When November started, I was content to embrace the reading slump and focus on my writing. For a while, I was writing a little bit, although not as much as I would have liked. Then, towards the middle of the month, I got the urge to read again, despite still in the throes of a slump. I wanted to buy books more than read them (which my bank account currently hates me for). I checked out library books, which helped.
In total, I read four books in November. All of them falling in or under the 3 star range. I don’t know if it was because of the books I chose to read or if it was because of the reading slump. Not that it should matter—I’m back to reading again, just in time for the end of the year.
In November, I read:
My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
A YouTube video I watched on reading slumps recommended reading a book outside of your comfort zone to get out of a slump. That is initially why I picked up My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem, a nonfiction work about how her experiences travelling and her nomadic childhood influenced her life. However, I was reluctant to read it after her comment that Millennial women only supported Bernie Sanders because “that was where the boys are.” That really got under my skin. Only I knew I could never part with this book because my favorite professors in the Women & Gender Studies program at my college gave this to me when I graduated and they signed it.
So, in the midst of a reading slump, I decided to give Gloria Steinem a chance. I have to say, it was an unexpectedly enjoyable read and educational. It helped me get out of my reading slump somewhat. But I am still picky about what nonfiction I read.
Lies She Told by Cate Holahan (library book)
Lies She Told is about Liza, an author struggling to meet a 30-day deadline for her next potential bestseller midst trying to conceive with her husband David, who is currently distracted by the disappearance of his best friend. In between Liza’s chapters, we also get excerpts from her novel, which follows Beth, a new mom that kills her husband’s mistress. Liza’s reality then blurs with her character’s story after her husband’s best friend’s body is found in the East River like Beth’s husband’s mistress.
I would have done a full review of Lies She Told but I had so many mixed feelings it was hard to put into coherent words. The writing was good, but the second half of the novel really started to drag. It was fast-paced, the kind of book you want during a reading slump, but the characters were one-dimensional. I wanted to like Liza or Beth, but I could only sympathize with them. My feelings towards Liza in particular were mixed; while some bad things happened to her, some of her own behavior was selfish and she had her own consequences that I felt were fitting. So, overall, Lies She Told was just meh for me.
Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker (library book)
I wouldn’t go as far to say as to say Emma in the Night was a disappointment, but I was more excited for it than I was for Lies She Told. Unfortunately, it did not live up to the hype I had built up in my head.
It is about two sisters, Cass and Emma, that disappear and only Cass returns three years later. As she tells the story of what happened to her and Emma during the years they were gone, FBI psychologist Dr. Abby Winter starts to find holes in the story, focusing on Cass’s narcissist mother, Judy.
I wanted to give Emma in the Night 4 stars, only I ultimately had some problems with it. Cass was an unreliable narrator, but the reveal behind her story made no sense in the end. How Dr. Winter came to this revelation didn’t really make sense to me, either. Then again, I did not go to school for psychology like the author, Wendy Walker, supposedly did. I didn’t really care for any of the characters. The writing was good, though. Overall, Emma in the Night was a good book but I’m glad I got it out of the library instead of buying it.
Woman of God by James Patterson (library book)
Very controversial! This is the first time I have ever given a James Patterson novel a 1-star review. While I love the idea of a female pope—and I hope I live to see the day—and support female clergy, there were too many problems with Woman of God for me to enjoy it.
The plot, if there was one, was so boring it made me question why I kept reading. The writing made me feel detached from everything, even the truly terrible things that happened. I honestly felt like I didn’t care. The main character, Brigid, had no development to speak of. And there was so much insta-love it made me want to puke.
Because of Woman of God, James Patterson is firmly a “library only” author from now on.
How was everyone else’s reading in November?