December Blogging Break and Rereading Month

November has been an incredibly busy and productive reading and reviewing month. I read all but two of the 12 books in my November Reading Plans (one, Learwife, I abandoned; and I’m still waiting in the library queue for Open Water). Then I managed to read another 7 books on top of that, for a total of 17! Even though a lot of these were novellas, this is still a pretty good month for me.

After that marathon, I’m feeling a bit burnt out. Part of it is that, sadly, very few of those 17 books were books that I unequivocally enjoyed. I loved two essay collections: Ann Patchett’s These Precious Days and Dan Coxon and Richard V. Hirst eds. Writing The Uncanny. I also thought Viet Thanh Nguyen’s short story collection The Refugees was hugely impressive.

But as for the rest… there were a few with moments of brilliance, like Cal Flyn’s Islands of Abandonment, which I thought was overwritten but still had some genuinely interesting things to say, or Charles Yu’s Sorry Please Thank Youwhich had a couple of wonderful stories, or Touring the Land of the Dead in Maki Kashimada’s eponymous collection, or the essay on emojis in Namwali Serpell’s Stranger Faces. Apart from these, though, I feel a general sense of underwhelm about the rest of my month’s reading, much of which is already expressed in my reviews this month (The Fell, NetGalley Reads, The Haunting Season, SF Month, SF Novellas, More Novellas), but which I also felt about books I read and haven’t reviewed, like Tanya Byrne’s Afterlove and Emily Bernard’s Black Is The Body. At this point, I think that part of this problem is me as well as the books.

Therefore, I’m declaring December a blogging break and a rereading month. I’m reading three new-to-me books at the moment – Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney, Keep The Dead Close by Becky Cooper and The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai – but after I finish those, I’m going to only reread books I have already read until the Christmas presents come in! I’d like to take a break from reviewing, too, but hopefully will write something up about this rereading experience after I’d finished it. And of course I’ll be back to review my 2021 reading and make 2022 reading plans at the end of December!

Do you have any particular reading plans for December?

Does a rereading challenge appeal to you?

If you’ve been doing #NovellasInNovember and/or #SciFiMonth, have you discovered any gems?

17 thoughts on “December Blogging Break and Rereading Month

  1. That’s a lot of books and I can see how a run of so-so ones knocks one. Going back to re-reads is a lovely idea. I used to do a month of rereading twice a year, and used it to revisit old friends or read one by an author I’d kept on the shelves to see if I still needed to keep them. I want to go back to that but I think I planned that this year if I got my TBR down to one shelf, and never did! Looking at December it’s various Christmas books, basically, starting earlier than last year (most of them ARE last year’s!).

    I did have a good NovNov myself, nothing disappointing and I really loved the Buchi Emecheta I’ve just reviewed today, loved The Parakeeting of London and Black London, and was pleased to find White Fragility was a good and useful read and get the oldest novella off my TBR.

    Happy re-reading and I look forward to the report!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad that NovNov went well for you! It’s only since I’ve moved into my new house in February that I’ve been able to even contemplate a period of extended rereading, as before that most of my books were still at my dad’s. Now they’re all with me again – I’m really looking forward to it!

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  2. I’m definitely feeling burnt out after a very busy month. I did contemplate taking a complete blogging break between now and the year-end best-of posts, but I still have review books to catch up on. I’ll scale back, at least. I reread four books this month, which is loads for me! Thanks again for joining in with Novellas in November.

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  3. I love scifi month! I found so many gems! Good luck to you on your rereading month! My favorite scifi find in november was “Moon People: The Journals of Lordiah” by author Dixon Troyer. This is a satirical, science fiction novel that presents an alternative history of major events throughout Earth’s history. The book focuses on Lordiah, an alien who comes to earth 4 thousand years ago to mine gold. After his initial visit he influences and directly causes many of the major events in our history. The author takes modern conspiracy theories and weaves them together with ancient myths, bible stories and documented history. He adds a generous helping of humor and fantasy to the mix. When Lordiah reunites with his abandoned daughter (under very unusual circumstances) he knows he has put her life at risk. So begins the journey to find safety for his daughter while regaling the listener with stories of Earths “history”. Very unique and fun read! If you need a new book for future reading here is the link – https://moonpeoplebook.com/

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  4. I’m positive I read differently when I’m not going to write a review of a book, so perhaps that will shift your mood so you feel more in tune with the books? Also, I have been saying for ages that I want to re-read books I own and review them on my blog, and then get rid of the physical ones if I no longer enjoy them. My #ReadingValdemar challenge will be up at the end of this year, so I’m changing that reading spot that I always saved for Mercedes Lackey to a re-read spot. I know the Wakefield Sagas will be on there!

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  5. I’m awed by your November reading list and quite understand your need for a break, particularly as you (unlike me) actually review the books you read! (like one of your previous commentators, I think it’s much more work to read a book for reviewing than for sheer pleasure).
    As for your plans to use the month for re-reading — at the risk of dating myself I say “right on!” I’m a big re-reader, particularly of those sprawling 19th century doorstoppers. I hadn’t thought of setting aside a specific month for re-reading, which is a really interesting idea.
    Despite my best intentions, I’m afraid I missed participating in November’s many reading events. I did, however, read an intriguing sci-fi novel, Monica Byrne’s The Actual Star. It’s a multi-generational saga involving three time lines, set thousands of years apart, and is one of the few sci-fi novels I’ve read that presents a really novel view of a future that’s moved away from a male, white dominated, patriarchal model. Although I was mildly disappointed here and there, for the most part Star really held my interest and was worth the investment of time it took to read (it’s 500-odd pages). Oh, and the Guardian liked it, if you place any stock in that! (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/dec/03/five-of-the-best-science-fiction-and-fantasy-books-of-2021) One warning, however: if you’re squeemish, the 11th century ancient Mayan story arc can be upsetting, as it involves some pretty graphic descriptions of human sacrific.
    Like you, I’ve had a productive few months of reading but a’m in something of a slump right now; I may just use the rest of the month to catch up a little on my reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Actual Star sounds brilliant, thanks so much for the recommendation! I’m sad to say I have failed in my re-reading goals since making this post. I have only re-read one book and am currently reading three new books (to be fair one of them is We Keep The Dead Close still, which is good but very very long). I’m hoping to go back to re-reading as soon as I finish one of these, as I have an exciting shortlist of Rebecca; All The Birds, Singing; The Tiger’s Wife; Hotel World; A Tale for the Time Being; and The Goldfinch!

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          • Oh, I hate to tell you how old I am and I still love Rebecca! Right from that opening “last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again” I get totally caught up in the atmosphere and don’t come out again until the last page.
            Hotel World has been on the TBR for a long time (along with The Tiger’s Wife) but I’d like to read Smith’s Seasonal Quartet first (read Autumn, which I liked very much, but never got to the others).

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  6. Of course you’re on a blogging break when I’m getting caught up–we’re ships passing in the night!

    Oh no, that’s too bad that you abandoned Learwife… honestly I kind of hate the premise (and title) but as a King Lear stan I feel compelled to read all of the retellings so I can imagine that I’ll probably pick it up at some point.

    Good luck with your rereading, that sounds fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I honestly don’t know King Lear that well and that might have been part of the problem for me with Learwife… it’s less a retelling than a look at what happens after Lear dies, but there are a lot of flashbacks. Ha, I’m still around commenting on blogs, just not writing anything myself!

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