November Plans: Novellas, Margaret Atwood Reading Month & More

My big thing next month will, of course, be Novellas in November, which I’m co-hosting with Cathy of 746 Books as a month-long challenge with four weekly prompts. I’m taking the lead on two alternating weeks and will introduce them with mini-reviews of some of my favorite short books from these categories:

9–15 November: Nonfiction novellas

23–29 November: Short classics

I’m also using this as an excuse to get back into the nine books of under 200 pages that have ended up on my “Set Aside Temporarily” shelf. I swore after last year that I would break myself of the bad habit of letting books linger like this, but it has continued in 2020.

 

Other November reading plans…

Readalong of Derek Jarman’s Modern Nature

I learned about this book through Losing Eden by Lucy Jones; she mentions it in the context of nature helping people come to terms with their mortality. Jarman found solace in his Dungeness, Kent garden while dying of AIDS. Shortly after I came across that reference, I learned that his home, Prospect Cottage, had just been rescued from private sale by a crowdfunding campaign. I hope to visit it someday. In the meantime, Creative Folkestone is hosting an Autumn Reads festival on his journal, Modern Nature, running from the 19th to 22nd. I’ve already begun reading it to get a headstart. Do you have a copy? If so, join in!

Margaret Atwood Reading Month

This is the third year of #MARM, hosted by Canadian bloggers extraordinaires Marcie of Buried in Print and Naomi of Consumed by Ink. (Check out the neat bingo card they made this year!) I plan to read the short story volume Wilderness Tips and her new poetry collection, Dearly,on the way for me to review for Shiny New Books. If I fancy adding anything else in, there are tons of her books to choose from across the holdings of the public and university libraries.

Nonfiction November

I don’t usually participate in this challenge because nonfiction makes up at least 40% of my reading anyway, but the past couple of years I enjoyed putting together fiction and nonfiction pairings and “Being the Expert” on women’s religious memoirs. I might end up doing at least one post, especially as I have some “Three on a Theme” posts in mind to encompass a couple of nonfiction topics I happen to have read several books about. The full schedule is here.

Young Writer of the Year Award

Being on the shadow panel for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award was a highlight of 2017 for me. I look forward to following along with the nominated books, as I did last year, and attending the virtual prize ceremony. With any luck I will already have read at least one or two books from the shortlist of four. Fingers crossed for Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Naoise Dolan, Jessica J. Lee, Olivia Potts and Nina Mingya Powles; Niamh Campbell, Catherine Cho, Tiffany Francis and Emma Glass are a few other possibilities. (By chance, only young women are on my radar this year!)

November is such a busy month for book blogging: it’s also Australia Reading Month and German Literature Month. I don’t happen to have any books on the pile that will fit these prompts, but you might like to think about how you can combine one of them with some of the other challenges out there!

Any reading plans for November? Will you be joining in with novellas, Margaret Atwood’s books or Nonfiction November?

31 responses

  1. That’s quite a schedule! My plans are far more modest because I like flexibility and don’t do well when my reading plan is too organised. So I’ll be joining Novellas in November, Australia Reading Month for sure. I might dip into non fiction November but we’ll see

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m delighted that you’ll be joining us for Novellas! Within most challenges, I allow myself a lot of latitude: I have huge stacks of potential novellas, from which I’ll choose a handful.

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  2. I will be concentrating on novellas and non-fiction. And if any of those fit the other challenges that’ll be a bonus!

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    1. Sounds great! Funnily enough, nonfiction makes up my largest stack of novellas. I’ve been hoarding short works of memoir and nature writing.

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  3. I’ve concluded reading challenges aren’t for me. Way too stressful. But I will give novellas a go, simply because that might be achievable without tearing my hair out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Certainly don’t do anything that stresses you out! For me the little nudge and the accountability of other people doing the same thing at the same time helps me to prioritize relevant books from my own shelves. I hope a few novellas will be easy to fit in 🙂

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      1. Accountability for reading choices sounds purgatory! But of course, it’s your job too.

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    2. Paid reviewing work has really dried up this year; I’ve only had about a dozen books. But yes, once I’ve committed to reading a book, whether for a publication or for a buddy read with a friend, that makes it a done deal.

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      1. I’m really surprised paid work has dried up. I thought book-buying was one of the few winning formulae in the pandemic.

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      2. It could partially be a matter of so many books having their publication dates pushed back, or of magazines struggling for money, with staff furloughed or working from home and not in the office to see what books have arrived for review. But two of the editors/companies I’ve worked with the longest have been ghosting me for months. I don’t really understand it. Polite little “hello?” e-mails go ignored.

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  4. It’s a busy month! I’m currently planning my plans, so to speak, and will blog about them at the end of the week., But I do want to take part in a number of November challenges, which will definitely mean getting organised! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The planning is fun, though, isn’t it? (Almost more fun than the reading?!)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That is one busy month Rebecca! I’ve just been doing my reading planning for Novellas in November and am aiming to take part in German Lit Month, Australia Lit Month, Margaret Atwood Month and Non-Fiction November as part of my overall novella reading!

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    1. Excellent multi-tasking 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Just reading this makes me tired, LOL. I admire your organization. Lately I’ve been reading a lot but finding it harder and harder to work up the excitement to write about it. I go through phases like this, though, so I figure it’ll turn around eventually. Good luck with your November goals!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure you’ll get your reviewing mojo back. And if not, no one minds capsule reviews! It’s not a great time for relaxation and concentration in general, of course. I keep pushing down my worry over the election next week. I guess keeping my mind busy is how I’m coping for now.

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  7. I bought a copy of Modern Nature last month, read the first 20 pages, LOVED it, then set it aside for deadline reads and haven’t picked it back up again. This is just the nudge I need – thank you!

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    1. I worked out that I only need to read 12 pages a day to get through it by the end of the Folkestone weekend, which seems like a perfect pace. I’m not huge on (reading about) gardening, so just a handful of entries at a time has been good. And the further I get into it, the less it’s about the garden, anyway — lots of flashbacks to earlier in his life. The website has resources including more info on him and book club questions.

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      1. It’s a lot about his life and art I think – I’m not huge on reading about gardening either (or indeed doing it!)

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  8. So many fun events! For myself, I’ll be doing well to fit in some novellas along with my MARM reading. The nice thing is, it’s still fun to follow along with the others and see what everyone else is reading! Enjoy all your reading! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Two challenges is a perfectly sensible number!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m doing the Australians with one novel, and then nonfiction November – most of my upcoming TBR is non-fic but I do have a couple of review copies of novels I should get around to, too.

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    1. Very good! It’s a shame I couldn’t find anything Australian on my shelves that fit the bill.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes, SOO much to read. In German lit., I was intrigued by High as the Waters Rise by Anja Kampmann and trans. by Anne Posten, but I probably can’t add yet another to my TBR at the moment. Lots of Rust Belt to review. I also have a memoir I’m excited to start, and which I think has spiritual if not heavy religious themes: Trove by Sandra A. Miller. You being the expert, I thought maybe you’d know it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I see that I do have Trove on my TBR, though I don’t remember adding it. I wouldn’t have thought from the blurb that it would have spiritual themes … but the word “Truth” does appear in the subtitle!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll let you know! I think I flagged it because she’s Catholic.

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  11. I’ve already planned about 15 books to read this month, but I also have a copy of Modern Nature on my shelf that I’ve not yet read so I may need to add this, or lose one of my intended reads!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ambitious! I like your style 🙂 Modern Nature is a lovely read — reading nature books is particularly calming at a stressful time like this, but it’s about his life as well as his garden. I’m reading 12 pages at a time (it’s about 300 pages total).

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  12. … Just to follow up, I visited Dungeness and Prospect Cottage a few years ago, and it’s such an interesting and strange landscape, a bit otherworldly, truly worth a visit

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, I’d definitely like to go. From the photos it looks like such an unusual garden. I was so glad to see that the cottage was saved from sale. Once the pandemic has eased (??), I’ll see if we can plan a visit.

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  13. I know you’re already hard at work with your MARM doings; I look forward to checking out your explorations in more detail. November is such a busy month. I only participated in NF November a couple of times; I think I’d do better with Factual February or Memoir March. LOL

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