November ’12 was…

I don’t know what makes me feel this way, but November arrived and left before I knew it.  It felt like it was one of those elusive party-goers who pops in for a quick hello and is gone before anyone else knows. Something I would do. We had a fit of snow to add insult to New Jersey/New York injury. My neighborhood survived just fine but mother nature had it in for my old stomping grounds in the worst way.

My routine of reading during my lunch break hasn’t changed. I’ve come to look forward to camping out in the stacks, listening to students pass my study carrel. It gives me perspective. This month I seemed to read nothing but really short, easy to read books.

  • Good Thief’s Guide to Paris by Chris Ewan ~ a continuation of the series I started last month. I think I read this over a weekend.
  • Lives of the Painters, Sculptors and Architects, Vol 2 by Giorgio Vasari ~ a continuation of the series I started last month.
  • Breakfast with Scot by Michael Downing ~ in honor of national adoption month. This was cute. I was able to read it in one day.
  • Camus, a Romance by Elizabeth Hawes ~ in honor of Camus being born in the month of November. I took my time with this but still managed to finish it in two weeks.
  • Scar Tissue by Michael Ignatieff ~ in honor of national Alzheimer’s month. Read over a weekend, I was glued to the words because almost a year ago I lost my uncle to dementia. This really hit home.
  • Before the Knife: Memories of an African Childhood by Carolyn Slaughter ~ in honor of November being a good time to visit Africa. Or so they say. Another quick, weekend read.
  • Edward Lear in Albania: Journals of a landscape Painter in the Balkansby Edward Lear ~ in honor of November being the best time to get to Albania (which I never thought of doing). This took me three weeks to get through.
  • The Cold Light of Mourning by Elizabeth Duncan ~ in honor of Dylan Thomas living in Wales. Don’t ask. It’s a long story. Read in four days.
  • The Viceroy of Ouidah by Bruce Chatwin ~ in honor of November being a good time to visit Africa (yeah, yeah I read two books for the same reason). This was really short. I was  able to read it over four lunch breaks.
  • Corregidora by Gayl Jones ~ in honor of Jones’s birth month. Another short (but difficult) read. Read this in one day.
  • The Akhenaten Adventure by P.B. Kerr ~ in honor of November being Fantasy convention month. Read this over two lunch breaks. Really cute.

For audio books I listened to:

  • Churchill, a Life by Martin Gilbert ~ in honor of Churchill being born in the month of November. A few trips to the eastern part of the state allowed me to finish this sooner than I thought.
  • The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy Sayers ~ for the fun of it. This was hard to listen to simply because of the heavy dialogue.
  • Complications: a Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande ~ in honor of National Health Month. This was only six cds long so it was a great way to finish out the month.

What else was November about? I got to see a pretty exciting Patriots game thanks to my husband. I also got to stay home alone and read for an entire Sunday thanks to another Patriots game. Staying local for Thanksgiving definitely allowed for more reading time, too.


Akhenaten Adventure

Kerr, P.B. The Akhenaten Adventure: Children of the Lamp, Book One. New York: Orchard Books, 2004.

This was really fun! I think I read the first 150 pages in only an hour. I finished the rest of the book at the end of the day. I even surprised myself.

John and Philippa are not your ordinary twelve year old twins. On the surface they look like typical rich kids living on New York’s upper east side. That is, until they both need their wisdom teeth pulled. At twelve. From there things get even more strange. Turns out, John, Philippa and their mother, Layla are from a long line of djinn. In order to explain this to the children they are shipped off to their djinn uncle in London, England. He is supposed to teach them how to control their powers, give them the history of the different tribes of djinn, and of course, get them involved in a little murder mystery on a trip to Cairo…
While this is supposed to be “just” a book for kids I found it completely entertaining. Like, how does a one-armed man pretend to tie his shoelaces? I kept picturing a movie.

Great line, “The English themselves speak a very mangled mashed-potato form of English, which has no obvious beginning and no obvious end, and is just a sort of thick mess that they dump on your plate and expect you to understand” (p 78).

Reason read: There is a really big fantasy convention that happens in November. I’m reading The Akhenaten Adventure in honor of that convention.

Book trivia: The Akhenaten Adventure is book one of the “Children of the Lamp” series. It’s the only one I’m reading.

Author fact: According to the back flap of The Akhenaten Adventure P.B. Kerr write his first story when he was ten years old. But, I think this tidbit is much cooler – he grew up without a television.

BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called “Fantasy for Young and Old” (p 83).