Words on Wednesday: reading in November

I was looking for a quote about reading to use in this post and came across this one from Jean Rhys:

Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.

I thought about this, and pondered on it for a while and thought that yes indeed some books, if they grip us, can indeed transport us to other worlds. But other books can make us feel good about where we are, perhaps opening new doors in places we know, but also having a cosy sense of the familiar. In this category this month we find Lucy Revill’s The Residents, a wonderful collection of interviews with the people of Wellington. We went to the book launch at the start of the month (see this post) and I have been dipping in and out ever since.

In contrast, a book I actually started at the end of October but technically finished in November was Hiromi Kawakami’s The Ten Loves of Mr Nishino (hence it spanning two months of reading book posts!), set in Japan and far away from Wellington, and that takes you to a very different world, far from office life.

This month’s other reads were also very varied, and in fact I am not sure I could find a thread other than all four were written by women. Pip Adam’s Nothing to See is an unusual and thought provoking book by the Wellington based author (she is the writer in resident at Victoria University of Wellington). It is an unusual story of two (or one?) women, told over a few decades. I loved this comment from The Spinoff “Adam’s books always manage to scrub away at corners of my brain that have never seen light” which I think sums up this book perfectly, being a perfect hybrid of all sorts of fiction.

Lilian Jackson Braun’s fun series about two Siamese cats and could not be in starker contrast. Always fun, the world which she has created is one regular readers slot back into with every book. The one I read this month was The Cat Who Talked Turkey. Also in this month’s pile was Anne Tyler’s latest work Redhead by the Side of the Road, a really lovely book that transports you to a small world full of people with not so small lives. It is definitely worth picking up. Finally, Zadie Smith’s collection of Covid-era essays, Intimations. As usual, beautifully written and so evocative of a particular time and space – The Guardian’s review sums it up perfectly.

Finally…some magazines…Dish and Cuisine for some cooking and food inspirations, and NZ House & Garden, with a cover styled by Amanda Holland from one of my favourite shops in town, Small Acorns. The magazine also features some of her interior design work.

And so we finish with home and with a touch of the local, just as we began. What have you read this month? Any recommendations?

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram@thistleandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on thistlesandkiwis@gmail.com


  1. I am into reading Tana French’s detective/murder mysteries! I finished In the Woods and then started The Likeness! If you like mysteries and Ireland and long books, these are very good!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anne Tyler is one of my favorite writers. I have been a fan of hers for years and years. Right now I am reading “Becoming Wild” by the ecologist Carl Safina. Highly, highly recommend it.

    Liked by 1 person

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