A Bookish Welcome to November: Spell the Month in Books!
I needed an antidote today to the stress-inducing shenanigans known as the US presidential elections. With perfect timing my blog news feed came up with posts from hopewellslibraryoflife and Lisa @anzlitlovers based on a light-hearted meme to mark the beginning of November.
The idea is to spell out the month using book titles. I decided to make it a little more challenging by restricting myself to the titles of Booker Prize winners I’ve read. Hope you like the result.
The Narrow Road To The Deep North by Richard Flanagan. Winner of the Booker Prize in 2014. This is one of my 10 favourite winners. I haven’t found the words to describe what makes it a fabulous read – hence why there is no review (as yet…)
Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald. I know this 1979 winner has a lot of fans but I don’t count myself among them. I enjoyed the setting of houseboats moored up along the Thames but there was something about this book that I just didn’t get.
Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre. What an odd book this was. I just looked back at my review and found I’d described it as “Frequently loopy, barmy and just plain whacky..”. But it was also thought-provoking and sadly too relevant today in an era of shootings in school buldings.
The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens. I had to include a Welsh author didn’t I? Another disturbing tale of a young man suffering from hallucinations.
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively. This 1987 winner made it into my list of 10 Stellar Booker Prize Winners. An elderly woman lies on her death bed, slowly reconstructing a life played out against a background of World War 2.
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. This was one of the first books I read when I started my Booker Prize project. Admirable for its multi-layered narrative where you can’t be entirely sure whether the narrator is telling the truth. Love those kinds of books!
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. Another title from my list of 10 Stellar Booker Prize Winners. In fact it’s in my top 3. I thought it was outstanding but other readers disliked the disjointed narrative. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. This is a brilliantly deceptive story, one where you need to pay close attention to what the narrator, the devoted head butler at a stately home, omits from his account.
The origin of this meme is unclear but was picked up by Carla Loves to Read and Mimosa Blossom. Now it’s your turn to go scouting through those reviews and books on your shelves.
15 thoughts on “A Bookish Welcome to November: Spell the Month in Books!”
Some great books here Karen – I remember really loving Vernon God Little. His new book is supposed to be pretty interesting too.
It took me a while to get into the book but it did grow on me
Fun! I scanned my shelves quickly and came up with this:
N – (The) New Rules of Marriage by Terrence Real
O – Old and New Mysteries by Bastiaan Baan
V – (La) Verite sur l’affaire Harry Quebert by Joel Dicker
E – Emma by Jane Austen
M – (The) Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
B – (The) Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
E – East of the Sun and West of the Moon by Asbjornsen and Moe
R – Rumi: Selected Poems
How was the Harry Quebert book? I’ve heard differing opinions….
I have not actually read all of these, but they are sitting on my shelves! I’ve not read HQ but I’m reading another book by Dicker right now that was chosen for our French book club. I’m finding it rather a slog, but people say the earlier book was better, so I hope to get to it at some point.
A slog is how I heard the Harry Quebert book described so I was curious
Hm, I will see how it is I guess. I’m not going to make it through another whole book that is as boring as his latest
Lying awake last night I tried a similar exercise, and came up with these titles to spell out ‘November’. Simply eight books that have stayed in my memory:
N: Notes from Underground, by ‘Tiresias’. A quirky ‘premeditated notebook’ from 1984, all about the experience of daily commuting on pre-privatised trains (I blogged about it here: https://oldgeezerrereadingblog.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/october-2017-re-reading-notes-from-overground/). Can be dipped into any time …
O: One by One in the Darkness, by Deirdre Madden. Set in rural Northern Ireland during the Troubles, but more about domestic life than the ‘big picture’ of communal conflict.
V: A Voice from the Chorus by Andrei Sinyavsky. Another collection of scattered thoughts to dip into, this time compiled from the letters that Sinyavsky wrote while imprisoned in a Soviet labour camp.
E: Even the Dogs, by Jon McGregor. Not many novels are set among the down-and-outs and drifters of contemporary Britain, but this one is. Haunting.
M: The Man Who Loved Children, by Christina Stead. Her most memorable novel, with an awful central character but resilient family.
B: Buddenbrooks, by Thomas Mann. I’ve only recently read this, but it’s one of the greatest novels of all time (in my opinion).
E: The Eustace Diamonds. Trollope was better than any other male nineteenth-century novelist at writing women, and in Lizzie Eustace he creates a complicated and unheroic – but memorable – character.
R: The Regent. Arnold Bennett’s little-known sequel to The Card, in which provincial success Denry Machin tries to conquer the London theatrical world (he fails).
I’ve not read any of these! But you make some of them sound really worth looking into, especially the Madden and McGregor. I’m part way through Trollope’s Barchester series (one more to go) – then I can start on his other novels
well done! and have a nice reading month, now that the election is finally over 😉
I suspect there will be more “fun” to come post election – Trump isn’t going to go quietly is he
I wonder how many people remember Vernon God Little let alone have read it.
I remember it, and I’ve read it. Lots of people didn’t like it, but it’s a clever satire IMO.
I’ve read it, too, but wasn’t so keen
it was a book I struggled with initially, it was hard to relate to the narrator’s voice