What I Read in October 2019
October was a great reading month for me. I finished 11 books and all of them were 3 star ratings or better! I participated in the Only Own October reading challenge, hosted by a friend. It feels awesome because all 11 of those books were taking up space either on my shelf or in my Kindle. I would have liked to get though more books but a few of them were longer than my average.
Here’s a summary of everything I read, and what type of reader I recommend each one for.
What I Read in October 2019
Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver
This is a lovely continuation of the story from The Bean Trees. It’s an exploration of what it means to be family, particularly a parent. And it looks at belonging, asking what does home and safety look like. Kingsolver’s writing is always mesmerizing. She creates authentic characters and vivid landscapes. Nature and culture are always a significant part of her stories. Recommended for fans of Kingsolver’s other novels( though you should read The Bean Trees first) and readers of literary fiction.
Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
Digital copy from NetGalley This is a contemporary thriller with an old timey feel. I love the creepy vibe of this book that hits the reader from the start. It’s a fast paced story with straight forward writing. The scenery is described wonderfully and adds to the atmosphere. There are so many unique, quirky characters, I enjoyed guessing what each one might be up to in secret. I highly recommend this book for readers of thrillers and mysteries. It would be a perfect vacation/travel read.
Little Weirds by Jenny Slate
Advanced copy from NetGalley, expected publication November 5th This book is weird in the most wonderful way possible, and unlike anything else I’ve ever read. This is a collection of essays and stories about being a human woman, living on this planet, loving lots of things, and having a heart that is vulnerable to being broken. The writing style is quite literal. Jenny’s writing is sensory and emotional and magical. I’m not sure how it’s all of those things at once, but it is.This is a truly special book that not everyone will “get,” but those who do will love it every much, like I did.
Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton
Digital copy from NetGalley A unique novel about the downfall of humanity, narrated by the animals who witness it. Our main narrator is a crow, who is smart, snarky, and hilarious. The writing is magical, the story is complex and the animal characters are well constructed. This is ultimately a story of survival, but also an exploration of love, belonging, and acceptance. I highly recommend it for all fiction readers, but mostly those who enjoy dystopian and post-apocalyptic storylines.
Artemis by Andy Weir
The novel wouldn’t have been as fun with a male protagonist! The first half was great, really exciting and funny. Then I got bogged down by the science and it felt redundant. Weir created an amazing setting with the lunar city of Artemis. It all felt totally believable and as if I’m reading exactly what the future will be like. His writing is sharp and the scientific details are precise. Recommended for readers of sci-fi.
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
This is an incredible work of fiction. It’s packed with adventure and emotion. The history and science are unbelievably detailed. George Washington Black is a fascinating and heartbreaking protagonist. The writing is gorgeous. The story is epic and sweeps the reader along from place to place in a whirlwind of desperation, heartaches, and hope. That’s the most important part here. Without that thread of hope woven throughout Wash’s story, it would be too heavy. That thread is pretty thin at times, yet it’s always there. Recommended for readers of historical fiction and magical realism.
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
This is an extraordinary tale of love and loyalty, identity and belonging. The reader needs to fully suspend disbelief in order to get lost in the story, and Wilson’s sharp, witty writing makes that easy.There’s so much going on, and the characters are all wonderful in their own way. I wish it was longer because I wanted MORE of all of it! I highly recommend this for fans of contemporary fiction who want something just a little bit different. People who enjoy family drama will also like this, as well as fans of magical realism.
Short Stories in Spanish Volume 1 by Olly Richards
This is a great tool for taking your beginner Spanish to the next level. I definitely felt a sense of accomplishment when I finished each chapter and got the questions right! The big downside is the stories are silly and not as enjoyable as I’d hoped. They definitely feel like they’re out of a kid’s early reader, and this feels like a text book. I was looking for a more casual reading experience that didn’t necessarily feel like I was supposed to be learning as I read.Recommended for those learning Spanish, past beginner level, and are ready for a little challenge.
The Reckless Oath We Made by Brynn Greenwood
This is an exceptional work of fiction. What the author accomplishes by maintaining two different styles of English is impressive. ( At first it’s weird, but just go with it, trust me…) The chapters are narrated by various characters, which allows them to show off their personalities and inner workings. Just like in her previous novel, Greenwood has created characters who are not necessarily “good people,” but are doing the best with the circumstances they’ve been born into.Ultimately this novel is about love, loyalty, and acceptance. Both Zee and Gentry have lousy biological families, and eventually have found chosen families that accept them as is and understand them best thy can. Highly recommended for readers of literary fiction.
The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World by Amy Reed
This is a pretty wonderful work of magical realism that address serious real world issues. It’s a story about love and acceptance, and an exploration of what family and home can mean to different people. I loved the imagery and all the quirky, otherworldly things that were happening alongside regular daily life. The writing is sharp and funny. The characters were mostly enjoyable and I wanted to root for them. Overall, this was an enjoyable read. It conjured up lots of different emotions for me. I recommend it for readers of YA fiction and magical realism.
The Firestarter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte
There wasn’t a ton of content in here that was new to me, as I’ve read a ton of personal development material. But I appreciated her personal spin on success because there’s not a lot of personal development stuff out there that helps you align spiritually with your desire for success and money. The exercises at the end of each chapter are super useful. I haven’t done them all yet, but I know I’ll refer back to this book a lot as a continue on my path with my blog. There are a lot of great one-liners and inspirational quotes in here from Danielle as well as references to other books and teachers who send the same message. Recommended for readers of self-help and business books. Ideal for anyone looking to align their spirt with their business plan!