Wednesday, December 6, 2023

An Open Book: November 2023 Reads

With the arrival of December, it's time to join An Open Book to look back on the books that brought me through November! 

Over the Garden Wall, Volume One, by  Jim Campbell (Author), Amalia Levari (Author), Pat McHale (Creator), Cara McGee (Illustrator)

This slim graphic novel dives back into the world of the animated miniseries, Over the Garden Wall. It consists of two stories. In one, Greg and his frog journey back through the forest, encountering various whimsical creatures and befriending animals. In the other story, Anna, the woodcutter's daughter, tries to figure out what to do during her father's absence from their cabin. I was hesitant to pick up this book because the miniseries of Over the Garden Wall is incredible (why mess with perfection???), but I'm glad I did. While not as good as the show, it was a fun continuation. 

Over the Garden Wall, Volume Two, by Jim Campbell (Author), Amalia Levari (Author), Pat McHale (Creator), Cara McGee (Illustrator)

This volume follows Greg and Wirt through the Unknown when they get separated on their journey to find the Hero-Frog. Then, there's a long story about Pooree the Elephant and his experience at the schoolhouse (from the tv show) in the woods. While it was fun to see the schoolhouse again, I preferred the stories with Greg and Wirt. It definitely is not as good as the show, but I still enjoyed reading it! 

REREAD: The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

I wanted a fun book to reread before bed, and this sci-fi spoof was exactly what I needed. It follows Arthur Dent, a man who is whisked off of Earth just before it is destroyed. He finds himself travelling through the universe with Ford Prefect, an alien who is researching for a revised edition of the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. They encounter all sorts of zany creatures as they grapple with the meaning of life. The prose is really funny, and this book is very entertaining in many parts. I've read that the author was an outspoken atheist, so there are jabs at religion, and some sexual references sprinkled throughout. However, looking past those, this book can be a fun, lighthearted space adventure. 

Where you see yourself, by Claire Forrest 

This YA novel follows Effie, a senior in high school who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. The reader journeys with her as she goes through all of the big "senior year" moments--dances and parties, classes, "off campus" lunch, college applications and visits--and learns to advocate for her needs. It was really eye-opening to learn about her reality as a person who uses a wheelchair, and what she considered when preparing for college. The story was also really fun, too--Effie was a delightful character, and it was fun to see her tackle different obstacles. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that although there were some elements I wasn't a fan, this book was fairly clean for a contemporary YA novel. 

The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, translated by Benedicta Ward, SLG

This book took me a long time to slowly read, and I actually finished it in early December. But, since I read the bulk of it in November, I'm sticking it in my November list. This volume includes sayings from many of the desert fathers (abbas) and a couple of the mothers (amma) in the early centuries of the Church. Their sayings and witness are impactful and beautiful, and I jammed a ton of bookmarks into this so I can go back to specific sayings. This book also had some helpful notes (ie: a reminder that the Sayings were given in a specific context and time), a glossary, and a map of Egypt at the time of the desert fathers. This was excellent, and I recommend it for anyone who has an interest in early monasticism and/or early Church history! 

Thanks for joining me this month! If you have any recommendation, please drop them in the comments! 


  1. Thanks for linking to An Open Book! I don't think I've ever read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - but I always seem to confuse it with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (which was a required read in college) for some reason. They're probably nothing alike.

    1. Interesting! I've never heard of that book before, but quickly looking it up, I'm guessing it was published around the same time as Hitchhiker's Guide. Thats pretty funny that you confuse those two books, I wonder why.
      Thanks so much for hosting the linkup! I always look forward to it, and I'm already VERY excited for the one next month-I've read tons of books (some of them quite excellent) so far this month, and it'll be fun to share about them :)