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Somehow October turned out to be a big month for me. I finished ten books! I probably shouldn’t have finished ten, but in the midst of a slump that started in September (possibly even August), I pushed through at least one book that should have been a clear DNF. While I don’t feel fully broken out of that slump, things are looking up. I’ve really liked several books in a row, and am currently in the middle of one that is wowing me. But, back to October books!
Books Completed in October
Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge – This debut was a breath of fresh air for me after a string of disappointing books. Light and fun with a serious twist I devoured it in just over 24-hours. (My Review – Grade: A-)
Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak – Ever finish a book and wish you hadn’t? That’s Seven Days of Us for me. (My Review – Grade: I didn’t grade it. The review was harsh enough!)
Nomadland by Jessica Bruder – I found this nonfiction read fascinating. Bruder follows a growing community of largely older Americans who travel the country in search of work to supplement their meager retirement funds. Review coming this month.
Start Without Me by Joshua Max Feldman – I enjoyed spending Thanksgiving Day with Adam and Marissa, two strangers who meet in a hotel coffee shop, and support each other as they face down demons and their families. (My Review – Grade: B-)
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman – Two sisters and their brother, all cursed to a life where falling in love is dangerous, none-the-less learn to hold onto love in their magic filled world. (My Review – Grade: B)
In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende – The deeper I got into this book the more I liked it. The attraction of two very opposite people, as they tried to help an undocumented young woman, made for a lovely love story. (My Review – Grade: B+)
The End We Start From by Megan Hunter – Hunter’s debut is more novella than novel, but its short pages leave you with much to consider about the power of a mother’s love. Review coming this month.
The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao by Martha Batalha – Another debut, this from Barzilian writer Batalha follows a bored housewife in 1940’s Rio as she searches for a way, any way, to make more of her life. It was laugh out loud funny! (My Review – Grade: B+)
Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lemaitre – Another book I really enjoyed. French writer Lemaitre follows the life of a man after he gets away with murder as a 12-year old. The guilt and fear of being caught were palpable. My review coming this month.
Code Girls by Liza Mundy – A second nonfiction hit for October! Code Girls was a serious education for me and made me a big admirer of women in the “Greatest Generation.” My review will be later this month.
Reviewed, But Read Earlier
The Burning Girl by Claire Messud – I listened to this one and liked it well enough, but had I read it, I feel like I would have grown tired of the teenage drama. (My Review – Grade: C+)
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – Too often sophomore efforts disappoint, but that was not the case with Ng’s second book. The narration by Jennifer Lim was excellent. (My Review – Grade: A)
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan – Without a doubt, Manhattan Beach was a big disappointment. I had such high hopes for Egan’s latest and it just didn’t deliver. (My Review – Grade: C-)
With some reservations I’m picking Castle of Water for my favorite book in October. While I did truly enjoy the story, i wasn’t completely wowed by it. I like to think that best books of the month will be in contention for my best books of the year list, and i just don’t see that happening here. Still, it was a fun read and I was thoroughly engaged the entire time i was reading Castle of Water.
- The most viewed post was Fall Favorites from Yesteryear in which I visited some of my favorite fall books from the last several years. In the midst of a slump, it was nice to remember some of the wonderful novels from falls past.
- My rantings about that slump and my speculation into some of its causes also garnered quite a bit of attention with my post The Booklover’s Curse: When Good Just Isn’t Good Enough. If you haven’t checked it out you might want to. We all experience this curse at times!
- Not surprisingly, Castle of Water turned out to be my most viewed review.
Looking At Goals
- The 10 books of October brought my yearly total up to 83 or 84 (I don’t know how I keep getting off with Goodreads!) I did, however, reached my Goodreads goal of 75 early in the month.
- Two nonfiction audios in October brings me to 20 for the year. What a change from 2 last year!.
- The two nonfictions brought my total there up to 8. Still lower than I’d like, but with this being Nonfiction November, I’m hoping to add a couple more this month.
I hope October was good to you!
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Sarah's Book Shelves says
What are you in the middle of that’s wowing you?! And I generally think my best books of the month should be in contention for best of the year, but that hasn’t happened many months this year. There was one month where I read 2 or 3 that will be in contention and none from Sept will come close!
I’m with Sarah in wanting to know what’s wowing you?:) 10 books is an awesome month of reading! I’m glad to see Castle of Water as your top pick. Let’s hope November brings us many wows!
Yes, let’s hope. What have you been reading?
I just finished The Nightingale which blew me away, I loved it! I finished The Stranger in the Woods on audio . My reading is definitely looking up:)
I adored The Nightingale! I finished it on a plane coming back from Nicaragua and was sitting next to two men I didn’t know just balling for the longest time. I think I freaked them out! Glad you’re reading is improving. Sometimes backlist books are the way to go.
Glad to hear you’re almost out of your slump! I’m starting on my picks for Nonfiction November as well, looking forward to it!
I’m going to guess that the “Wow” is for The Heart’s Invisible Furies. It certainly wowed me!
Some titles here I’m going to look into further. Thank you! (Am I the only one who didn’t like Little Fires Everywhere?)
I actually read The Heart’s Invisible Furies back in August and reviewed it on September 7th. I absolutely did LOVE it! It may be my top book this year???
The book I’m loving right now is The Power. I know some others have not liked this book, but I’m listening to the audio and Alderman’s story is just so dark and compelling.
I liked Little Fires Everywhere, but it’s another I listened to on audio. Sometimes I think that can make or break a book, depending on the narrator.
Thanks for stopping by!
How do you get through so many books!? Do you sleep? I’ve been wanting to read Castle of Water. It looks like a good story.
Two were audios and two were very short, otherwise I’d never get through ten!
I’m so glad you had a better month, Susie! Castle of Water is DEFINITELY on my list, thanks to you, so I’ll look forward to that one after Nonfiction November. I hope to get to Code Girls soon; I have heard so many great things about it!
Hopefully, I’ll get a review up for Code Girls next week. Have a great week, Tara.
Your book & goal numbers are high! I’m looking forward to Nomadland.