Why I Love Books November Roundup

I would like to make a motion to take “November” and rename it “Yesvember”. An entire month beginning with the word “no” acts as a subliminal discouragement. It’s bad for morale. If we cannot agree on “Yesvember”, we could also look into something less emphatic: “Perhapsvember” is an option–a month of possibility–although that wont fit very nicely along the tops of calendars. Another favorite alternative does not eliminate the negative first syllable, but replaces “ember” (let’s be honest, most likely some vestige, pagan nod to the devil) with “embeard”, making the month “Novembeard” (aka No Shave November), a misogynist month, to be sure, but also a month where everyone wins.

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Would anyone like to second the motion?

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1. Famous Last Words. In The Telegraph, Tom Stoppard has been quoted as saying: “I have a spasm of envy for the person that was killed by a falling bookcase, as long as it doesn’t happen prematurely.” There are a two wonderful Why-I-Love-Books aspects to this statement. One being the desire to die-by-books and the other being the creative and melodramatic death-wishery of which great writers are capable (see: Dorothy Parker’s poem Résume).

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2. Scrubbing In. Ever done a book autopsy? Me neither. Partly because it never occurred to me until I saw THIS blog. But also partly because they don’t let me use the sharp knives.

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3. Reading Crazes. Since the seventh Harry Potter movie was released this month, I’d be remiss not to mention the book sensation that got so many kids (and adults) to read for fun. Love ‘em or not, the Harry Potter series taught a whole generation of kids that reading is a beloved pastime and that 700 pages is TOTALLY doable. Here’s a little spoof on the seventh book, as if it were re-written by several famous authors.

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4. Sharing Your Favorites. One of my favorite activities is forcing books I love upon people who may or may not (I really don’t care) want to read them. If you’re like me, this means that a lot of people who used to talk to you now cross the street when they see you coming…So here’s a win-win for everyone: Join Books for Soldiers, support the troops, share a little piece of home, and give allll the recommendations you want.

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5. So Bad It’s…Rewarded. Have a penchant for being a delightfully awful writer? Enter the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest! Write the worst opening sentence for a novel and go down in BLFC history. My submission would probably go something like:

“Feeling rumpled and stale in yesterday’s clothing, Albert turned to face the old, dead woman heaped on his couch and, rolling up his sleeves, wished for the first time in his life that he wasn’t a taxidermist.”

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6. So Bad It’s Rewarded, Part II. Yes, there IS a “Bad Sex In Literature Award” and No, I didn’t know who Alastair Campbell was before reading this article.

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7. Book Crusaders. Booktrust! This is the best thing. Independent UK charity devoted to fostering a love of books–however, whenever, and wherever they can! This means kids reading programs and public awareness campaigns about making time to read and translations of new fiction and awards (such as the Roald Dahl Funny Prize). I bet they’re nice too.

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8. Rock Diaries. Patti Smith just won the National Book Award in nonfiction for her memoir Just Kids. Read up. But Patti’s not the only musician who released a popular memoir of late–Russell Brand did it, Bob Marley’s son Ky-Mani, and, my personal favorite, Keith Richards, who just came out with Life. I haven’t taken a crack at Smith’s memoir yet, but I must say, Richards’ is well-written, beautifully designed, and so self-indulgent you’ll need to go to church after.

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Thanks for the pie, November, but I think we all know that December is the main event.

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-Susannah (Blog Intern)



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