Monthly Wrap-Up: November 2019

  • Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin (★★★★★)
  • The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins (★★★★★)
  • Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (★★★☆☆)
  • The Body Lies by Jo Baker (★★★★☆)
  • Verity by Colleen Hoover (★★★★☆)
  • Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney (★★★☆☆)
  • The Lost Sisters by Holly Black (★★★★☆)
  • Angel Mage by Garth Nix (★★★☆☆)
  • The Tenth Girl by Sarah Faring (★★☆☆☆)

MONTHLY TOTAL: 9 (8, really)
YEARLY SO FAR: 84

Does it count as a book read when it’s a 50 page novella? Ah, the dilemmas of a book blogger.

In any case, The Lost Sisters was a fun little aside and refresher before diving back in to the Folk of the Air series. The other two standouts of the month were Serpent and Dove, which was so much damn fun, you guys, reminiscent of early Sarah J Maas, and The Library at Mount Char, which was so fucking weird and gory and violent and bizarre but I loved it all the same. I’m also pleased I finally got to Conversations With Friends, which was a buddy read with an RL friend, and I have to say I’m much more a fan of Normal People than this one, but I still liked it.

Obviously, I absolutely failed my TBR for November, but like, that was never realistic anyway. Still hoping to get to some of those books in December, particularly the high fantasy ones. I’m just in a mood for high fantasy these days!


Currently Reading

I mean, it’s a lie to say that I’m reading The Poison Master because technically I haven’t started it yet but the only reason I haven’t started it is because it’s sitting on my desk at work and I’m not at work today. I fully plan to start it tomorrow; I’m in the mood for a fantasy with a villain romance!

I really, really, really want to finish The Witch so that I don’t have to carry it over onto next year, but I’m wondering if I might just…put it on pause for now? I feel like my enthusiasm for it has sort of fizzled out…like, I still really want to finish it, but there’s so many other things I would rather spend my time reading this time of the year, so perhaps I should just put it aside for a bit.

And of course I’m finally reading The Wicked King and need to finish it quickly so I can start The Queen of Nothing, because I have it out from the library and can’t renew it because other people have already requested it, as expected.


Television & Film & Theatre Update

I haven’t really been watching that much television, to be honest, or anything at all…let’s see, I watched (1) film this month, a really terrible adaptation of Dracula from 2005 that I only watched because it was full of cast members I really like. It was low-budget and terrible, but the kind of movie where’s so bad it’s good, you know? It was like a B-movie from the 50s. It was utterly bizarre and characterized Mina terribly, but it was still a good time (and the misogyny here, yikes).

Still intermittently watching Schitt’s Creek, which has gotten funnier and funnier, and then yesterday on a whim I started The Crown, which I’ve been meaning to watch for ages and ages. What is it about British dramas that makes them so damn compelling? I can already tell I’m going to enjoy watching it very much, though I don’t anticipate binging it, necessarily.

Speaking of British dramas, I really, really want to watch Sanditon, but I don’t think it’s available on any US streaming services yet (the ones I subscribe to, anyway). I’ll just have to wait, but it looks fantastic.

Oh! I can’t believe I forgot about Carnival Row, which I marathoned this month in like two days because I loved it SO MUCH. I’d been hesitant about watching it because of the lukewarm reviews, but frankly…it’s amazing for what it is? The worldbuilding is solid, Cara Delevingne is spectacular, the costumes are fab, there are so many female characters, and the overall murder-mystery plot was so captivating. I’m not a fan of Orlando Bloom or how the story revolves around his character but I can easily get over that. This was such a good time!

I saw one show this month: Cyrano, starring Peter Dinklage and Jasmine Cephas-Jones, two of my faves! I had a weird experience, where I really, really loved the first act, but was kind of lukewarm about the second act, mostly due to the significant and jarring tonal shift. But I thought Dinklage and Cephas-Jones were both spectacular; they both have amazing voices and stage presences.


Miscellaneous

I feel like November has gone by really quickly and I haven’t really accomplished much. I’ve been writing on and off, and I would really love to finish the novella I started before the end of the year. Technically I haven’t written very much more of it since last month, but I’ve had some significant structural breakthroughs which have helped me wrap my head around it better, so hopefully it will be smoother sailing from here, though I still have absolutely no idea how I want it to end, which is always a struggle.

I’ve been thinking, and I’ve realized – aside from the book I queried, which got me my agent, I’ve…never really finished a book before, not truly. Well, okay, that’s not true, I did write one other novel that I finished, but I realized everything about it was terrible and I scrapped it entirely and it’s actually something I’m reworking from scratch right now, so I don’t really count it. I’ve never really finished and polished something, which is a scary thought. Even with the novel that I queried, I remember figuring out how to end it and actually coming up with an ending was such a struggle, and to be honest I’m still not wholly satisfied with how I ended it.

And this isn’t even a novel; it’s a novella, which in theory should mean it’s easier to execute and end, right? But I’ve always hated endings. Usually the last book in a series is my least favorite. When I rewatch my favorite TV shows I almost never rewatch the finales. I just don’t like the finality of endings, which is why my endings are always, well, open-ended; they leave the possibility for the reader to imagine the characters continuing their adventures. Those are my favorite kinds of endings to read too.

I always wonder if I should be more ~edgy or daring with my ending and make it more tragic or unhappy. But I think I’m kidding myself – I like reading about suffering and dark shit but I’m a sucker for a happy ending. I’m big on the whole “they triumphed over their hardships” sort of thing, you know? Light at the end of the tunnel, all that good shit. I think that’s the ending I want for this novella, and I should just…accept that and stick with it, because part of the struggle with endings for me is that I’m indecisive. It’s hard to just pick a route and stick with it, because my brain keeps wanting to explore all these other options! How do I pick just one? How do I know which one is right?

I’m still a baby writer in a lot of ways, despite being in the privileged position of having obtained an agent; I haven’t really written as much as a lot of agented writers have. I think I just…got lucky with this particular novel I queried and I did a LOT of research about agents and how to query and I did everything right and then I just got lucky again in various ways that led to me being where I am, so sometimes I feel like I’m still learning as I’m going along, but I think that’s something that all writers feel, and it’s good! Your first book shouldn’t be your best book! You should keep getting better the more you write, the more you build your career, and I do look forward to that.

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