October started out so slow for me. I had a few trips, started a few sslllooowww books, and when the 12th rolled around I had only finished 3 books. I found a couple that helped me speed it up and then proceeded to finish 5 books in 5 days. Then I started a good, but slow read. October was rough for reading, but I’m still on track with my goal and reading is still my favorite pastime!
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: This was our bookclub book for October and it was lovely. I also watched the movie on Amazon Prime with a friend which was also excellent. Although it’s in Swedish and has subtitled, by the way. Someone described it as the Me Before You with an Old Man instead of a young man. I think that’s a pretty accurate description. Ove has lost his purpose in life and therefore wants to end his life. Throughout the story he begins to find his purpose again. I also think it’s a good reminder of how we affect each other’s lives and what we can do to help one another. Without his neighbor, things would have been a lot different; both the annoying things and the good things!
The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #10) by Louise Penny: I’m slowly working my way through this series and love them all. Anne from Modern Mrs Darcy shares a description of these books that the purpose of the murder in these books is just to talk about human behavior. I think it’s an accurate description. They are beautiful, usually a slower read for me, and filled with all kinds of things that make me think about people. Also, I want to move to a small town and live right on the square.
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge: This was recommendation from a book friend at work. She said she loves everything by her so I gave it a try. I went into it thinking it was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I spent the whole book trying to figure out how. It is a retelling, but not of Beauty and the Beast – instead of Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis. Knowing that makes all the difference! I didn’t hate it, but I wasn’t enraptured by it either … I might not be smart enough for her.
Less by Andrew Sean Greer: I think this was recommended by Anne as well and although I think reading it gave me good perspective, I slogged through it. It’s the book that put me in a reading slump. I didn’t want to read it so I just re-watched episodes of The Good Place in the airport instead of reading.
Embracing Edith Stein: Wisdom for Women from St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross by Anne Costa: I read this book with a friend for our new video book club, and I hated the first half and only slightly disliked the second half. It just wasn’t for me. I can see how it would be helpful for some people, but telling me that being feminine is to be meek and quiet is not something I’m interested in. I don’t even think Edith Stein was like that … so there’s that.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: I finally understand the underlying the Black Lives Matter movement. I should have known before this, but I’ll be honest, I didn’t get it. I get that my privilege means I don’t ever have to think about race, and that’s true. I never think about it so I’m trying to think about it more. And then do something about that, help provoke discussion, help make cultural changes.
Tell Me More: Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan: I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to join the Modern Mrs Darcy Online Book Club and this was the month. I loved Kelly’s other book The Middle Place earlier this year so I signed up when I saw this was going to be the October title. It made me laugh, cry, change my life, and share with others. The most important phrases for me were No, Tell Me More, I Was Wrong, and I Don’t Know. The discussion we’ve been able to have online has also been great for digesting the book’s content. I wish I could just download all of her lessons, start using them everyday, and all of a sudden be an amazing person.
Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber: My book-work friends and I decided to read a book together and this was that book. I really loved it. I read a lot of mysteries and this one was unique. The center of it is a family whose father was murdered about 10 years ago. A recent podcast is taking a closer look at the case (if this reminded you of Serial then you are on the right track) and dregs up everything from the past for the family to relive again. The main character had changed her name, tried to forget her family, and moved on during the past decade, but now, she’s being forced to live through it all again. And for good reasons … it’s a page turner, it’s delightful, and it made me rethink the internet and podcasts like Serial (although I’m still listening … just rethinking).
Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis: I both liked and disliked this book. I wrote a lot about it earlier in October. I started following her and Dave (the husband) on Instagram and even watch their livestreams some days (they do one every morning). I really like him, her – I can take it or leave it. I do think that women have it harder when making a name for themselves than men do – that’s kind of an issue in our culture about self-promotion. Somethings in the book I was nodding my head and saying “YES!” to and others I was like, “whatever, you don’t really know what you’re talking about in this area.”
The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson: I read this post a while ago when I was looking for another audio book to put on a USB drive in my car. It’s read by the author (which is rare for a work of fiction), and she is excellent! The book was delightful, and I took the long way almost everywhere to get in a few extra minutes wherever I could. Afterward I watched the author interview that Anne did for the book club (they read this months ago) and learned even more! Rachel and Leah are based on Rachel and Leah from the Bible. Even Jacob is represented. It’s delightful. It involves Batman’s baby! It was so good to listen to, maybe even better than reading, but of course, I’ll never know.
Us Against You (Beartown, #2) by Fredrik Backman: This is how I described it earlier to my book-work friends: “It’s the sequel to Beartown and I highly recommend both!! They are slow and steady reads – but packed with so much bunch about the world, politics (but not a side or position, more of a background about how pieces move around), love, family, pack mentality, OH it was SO good … literally cried through the last 20 pages!!!” I loved it, read it, but read Beartown first.
Make My Life Simple: Bringing Peace to Heart and Home by Rachel Balducci: I read this a chapter at a time before Mass over the last few weeks. I appreciated this as daily spiritual reading. There were some things that didn’t apply since I’m not a mom or a wife, but I’ve found the small household tips useful in keeping me organized and more at peace at home. Overall, good. And I’ve started following Rachel on Instagram and love her over there!
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler: I saw this on a Reader’s Digest list a few weeks ago that I cannot remember where I found. It was super sweet, a quick read, and a delight.
Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs by Beth Ann Fennelly: Anne over at Modern Mrs Darcy recommends this a lot. I saw it at a bookstore in Asheville. While my friend took a nap, I read it … about an hour. Some super funny moments, some sad moments, and some “what are you talking about” moments.
Heartburn by Nora Ephron: This was another one on the list from Anne about great audiobooks. It’s read by Meryl Streep, which is the only reason I listened. The story was fine, not amazing. Although since it was originally written in 1983, it was fun to listen to a book where people didn’t have cell phones, email, or any modern technology that we have.
Well, that’s 15 books this month and brings my 2018 total to 168. I’m 96% to my goal of 175 books. Maybe I’ll make it to 200 books this year, only time will tell. I’ve just booked a bunch of travel so that will either be good for reading or bad, only time will tell! Catch up on previous editions of “what I read”: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September,