Books Read: October 2021
What a month of books, books, books. The weather changed and got cooler and rainy, which we desperately need so I’m not complaining, but it meant more time indoors reading. Plus my baseball team lost in the playoffs so that freed up time. Books never cease to amaze me and I’ve been reading a lot of very different things lately, but each, in their own way, come at me at the right time and place.
A Court of Wings and Ruin
The third book in the series, this one did what I feared would happen since the series has been popular, they stopped editing the author. The overarching plot of the book is great and it’s what kept me going, but I think it could’ve been tightened up quite a bit so it wasn’t dragged down by overly descriptive passages. That being said, it’s a great plot, I still love the characters, and I’ll be reading the fourth book.
I cleansed my reading palette after a lot of war and darkness in the above book by reading a romance that’s very popular. Emily Henry does a great job of making a funny book that I could relate to on several levels and I sped through it in a day. I laughed a lot, which I’ve found to be the key to romance novels that I end up really liking. We follow a novelist with writer’s block who’s also dealing with the death of her father as she goes to a beach house on Lake Michigan to try and write in time for a deadline. Of course there is a meet cute and the story goes from there.
That Thing Around Your Neck
I’ve read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, but not much else so I wanted to read some more of her work and happened upon this short story collection. The stories bounce back and forth from taking place in Africa and the US as we follow different characters in very different circumstances, but as usual I learned a lot about how life is on both sides of the Atlantic for people.
A short young adult novella by Nnedi Okorafor was a fascinating story about relationships between species and how peace can or can’t be forged. Binti is the first of her people to leave their planet and head off to a very renowned university to study. Tragedy occurs on the way and she’s left to try and figure out not only a way to survive, but how to communicate and interact with a species very different from her own.
Court of Silver Flames
The final book out on the series I’ve been reading and while it was a good overall story, once again I really felt like it could’ve been tightened up quite a bit. This book focuses on the sister of the main character of the first books of the series and I liked her character a lot and the story of her figuring out who she is now that she’s no longer human, but I ended up skimming a lot because the writing got so bogged down.
Rules of Civility
I discovered Amor Towles via reading reviews of his latest book that came out this year and since that’s a long hold at the library, I instead read his first book. I loved this book. The story really resonated with me deeply and the writing is absolutely fantastic, it was one of those books where I stopped and read sentences a few times over because they were so well written. We follow Katey Kontent as she reflects on the year 1938 which changes her life and she tells the story of the people of that year who played key roles as she figures out where she’s going in life. In many ways this book felt like it was written many years ago, not in 2012.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in a graphic novel on loneliness, but my curiousity pushed me to check it out. It’s a really interesting mix of the author’s experiences, friends anecdotes, and a deep dive into research on the topic. Some of it is hard to read, to be sure, but I really enjoyed the fact that there’s so much we don’t know about loneliness and that it’s a hard topic to truly understand. I also loved the graphic style and the way in which that added an extra punch to many of the points made.
Four Thousand Weeks
I’ve never read a book on time management or productivity, but I’ve been a subscriber to Oliver Burkeman’s newsletter for a while and was intrigued by his ideas so I decided to read the book. What was really fascinating was how much of what Burkeman talked about was putting into words the way I’ve lived the last several years. We aren’t going to get everything done, so learning to leave things undone is the key. But I also appreciated the way in which he talked about hobbies and rest. Our culture is obsessed with being busy, to the point of utter ridiculousness and Burkeman shows this quite clearly.
Gathering of Shadows
This is book two in the Shades of Magic series and like most good trilogies it ends on a cliffhanger and a moment of darkness. Lila has made her way aboard a ship, become part of the crew, and is sailing with her captain as he also teaches her about magic. When they return to London for a type of Olympics of magic, Lila and Kell both weave deceptions as they try desperately to find freedom and happiness. It’s a well done middle book, and now of course I can’t wait to read the final installment.