Since I was painting a mural and driving sometimes up to 2 hours roundtrip (good ole DC traffic) for three weeks in November I was able to listen to a lot of books this month on Audible. I usually go through phases of listening to books, and then I will listen to podcasts for a while, then back to books. I like letting the podcast episodes build up while I’m listening to books so that I can binge them.
In November I was able to get through 4.5 books — you’ll see what I mean at the end. Lots of great stories this month!
Please leave me your podcast and book recommendations in the comments!
November Book Review
The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn
Loved this historical fiction book. The characters were so compelling and the back and forth between their lives and how they came together was well-written. Definitely kept me interested until the end. Highly recommend this book!
The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah
I think it will be hard for Kristin Hannah to ever beat her historical novel The Nightingale as it is one of my favorite books of all time but The Great Alone was very good. I don’t recommend reading it back to back with Educated (below) like I did because for some reason, the stories sort of overlapped for me in my head after listening to both of them.
This story of rural Alaska, a volatile marriage, and how the main character deals with it is fascinating and will keep you interested in the story. Page-turner for sure. But I think The Nightingale will be hard to beat, but that’s ok — Hannah please keep writing!
Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover
I didn’t know anything about this book before I listened it. I just kept seeing it on every recommended list and now I know why. It was one of those books like The Glass House that you will never forget. I actually didn’t even know when I was listening to it that it was a memoir. Once I realized that it was a true story it was just that much better.
I definitely rank this book up pretty high as one of the most fascinating stories I’ve ever read. Not quite at the top — Beneath A Scarlet Sky, The Glass Castle, A Long Way Home (not well-written but the story itself is phenominal), A House In The Sky, and others will be hard to beat but it’s a stunning story that is definitely worthy of all the buzz it’s received.
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J.D. Vance
I think I had higher hopes for this book. In the beginning the author says that he hasn’t really done anything extraordinary besides survive his childhood and become what he’s become (getting a degree from Harvard, successful, etc.). I think it’s hard to live up to stories like Educated (above) and The Glass Castle. While I think the author’s childhood was hard and awful, he seemed to deal with it really well, but I think the story didn’t warrant the level of press this received and I felt like it was a let down. As an editor would say, there’s no hook.
Moonglow: A Novel, by Michael Chabon
I know this book got a lot of rave reviews but I got about a third of the way through it and just didn’t find myself compelled to keep going. If you loved it, please tell me in the comments! Maybe I’ll change my mind and get through it.
Have you read any of these books? What have you read recently? Please tell me in the comments below!