It’s the most wonderful time of the yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaar! (Mostly because I get a break in a few weeks, and there will also be LATKES. YUM.)
Welcome to December, my fellow readers! So strange to think that the next time I’ll post one of these recaps, it’ll be 2023. This is a year that has gone by in a blur of worry and stress, of new discoveries and reshuffling, of mindfulness, tears, and determination. And books, of course. Lots and lots of good books! (I’m still behind in reviews. That’s okay!)
Speaking of books, I also found out this past month that my town’s new library will be opening up in April of 2023. We drive by it often, as it’s on Main Street, and they recently posted a video walk through so you can see how the construction is going. The outside is mostly done; they’ve got lighting in there (and there are TONS of huge windows; seriously, sitting in this place is going to be so full of light and gorgeous!), and they’ll be starting to work on all the inside full-force soon. I’m so excited about this, I could scream! It’s SO much bigger than our current functional (kind of; the A/C breaks down constantly, the walls leak, the building is so old, it’s impossible to be ADA-compliant, etc) but way-out-of-date building. I’ll miss this old library, but I’m more than thrilled to welcome our new, updated library in April!
Anyway, let’s get this recap started, shall we?
Books I Read in November 2022
1. Consumed: On Colonialism, Climate Change, Consumerism, and the Need for Collective Change by Aja Barber
2. America Calling: A Foreign Student in a Country of Possibility by Rajika Bhandari
3. Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
4. Numb to This: Memoir of a Mass Shooting by Kindra Neely (review to come)
5. A Face for Picasso: Coming of Age with Crouzon Syndrome by Ariel Henley (review to come)
6. My Heart is on the Ground: The Diary of Nannie Little Rose, a Sioux Girl, Carlisle Indian School, Pennsylvania, 1880 by Ann Rinaldi (no review; read out loud to my daughter. SO problematic)
7. Looking for an Enemy: Eight Essays on Antisemitism by Jo Glanville (no review)
8. My Boy Will Die of Sorrow: A Memoir of Immigration From the Front Lines by Efrén C. Olivares (review to come)
9. Ban This Book by Alan Gratz (no review; read out loud to my daughter)
10. The Summer of Lost Letters by Hannah Reynolds (review to come)
11. True History: Indigenous America by Liam McDonald (no review; read out loud to my daughter)
12. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson (review to come)
13. Shores Beyond Shores: From Holocaust to Hope, My True Store by Irene Butter (review to come)
14. Talking to Strangers: A Memoir of My Escape from a Cult by Marianne Boucher (review to come)
15. True Identity: Cracking the Oldest Kidnapping Cold Case and Finding My Missing Twin by Paul Joseph Fronczak (review to come)
16. How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing (no review)
Not a bad total for this month! I’m yet again behind in posting reviews, but that happens. I should be able to get caught up over our winter break. It’s just so hard to get everything I need to get done in the morning before we start homeschool work, and then suddenly it’s like 4 pm, and I’m all, “Ehhh, I’ll just post it tomorrow.” Lather, rinse, repeat!
I don’t count everything I read to my daughter – certainly not the smaller nonfiction books we read for her schoolwork, but once in a while, there’ll be something more substantial that I really get something out of, and that’s when I count things like the True History: Indigenous America by Liam McDonald. I almost always count the chapter book read-alouds, however. I earned those! : )
Thirteen of these books were mine alone. Twelve of the books were nonfiction (including memoirs); four were fiction. Twelve came from my TBR.
State of the Goodreads TBR
I started off this month at 133 books. I read twelve books from this list, putting me at…127 books.
TBR math sucks. But I made it to the 120’s!
And it’s only downhill from here (or uphill, in terms of a growing TBR)! NPR has already released part of their Best of 2022 book list, and all the reading challenges will be out soon, giving suggestions and posting gorgeous full-color covers, and I assume my TBR is just going to explode. OY.
Books I Acquired in November 2022
Other than some books for gift, and a few books on Jewish history I picked up from a used book sale at the library, I grabbed this stack from someone on a local Buy Nothing group. (Zero clue why WordPress won’t allow me to adjust the size of the photo here. Weird.)
Bookish Things I Did in November 2022
My son and I popped into a used book sale at a local library. I picked up a book or two on Jewish history, and a few holiday gift books for my daughter, but that was really the only bookish event this month!
Current Podcast Love
All over the place here!
So I started the month out listening to Freakonomics. It’s more about the narration style for me (that calm, cool NPR-type style!), since I listen when I’m falling asleep and during the 234893749823 times I wake up at night (this has very much been a thing lately, sigh), but the subject matter of some of the episodes started to annoy me after a few weeks, and I began to search for something else.
I attempted a few other true crime podcasts and a homeschooling podcast, none of which worked well – seriously, people, a good portion of your podcast shouldn’t be you and your cohosts just laughing. (ANNOYING.) I listened to two other homeschooling podcasts (desperately trying to get ideas and inspiration to switch things up for my daughter, because there are some things right now that just aren’t working for her), and while they were okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, it gets bothersome to constantly have Christianity injected into every. little. thing. I need ideas about how to help my daughter get through math; I don’t need a lecture about how to relate novels to Jesus. (I’m Jewish; a homeschooling podcast isn’t going to change that. Nothing will, which is just how I like it!) I truly don’t mind if the podcast hosts or guests talking about going to church, or incorporating Bible lessons into their homeschool day, that’s fine. I don’t want to listen to how the moms won’t let their kids read books where a character has gay parents. NOPE. Unfollow, immediately.
So currently I’m trying out Honey I’m Homeschooling the Kids. So far, it seems really diverse and has an interesting spread of guests who span the homeschooling spectrum, from unschooling to much more structured. I’m *really* wanting to delve into Book Riot’s For Real, a podcast just about nonfiction books, but my TBR is already crying for mercy at the thought of that, so I WILL get to it, I just don’t know when!
I’ve also been poking into Conspirituality, which is so far over my head, but it’s still pretty fascinating.
Stephanie’s Read Harder Challenge
So, not really much time for this right now. I’ve pulled my copy of Jewish Literacy by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin upstairs to the pile next to my bed, and every night before beginning my regular reading, I read an entry in this book. It covers over 300 subjects and is 688 pages. I read a lot of it for my conversion class but not all of it, and now I’m reading the whole thing. I like reading it this way; it gives me something to think about all the next day. I’d eventually like to read all of Rabbi Telushkin’s writings.
Real Life Stuff
Right now, I’m basically up to my eyeballs in homeschool stuff again. Math isn’t working out for us, so I’m having to change things up a bit and also relax a lot more, which basically goes against my entire personality, so it’s not easy for me. I’m more of a, “Let’s get everything done NOW NOW NOW so we can do EVEN MORE later!!!” And my daughter just doesn’t work well under those conditions, so this is very much a growth moment for me. It’s hard. I’m still trying to figure out a way – if there even IS a way – to parent this child without her blowing up at me constantly. It’s her anxiety and her perfectionism that causes so much of this, so I try not to take it personally, but it’s really, really hard.
My son is still doing awesome in college and really liking everything, which is a relief! It’s nice to see him blossoming academically. High school classes just weren’t his thing, but he’s all about the stuff he’s learning here in college, so I’m absolutely thrilled for him.
That’s really about it. Nothing else new for me. Hanukkah starts on the 18th (which is a Sunday), so I’ll be over here cranking out some amazing latkes (seriously the best potato product out there, hands down), but other than that, I’m just trying to maintain my sanity with my pile of books.
Wishing you a lovely December, however you spend it! See you in January for next year’s roundup! 🙂