Like September, October at first was a bit of a dud. Halfway through the month, I had only finished TWO books (ARCs that I felt so guilty about submitting late!). Thank goodness for Dewey’s readathon and the power of 24 hours of uninterrupted reading. As usual, that really put me into gear and I ended up reading a total 13 books (or listening to the audiobook versions). I also made a huge jump in my personal challenge goals. I think I can actually complete the Popsugar reading challenge as well as my goal to read 25 books I own. I was also able to finish 10 books from the 1001 book list and crossed the finish line on 100 books. I am so dang proud of this!
***SPOILERS POSSIBLE *NOTE: UNDERLINED TITLES WERE SHOPPED FROM MY OWN SHELF
The Reckless Club (Beth Vrabel) ♠♠
I was a bit disappointed by this book. I just couldn’t get into the story and I couldn’t see myself in the characters. The overarching theme is an important one – how do we fit into a group of people, how can we still be ourselves, and how can we accept others the way they are. Maybe a younger audience (younger than me that is) can relate to the kids in the story better.
This story is for you if you: like a bit of mystery, enjoy a larger cast of characters, want to be introduced to current social injustice events
This story is not your thing if you: are looking for a lot of depth
Dr. Jo (Monica Kulling and Julianna Swaney) ♠♠♠♠
I loved this picture book. There are small paragraphs that lend themselves really well to read out loud to a child. I think this is a great medium to introduce children to important history makers.
You’ll enjoy this children’s book if you: like historical fiction, are looking for female empowerment
I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t enjoy this book.
The Pit and the Pendulum (Edgar Allan Poe) ♠♠♠♠♠
EAP is one of my favorite authors. He is like haunted woods, like an eerie lake, like a creepy mansion. His stories perfectly set a Gothic mood. I always enjoy reading or listening to one of this short stories or poems. The Pit and the Pendulum is one of those stories filled with despair, the unknown, and no hope. When you read it (or listen to it), you feel the fear. It’s very visceral.
Everyone should read Poe.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (Jenny Han) ♠♠♠
I listened to this book because I want to watch the new Netflix movie. The audiobook didn’t really hold my attention. I just kinda feel meh about the story. Maybe the movie will be better?
Read it if you: like teenage love drama
Don’t read it if you: hate tropes and clichés
The Invisible Man (H.G. Wells) ♠♠♠
My second H.G. Wells book and again I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought. Maybe he is just not for me? I recognize the historical importance of his writings but I can’t justify that being the reason why I should love a book.
Pick up this book if you: are into classical sci-fi
Put the book back down if you: are looking for a riveting story
The Captain’s Verses (Pablo Neruda) ♠♠♠♠♠
Oh, how I love Neruda. I should read his poetry much more regularly. I bought this collection fairly recently and I am so glad I did. I had a few days of power outage (thank you, Michael) and I read these poems out loud to my pets with a flashlight. I loved every minute of it. I had read these poems before but this round just gave them a whole new meaning. I discovered new favorite lines or suddenly understood portions that before eluded me.
Neruda’s poetry is for you if you: like reading about realistic love, enjoy metaphors and allegories, don’t mind some adult content
Neruda’s poetry is not your cup of tea if you: just can’t get into love poems
The Call of the Wild (Jack London) ♠♠♠♠
It seems that October was a month of revisiting books I’ve read a long time ago. The Call of the Wild was one of those I devoured as a child. Books from the viewpoint of animals were a staple in my childhood library. Books about dogs, wolves, whales, dolphins, and horses basically made up my reading list. Jack London has a knack for dog and wolf stories. His imagery of woods and the harshness of nature is on point. His criticism of mankind’s tendency for selfishness, ruthless, and cruelty speaks to me. I really enjoyed listening to this book. I could relate to the (mis)adventures of Buck.
Everyone should read Jack London once. I am torn between suggesting The Call of the Wild of Wild Fang. I am partial toward the latter as that was my first London book.
Don’t read London books if you: don’t like animals as protagonists.
The Bloody Chamber (Angela Carter) ♠♠♠♠♠
This collection of retellings is just plainly amazing! Carter’s writing is etheric, complex, dark, imaginative, and beautiful. She captures the essence of the fairytale and then spins it in a new way. This book inspired me to start writing short stories. It is definitely one that I will re-read in the future. I am glad I bought my used copy on a whim.
This collection is for you if you: like the weird and creepy, need dark fairytales in your life, don’t mind some horror and despair, enjoy an antihero or plain villain
This collection is not for you if you: don’t like retellings, want the good guy to win
Welcome to Dead House (R.L. Stine) ♠♠♠♠♠
I’ve been meaning to read the Goosebumps books ever since I learned they’re a thing. This was a fun introduction to the series. It honestly was scary at times. Stine has a way of setting the scene that pulls you right in. I am definitely going to read more of his books.
You’ll enjoy this book if you: like haunted houses and zombie-like creatures
You won’t like this book if you: can’t remember how easily you were scared as a child
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Seth Graham-Smith) ♠♠♠
This book is probably 80-ish% Pride and Prejudice word for word. I loved that. But given that it is a retelling and a retelling of horror at that, I wanted more horror! Specifically, I wanted more zombies. Sadly, it seemed that the zombies here were just an afterthought – an opportunity missed. That cover though is to die for!
Read this retelling of you: enjoy the writing of Jane Austin
Don’t read the retelling if you: want to be scared or at least creeped out
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (Jeanette Winterson) ♠♠♠♠
Well, this story is strange. The writing is odd. The topic is deep and complex. I honestly had no idea at times what the author was trying to say – weird interludes of magical fairytale-like stories and spots of poetry “complemented” the main plot. Despite that, this book left an impression – a good one.
Sit down with this book if you: don’t mind being utterly lost, know the importance of a good LGBTQ+ story, enjoy unusual writing, are intrigued by different lifestyles
Avoid this book if you: need a straightforward plot, don’t like to the pushed outside your comfort zone
The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe – Manga Classic (Stacy King) ♠♠♠♠♠
How have I never thought about EAP stories as Manga????? The format is perfect for his tellings. I thoroughly loved every minute I got to spend with this book. The illustrations added a level of urgency and despair to his writing that I wasn’t expecting. I felt like I was at the edge of my seat even though I knew exactly what was going to happen next.
As I said earlier, everyone should read Poe. This Manga collection would be the perfect introduction to his worlds.
Something Wicked This Way Comes* (Ray Bradbury) ♠♠♠♠
*I am not counting this toward my books owned count since I only bought the book after reading my library copy but I underlined it anyway since I own it now.
This was a group read that culminated into a group watching of the movie! I am so glad I joined. I had no idea how poetic Bradbury is. I didn’t know how cleverly he integrates things we all deal with (here: coming of age or dealing with a midlife crisis) with horror themes and the paranormal. This took me by surprise and makes me want to read more of his works. I was most taken aback by his knack of writing – he shows an unexpected grace and uses imagery and metaphors ingeniously. I can see Something Wicked This Way Comes to become a regular Halloween re-read.
Open this book if you: like Gothic writing, stories about the circus, lots of hidden meanings
Don’t begin this book if you: don’t like a slowly developing story