Hello hello! I’m here today with the second part of my November 2021 wrap up. There was a small delay because I went on a vacation (a hectic pilgrimage of sorts, more like) and wasn’t able to keep updating the blog. I had posted the first part a few days ago and even the video for my November 2021 wrap up is now live on my YouTube channel. I had contemplated not writing this blog post but I didn’t like the thought of leaving it unfinished. So here I am!
In the first part of my November 2021 reading wrap up, I spoke about the first 10 books that I read in November. In today’s post, I will talk about the remaining 11 books. It feels surreal that I was able to finish 21 books in all, including physical copies, e-books, and audiobooks, and it makes me super happy to have broken my personal record! But then again, please know that you’re a reader irrespective of how many books you read in a month. The number doesn’t define your reading.
Okay, enough philosophizing, however true that may be. Now on to the list!
11. Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer
I read the Twilight series more than 14 years ago and really enjoyed it. I still think those books aren’t bad. But this book, told from the perspective of Edward Cullen, the love of Bella’s life, just didn’t cut it for me. It was dragged, preachy, over-the-top flowery and cheesy, and was so creepy! I don’t know why I went into it expecting to like it. Okay, to be honest, I do know why, but I wasn’t expecting to be irritated with the book. With all the angsty embellishments, Stephenie Meyer merely put an elastic band around the existing story, turned it around, stretched it as much as it would permit, and let go. And that, my friends, is what you shouldn’t do.
I still gave it 2.75 stars, though!
12. Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
One of my most anticipated reads of 2021, this book by Angie Thomas is a sort of a prequel to her previous book, The Hate U Give. Concrete Rose follows Maverick Carter, who is the father of Starr from THUG. How Mav’s life twists and turns as he becomes a teenage father, the importance of family and sticking by the people close to you, and doing the right thing when you know you should – Concrete Rose talks about all of this.
But I didn’t like it as much as I liked THUG. This just felt repetitive despite it addressing topics like teenage pregnancy. Mav keeps saying he needs to buckle up and do the right thing, on loop. I appreciate the fact that he does, but the more he says it, the more I felt like he wasn’t going to do it. It just felt like a bit of a damp squib to me.
My rating: 3.5 stars
13. Steven Johnson and the Mission 1 by Yashesh Rathod
I’ve already done a full written review of this short, sci-fi novella on here. If you’d like to read it, here’s the link: Book Review – Steven Johnson and the Mission 1.
This is the story of Steven Johnson, who finds himself on a different planet and now, has to do odd jobs to earn money so that he can return to Earth. Him being highly skilled helps him get a few missions and consequently, a good amount of money. How he carries out these missions is what this book is about. I liked the concept, but the execution was poor, a complaint that I have expressed to the author about one of his previous books as well. I hope that he will take it into consideration and make the required changes.
My rating: 2.5 stars
14. Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky
This was a book that I had added to a number of TBRs but never got around to reading. But this time, given how my year went and how my schedule has been off the rails, I really, really needed to learn how to focus on what matters every day. And I wasn’t disappointed. It does give some pointers that we already know, but sometimes, all we need are reminders, and this book, along with Atomic Habits reminded me of that. Plus, when a book like this is witty, humorous, and relatable without being relatable, it sort of makes the reading and learning experience that much enjoyable and better. I would definitely recommend this.
If you’re interested, I did a full reading vlog for Nonfiction November and the video will be up tomorrow. Subscribe? 😀
My rating: 4.25 stars.
15. Vultures of Paradise by Atulya Misra
‘Vultures of Paradise’ starts off by being a multigenerational saga of people trying to make it in this world. It starts off as a story of success and superstition and transcending barriers. But it soon becomes something more and something so wonderful, it is a treat to read. As it follows Neha, the intended protagonist and her quest to prove herself as more than just a rich heiress, the story descends into talking about waste management, the fleeting quality of human lives, and the power of well-intentioned ambitions. It does get info-dumpy and preachy many times, but I honestly think that can be ignored in pursuit of the larger plot. Would recommend you read this book for the plot as well as for how educational this book is!
My rating: 3.75 stars.
16. I Came Upon a Lighthouse by Shantanu Naidu
This memoir not just follows Shantanu Naidu’s friendship with Ratan Tata and how it evolved, but also his life and experiences apart from Ratan Tata. He is witty as he narrates incidents that changed his life and is firmly in touch with his roots. From Shantanu Naidu instituting Motopaws, an organization that creates reflective dog collars to reduce incidents of dogs being run over at night, to his working in close contact with Ratan Tata at the Tata Group, it’s a very compelling listen. It’s very heartening to listen to Shantanu Naidu’s journey from being a part of a family where generations worked for the Tatas to working with Ratan Tata himself.
I really enjoyed listening to this as an audiobook, which is what makes it so much better, with the narrator catching all of the author’s intended emotions.
My rating: 4 stars.
17. A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig
This book was born after Matt Haig’s son asked him about Father Christmas as a boy. It follows Nikolas, whose father goes on an expedition to find Elfhelm, the land of the elves. But when Nikolas’s aunt comes to stay and turns out to be a cruel woman, Nikolas sets out to find his father. What he discovers on the way and how he deals with it all forms the entire story.
It’s a children’s book but you will find so many lessons in here, of treating people humanely, of acceptance, of love, of kindness – oh, this left such warmth in my heart, I cannot even begin to explain! The movie was amazing, too, although I like the book better, true to character.
My rating: 4.25 stars.
18. Invictus: The Jungle That Made Me by Nidhie Sharma
A memoir in which Nidhie Sharma and 5 other Army kids were stuck in the jungles of Tawang, this is a book that would have been so much better for a lot of things. Given, it was a horror that they went through, but to say ‘the jungle was watching and had so much more in store for us’ and not following it up with anything is a bit unnecessary. Sensationalizing it to that point wasn’t needed and combined with the preachiness and references peppered in here, it makes it a very annoying experience.
However, it is still spine-chilling and I have the utmost respect for Nidhie Sharma and the kids because of how calmly they got through it. I don’t know what I would have done if I’d been in such a situation! Hats off for that!
My rating: 3 stars.
19. Ghosts in Our Backyard by Alisha Priti Kirpalani
If you know me, you’ll know that I am a huge scaredy cat. I listened to this audiobook on Storytel in which Alisha Priti Kirpalani, a granddaughter of the Ramsay brothers, who are known for bringing horror to the masses in India, narrates horror and supernatural experiences that her family experienced in their lifetimes. It was spine-chilling to listen to, which was why I made sure to do it only when I was around people or during the daytime. I had to take precautions, you know? 😛
The narrator has done a fabulous job with telling these stories, of making them sound realer than just a story in my ears, and of bringing them to life once again. Never thought I’d say this, but this was a good, spooky read!
My rating: 4 stars.
20. Anxiety: Overcome It and Live Without Fear by Sonali Gupta
Another nonfiction book that I read in November, but which I didn’t include in my Nonfiction November reading vlog, I don’t know why. I listened to this as an audiobook as well. In this, Sonali Gupta outlines the difference between anxiety and panic attacks and lists out how we can handle them and make our lives easier. However, there were points in here which made me cringe, especially because the author indulges in toxic positivity by saying things on the lines of ‘it’s up to us to change our mental state’ etc. It’s not something you should say to people battling anxiety. But still, you can pick and choose things that will fit in with your lifestyle and thinking.
My rating: 3.25 stars.
21. Rumours of Spring by Farah Bashir
A coming-of-age memoir set in Kashmir, this book follows Farah Bashir’s experiences and talks about how even the little things change so monstrously as political upheavals and violence take root in a land. Starting off with her grandmother’s death, Farah Bashir navigates memory and puts everything out there in a simple, raw manner that will take your breath away. It will clutch at your heart and turn your perspectives upside down in ways that you probably were rooting for. Pick this up, but be prepared when you do, because you will need the strength.
My rating: 3.75 stars.
So that wraps up my November 2021 reading. Which of these have you read? Which ones do you want to read? What did you read in November 2021? What were your favorites? Which ones didn’t you like? How many books were part of your November 2021 wrap up? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
I’ll be back with a new blog post.
Until next time, keep reading, and add melodrama to your life! ❤