November: Books Plus

I have to admit, I give the short shrift to November.  October is my favorite month and Christmastime (yes, I’m annoyingly specific) is my favorite holiday, so the month that comes between and throw in crazy election stress…nah.
I did, however, have a cozy reading month, perhaps in part as an antidote, and watched the cutest show I ever did see.
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My Reads

➕ Jessica Townsend’s Hollowpox
As if this would be anything but five stars.  Another truly amazing installment in one of the best series ever.  Also, are Nevermoor Christmases the best Christmases ever?
➕  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun
Yet again carried along by Adichie’s masterful writing through the decade around the Biafran war in Nigeria.
➕ Jessica Kim’s Stand Up, Yum Chung!
Combine the immigrant experience with comedy and learning to find the courage to be yourself and you’ve got one winning middle grade story.
➕ Karina Yan Glaser’s The Vanderbeekers Lost and Found
I was really thrown for a loop when this latest in a series I view as pretty ultimate in comfort reading had me crying.  That’s not to say that it wasn’t excellent as always, but perhaps go into this one prepared.  Also, while the Vanderbeekers are adorable, this introvert would not be cool with them as neighbors, even with all the cookies.
➕ K.L. Going’s The Next Great Jane
Chelsey spoke highly of this one.  It was very absorbing, with it’s small town Maine setting and the trope I always can get behind of a young aspiring writer.  I didn’t love the best friend’s fashion model dreams, but the Dad’s plankton facts more than made up for it.
Unlikely, quirky friends who form an alternate group to the Scouts and learn a lot along the way about ruffling feathers, in a good way.  If you like middle grade, this is absolutely one to pick up.
➕  Brandy Colbert’s The Voting Booth
Ferris Beuller’s Day Off except with two responsible teens trying to vote on Election Day and sprinkled with important conversations about race and responsibility. YA is really bringing it these days.

➕  Laura Silverman’s Recommended For You

Annie has talked about this one a lot and I’m so glad I picked it up.  Bookstore setting, an actually cute teen romance, and Hannukah and Christmas as the backdrop…read it and I personally guarantee* some happiness!
* Hyperbole. Look up Ben Franklin’s thoughts on guarantees.

➕ Daina Ramey Berry’s and Kali Nicole Gross’s A Black Women’s History

This is a must read, as far as I’m concerned.

Podcasts

➕ Every Little Thing’s The Dirt on House Plants
I think a lot of you would like this podcast in general- the host is really charming and the topics covered are good nerd fun- and this episode was an interesting one.
➕ American Girls Podcast’s Molly episodes
I have been waiting for these two hilarious historians (yes, those words go together) to get to Molly since the beginning, since she’s their favorite, and these episodes have de-liv-ered.  If you were into American Girls as a kid and haven’t listened to these yet, what are you doing??
➕ The Bible Binge’s Faith Adjacent: Thanksgiving
I would not describe myself as currently religious, so don’t be put off if the above words don’t fit you either, although if they do fit you, that’s great.  Erin H. Moon is one of those people who is both so wise and funny and she does a wonderful job with this episode.

Music

➕ Billie Marten’s Milk & Honey
➕ Bishop Briggs’ HIGHER
➕ Alllll the Christmas music post Thanksgiving.

TV and Movies

➕ Dash & Lily
A hug of a TV show. The NY setting was a dream and, if you can forget how young they are, your heart will grow three sizes. I plan on watching this yearly.
➕ Umbrella Academy
Evocative and dark and twisty-turny. Superpowers and a dystopian feel and lots of questions.
➕ Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas
A cute, short series featuring lots of Christmas decorations.
➕ 30 Rock
Slowly but surely finishing up our re-watch of this show with some of the best comedy writing out there (minus everything that was ever written for Lutz and Pete). Liz  + Criss Cross 4ever.

What’s Not Working For Me

(This section is officially for nonsense only.)
➕ Holidate
It was fine. But when you make me think I’m going into a cheesy Christmas movie and it’s instead a raunchy romp through a full year with very little Christmas, I’m bound to be a bit disappointed.
➕ This season of Great British Bake Off.
I mean, it’s still GBBO and I’m grateful they managed to film it in the pandemic, but anyone else not resonate with this season?
Wading through everyone’s election hot-takes to try to get to the good/real stuff.
This was a lot of work.

Working For Me

➕ The glimmer of Christmas.
I’m sorry Thanksgiving and November, but you just can’t seem to grow on me.  Now that we’re officially in Christmastime, though, cue all the excited Elf memes and throw in a dash of Maria Von Trapp spinning.

➕ Night explorations.

Our daughter has decided that to help herself get over her fear of the dark, she often wants to go outside and walk around in it (wise little one).  This has been a lovely way to get to see the night sky and a refreshing way to make the early nights feel more energizing.
➕ Making gingerbread.
Thanks to Emily for this inspiration.  This one is delicious and I can’t get enough of it warm with vanilla ice cream.  Will be making it again very soon and this time with some butterscotch sauce.
➕ Choosing rest.
Just that.

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