I read a ridiculous amount in the month of October. Part of that came in the last couple of weeks of freedom before I started my new job, and part of that was due to the fact that I have a full hour for lunch and my office is enough of a drive away from anything I'd want to do on my lunch hour that I have been using that time to read.
My final count was nine books, 2708 pages. There were a couple of books that I'd started but not quite reached the end of before the end of the month, but those aren't counted in the page count for October (they'll be on November's list in a few weeks). I'd estimate that my actual page count was well over 3000 for the month, which is insane to me. I used to read like this when I was a kid, but haven't done this much in years. It's funny how those things come back to us.
There were some phenomenal ones, and some slightly-above-average ones. But nothing was terrible, and I didn't have any books to add to my DNF list.
So here they are, some brief thoughts on my October 2018 reads:
Quarrels by Eve Joseph (3.5/5)
I picked up this book of prose poems because it had a quirky cover, and because the author was from British Columbia and I believe wholeheartedly that we should support local(ish) authors. So I had no idea what to expect when I started to read through it. I'm not always a huge fan of prose poetry, but Eve Joseph paints clever, poignant snapshots of life with her words. The collection was a good, quick read and I'm glad I picked it up.
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (4/5)
I love Mitch Albom's writing style so much. He is reflective and poetic in the way he discusses life and death and faith, and it's a beautiful thing. After reading this, I completely understand why so many people have strong feelings (both positive and negative) about this piece of writing. The way Morrie faces his diagnosis with strength is touching and powerful, and definitely worth a read. Have a Little Faith will always be my favorite Mitch Albom book, but this one was pretty darn good too.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han (4/5)
I jumped into this one on the hype after watching the movie. I was looking for a quick read, and that's what I got. Slightly cringey teen romance isn't really my style, but this book sucks you right into Lara Jean's nightmare story of having letters you thought would never see the light of day, suddenly mailed out and public. I'll definitely be going back to get the next two books in the series soon because darn it, I have to know what happens next.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (5/5)
This. Book. I'm a fast reader, but I stretched this one out as long as I could because this is a story to savor. This is the kind of fiction that makes me want to read, to write. Ove is simultaneously the best and worst neighbor that anyone could wish for, and his characterization reminded me of some lovable curmudgeons I've known. Fredrik Backman's character-driven fiction is one of the best reading discoveries I've made in a long time, and this book is definitely one of the best ones I've read this year. If you haven't read this one yet, please do yourself a favor and go read it.
The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean (4.5/5)
I had a lot of feelings about this book. It was too real and relevant and I love/hated every moment of it. The story follows a girl whose family stars in a reality TV show, and she finds herself pregnant at 16 years old. It's horrifying and a bit like watching a train wreck that you can't tear yourself away from - a bit like watching some of these reality TV shows themselves. That said, it felt like a lot of lead up for only a few pages of resolution, which was a bit disappointing after all the hype MacLean created. But it was well-written and an interesting read, and I'd definitely recommend checking it out.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (3.5/5)
John Green has a way of writing books that I can't put down, but am never sure how I feel about. I've had this one on my to-read list for a while, and finally picked up a copy from the library. It was a quick read - I got through it in one sitting - but I still can't decide whether I enjoyed it or not. His writing is flowery and poetic, and the writer in me loves that, but I also can't quite step away from the fact that teenagers don't talk the way that he writes them. TATWD does have a really important exploration of mental illness (particularly OCD, which the main character struggles with throughout the book), and John Green does a brilliant job of this.
The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton (4/5)
Kate Morton is the only author whose books I automatically buy when they are released. Her writer's voice and weaving together of different timelines is one of my favorite things, but this time it feels like she tried to cram too many characters into one story. The fragmented style she chose for this book meant that it took I wasn't able to keep straight which people belonged to which timeline until about halfway through. I really wanted to love this one more than I did. It's still very much worth reading, but I just couldn't give it five stars.
The Illegal by Lawrence Hill (4/5)
Similar to The Clockmaker's Daughter, there were a lot of characters in this book, and that made it a little overwhelming and confusing to keep sorted out. It was a really dense read that took me much longer to get through than I was expecting. But I love Lawrence Hill's writing and how he doesn't shy away from hard topics. This story is an incredibly timely reflection on issues of illegal immigration and I wholeheartedly recommend reading it.
I'll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de Los Santos (5/5)
This book had substance and great characters, but was a relatively quick read. The first week or so of October, I didn't get much reading done, and this was the one that broke me out of the slump. It had the parallel timeline structure that I enjoy so much, but kept things from getting too out of hand, and kept me guessing right until the end. If you're looking for an engaging story that is more than just fluff, but also won't be one you're stuck reading for an entire month, this is it.
If you've made it to the end of this post, thanks for being committed to this blog. As always, your support means everything to me, and I am so grateful to have people showing interest in the things I'm reading and writing. And if you want to find more of my thoughts on books, you can check out my bookstagram account, @literary.af.
Wishing you happy reading and happy Monday,