There’s something to be said for one month going atrociously bad in terms of reading and then the next one going splendidly fabulous, even if the other facets of life are still hanging by a thread. This is what happened with me. While October 2021 was bad on so many levels including my reading and my life, November 2021 has started off with a bang that I never could have anticipated in my wildest dreams. It’s just the 14th, but I’ve already completed 10 books and I’m the middle of 1 other, a carry-over from September. And I’m staring at the list in awe as I write this blog post detailing my November 2021 reading plans.
I have so many books I want to read in November 2021, including those for Non-fiction November and the ones from the books I want to read before 2021 ends list. I’ve thankfully flown through the books shortlisted for the JCB Prize for Literature 2021 and won’t be talking in detail about them here because I have reviewed them in the winner prediction video that went up on 12th, a day before the winner was to be announced. 😊
Without any further ado, let me take you through my November 2021 Reading Plans. It’s an interesting mix, for sure.
Books I Brought in from Previous Months:
I hate carrying over books from one month to the other, but this somehow happens every single time as I watch on helplessly. I brought in 3 books from September and October, but only managed to finish one of these so far. Let’s see if I can polish off the others as well.
1. Remnants of a Separation by Aanchal Malhotra
One of my favorite books of this year, this is a fantastically researched collection of memories of people who lived through the Partition of India, through tangible materials that they brought or took over at the time. It’s gut-wrenching and as people recollect the violence and the trauma that politicians’ hurried decisions inflicted on them, it breaks something within you as well. For as modern Indians and Pakistanis, our modern lives aren’t as far off from that history, but we seem so disconnected from it all. This book made me realize that and for that (and more), I will be forever grateful to Aanchal Malhotra.
I will talk more about this book in my November 2021 wrap up. I also have a reading vlog coming up for this soon, since it was the Subscriber Pick for the month of September 2021.
2. The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne
A very bad idea for me to have picked this book in a month that whacked me around the way it did! I had enough of my own tears to deal with and this book just made it bad. Moreover, the male character over whom the female main character is crying, just made me SO ANGRY! It was because of this that I decided to hold off on this book. I didn’t want to chuck the book across the room, however much I hated a character in it. But I ended up finishing it, feeling a shite ton of conflicting emotions, including but not limited to anger, disgust, annoyance, and revulsion. Should I do a whole other blog post for it? Let me know in the comments!
3. Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer
This was a book that I picked up on a complete whim and I’m now 65% in. Twilight told from Edward’s perspective, this book gives me the creeps. Slightly. I did like Twilight when I read it, so maybe this will not turn into one of those companion novels that will make me hate the original. Yes, I know Twilight gets a lot of hate and it does have a few problematic issues. But that’s what’s putting me in a dilemma here, so I don’t know anything anymore. XD
Books I’m Reading for the Bookbound Club:
For those of you who don’t know this, me and a couple of Booktube friends run a book club on YouTube where we select one book and discuss it on a liveshow every 1.5-2 months. This time, the book that was chosen was:
4. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Actually, I finished reading this on Saturday and we went on to have a lovely, detailed discussion about it. It was, however, so hyped and had built up the expectations for me, but I must say I am not disappointed and I see what the hype is about. It’s funny and though quite a bit of the physics stuff went over my head and it did get a little info dumpy in places, I enjoyed this book and what it has to offer. I’m now looking forward to reading everything that Andy Weir has to offer!
Books Shortlisted for the JCB Prize for Literature 2021:
These are books I’ve managed to polish off in a span of a few days and I’m still dumbstruck at how I did it. But yes, do watch the video on my YouTube channel. I have some interesting opinions in there. 😉
5. Name Place Animal Thing by Daribha Lyndem
A beautifully written coming-of-age story of D, a young Khasi woman living in Shillong, Meghalaya, with certain autobiographical elements to it. One of my favorites of this lot, Daribha Lyndem’s lyrical writing makes it a wonderful experience as it makes you feel the million different things that it intends to make you feel. It’s a book that you will fall in love with very easily. Watch my video for more? 😀
6. Gods and Ends by Lindsay Pereira
Ah! A book that talks about religion in an unbiased manner while being blunt about certain issues? Oh hell yes! I was rooting for this book to win the Prize this year but it unfortunately didn’t. Either way, this is a fabulous book that I hope everyone reads. Do let me know if you’d like me to make a separate blog post about this one. There are so many threads to explore and themes that I would like to share that it makes me super excited!
7. The Plague Upon Us by Shabir Ahmad Mir
This one is about Oubaid, a Kashmiri man, who, amidst the violence erupting around him due to insurgency, discovers things about the world that he had the foggiest idea of before. Also told from 3 other perspectives, these tales overlap, repeating incidents and making them clearer as pages go by. The repetition makes it a little jarring and bumpy, because sometimes it confuses you, but on the whole, it’s a compelling story.
8. Anti-Clock by VJ James; translated into English from the Malayalam by Ministhy S.
This one is about a coffin-maker, who, in a bid to take revenge against a man who has wronged him in the past, has already prepared a coffin for him. The concept seemed really intriguing, but then, I realized very quickly that all this book was giving me was high blood pressure because of how annoying and frustrating the narrative is. Such floweriness gone to waste! This one didn’t work for me, unfortunately. It was a DNF.
9. Delhi: A Soliloquy by M. Mukundan; translated into English from the Malayalam by Fathima KV and Nandakumar K.
This book follows the lives of Malayalis in Delhi, primarily through the 60s and 70s, and through the Emergency. It talks about what they went through during the chaos of the world around them. I had (still have) mixed thoughts about this one but I do see the weight that it carries. I’m really happy that it won the JCB Prize for Literature 2021 because it does deal with a lot of issues that we don’t really talk about on a day-to-day basis. That’s what makes this book important!
Books I Want to Read for Nonfiction November:
Nonfiction November is a cool concept, it feels like. Alliterative titles are always going to feel attractive to me and this is no exception. So I decided to pool in 5 books and pick and choose from this list.
10. Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman
We’ve seen a lot of books about how humans are crap (which, I 80% agree with). One prime example is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, which is a great book that not just outlines the atrocities that humans have committed over time but also tells us the steps we took to evolve. But maybe sometimes, we need to look back on our history with hope. So this review copy that was sent to me by Bloomsbury India last year, I’m adding to my November 2021 reading plans with the hope that I will be able to read it soon.
11. Invictus: The Jungle That Made Me by Nidhie Sharma
This is the author’s account of how being stranded in a jungle with some other kids turned her life. It has me intrigued, especially because it seems so harrowing while being easy to read. These are the kinds of books about people that have my utmost respect. Let’s see how this one goes. I have my fingers crossed, although I somehow know that including this book in my November 2021 reading plans will be a good idea.
12. Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky
The title and the tagline make it pretty clear what this book is about. What it doesn’t tell you is that this is a book that I’ve added to a zillion TBRs so far and still haven’t gotten to. But I’m definitely going to read it this month because October 2021 is the final sign that I need to get my sh*t together and focus on what matters every day. Which is why I’ve added it to my November 2021 TBR. I am thinking of doing a Nonfiction November reading vlog in which I will document all the nonfics I read this month, but I don’t know if that will come through.
13. Queeristan by Parmesh Shahani
A nonfiction book about LGBTQ+ inclusion in Indian workplaces, I’ll be reading and reviewing this for Writers Melon, which in turn means that I will definitely be reading it this month. I hope. I’ve heard that this is good, but not great. But at this point, I’ll consider anything that informs me, a good investment. I just don’t want it turning out to be pretentious and repetitive.
14. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
Another nonfiction that I’ve heard nothing but good things about! This book’s reputation as the highly inspirational memoir of the man behind Nike precedes it and I’m super excited to read it. I probably won’t be able to read it this one this month, but Shoe Dog, like the 510 other books on my TBR, is a book that I’d really like to read. So adding it to the chaotic pool that seems to be my November 2021 TBR was a given.
Books I Want to Read Before the End of 2021:
These next few books are from the list of these books that I want to read before 2021 ends. I made a full video about this, listing the 15 books that I want to polish off before the end of the year. I won’t beat myself up over it if I’m not able to finish them though.
15. Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
I’ve finished listening to this book and I must say, I’m super disappointed, especially because there’s such a ‘Not All Men’ flavor to it all. It starts off by making statements to which apologies and disclaimers are attached and then veers off into tangents that we didn’t really need to hear. Plus, everything in here, I already know. There’s nothing groundbreaking about this book and the essays that it contains. Meh.
16. A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig
Aaaaaaahhhh this book I’m so excited about because of two reasons: One, it’s by one of my favorite authors of all time. And two, the movie adaptation is coming out this month! I cannot stay calm and I cannot wait for the day that the movie releases. The story of Father Christmas a month before Christmas? Yes please! And I can’t even begin to explain how much my hands are itching to pick this book and just read it. But I’m going to wait for time to move closer to the movie’s release date and then read it so that my fish memory doesn’t dump the story out. 😀
17. Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
Honestly, this book, I should’ve read a long time ago. Earlier this year, to be precise, because this was the first 2021 book release I bought and I didn’t think my idiot brain would stoop to such idiocy as not read this book until the year end. Anyway, this story about Maverick Carter, who is Starr’s father (Starr from The Hate U Give) is about to make me feel things. I know it in my soul!
18. The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
A birthday gift from a subscriber-turned-friend, this book comes highly recommended from someone whose reviews I admire. I’m hoping that I can read it this month and find out for myself the awesomeness that is said to reside within its pages. I can’t say much other than this, but a book that talks about personal connection through a journal? It was bound to catch my attention anyway.
Books on My TBR:
These are books that I’ve chosen off my TBR because of various reasons and will be rounding off my November 2021 reading plans.
19. Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi; translated into English from the Japanese by Geoffrey Trousselot
I listened to this book on Storytel even though I have the physical copy on my TBR because I really needed to rest my eyes. And what a decision it was! Arina Ii, the narrator, has done a fab job on this. The full vlog for this will be upload on my YouTube channel on the 16th of November. Stay tuned for that!
20. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
Last but not the least, this Booker longlisted book will be my first Kazuo Ishiguro ever, if I manage to finish reading it this month. 😛 I will be reviewing this book for Writers Melon, so I’m hoping I will get to it. This is a story of friendships and personal connections becoming commercialized. At least that’s what I interpreted from the blurb. I’m hoping that it will be better than what I am seeing it as.
So those were my November 2021 reading plans, my November 2021 TBR!
Which of these have you read? Which do you want to read? What are you reading this November? Have you gotten through any books this November so far? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you! 😊
I’ll see you in the next blog post.
Until next time, keep reading and add melodrama to your life!