The arrival of December brings another month of reading to an end. November is the month when I am focused on NaNoWriMo, and so I wasn’t expecting much reading-wise. However, my best-laid plans of ignoring the vast majority of my TBR were thrown out the window. Despite dedicating most of my time to writing, I still managed to read plenty of books. I think it helped that so many of these books were stellar reads that I gobbled up. Be prepared to add many of these books to your own TBR as they truly are phenomenal works that everyone should read. So, without further ado, here is my November 2021 reading wrap-up.
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November 2021 reading wrap-up
This story is broken into three parts and revolves around three stages of Takaki Tohno’s life. First is his middle school years with his best friend Akari. They are like peas in a pod. Close as they are, there are some things out of their control and when Akari moves away, they must both learn to live without each other. The second part focuses on his high school years when he meets Kanae. Though she wants to pursue a friendship and then a relationship with Tohno, he is held back by his feelings for Akari. Finally, we get to see Tohno as an adult. It’s a time when he is finding his place in the world, exploring relationships, struggling with a career, and in the background of it all, missing his childhood friend Akari. The three different times of his life blend together to create a story of friendship, dependence, learning to live on your own, and embracing life.
This series has been on my radar for some time now and when I saw the omnibuses in the store, I knew it was finally time to read them. Unfortunately, the final book isn’t out yet but we’ll ignore than for the moment. The story focuses on 6 different otaku, and their struggles to keep up with work, fun, and relationship woes at times. For those who may be wondering, an otaku is a person who becomes obsessed with manga, anime, cosplay, and video games to the point where it can interrupt other aspects of their life.
I absolutely loved this series. The three different relationships in this series have but one common aspect, and that is the pair’s otaku ways. Otherwise, each couple is distinct from one another. Narumi and Hirotaka are both gamers and relatively quiet people. Hanako and Taro are a combative pair who add some spice to the story, but their relationship can seem toxic at times as they are often at each other’s throats. And finally, there Ko and Naoya, two high schoolers who are quiet and awkward. Whether they are working at the office, which is where the first four all work together, gaming at their homes, attending different cons, or hanging out at the school, there wasn’t a dull moment in these books. I loved seeing the different settings and the ways these otakus adapted or struggled in each place. I really look forward to seeing how this series ends, even if I don’t want it to end so soon.
I loved that the author included a few pages of ideas that readers suggested on Twitter, so we got to see the characters in some situations that wouldn’t have otherwise happened. At the end of each volume, the author lists all of the references scattered throughout the volumes. Some of these I had picked up easily and others I didn’t get – mostly because I wasn’t familiar with those shows or games, but it was nice to see nonetheless.
I’ve had a slight fascination with the Vikings for a number of years. They seem like such interesting and slightly mysterious people, plus Norse mythology has some very neat stories attributed to it. So needless to say, I was quite excited to dive into this one. As the book quickly pointed out, what little we know about the Vikings may not be entirely accurate. Even written records may have been swayed by the author or beliefs of the time. Because of this, it’s hard to know exactly what is truth and what is fiction to make the Vikings sound far more intimidating than they truly were. They were conquerors but also settlers, adapting to the religion and region they came to. This book certainly shed new light on Vikings.
Yona of the Dawn is one of my favorite ongoing manga series. The depth of story, world-building, and character development found in every single volume makes them immensely enjoyable. After the ending of the previous novel, I was dying to read this one. This volume caught me off guard. It was vastly different than all previous volumes but still held my attention from start to finish. There are many hints of what may be coming up, but none are clear enough to know the exact direction of the next few volumes. I will admit, I kind of hate that Yona, Hak, and the dragons have been separated but it is fueling this next phase of the story, which I hope will be kind to all of them. I cannot wait to see what happens next but also worry that something bad may happen. Only time will tell.
The final book in the Thrawn trilogy and perhaps the worst one of them all. The first book was fantastic, the second book seemingly went on a tangent barely related to the first and this one was bogged down by analytics. Now, don’t get me wrong, analytical thinking is the cornerstone of Thrawn’s character, but I feel like it went too far. With the number of space battles in this book, which is always the best part of Star Wars books, you’d think I would have loved this one. However, Thrawn and his well-trained crew were caught in an overanalyzing vacuum which didn’t allow a single thing to happen without every minute detail being explored and that slowed the book down far too much.
After this book, I can safely say I am done with the canon Star Wars books. I had hoped they would grow on me over time but nearly every one of them leaves me feeling disappointed. Any future reading of Star Wars will purely be from the Legends series, previously known as the Expanded Universe.
This is not the first time I have read this book. However, sometimes I get the desire to revisit this world and November felt like the perfect time to do it – probably because the story itself happens in October and November. I decided this time to listen to the audiobook, which I have listened to before as well. The world in which this story is set is not all that different than our own, in fact, I believe it’s supposed to be, but with the island of Thisby added. My favorite part was the water horses, or the capaill uisce as they are known. These carnivorous horses are the heart and soul of Thisby but are a plague as well, causing destruction whenever they come out of the water in the fall. The two main characters, Puck and Sean, were a fantastic pair, showing two very different sides of Thisby and the races that are the famous part of the island, and intertwining that into the perfect story.
My only real complaint with the audiobook is that Sean’s voice actor, Steve West, sounds too old for the role. If I hadn’t read the book before listening to the audiobook, I would swear Sean was in his thirties, not nineteen. Fiona Hardingham, who did Puck’s chapters was phenomenal and I felt was the perfect match for Puck’s character. I highly recommend this book, whether you read it or listen to it, it’s all-around a fantastic story.
This book is the novelization of Makoto Shinkai’s movie Children Who Chase Lost Voice. It has been a few years since I last watched this movie, so diving into this story in book form was like exploring it for the first time. I honestly didn’t even remember what the story was about until partway through and then parts became more obvious. It is hard to properly say what I loved about this story without giving too many details away. There are two worlds which we get to explore, one in modern-day Japan, while the other is an underground world, Agartha, that few know exists. Asuna is the catalyst that brings these two worlds together and the adventure that follows is fast-paced and fraught with dangers and powers best not held by humans. A great story, no matter what formate you consume it in.
November 2021 reading wrap-up stats
- Books read: 16
- Books purchased: 1
- Books purged: 1
- Books DNF’d: 0
I hope you enjoyed my November 2021 reading wrap-up. What books did you read this month?