Back on the Bookshelf: What I Read in October

It’s official! I smashed my reading goal of 60  for 2017 by more than 2 months! 

I read a ridiculous 12 books in October, which is insane for even me. 

So buckle up, because here’s what I read in October:

(Side note: I’m participating in #BlogLikeCrazy this month, so I hope you’re ready to hear from me a lot!)

The Graveyard Book

What I read in October 2017

Completed: 10/3/17
Format: eBook through Overdrive

This was my first Neil Gaiman book. There’s a reason this book about a boy raised by ghosts in a graveyard won the Newbery AND Carnegie Medals for outstanding children’s literature. Though it is technically a children’s book, it was SO well written and SO different from other books I read as a child that I really enjoyed it. Reading it at the same time I was reading/listening to Neil Gaiman’s “A View from the Cheap Seats” (see below), made it all the richer to me. I have lots more by Gaiman on my to-read list now!

Recommended for: lovers of rich, original stories.

The View from the Cheap Seats

What I read in October 2017

Completed: 10/6/17
Format: Audiobook through Overdrive

Like I mentioned above, this and the Graveyard Book have me eager to read lots more by Neil Gaiman. This collection of speeches, introductions, and essays gave a great look into Gaiman’s personality and values. I also found it immensely encouraging as a writer and aspiring novelist (shhh, it’s a secret!). His Newbery acceptance speech and his speech on why libraries are important (daughter of a librarian here!) were some of the most inspirational pieces I’ve read/listened to in a long time. Reading and writing are a huge part of who I am.

(I’ve rolled my full thoughts on this into a separate post, because this one is already too long and I have a lot to say.) 

Recommended for: writers, readers, humans.

A Court of Thorns and Roses

What I read in October 2017

Completed: 10/8/17
Format: eBook borrowed through Overdrive

This book/series was recommended to me by my dear friend Gina Luttrell. It was a light and easy read with a dash of smuttiness that I actually found refreshing to read. There’s a lot of heaviness in the world, and I spend a lot of time reading some heavy books. So I think it’s important to sprinkle some of what my mom would call “fluff” into my reading list.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is essentially a retelling of Beauty and The Beast set in an imaginary world of fantastically powerful faeries. The last two books in this trilogy are on my list, but I may or may not get to them this year. 

Recommended for: I feel like Twilight fans would really love this series. 

The Smear

What I read in October 2017

Completed: 10/8/2017
Format: Hardback bought on Amazon

I’m going to be honest, this book took me several months to read. I started it back in June when one of my clients was coming under attack, read the first half, then relegated it to the book pile on my bedside table until this month. The first half was very balanced, but the second half was a little more apologetic of Trump than I was comfortable with. All told, it really as an excellent look into the professionalization of smear politics through PR companies and complicit members of the medial. Next time you read something in the news about people you disagree with, remember that there’s almost certainly more to it. 

Recommended for: political animals, and those trying to decipher the news cycle.

Between the World and Me

What I Read in October 2017

Completed: 10/11/17
Format: Audiobook borrowed through Overdrive

Ta-Nehisi Coates’s long letter to his son is a heart-wrenching look into the realities of being a black man in America today. It wasn’t an easy read, but it was a good one, and an important one. Our nation needs real healing, and I don’t think we can get there without a real understanding of what it is that needs to be healed. 

To get to that understanding, I believe white people (or like Coates would say, “people who who believe they are white”) need to sit, listen, and learn. 

Recommended for: all Americans praying for racial understanding and reconciliation.

Shoe Dog

What I Read in October 2017

Completed: 10/13/17
Format: Hardback borrowed from a friend

Shoe Dog was recommended to me by my friend Blake who is one of the biggest sports fans I know. It’s a memoir by Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike about the beginnings of the company. The dude is now worth $24.1 BILLION, but for years the company struggled to make a profit. 

We kind of take Nike for granted now, but it almost didn’t happen… about 50 times. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but mostly I enjoyed Knight’s palpable love of his company and the small team who willed it into being.

Recommended for: if you have an entrepreneurial bone in your body you should read this book. 

Gods in Alabama

What I read in October 2017

Completed: 10/15/17
Format: Audiobook through Overdrive

Gods in Alabama is about a young woman hiding a dark secret who flees Alabama after graduating high school. This book grew on me, honestly. I didn’t like it at first, it started too simple, too Alabama-hatey. But then it became more complex, so I kept chugging along. The author, Joshilyn Jackson, was born and raised in Georgia, and it really shows that she truly knows the deep south. You can’t fake being southern 😉 

Recommended for: fans of Gillian Flynn and other dark stories with a female protagonist/antagonist at the center.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

What I Read in October 2017

Completed: 10/19/17
Format: Audiobook through Overdrive

This book was recommended to me by my sister-in-law and her husband, and was my first experience reading anything by David Sedaris. He was hilarious and dark and uncomfortable and un-PC and lots of things that I like. Not for the easily offended or squeamish, but a funny set of essays, nonetheless. 

Recommended for: people with a slightly warped sense of humor.

Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom

What I Read in October 2017

Completed: 10/20/17
Format: eBook through Overdrive

This book was recommended to me by a friend who is a writer himself. People love to use both Churchill and Orwell like they like to point to out-of-context Bible verses to prove an argument. Both men were highly complex riddles wrapped in mysteries (if you’ll forgive the ripping off of ole Winston himself), and projecting our own contexts and beliefs to them is often a mistake. Yes, Churchill’s rhetoric and strategies were a big part of the Allies winning WWII… BUT… and Yes, Orwell was a socialist who fought against fascism… BUT… 

This compare/contrast book was an excellent look into the two men, what they believed, and how the first half of the 20th century made them into the historical figures they are. 

Recommended for: Wannabe WWII history buffs. 

The 100 Lies of Lizzie Lovett

What I Read in October 2017

Completed: 10/26/17
Format: Audiobook through Overdrive

I wasn’t crazy about this book. I only checked it out because it was part of last month’s Library-wide reading program. The main character is awful (by design), the plot is weird, there are completely unbelievable elements, and the resolution was awkward. It’s supposed to be a coming-of-age story, but the protagonist only barely grows. It’s only redemption was the message at the very end, but it was about all I could do to get to that point. 

Recommended for: not gonna recommend this one.

Leia: Princess of Alderaan 

What I Read in October 2017

Completed: 10/18/17
Format: Hardback bought at B&N

I initially purchased this book because it is 1. considered canon, and 2. labeled “path to the Last Jedi” so I hoped it would give me some clues into what’s coming in the next movie. While I’m glad those are the reasons I picked it up, I’m glad I read it for a much more important one… It gives a really important look into why Leia is the strong, badass woman she is. 

A problem I’ve always had with Star Wars: A New Hope, is how Leia’s entire effing planet jut got blown up, and we skip right over it. She shows such little emotion, even though her parents and lots of the people she knew and loved just got annihilated. In the Original Trilogy she wasn’t the main character, and female characters in general weren’t given the depth they deserve. That is changing in the reboot, and I couldn’t be more glad. 

BTW Last year after Carrie Fisher died I wrote this column about Carrie/Leia. 

Recommended for: Star Wars fans of all genders and ages!

The Celestine Prophesy

What I Read in October 2017

Completed: 10/31/17
Format: Audiobook through Overdrive

This book was recommended to me by badass mom Sara White. This book was a little more “woo-woo” than I would normally enjoy, but I ended up actually learning some good things from it! It’s a Dan Brown-esque adventure novel in which the author reveals 9 “insights” about how mankind can ascend to a higher state of being. It talks a lot about vibration and that kind of thing, but at the core there’s still a lot for a skeptic to take from it. 

Recommended for: Religious folks who are open-minded about how to become a better person.

Phew! That’s what I read in October. Any suggestions for November? 

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