October Book Wrap Up.

I’M BAAAACK. If you’ve read my last few book wrap ups you’d have seen me lamenting the fact that I haven’t been reading much and I’ve been behind on my goals, but this month I’ve absolutely smashed it. Turns out I just needed some colder weather to encourage me to burn through my reading list. So here’s my month in books.

The Water Cure, Sophie Mackintosh

It’s a feminist dystopian novel, with a few great takes and compelling narrative, but reading this book felt like listening to a story told underwater. It felt distant. The characters felt too floaty and I couldn’t grasp at them. The novel starts in second person plural, from perspective of three sisters talking to their father, and that’s enough to make the characters blurry. Getting into the depths of the plot, I wanted to feel more for the characters and their story, but I lost them.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion

Didion’s most famous collection of essays, Didion describes life in the USA – mostly California and New York City – in such a way that makes me want to explore and understand so much more about it. Some of the essays were a little boring or problematic but I love Didion’s writing style.

A Darker Shade of Magic, V.E. Schwab

I have been hearing amazing things about Schwab for so long and so I picked up this novel, the first in a series, and dived straight in. Instantly the world was compelling. I love London, and discovering multiple Londons in multiple worlds ignited my imagination. The characters are vibrant and interesting. And I’m already reading the sequel!

The Last Days of Us, Beck Nicholas

This was a cute little Aussie teen story – I’m trying to keep reading as many Australian authors as I can. This one had charm and a storyline grounded in references to modern Australian culture. The themes of death and loss were important but I didn’t feel it dug deep enough.

On Writing, Stephen King

First book of Stephen King I’ve read and it’s not even a novel, it’s just his memoir/instruction on writing. It is part memoir, and I can see why Stephen King is such a celebrated writer – he is great at weaving a story and gripping you. His writing instruction was inspiring but sometimes a little too preachy, but I liked his tone and humour. I really got a lot out of this book – most of it was just inspiration.

Bridge of Clay, Markus Zusak

AAHHHH Markus Zusak has a new book and OHMYGOD it was everything. It was definitely not on the level of The Book Thief (sorry, but nothing ever will be, Zusak, you’re past your peak, but enjoy the downward slope) but this story was heartbreaking and heartwarming. It had me bawling – like really, truly sobbing, ugly crying – within the first hundred pages, and continued on in a similar vein. This is a book about boys (spoiler: all the women die), and the female characters are mostly for the male characters to learn lessons about life (their deaths are lessons for the boys) but the character of Penny is so beautifully constructed that I’d almost forgive Zusak for his female murders. Still, I really loved this book.

The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas

I went into this book knowing exactly what I was going to get, but it was still heartbreaking to read. Angie Thomas really explicitly lays out, in intimate detail, the current racism in the US. It’s written in a way that’s very easy to understand, so that anyone reading this should feel for the character and feel angry at the situation. In that way this novel is really a novel for white people to understand how modern racism works. Black people in America already know and understand everything in this novel, but this novel makes it extremely accessible for anyone else. It’s an emotional story, but it’s never preachy. Thomas creates really well-rounded characters and gives them a full range of emotions and very true personalities. I’m amazed how well she summed it all up.


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