November 2023 Reading Wrap-Up

Hey there, book buddies! November has wrapped up (some time ago), and I'm stoked to spill the tea on my reading journey. I rocked with four books, diving into 1,448 pages. The average rating for these reads is 3.88 out of 5 stars, a mix of vibes! Three of these books were in ebook format, and one took the paperback route. Shoutout to the publisher for sending me an advance reader copy, adding some extra spice to my reading mix. After battling a reading slump in October, November sprinkled some good vibes on my bookish soul. To capture the essence of my reading rollercoaster, I threw together a November reading vlog, please check it out on my YouTube channel! 

1. Forty Words for Love by Aisha Saeed

Rating: 3 / 5 | Keywords: young adult, romance, magical realism 

Forty Words for Love revolves around the town of Moonlight Bay, facing the aftermath of a tragedy that has stripped its once-magical seas of their vibrant colors. The story follows Raf, a Golub, and Yas, a local, as they navigate the challenges of a community grappling with grief, loss, and prejudice. The book explores themes of acceptance, community bonds, and the complexities of relationships, with a backdrop of magical realism and a slow-burn romance between Raf and Yas. 

Full review

2. Perempuan Rok Ungu (The Woman in the Purple Skirt / むらさきのスカートの女) by Imamura Natsuko

Rating: 3.75 / 5 | Keywords: adult, literary fiction, Japanese literature

The Woman in the Purple Skirt by Imamura Natsuko is told through the eyes of the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan, who narrates it continuously without chapter titles or numbers. The Woman in the Yellow Cardigan becomes curious about a woman in her neighborhood. She nicknames her the Woman in the Purple Skirt because of her always wearing a purple skirt. Intrigued by the mystery surrounding this woman, our narrator starts following and observing her. The more she learns about the Woman, the stronger her wish becomes to be friends. However, approaching her directly feels awkward to the narrator. This sets the stage for an exploration of the intricate relationship between these two characters.

Full review | Where to buy: Penerbit Haru

3. Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution by R. F. Kuang 

Rating: 4.75 / 5 | Keywords: adult, dark academia, fantasy, historical fiction 

Finishing my second read of this book gives me new layers and fresh insights, prompting this revised and more organized review. Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence is a dark academia fantasy novel that weaves together themes of language, colonialism, and power. The story centers around Robin Swift's journey as he navigates the world of Babel, a prestigious academy with a distinctive magic system involving silver bars and the translation of words.

Full review | Where to buy: Periplus

4. My First and Only Love by Sahar Khalifeh

Rating: 4 / 5 | Keywords: adult, literary fiction, historical fiction 

My First and Only Love by Sahar Khalifeh tells a story connected to Palestine's past, blending personal stories with bigger political events. It follows Nidal, an artist returning to Nablus to rebuild her family's home. The book shares Nidal's memories of Palestine before significant events, like Nakba, where she remembers her first love, Rabie, a young freedom fighter. As Nidal faces challenges during the British Mandate and the Palestinian resistance, the book talks about how individual choices can change history. It explores themes of betrayal and political intrigues, showing how small-mindedness and jealousy can harm the nation. The story also looks at the complicated feelings of love and loss, connecting personal relationships with the larger picture of a nation fighting for freedom.

Full review 


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