November Reading Wrap-Up

Hello, hello! November has marked the slow return to normal within my life. All things considered, I feel I had a rather successful month in terms of both reading and the academia. Though I haven't read nearly as much as I used to, I have finished several books when only a month ago, I struggled to get through more than one book. Of course, I finally get my schedule under control just as school is coming to a close. *Sigh* sounds like typical Lori nonsense.

Let's take a closer look at my reading triumphs over the course of the month, shall we?

Reading Stats

Overall Stats

Total Books Read: 9

Total Pages Read: 2,310

Average Book Length: 267

Range of Publishing Years Read From: 1898-2019

Star Ratings

1 Star: 0

2 Stars: 0

3 Stars: 2

4 Stars: 5

5 Stars: 2

Average Star Rating: 4.1

Buying Habits

Number of Books Purchased/Received: 7

ARCs Received: 0

Miscellaneous Goals

Readathon Participation: N/A

Self-Destruct Books Read (to date): 0/6

Goodreads Goal (to date): 96/80

Books Read...

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

5 Stars | Goodreads link

Auggie Pullman knows he is a normal boy. Sure, he's undergone far more surgeries than most people his age due to some facial defects at birth, but he's never felt like this created any major differences between him and other kids. When Auggie attends his first conventional school at Breecher Prep, he soon learns that for most people, it's what's on the outside that counts.

I was not expecting a short middle grade to screw with my emotions so much. Wonder was... well... wonderful. It made me feel immense joy and innocent wonder, while also providing utter heart-wrenching drama. It perfectly captures how humans may be disgusting or warm when faced with the unconventional. This book is brutally honest. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well... I enjoyed all but a Star Wars joke that was very devastating to my poor emotions. Regardless, you can't help but root for these characters, especially Auggie.

Scott Pilgrim: Full Color Edition Volume 1 by Brian Lee O'Malley

5 Stars | Goodreads link

Scott Pilgrim's life is... cozy. For him, anyway. He's comfortably sitting between jobs, dating a very passionate high-school girl named Knives, and is in a rock band. He's perfectly content in this world of his, and does not wish to pursue any further goals. However, he starts to see a rollerblading delivery girl with hot pink hair zooming through his dreams, his conscious, and finally, through a party he just happened to be drug to by his bandmates. He simply HAS to find out more about her... and maybe have to fight each of her seven evil boyfriends in the process.

I am SOOO glad I started reading these comics! This edition is a full-color bind-up of volumes 1 and 2 of Scott Pilgrim. I've only ever watched the movie, though it is quite fantastic, the novels are so very vivid and energetic. The vibrant coloration brings the story to life. I will admit, there are few to no differences between the comics and the movie thus far, but just reliving this fantastic story in a different medium is just fine with me! This story has become quite the cult classic, with its video game-based humor, awkward narration, and extremely unique characters. I am incredibly excited to work my way through the series!

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire

4 Stars | Goodreads link

I'm sure you've all heard the story of Dorothy Gale, as a twister dropped her house on the head of the Wicked Witch of the East. You know her grand journey to see the Wizard in Emerald City, and of the quest that ultimately lead to the Wicked Witch of the West's tragic demise.

However, what do you know of the land of Oz? What makes it tick? What political atmospheres caused the Munchkinlanders to praise Dorothy for her murderous path, or the Lion's utter cowardice? Who was the Wicked Witch of the West? Was she always Wicked, or was she the product of a foul world?

This read through of books 1 and 2 of the Wicked Years series was a buddy read with Karo. I have read Wicked before, way back in freshman year of high school. I remember enjoying it, though any distinct memories beyond that have been lost. This time around, I understood far more of the internal conversations within the novel. This is more than the story of Elphaba, but of the myriad of powers and opinions ruling over Oz, and the effects corruption have on the peoples dwelling there. These concepts certainly do carry over into Son of a Witch, but the sequel does tend to be more plot and character driven, in my opinion. Overall, I enjoyed both reads, though I think Son of a Witch barely scraped a four star rating from me. I would like to give the last two books a try and complete this series.

Saga Volume 1 by Brian K Vaughan

4 Stars | Goodreads link

Caught up between the two fronts of a galactic war spanning decades, two star-crossed lovers put down their weapons and make the choice to to risk their lives in order to create a future together. When that future suddenly involves the product of their love, a newborn infant, they must fight ruthlessly and tirelessly to survive and protect their family, while avoiding the large price put on their heads.

I didn't know exactly what I was getting into here. I knew this comic series was very sexually explicit and of the science fiction genre. Beyond that, I wasn't sure what the premise even was. However, I've only heard great things about the series, and have been told time and again how much I'd love it. While I was looking through the comics at Barnes and Noble last month, a kindly man pointed out this series and called it "the best damn read in this whole store." Naturally, I left with the first volume.

I did really enjoy the story, and I'm very grateful to the random stranger who gave me the push that I needed to finally pick up Saga. The artwork is absolutely stunning. The character designs are all distinctly unique and well-developed. Though this story centers around an exhausted star-crossed lovers trope, I do think there is plenty more going on within the story to captivate even the most hesitant reader. I'm not sure that I agree with the man in the notion that the comic is the best damn read in the store, but perhaps later volumes will win me over. Though not the best artifact at a book store, this is one damn good read.

Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore

5 Stars | Goodreads link

Most Batman comic fans know this infamous story. If not, I suggest you go into this comic rather blindly. Therefore, the information I will give you here is extremely limited.

The Killing Joke is a hair-brained scheme where Joker pushes his gags further than ever before. He pushes the human mind to its very limits, experimenting with insanity itself. Along the way, readers get a glimpse of one of many possible Joker origin stories, though, as the Clown Prince of Crime says, if he's going to have a backstory he'd rather it be multiple choice.

This comic was very divisive when it released. It was the catalyst for the far more dark and gritty Batman we know and love today. This comic is the distinct turning point from the cheesy Adam to Christian Bale. This was one of many rereads for me, but I enjoyed it just as much this time around as I have in the past. I'm incredibly happy to finally have my hands on my own copy. It is displayed quite proudly on my shelves.

Next I'll need to finally get around to my Killing Joke novel....

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman

4 Stars | Goodreads link

Nestled into a very atmospheric Medieval Europe, lives 14 year-old Catherine, otherwise known as Birdy. She's been commanded by her brother, who lives in a monastery, to chronicle her daily musings and experiences. It becomes entirely evident that Birdy's father intends to marry her off to the first suitor that will take her. Headstrong and willful, Birdy makes it her ultimate goal to fend off any suitors and live the life she wants to by God's Thumbs.

Oh my god, I love this book. I read it before in middle school. Unfortunately, the story was doomed from the start between being assigned reading and self-conscious middle schoolers who are just too cool for this kind of story. Honestly, I'm rather sad it wasn't better received. Especially at that time, stories of strong leading ladies who care nothing of gender norms or restrictive traditions were quite scarce. I'm now very grateful for the teacher who tried to introduce Catherine to us. I'm even more grateful to Karo, who suggested we buddy read this masterpiece. Thank you!

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

3 Stars | Goodreads link

In this script, we follow the Younger family through several pivotal weeks in their lives and relationships. Mama is awaiting a large insurance check from the death of her husband. Her son wishes to use the money to enter a risky business venture, in hopes of providing a more stable future for his wife and son. Mama's daughter wishes to use the money to pay for her tuition fees, as she aspires to be a doctor. Mama wants the money to inevitably pull the Younger family into a more comfortable and healthy home and life.

I'm very glad I've finally picked up this play. It's had a very important role in theatre and in Black theatrical art. The characters face very real and brutally honest dilemmas, while still creating the nuanced comedy found on stage. I struggled to rate this one, honestly. For its significance and powerful themes, I want to give it a higher rating. However, the play itself just wasn't my taste in theatre. I don't enjoy modern contemporary plays at the best of times. I don't know what it is that doesn't draw me in, but I struggle through most plays that aren't full of over-the-top drama and antics. That being said, the three star rating is completely a me problem, and not the fault of the playwright.

The War of the World by H.G. Wells

3 Stars | Goodreads link

Mysterious cylinders fall from the Earth sky and land in the English countryside. What begins as a peculiar phenomenon quickly morphs into mass hysteria and panic as the inhabitants reveal themselves as biped-killing machines from Mars.

Again, this was a reread for me. I love picking up the books I received from my father around this time of the year. The H.G. Wells collection seems to particularly fit in with the spooky fall atmosphere. I'm not sure why it took me two months to get through this bad boy, but I swear I was enjoying it. I think I will next listen to the radio broadcast show... once I find it online, anyway.

Honorable Mentions...

I've two books in-progress that will carry over into December. I decided to include them briefly here, as I did read some of them in November.