November was a stressful month. The injury that sidelined me for the last half marathon of the season continued to plague me & myself but I pushed through it – ran 70 miles for the month. I don’t think I have ever mentioned this here but…back on January I was a dumbass and agreed to a 1000k challenge. By November 1st I had 267k left to go. I’m now down to 151k. Almost 100 miles. But enough of that. It stresses me out to even think about it.
Here are the books finished for November:
- Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton. I thought of this as a short story because it’s less than 100 pages long.
- Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
- The City and the City by China Mieville (AB)
- Advise and Consent by Allen Drury – confessional: I knew that a fictional political book might bore the crap out of me but what I didn’t expect was outright disgust after the election. I couldn’t stomach the contents of Advise and Consent.
- Then There Were Five by Elizabeth Enright. (AB)
- Love Songs From a Shallow Grave by Colin Cotterill
- Toast to Tomorrow by Manning Coles
- Living Poor by Moritz Thomsen
- Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn (audio and print)
- Baby Doctor by Perri Klass
- The Fifties by David Halberstam
Postscript: it came in too late for me to mention here, but I DID get that Early Review book that I was pining for. I’ll review it next month.
Gaiman, Neil. Neverwhere. New York: Avon Books, 1997.
Reason read: Gaiman was born in the month of November.
Neverwhere opens with mousy nondescript Richard Mayhew on the eve of his departure for London. For some reason he needs his palm read by a mysterious old woman. Adding to the intrigue, she tells him he will go to London, but not any London she knows. And with that, she leaves him. Fast forward to London. Mayhew is a businessman with a flat & a pretty fiancee. All seems well and yet, one night after an argument with Jessica, Richard has the misfortune of rescuing a strange girl bleeding on the sidewalk. From then on nothing is the same. True to the fortune teller’s words, he no longer lives in any London he’s ever known. His world is now full of smoke and angels, monsters and sewers, talking rats and the girl he rescued, Door. There is a London Above and a London Below. All he wants to do is get back to his own world. All Door wants to do is find out why her entire family was slaughtered. Their missions couldn’t be any more different from one another but yet they need each other.
I am choosing one quote because I think it sums up Neverwhere perfectly. Richard is writing a diary post in his head, “On Friday I had a job, a fiancee, a home and a life that made sense…Then I found an injured girl bleeding on the pavement and I tried to be a Good Samaritan. Now I’ve got no fiancee, no home, no job and I’m walking around a couple of hundred feet under the streets of London with the projected life expectancy of a suicidal fruitfly” (p 120). After I was done laughing I realized this quote should be the book review. That is the entire story in a nutshell, thanks to the protagonist.
Confessional: whenever I thought about Neverwhere my mind slid to Mieville’s The City and the City. Both are fantasy. Both take place in overlapping societies. Both deal with murder and the ever persistent need to get “home”, wherever that may be.
As an aside, I was surprised by the amount of violence in Neverwhere. Mr. Vandemar and Mr. Croup are a couple of vicious, crazy characters.
Author fact: Gaiman is best known for his graphic novel series The Sandman. Not a one is on my list. Bummer.
Book trivia: Neverwhere is Gaiman’s first novel.
BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Best For Teens” (p 24).
I am trying to move into this month without cracking up or breaking down. I’ve lost the run temporarily and even a small interruption sets me back. You know it is with a mental stability that isn’t quite that solid. I don’t want to say anything more than that.
Here are the books. Nonfiction first:
- Living Poor: a Peace Corps Chronicle by Moritz Thomsen – in honor of the month Ecuador’s civil war for independence ended.
- Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn – (AB) in honor of the holidays and how much they can stress you out. I’m reading this and listening to it on audio.
- The Fifties by David Halberstam – in honor of finishing what I said I would.
- Baby Doctor by Perri Klass – in honor of National Health Month.
- Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton – in honor of National Education Week. This should take me a lunch break to read.
- Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – in honor of Gaiman’s birth month.
- Advise and Consent by Allen Drury – in honor of November being an election month (and is it ever!).
- Then There Were Five by Elizabeth Enright – (EAB = electronic audio book) to continue the series started in September in honor of Enright’s birth month.
- A Toast To Tomorrow by Manning Coles – to continue the series started in October in honor of Octoberfest.
- Love Songs from a Shallow Grave by Colin Cotterill – to END the series started in May in honor of Rocket Day.