What I Read in November 2021

Happy December, friends! I have been not reading as much and November was probably the slowest reading month for me. On some days, I felt pretty down about that fact that but I know the number of books I read each month (or ever) has no significance.

BRAISED PORK by An Yu – 3.75 stars

TW: Suicide

I randomly picked this up while I was in DC a couple of months ago and I have never read quite anything like it. Braised Pork begins when Jia Jia finds her husband dead in the bathroom of their Beijing apartment. She founds next to him a drawing of a man with a fish body or a fish with a man’s head, which eventually takes her on a journey to Tibet. It is a bit of a weird book but I found it fascinating and beautiful and actually read it in two seatings (which is rare for me these days)! The reviews are a bit polarizing so I would only recommend if you don’t care too much about a clear, definitive plot.

SKINSHIP by Yoon Choi – 4.5 stars

Another purchase from my DC trip. The title of the book immediately grabbed my attention in the bookshop because “skinship” is a Konglish (Korean Enligsh) word for physical touch and the related feeling of (non-sexual) intimacy, which is the perfect name for this book. Skinship is a collection of short stories that beautifully portray the lives of Korean-American families. Choi’s understanding of Korean (American) culture allows her to write about these families in complex and subtle and delicate ways.

THE BOOK OF DELIGHTS by Ross Gay – 4.5 stars

This book made me fall in love with Ross Gay! An American poet, Ross Gay wrote about delights he was finding each day for a year which resulted in The Book of Delights. Some essayettes, as Ross calls them, are observations of mundane things that are delight to him; some are reflective of his life and his family’s history as Black people in America. His writing is joyfully conversational with run-ons and self-interjections and is a delight itself. I read a physical copy of this but this would be a good one to listen to on an audiobook. After finishing the book, I immediately went to YouTube to hear how he sounds like! He does a couple of reading from the book here and here.

P.S. I am (still) currently reading Lonesome Dove (I keep taking long breaks from it!) and thinking of starting Ace of Spades sometime this week.

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