November 2017 Month in Review

December 2, 2017


November is always my favorite month of the year. It’s a month filled with football, friends, family, and food.

Kurosh is finally starting to become a real pack member. He’s greeting us more warmly and finally listening to us more often than now. We’ve started some dog training, though, and that’s definitely helping with the listening. It’s obvious our dog now thinks of us as his pack instead of some people he’s stuck with. It only took three months!

I went home for the full week of Thanksgiving and a TON of wedding stuff got done. We met with basically every vendor we are working with, believe it or not. My aunt also hosted my first bridal shower. It was fun, but a bit overwhelming. So many of my Mom’s friends I don’t really know watching me unwrap gifts! O_o Now we’re on to step two– where I write a hundred thousand thank you cards.

Thanksgiving is also my favorite holiday of the year. It was great seeing all of my family– if a bit overwhelming with the non-stop activities. Plus Ottavia and I hosted the Thanksgiving Readathon! When I got home I needed a holiday from my holiday. But the festivities got me in the mood for the conclusion of the year. And, of course, Ohio State beat Michigan! Go Bucks!

November also signaled the end of the Studio Ghibli Fest series of Fathom movie events. Starting in June, 6 Studio Ghibli films were shown on the big screen. David and I attended almost all of them. Studio Ghibli films are our favorites! This is the wall above our bed:

L to R: Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service


We ended the Studio Ghibli Fest on a high note with my favorite film, Howl’s Moving Castle. The perfect date night to end my favorite month of the year.



List of Reads

Thanks to the Thanksgiving Readathon, I got quite a bit of reading done this month. I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t finish reading Rainbow Valley for the #AnneReadAlong2017. I’m hosting a read along and yet I can’t seem to accomplish my own tasks?! How embarrassing. I definitely overcommitted when it came to book club reads and review publication commitments in November. We’re heading into the final month of the year and I am trying to make it easier on myself. Here’s hoping for some successes!

November Books:

Read 10 total books

MUST READ this month:

The Goblin Emperor – I loved all three of my highest scoring reads this month. But The Goblin Emperor wins hands down. It is a fascinating twist on traditional political fantasy. Truly more character study than anything else. Totally my jam. The audiobook is also brilliant– Kyle McCarley is now a narrative voice I’ll keep an eye out for.

Meh. I wasn’t into it this month:

The Hidden Face   I had a shockingly high number of two star reads this month. I struggled with them all for different reasons. So, why The Hidden Face out of all four lower scoring books? The Hidden Face is a fun book, more fun that many of the other two-star reads, but it has some problematic content. I really struggled with the depiction of non-consensual sex in this novel. This left a nasty taste in my mouth, and well, I won’t recommend it to many due to this.

Check out my review here.

Challenge Updates

  • Overall 2017 Reading Challenge: 121/110 (110% complete)
  • 2017 Listopia Challenge: 17/15 (113% complete)
  • Book Riot’s 2017 Read Harder Challenge: 19/24 (79% complete)
  • Popsugar 2017 Challenge: 39/52 (75% complete)
  • The Great Newbery Challenge: 29/95 (30% complete)

As you might see above, I am struggling to complete the Book Riot and Listopia Challenge. I know now that I won’t be able to complete either of them before the end of the year. That said, I am certainly going to keep them listed here and try wrapping these up in early 2018. There are some amazing book categories on these lists, and I I’ll grow more by pushing myself to read them.

You can follow my Yearly Reading Challenge updates more regularly here, and for The Great Newbery Challenge here.


Tsundoku Life

It wouldn’t be tsundoku if I didn’t have a gigantic pile of books and bookish things going on in my life!

On the Blog:

I wrote a lot of non-review posts in November. It was a lot of fun discussing the content of these posts. That said, I’m a bit disappointed in my lack of reviews. Expect to see more book reviews next month. Also, I made my goal of two posts a week+! For someone as unorganized as I am, that’s saying something.

Book Reviews


Other Posts

I have so many posts I want to publish for December! It looks like I’ll need to spend more time blogging and writing if I’m going to achieve those goals. What are they? Well, you’ll have to just stick around to wait and see…

December TBR:

  • Our Shared Shelf  – The Power by Naomi Alderman
  • Kids Lit – N/A for December
  • West Side Stories – The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Brunch Books – Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
  • VACB Book Club –Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett AND Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy Book Club: The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
  • Popsugar Challenge – Stuart Little by E. B. White
  • Read Harder Challenge – Roll by Darcy Miller
  • The Great Newbery Challenge – The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
  • #AnneReadAlong2017: Rainbow Valley by LM Montgomery AND Rilla of Ingleside by LM Montgomery

Blog Projects

My work with the Empty Pages Writing Club has come to a close for 2017. It was a lot of fun working with the group again. You can expect to see posts about the last set of submissions coming up in the next two weeks.

#AnneReadAlong2017 is wrapping up as well. I  can’t believe this is already ending! I’m so sad… It’s been a ton of fun getting to know Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf and lead this with her. Personally, I have a lot to do this month to wrap things up appropriately. But, I couldn’t be more excited to be ending on a high note. I hope you’ll join us!

The #ThanksgivingReadathon was a HUGE success! Ottavia and I had over twenty people join us in the Thanksgiving Readathon this year. It was so much fun participating with everyone on social media and ensuring reading was prioritized during a hectic time of year. Congratulations to Rachelle @ Fortified by Books for winning our Cozy Winter Bundle giveaway!

December has quite a few things in store as far as blog projects are concerned. I have some joint posts coming up, as quite a few year-end wrap-up posts in mind. Those, combined with #AnneReadAlong2017, will be the focus for the next month. Look out for some great posts– I know I’m excited for them! I hope you are too.


November was a great month for both reading and blogging. December will be great for both as well– but it will not be great for blog hopping. I’ll be there when I can, friends. The holidays are crazy, right? Wishing you all an amazing holiday season!

Happy Reading and Happy Holidays,

Jackie B.

Jackie B Forman

What do you think?

  • What amazing things happened to you in November?
  • Do you enjoy Studio Ghibli films? If so, which is your favorite?
  • What are you most excited to read for December?
  • Do you have anything exciting planned for the end of the year? Tell us about it!


  • Helen Murdoch December 3, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    I’ve just started to follow your blog (since the readathon) so I feel like I am getting caught up. Congratulations on your upcoming marriage! And I am going to go check out your review of Between Shades of Grey because I LOVED that book.!

    • Jackie B December 4, 2017 at 9:12 am

      Thanks, Helen! I can completely understand the feeling of getting caught up. I’m so excited to have new bloggers to follow after the readathon. My schedule is chaotic the next few weeks due to the holidays, but I’ll be haunting your blog soon. Be patient with me.

  • Grab the Lapels December 3, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    I did not know you even got a dog! To avoid all the wedding crap that foisted upon women? Make it a couples _______. Couples bridal shower, couples bachelor/bachelorette party, etc. Then my brother and his wife did couples baby showers!

    • Jackie B December 8, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      Yes! We adopted a 3.5 year old All-American mutt (our trainers like to debate with each other over what breed he is. Hours of entertainment have centered around this) back in early September. His name is Kurosh. It’s a phonetically spelled version of the Persian variation for King Cyrus, king of kings. We love him even though he isn’t *quite* a net positive in our lives yet.

      That’s a great idea about couples things! I don’t know why everything is my job just because I’m a woman. O_o I assume this is an antequated tradition from when the man was working all the time so the bride had all the time to be doted upon? Please. I am totally jumping on that bandwagon. Like yesterday.

  • Laila@BigReadingLife December 5, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    I want to read Alderman’s The Power so I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts about it! Sounds like a very busy month. I’m definitely reading Rilla in December, and my book group pick, Saint Mazie by Jami Attenburg. Right now I’m reading Elizabeth Taylor’s At Mrs. Lippincote’s, and so far it’s really good. I’ve never read her before. It’s right up my alley (post-WWII Britain.)

    • Jackie B December 8, 2017 at 5:29 pm

      Unfortunately, I won’t be reading The Power this month it seems! I’m #115 on the list at the library. O_o That said, this is a bit of a blessing in disguise. I have barely read anything since the Thanksgiving Readathon! I really need some breathing room in life right now.

      Elizabeth Taylor’s works have been on my TBR for a long, long time. I’ve heard her compared to Austen and Pym– both authors I really enjoy reading. I’m glad you’re enjoying this thus far! I hope it continues to shine.

      • Laila@BigReadingLife December 9, 2017 at 9:30 am

        I just finished it last night and I loved it! She reminds me very much of Pym – only maybe edgier.

  • Books, Vertigo and Tea December 10, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    That is wonderful about Kurosh. What a fantastic addition to the family <3 Jealous that you were able to go see almost all of the Ghibli. I missed them all 🙁 I own most, but was hoping to experience them on the big screen. My vision and symptoms are not theater friendly right now though.

    Hope you have a lovely month my friend <3

    • Jackie B December 22, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      It was lovely to see most of the Ghibli films in the theatre. I was able to see the details I had never seen before. I loved it. I understand why you wouldn’t have been able to go see these, however. I’m sure they will be shown again the future– hopefully you will have zero symptoms by then. 😀 Which film is your favorite?

      Thank you for the well-wishes for the month! It’s been CRAZY. I feel like I more-or-less went on a hiatus without meaning to. Oops! I am super excited to be back, however. Bring on the blogging! 😀

      • Books, Vertigo and Tea January 1, 2018 at 2:40 pm

        I am hard pressed to choose a favorite as I adore them all for various reasons. I really love Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away at the moment. Also the Wind Rises always pulls at my heart strings <3

        • Jackie B January 5, 2018 at 1:18 pm

          Being a newer film, I haven’t seen The Wind Rises enough yet. You have inspired me to spend my evening tonight in front of the fire watching it! ‘Tis the season for indoor activities. 😀

  • Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks December 28, 2017 at 9:25 am

    I can’t believe I didn’t visit your blog while you were offline (off messenger, at least) xD I must’ve been in denial! Good to catch up.

    Woah, your Ghibli wall looks amazing :O did I tell you I can play Howl’s theme on the piano? (About the only thing I mostly still remember how to play. It’s an amazing piece to play ;_; )

    • Jackie B January 5, 2018 at 1:21 pm

      OHMYGOSH YOU CAN?! David and I are going to have our first dance to The Merry-Go-Round of Life at our wedding. That is a beautiful waltz; I’m not surprised it’s fun to play! How long have you played piano? Do you have access to one currently? I knew we were meant to be together, you and I. 😀 Those posts were all given to me by David at different times across our relationship. I think they are beautiful.

      December was a long and challenging month for us all. I don’t blame you for not stopping by as I barely stopped by or communicated with you, and you’re my blogger bestie! Resolution: Don’t be as bad at it next year. 😉

  • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom January 4, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    “And, of course, Ohio State beat Michigan! Go Bucks!” I knew we were kindred spirits 🙂

    • Jackie B January 5, 2018 at 2:48 pm

      Obviously. 😉 I thought about pestering you when I was driving to/from Columbus. Hopefully some day we can meet in real life and good to a book event and a meal together or sometihng! 😀

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