Hi, friends! Can you believe it’s the last month of 2020? It is wild how quickly 2020 passed by. November was not a super productive reading month for me (I literally read 0 pages from the day of the election until the results were called the following Saturday), but I really enjoyed every book I read this month and I am excited to share my thoughts with you!
BIG FRIENDSHIP: HOW WE KEEP EACH OTHER CLOSE by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman – 4.5 stars
I have been a long-time listener of Call Your Girlfriend podcast (for basically all of my post-college life), and I had been waiting to get this book from the library ever since it came out. As the title suggests, Big Friendship is about friendships, but it discusses friendships in unconventional ways–the extensiveness of “friend web” web build, how we are conditioned to not value or prioritize friendships the way we do romantic relationships or families, the need to “stretch” for each other in the course of a friendship, and the importance of communication (especially in the times of social media). I absolutely loved the book, and while I do think you might not love it as much if you do not listen to the podcast, I recommend reading this book if you have friendships you want to keep for a long time.
THE TEA GIRL OF HUMMINGBIRD LANE by Lisa See – 4 stars
I have read a few books by Lisa See and finally got around to reading The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane! Lisa See’s books are often set in East Asia and tell the story of a woman throughout a few decades of her lifetimes, and this was no exception. An ethnic minority group in China, Akha people value their traditions and way of life. As outsiders come to their village in search of Pu’er tea, their live change quickly, particularly Li-Yan’s, who is one of the most educated girls and has a child out of wedlock. There are ups and downs throughout the book for sure, and I enjoyed every bit of it. Other books by Lisa See I recommend are Shanghai Girls, Dreams of Joy, and The Island of Sea Women (I cried so much reading the first two).
TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS: ADVICE ON LOVE AND LIFE FROM DEAR SUGAR by Cheryl Strayed – 4 stars
I had actually never read anything by Cheryl Strayed and also did not know about the Dear Sugar advice column so this book started on a completely blank slate for me. Tiny Beautiful Things is a collection of Dear Sugar columns for every topic imaginable. I am neither the wisest person or an expert on life, but I thought this book had some great advice. I personally noted a few quotations that resonated with me and that I want to remember. The column organization got a little bit boring by the end for me, but this might be a good one to consume as an audiobook (narrated by the author).
THE SONG OF ACHILLES by Madeline Miller – 4.5 stars
Growing up in Korea, Greek Mythology was hugely popular, especially with the illustrated books. I read Circe by Madeline Miller a few years ago and absolutely loved it. In both Circe and The Song of Achilles, Miller rewrites well known stories from a different character’s perspective (Odyssey from Circe’s point of view and Illiad from Achillie’s friend/lover Patroclus’ point of view). I had so much fun reading this book, and I felt a lot of feelings, especially at the end of the book. Now I want to dig through my mom’s storage and find those illustrated Greek Mythology books (hopefully during the Christmas holidays)!
MAJESTY by Katharine McGee -3.75 stars
Majesty is newly-released sequel to American Royals which I read in October. The ending of American Royals left a lot of things in motion so I had been looking forward to getting my hands on Majesty (this was another long wait from the library). Perhaps I am too predictable, but the way Majesty unfolded was not what I had expected! I got frustrated quite often while reading it with all the twists and turns. It does end mostly on a happy note and with plenty of open ends for a third book, which I hope Katharine McGee writes in the future.
What did you read this month?
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