Hi everyone! I hope you’re doing well! Sorry I disappeared for a bit – I’m stuck in the middle of a reading slump, and once you see the ridiculous amount that I’ve read this month, I’m sure you’ll understand why! Overall, November was a really great reading month for me – I think I only had one book rated lower than three stars and I really enjoyed so much of what I read! Without further ado (as this is bound to be a long one!), let’s get into the wrap up!
As you can see I read a ridiculous amount of books this month! As I was totalling up the pages read I was so shocked to see that I read more than double the amount of pages, and 11 books more than I did last month! If I’m honest with you, I really don’t know how I managed to fit all these books in as SAD has kicked in and I’ve spent most of the month lying under my weighted blanket watching TikToks and playing Among Us! Once again, contemporary and romance books took the crown as being my most read genre this month but, strangely enough, coming in second was non-fiction! All but two of the books that I read were either written by queer people (in the case of the non-fiction I read) or featured queer protagonists. Only eight of the books I read were authored by people of colour, however they did also participate in the creation of three further books (all non-fiction). Nine of the books that I read this month were ARCS, ten were on my physical TBR or physical re-reads, three were audiobooks, and four were ebooks!
I’m going to start off with the non-fiction that I read in November, as I have a whole post dedicated to the majority of them, which you can check out here! I mainly read queer non fiction, as I had received a few e-ARCs of them, and I was so excited to pick them up as I realised that I think I’ve only read one queer non-fiction book in the past. Queer Intentions, The Book of Queer Prophets, and Gender Explorers are all very subjective books in that they deal with a lot of interviews and personal experiences, with much fewer statistics in them than A Queer New York. I really enjoyed all of them, particularly Gender Explorers which features some heartfelt conversations with trans youth and their families, and I highly recommend the three of them if you’re new to non-fiction and don’t want to be bogged down by a whole load of facts and statistics! A Queer New York featured a lot more of these statistics and was much more of a traditionally academic text than the other three – and I really enjoyed it! It discusses the intersections of homophobia, classism, racism and gentrification and it was just so fascinating!
How To Be an Antiracist is one that I’ve had on my radar for a wee while and finally got round to picking up! This is also definitely more traditionally academically written than other non-fiction I’ve read recently, but was also extremely interesting, and I especially appreciated how Kendi showed the overlapping of racism, classism, sexism and homophobia. It’s definitely one that I would highly recommend.
Next up are the novellas, of which I read four! First up, I listened to the audiobook of A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djèlí Clark (which you can read free on Tor’s website, but I do highly recommend the audiobook!). I loved this one! It’s a fast paced steampunk fantasy set in Cairo in 1912 with a sapphic protagonist who works for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, and who is trying to solve the mystery of a curiously dead djinn! It’s the first in a series – the second book is another novella and the third, full length novel, comes out in 2021! I read A Little Light Mischief by Cat Sebastian for this month’s Sapphic Saturday readathon and I really enjoyed this historical fiction novella. I read it all in one sitting and I loved the romance between a disgraced lady’s companion and a thief-turned-lady’s-maid, and I’m so excited to read more by this author!
I’ve been really intrigued by Claire Lydon’s books for some time now, and after seeing Try Me Again free for Kindle, I decided to pick it up! It’s a second chance romance set in England during the first few months of coronavirus lockdown where two exes are forced to live together after one of them has her flight cancelled. This was a really sweet, quick, cheesy lesbian romance novella that was just what I was looking for when I read it, although the lockdown aspect felt a tad contrived, but maybe that’s just because we’re still living through it! It definitely didn’t disappoint and I’m even more excited to read more by this author! Sadly, the last novella was a bit of a let down, and it was Glove Save and a Beauty, which follows a female ice hockey player in an all male team over a series of Thanksgivings. I love queer books about sports, so was very excited to read it, but sadly I DNF-ed this one, partially due to the nature of the ace rep, and partially due to the main character, Gabrielle. I have a review on Goodreads if you’d like to know my full thoughts, but sadly this one was a let down.
On to sci-fi and fantasy, and I think we’re almost halfway through this wrap up! Right at the start of the month I read my first ever book for a book tour, and it was My Lord by L.B. Shimaira! I have a full book review here where I gush about it, but basically it’s a queer, poly, erotic gothic horror with vampires – and if that doesn’t have you sold, I don’t know what will! It was super spooky and atmospheric with so much drama and intrigue and I’m dying to read the sequel! It was definitely a great start to November! Next up is an anthology that I listened to on audiobook and didn’t quite manage to finish in October – Toil and Trouble. This is a really great anthology of witchy short stories, many of them queer and featuring protagonists of colour, and I really enjoyed it! It had me laughing out loud at several points and it’s honestly one of the best anthologies I’ve ever read! The audiobook is really great, but I’d maybe recommend reading a physical copy if you get the chance.
Next up I read Cute Mutants Vol. 2: Young, Gifted and Queer and Cute Mutants Vol. 3: The Demon Queer Saga, which SJ very kindly gave me an ARC copy of. If you haven’t checked out my reviews for these books you can find my review of Vol. 1 here, Vol. 2 here, and Vol. 3 here! This series just keeps getting better and better! I cannot explain to you the love that I have for these books – there’s so much action, one of the best found families I’ve ever read, and almost everyone is queer!! It’s amazing!! Next I read an ARC of The Vela – an amazing sci-fi novel that focusses on an interplanetary refugee crisis that greatly mirrors what is currently going on in our world, and has a disabled trans lesbian mc, and a non binary mc. I’m not the biggest sci-fi reader as a lot of it goes over my head, but this is definitely one of the best sci-fi books I’ve read. It was originally released chapter by chapter every week like a tv show, and I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like having to wait a week after the jaw-dropping cliff-hangers at the end of each chapter! I’m so excited to get my hands on the sequel!
After reading the amazing The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta earlier this year, I realised that, although I’m not the biggest fan of poetry, I do love novels written in verse, and the three I read this month did not disappoint! I first picked up The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo as my first foray into her work and oh boy did I love this book – it had me sobbing late at night as I finished it off. It follows Xiomara who is trying to understand her mother’s passion for religion and where she belongs in the world, all while discovering a love of slam poetry. The exploration of mother-daughter relationships in fiction always hit home for me, and this was no exception. This is 100% one of my new favourites of all time, and definitely of 2020! Following that, I purchased a second-hand copy of Clap When You Land which follows half-sisters Camino and Yahaira, who find out about one another after their father dies on a flight to the Dominican Republic. This one does have really sweet sapphic rep, which I really enjoyed, and I really appreciated the discussions on loss and grief. Although I loved The Poet X slightly more than this one, Elizabeth Acevedo is definitely now an auto-buy author for me!
Lastly, after hearing how much Anja (check out her amazing booktube channel!) loved this book, I decided to listen to the audiobook of Punching the Air, written by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam, one of the exonerated five. This was an incredible book following a young Black, Muslim boy who is wrongfully incarcerated and follows his experience of the justice system and the systemic racism that pervades our society. It’s an incredible book but, due to listening to the audiobook, I didn’t realise it was told in verse until after I had finished listening and was looking at some reviews on Goodreads. Although the narrator did a fantastic job (one of the best male narrators I’ve listened to), I definitely recommend picking up the physical copy to fully appreciate this book!
I read some really great contemporary this month, starting off with Six Angry Girls by Adrienne Kisner, which has one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve ever seen (literally the whole book is so aesthetically pleasing). If I were to sum this book up, I’d describe it as being if Pitch Perfect were about mock trial and knitting! It’s a really fun, very queer book, following a group of girls who decide to challenge the sexism at their school and form their own mock trial team to go up against the all male team. I really enjoyed this, although there is some not great cissexism throughout and I recommend checking out my review if you want to find out more, or else we’d be here for hours reading this wrap up! A much more hard-hitting contemporary that I read this month was Orpheus Girl – a stunning sapphic retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice as two best friends who are in love with each other in a small conservative Texas town are sent to conversion camp and subsequently try to escape. This was such a heartbreaking read and I recommend checking out my review and the trigger warnings to see if it’s right for you before picking this one up – but if it is right for you, I highly recommend it.
After such a heavy read I needed something light and funny, and the lovely Tess recommended TJ Klune’s How To Be a Normal Person, and it was exactly what I needed! It follows video shop, and unruly ferret, owner Gustavo as he meets and gets to know the new hipster employee at the coffee shop he frequents. This book made me laugh out loud several times and is the perfect comfort read! It has ace rep and autism rep and is just all round a great book! I also read an e-ARC copy of The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley and adored it! I have a full review of all my thoughts but essentially it’s an amazing book about a stage manager during a school production of Les Mis who has to promise to stay single until the play is finished because everyone believes that when she is in a relationship, the theatre, and the play, is cursed, but then she starts falling for one of the lead actresses! I loved Robin Talley’s previous book, Music From Another World, but this one was even better in my opinion, and I highly recommend that you check it out! Finally, I picked up In the Role of Brie Hutchens for Sapphic Saturday – a really funny sapphic middle grade book about a girl who almost gets caught by her mum looking at some inappropriate pictures of her favourite actress, and so to distract her she tells her mum that she’s been chosen to crown Mary at Easter, but she hasn’t, and so has to work out how to get chosen to do so! This explored growing up in a religious background and figuring out you’re gay in such a perfect way and I definitely cried whilst reading it! I’ll hopefully have a mini review up for it sometime soon, but in the meantime, I definitely recommend it!
Finally, I decided to re-read some favourites to try and get out of my reading slump (sadly, it didn’t work!). First I picked up the first three volumes of Heartstopper by Alice Oseman – I’m sure you all know what this is by now, but if not, it’s an adorable graphic novel series following Charlie and Nick as they become friends at school and slowly begin to realise that they have feelings for each other. I first read these online on Tapas when I was living in Spain and just fell in love with the characters and how adorable the romance is, and I enjoyed them just as much the second time around! The last book I finished in November was The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi – another favourite I read for the first time when I was living in Spain! This is an amazing fantasy book set in the late 1800s in Paris and follows one of my favourite found families as they try and hunt down a lost magical artefact. I appreciated this a lot more than the first time I read it, particularly the discussions on colonialism and racism, and Roshani Chokshi is honestly a master at writing sexual tension!! I’ve just picked up the sequel and I’m both excited and terrified to read it!
If you made it this far please give yourselves a pat on the back because that was ridiculously lengthy! If you’ve read any of these books I’d love to know what you thought of them and I’d love to hear what your favourite book of the month was! I hope December is a great reading month for you all! Stay safe!