I made a decision last month: I'm going to stop giving star ratings to the books I review. I'm reading so much non-fiction at the moment that they're starting to feel a bit arbitrary; I rate fiction based on how much I enjoy it, and you just can't do that with non-fiction because there are so many factors to consider. That being the case, instead of agonising over how I should rate, I'm chucking the whole system out of the window and just writing reviews instead. All of my reviews are on Goodreads as usual.
November was a bit disappointing for reading. My series read (the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series) was one I was really looking forward to because I've loved other books by the author, but it just didn't grab me in the same way. The first book and the accompanying novella were great, but books two and three... meh. Which all goes to say that what I expected to be a month of extreme book worship turned out to be a little underwhelming. Nonetheless, I did find something new to love.
My favourite read last month was Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. I enjoyed it so much that I immediately bought the other two in the series to add to my towering TBR. I watched the Studio Ghibli animated film when it came out, and rewatched it repeatedly back in the Noughties, but I had basically forgotten the story by the time I came to read the book. I'm told by fellow book lovers that that's a good thing, because the film diverges significantly from the book.
And the book was great. I loved Sophie and Howl, and all the characters that surround them. They're beautifully written, and although the story has a gentle cosiness to it, it still feels incredibly fast paced. This isn't pretentious fantasy, but is absolutely grounded, in that it really doesn't care about the magic as much as it does about the people. And yet the fantasy elements are incredible. They're not flashy or complicated or over-engineered, they're just magical in a way that recalls the fantasy stories I used to read as a kid.
Howl's Moving Castle was a quick, fulfilling read, with so much content packed in that I'm sure rereads would be well rewarded.
What are the best books you read last month? I'd love to hear your recommendations.
x- Josie -x