jacob’s Room Is Full of Books by Susan Hill (released last month) and The Smell of Fresh Rain by Barney Shaw (out on the 14th). I’m fascinated by the science of smell and taste, so I’m intrigued to find out what Shaw has to say about a sense that often gets little attention.


  • Blog tour for Celeste Ng’s new novel, Little Fires Everywhere, on the 14th. I haven’t started it yet but I’m looking forward to it immensely.


  • You’d think with all those review books and library piles I wouldn’t be taking on any more projects…but I couldn’t resist agreeing to another “Book Wars” column (my third) for Stylist magazine, due on the 17th. I used to love reading Stylist when I worked in London; if you’re lucky enough to come across the magazine in your commuting, look out for my contribution to the Christmas-themed special.


  • The Iris Murdoch Readalong begins with Under the Net. I’ll aim to squeeze it in before the end of the month. (Can I count it as my Classic?!)


  • If I get a chance, I’ll also participate in German Literature Month by reading Bernhard Schlink’s The Woman on the Stairs on my Kindle.


  • I’m revisiting some of my favorite Victorian pastiches for an article on neo-Victorian novels for Bookmarks magazine, due at the end of the month.


  • Otherwise, I’ll be focusing on novellas for November, including some nonfiction novellas. I have a big pile of books set aside that are around 150 pages or shorter. I’ll get to as many of them as I can and summarize them in a roundup or two. They’re quick wins, true, often read in a single sitting (I read Alice Hoffman’s Survival Lessons this morning, for instance), but this doesn’t feel like a cheaty way to build up the book list because brevity is such an admirable skill.

How does November look for you?

21 responses

  1. I’d say Under the Net counts as a classic! And it’ll be lovely to have you along. I’ve got that, of course, plus reading The Ladies of Missalonghi for Aus Reading Month and have Angela Thirkell’s “The Headmistress” reading for the Undervalued Women Novelists reading week next week. Then I have at least one NetGalley book to review and am two reviews behind on books I have already read (argh). Happy reading!


    1. Saw your post…I love that “Undervalued Women Novelists” designation! I feel rather behind at the moment. I didn’t mention the Bookbag and Nudge reviews I keep meaning to write, and two due in for Shiny by next month.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I reviewed a book yesterday then finished another this morning, so I’m STILL two reviews behind and there aren’t enough days to review them in before I’ll have finished another one. I feel a short multi reviews post coming up!


    2. Sure, go for it! Mini reviews can be easier to write but still do justice to the books. I find Sunday afternoons a good time to catch up on blogging.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gosh, you’re a busy lady! Delighted to have you join us at German Literature Month, if you find the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yikes! how do you find time for all this? I presume you don’t own a TV!


    1. Good guess! You are correct: we don’t own a TV, and rarely find time to watch the few box sets we own. Two of the above projects are for my paid work. The rest are all for fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Phew! Novellas seem a wise choice

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m new here and I’m enjoying lurking and learning. ❤ Amy


  6. So many plans for a short month! I just hope to finish my two Anne of Green Gables books (#6 and 7) for the readalong, and my book for my book group (Long Division by Kiese Laymon.) I just got My Life With Bob by Pamela Paul in the library delivery today and I’m REALLY looking forward to that. I love books about books.
    Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My Life with Bob is one of my favorite books of this year. Hope you enjoy it!

      I keep hearing Kiese Laymon’s name but have never read anything by him. I’ll be interested to see what you think of that book.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love Novellas in November, but this year it’s going to be tight. Hopefully I’ll fit a couple in, but if not, I enjoy building up my list from everyone else’s recommendations!
    I have one more book to read frm the Giller shortlist, and a few other books from various other Canadian book award lists. I also have a few that have recently been sent to me by small presses which I will try to get to soon. So, I’m all filled up and loving it. 🙂
    It’s really nice that your shadow jury gets to meet in person!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know if Laura is hosting it again this year; I’ll have to ask. I gravitate towards that more than to Nonfiction November because I already read quite a bit of nonfiction — if not 50% of my reading then maybe 40%.

      I agree: it’s a great feeling having all these books waiting for me or in progress. Rather than overwhelming, I usually find it comforting and motivating.

      Yeah, it’ll be great to meet everyone at the decision meeting. I imagine we will already have done so much discussing via e-mail, etc. that we will have a good idea of our winner, but who knows! The company sponsoring the prize has very generously offered to cover travel expenses for the shadow panel too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love that the company’s so into it!

        As for Laura hosting Novellas in November, I think maybe it has just become a “thing”. (Just going by a Tweet from her I saw.)


    2. Great, I’ll go look for it.


  8. Annabel (gaskella) | Reply

    I too love Novellas, I prefer them to short stories (the Pachico excepted!). My November is so full that I’ve not had time to read our book group read for tomorrow! (shame on me).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. D’oh! I’m afraid what’s currently going by the wayside for me is my 2 Shiny reviews. I do still hope to get them to you before you ‘close’ for the holidays.


  9. I’d say that Murdoch counts as a classic too — and because I’m not hosting the event (*waves* to Liz), you can believe me. *grins*

    That looks like a good reading month. Usually at this point I am scrambling to finish up a bunch of reading projects but this year I planned to make them last two years instead of one (and chose longer ones – actually, my aim to read all of Mavis Gallant’s stories will be a three-year project I believe). So November is feeling delightfully loose for a change.

    Although, I did pick up Bleak House, inspired by the Guillermo del Toro art exhibit (that’s what he has named his house apparently, filled with collectibles), so that might take awhile…and take some of the loose-ness out of it all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, two votes, that clinches it: I’m calling the Murdoch my classic for the month. I may also manage to squeeze in a classic novella too.

      My only other year-end project will be finishing all the books I currently have on hold — 14 of them!

      I hope you love Bleak House. Is it a first-time read? It’s one of my favourites by Dickens, though it’s been many years since I read it and I wonder what I’d think of it now. Have you seen the excellent BBC miniseries?


      1. I began watching it years ago – then stopped (because I had thought I wouldn’t want to read the book but decided I was enjoying the story enough to want to read it after all) but I loved what I saw. I’ve only just begun, so perhaps it’s too early to say, but I am enjoying far more than the other Dickens I’ve read so far – maybe it’s just timing, we’ll see! Thanks for the encouragement though. And good luck with the holds which remain in your stack – I know that feeling all too well!

        Liked by 1 person

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