I read a lot in November; the most I’ve ever read in a month. Short stories, memoir, political biography, suspense, and beautifully written fiction. I am still thinking about these books and I am certain each story will stay with me for a long, long time.
Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
Sarah Nickerson is a working mom with a high-powered job and three young children. One morning on her drive to work, she is distracted by her cell phone and ends up in a horrible accident that leaves her with Left Neglect, a brain injury that steals her awareness of everything on her left side. While struggling to recover and yearning for her pre-accident life, Sarah has no choice but to slow down. A compelling story about how life can change in an instant, what we neglect in our lives, and how tragedy forces us to pay attention to what truly matters. Beautifully written, humorous, and unforgettable. I’ve been recommending it to friends, co-workers, and strangers.
Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes
When I found out Jojo Moyes was coming out with a short story collection this fall, I was overjoyed. The title story can be summed up in one word: charming. I also enjoyed the other 8 stories. Highly recommended.
Through the Glass by Shannon Moroney
This memoir has been on my reading list for two years and I’m glad I finally read it. Moroney, a high school teacher and guidance counsellor married her boyfriend of three years in October 2005. One month into their marriage, her new husband is arrested and charged in the assault and kidnapping of two women. Shannon shares how she dealt with the grief of losing her husband, the stress of the criminal investigation, the rejection and judgment from people in her community, a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder, all while trying to understand what drove her husband to commit such violent acts. She takes us inside the walls of prisons and courtrooms and I was shocked by the lack of support services available to the loved ones of offenders. It’s an incredibly heart wrenching yet hopeful story of acceptance, compassion, forgiveness, letting go, healing, and moving forward. An excellent book club pick.
Michelle Obama: A Life by Peter Slevin
Following the election, I needed an uplifting read so I picked up Michelle Obama’s biography. If you’re looking for a great post-election read, I highly recommend it. I shared my thoughts in this post.
You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
Megan Abbott has written eight novels; this was the first one I’ve picked up. In her latest thriller, Abbott propels us into the fascinating and dangerous world of competitive gymnastics. Gymnastics is my favourite Olympic sport so the story immediately drew me in. While I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, I found myself slowing down and re-reading Abbott’s breathtaking sentences. Pulse-pounding, twist-filled, witty, creepy, skillfully plotted, and compulsively readable. It kept me up till 4 a.m.
Spin by Catherine McKenzie
I read McKenzie’s debut novel from cover to cover in one afternoon when it first came out in 2009. I loved it so much I picked it as my ‘book you’ve already read at least once’ for the MMD reading challenge. When Katie Sanford lands an interview for her dream job at her favourite music magazine, The Line, she is ecstatic. After celebrating her thirtieth birthday with one too many drinks, she shows up at her interview late and drunk. Needless to say, she doesn’t get the job. Katie is given the chance to redeem herself by checking into rehab, befriending It Girl Amber Sheppard, and writing an expose for The Line‘s sister gossip mag. Funny, relatable, and un-put-down-able.
Faithful by Alice Hoffman
Alice Hoffman has written more than thirty books; this was my first and it won’t be my last. I devoured this captivating story in one night. Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is your typical high school senior, until one night a terrible accident changes everything. Her best friend, Helene’s future is destroyed in the accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt. This moving story follows one young woman as she struggles with survivor’s guilt, grief, depression, self-harm, and loneliness, and eventually moves to New York City where she finds herself. In Shelby, Hoffman has given us an astonishingly believable, relatable, lovable character; I couldn’t help but cheer her on. I don’t want to give too much away. But if you’re looking for the perfect read to curl up with, look no further than this beautifully told, vivid, poignant, unforgettable, hopeful story.
What did you read in November?