First off, I feel like I owe you all an apology.
I know many of you visit my blog for encouraging words about faith, church and/or special needs. I feel as though I’ve let you down over the last several months. It’s hard for me to begin to put into words the amount of overwhelm in my life right now. This fall has been the perfect setting for enemy attacks, and it’s left me emotionally and physically depleted. Many days I’ve focused on mere survival — work, eat, sleep.
It’s my sincere hope that this too shall pass. Writing here is not only something I feel called to do, but it’s a balm for my soul as well. Putting my thoughts into words is healing for me, and it is sometimes the only thing that helps settle all the unrest in my life.
Will you pray that I will feel the drive once more to write for you? And will you pray that I might find some calm in my soul, especially as we enter this busy holiday season?
Now for the usual stuff. In the midst of the chaos, here’s some stuff I read/watched/did during the month of November. As always, I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer for her monthly series. Click on through and see what other bloggers are up to as well!
Books I Read:
Thanks to a week off at Thanksgiving, I managed to cross several books off my TBR list this month.
To see what I read during the first half of November, click here for my mid-month post. here’s what I’ve read since then.
Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent
The first line of this psychological thriller — “I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.” — gets the ball rolling. This one’s an intense glimpse into the mind of a sociopath and it is chilling. I would definitely put this in the un-put-downable category, but the subject matter is difficult if you’re a sensitive type. 4/5 stars
Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant
Earlier in the month I talked about two novellas by Seanan McGuire that I devoured. Well, Mira Grant IS Seanan McGuire. This short little book is a prequel to her novel Into the Drowning Deep, so I thought I’d read it and see how I liked the Mira Grant side of things. This one’s definitely in the horror category rather than just fantasy. I enjoyed it and am planning to read the longer novel soon. It’s highly plot-driven and hard to put down. Scary, man-eating mermaids abound. Creepy! 4/5 stars
Mindset by Carol Dweck
This book has been on my TBR list for ages. My library just recently added the audiobook to Overdrive, so I checked it out. The hype over this one is well-deserved. This might just be a life-changing book for me. I thought I understood the concepts of “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset” but I was wrong. There’s so much to ponder here; a reread is definitely in my future. I’m hoping this book will improve how I parent, how I teach, and how I think about myself. 4/5 stars
Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda
This is an okay thriller. It reminded me a little of Iain Reid’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things, but that is a far superior book. Best Day Ever is predictable from page one, which takes all the thrill out of it. Yes, it’s about the mind of a narcissistic sociopath. Yes, it’s interesting enough to keep the pages turning. But I kept hoping for a surprise, a twist, a shock. It never came. 3/5 stars
The Enchanted by Rene Denfield
This novel is about prison inmates on death row. It’s also one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. I know. Unlikely combination, and yet Denfield manages to write lyrically and empathically about crime, tragedy, and brokenness. There’s lots of difficult subject matter here, which will make it unreadable for many. But it’s a gorgeous book and I was enthralled by it. Reminded me so much of Stephen King’s The Green Mile (also highly recommended). 5/5 stars
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This is Ng’s latest and it’s fantastic. It’s a neighborhood drama where secrets abound. Character development is one of Ng’s greatest strengths, and she paints these characters so clearly that you will love or despise or totally pity them. A great story and a fine read. I did knock off one star, though, because the ending seemed abrupt, as though one day Ng just got tired of writing and quit. I needed more of a denouement than she provided. Still, worth your time for sure. 4/5 stars
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Historical fiction is not my favorite, but I loved this family saga about a Korean family during the first 70 years of the 20th century. I had never learned about the situation between Japan and Korea during this time period, so this book was an eye opener. In particular, the WWII years were fascinating. Most WWII fiction focuses on the European war, so seeing the Pacific side of things was interesting. The characters are so real, you will feel as if you know them. They make choices, often bad ones, which set off chains of events that keep the story constantly moving forward. Pachinko is a Japanese game like pinball, and the theme of the novel is that so much of life is ruled by chance and choice, and yet there are also facets we can’t control. An excellent read! 5/5 stars
What I Watched:
Over Thanksgiving week, we managed to knock out Stranger Things on Netflix. We’re also trying to keep up with our usual shows: This Is Us, The Middle, The Goldbergs. But most nights there hasn’t been a whole lot of TV watching since we’re so tired! I’d really love to watch some movies over the Christmas break, but nothing has caught my eye lately on iTunes. Any recommendations for good movies on Netflix or Amazon Prime or iTunes that might be worth watching?
What I Did:
- First, I ate all the things. Next, I continued to eat all the things. Why?!? Why do I do this every year?!? Thank God for leggings and stretchy pants. Gah!
- I spent most of Thanksgiving week with a head cold, so I curled up and read books and took naps. And every moment of that blissful laziness was well earned and much needed. I even started a fire a few of those days, but our weather is still persistently warm down here. Ugh.
- I’m waaaaay behind on Christmas shopping and decorating. . . as in I haven’t started. I don’t know what it is about the holidays now, but when I was a kid it seems like we never put up our tree until mid-December. Nowadays that makes you a regular Scrooge. Here’s hoping this weekend will be a productive one.
- We celebrated our 19th anniversary in November as well, by doing. . . well, nothing. It was mid-week and I think we went to bed early that night. Hmmm. That’s a little depressing. I told you life has been off the charts crazy lately.
- Football season wrapped up in November, and since my son is graduating, we’re done with Friday Night Lights for a while. But it sure was fun!
- Oh, that reminds me! We spent the entire month of November preparing college applications for our future music major. Applying to a college of music is always a dual admit process. . . meaning you have to do the regular application, THEN the music application, THEN sometime in the spring you go for a live audition. Which has to be scheduled now. It’s a lot of work and I have a not-so-willing high school senior who would much rather play video games than work on college applications. So we had our work cut out for us this month. Now to sit back and wait!
That’s all she wrote for now.
What about your November? What did you do/read/watch/eat that was interesting or noteworthy? Want to tell me about it in the comments? I’d love to hear from you!