I read a little slower this month as I was also participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and succeeded by writing 50,000 words of a new novel. I did read a few very captivating fiction books and learned some new things from some great non-fiction books.
Here’s what I read in November:
Greta was born into the elite financial family Goldbaum and wants for nothing in life until she is forced to marry a distant cousin and realizes love may be completely out of her reach in House of Gold. Her one faithful companion, her brother Otto, must stay in Austria while she heads to London. Her husband, Alfred, is surprised when she write the night before their wedding asking him to call it off due to all her faults and the lack of love between them. He declines until right before the wedding when he clears the room and offers her the choice. Freedom is within reach, but his actions slightly endear him to her and she goes forward with the wedding and must learn for forge a life with a stranger.
I recently read another Gretchen Rubin book – Happier at Home. It is similar to The Happiness Project, but Gretchen takes a school year and focuses on making her home a happier place to be. She does this by creating a space that is happy to live in and also focuses on strengthening the relationships with her family members.
I love reading books about the lesser-known parts of history and Fly Girls falls right into that category. Early in aviation history, women were making strides alongside men, even though they were often thought of as being not able to fly as well. Amelia Earhart is well-known, but there were other aviators who helped pave her way or flew alongside her to further the advancement of women in aviation. Aviation is a career field where everyone has an even playing field, no matter what gender, race or finances. Either you learn and have the skill to fly or you don’t. Yet, women had to fight to be able to participate in plan races with men.
Sept. 11, 2001, changed the entire world. For the people of Gander, Newfoundland, the day was a way to change the world in a good way. Once the United States’ airspace was closed that fateful day, planes that were still in the air had to find a place to land. Many were in the middle of crossing the ocean and were diverted to Gander, a familiar checkpoint to pilots who cross the Atlantic. Thousands of people were stranded on the island for days and they found nothing but people who wanted to help them, and the stories are told in The Day the World Came to Town.
Maggie cannot step a foot outside of her house without feeling the whole world is watching her. After suffering through a very public and humiliating divorce to a local politician, she spends most of her time holed up at home, sleeping at odd hours. Her catering business feels the strain, but her best friend Carina is doing her best to keep things afloat while Maggie heals and finds a way ahead. Carina is one of the first to coerce Maggie to leave her house and meet her at a coffee shop, giving her a pep talk about changing her surroundings to change her life. With Carina’s words in mind, she decides to get a Christmas tree and the stranger she meets at the lot changes her destiny.
Cecilia happens upon a letter in the attic addressed to her from her husband, but to be read upon his death. She doesn’t open it right away, but wants to tell John Paul that she found it first. He tells her over the phone on his business trip that it’s nothing, but his voice and quick return tell her that something important is written in that letter. As soon as she opens and reads it, her world is forever changed by her husband’s secret.
The sinking of the Lusitania is a very key event in history. Dead Wake explores the events leading up to the disaster from both sides of the tragedy. Delving into the stories of the passengers on the ship and the sailors in the U-boat, Erik Larson makes history come to life in Dead Wake.
There are some stories that are almost too amazing to be true. Irena Sendler was part of a network that helped save more than 2,500 children from the Warsaw ghetto, along with many other teens and adults. As a university student at the time of the German invasion, she and her friends were full of a rebellious spirit that they used for good to help both their Jewish friends and strangers. While Irena focuses on how she was part of a group, she was also one of the leaders and the person who kept the log of children’s true names and families.
The Crystal Mountain explores good vs. evil, forgiveness and sacrifice. While the story is set in a made-up place, the new terms and words are easy to follow and it was easy to picture the places and characters. I think young adults middle-school age or older would find the story fascinating. Boys especially would like the battle scenes and the dragon boats.
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