Happy Halloween! Somehow October is already over and we are solidly into fall. (Someone please remind the weather in California because we only got about three days of autumn before summer made an unwelcome return.) After months of slumps and disappointing reading, I had high hopes for October. And, while it didn’t exactly go according to plan, it wasn’t a terrible month. I did read more than I have in a while and I’ve been starting to get some of my motivation back.
So, fortunately, we actually have a lot to talk about today. Let’s jump into the books!
What I Read
Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire – ★★★★★
I love the Wayward Children series so much, and was so excited for book five since it revolves around some of my favorite characters. And it did not disappoint! This was dark and creepy and the absolute perfect book to start off October. This is still one of my favorite series and I cannot wait for more!
Too Much & Never Enough by Mary Trump – ★★★★☆
This was somehow an appropriate blend of pre-election reading and scary Halloween reading. I actually really appreciated it (enjoyed seems like the wrong word). Mary has a PhD in psychology and uses it to analyze firsthand knowledge of her family. So, if you were every curious as to why the Cheeto in Chief is the way he is, this is a pretty good answer (spoiler: it’s his dad’s fault).
The Hole by Hye-Young Pyun – ★★★★☆
About halfway through this month I had an idea to try and read seven thrillers in seven days. Which clearly worked out really well. Ok, fine, it was a huge fail. But it got me to read this book, which turned out to be not so much a thriller as weird, kind of suspenseful, literary fiction. Like it you took The Vegetarian and Misery and mashed them together. I liked it, and I was glad to read something a little out of my comfort zone.
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam – ★★☆☆☆
Thriller number two that turned out to not really be a thriller. This was actually my Book of the Month pick for October, and I was pretty excited about it. I feel like everyone has been talking about this book. And I was expecting some sort of great commentary on race relations in America, set into the backdrop of a thriller. But… nothing happened. There were so many interesting things that never went anywhere. I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing, I didn’t like the ending, and I was so disappointed by the potential I saw that wasn’t realized. This book made me weirdly uncomfortable, but not in the good way where you rethink your own internalized biases.
Hold Your Breath by Wendy Walker – ★★☆☆☆
This is where my week of thrillers idea died. I was honestly expecting a lighter week at work, and it totally backfired. I chose this because it was an incredibly short audiobook that I knew I could finish in a day. I didn’t know much about it, but it was free, so I figured why not? But this just wasn’t great. I disliked the beginning of this and actually almost DNFed it. But I pushed through and it didn’t pay off. This was boring and predictable and the story wasn’t really anything special.
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle – ★★★★☆
Now, this was exactly that I was in the mood to read this month. It’s very dark horror historical fiction that also cleverly addresses the effects of racism. Incredibly relevant to the Black Lives Matter movement, but it’s incorporated seamlessly into this story. I had a bit of a hard time fully getting into the story for a bit, but I ended up really enjoying it.
What I’m Currently Reading
The Stand by Stephen King
Naturally, I am still in the midst of reading my annual Stephen King Halloween read. And yes, I chose to read a 1,400+ page horror novel about a pandemic while we are in the middle of a pandemic (I make great life choices). But I’m really liking it so far! It’s been recommended to me a few times, and I’m kind of hoping I end up loving it as much as I loved IT last year.
What I Watched
Clearly, I was bored this month because I ended up binge-watching Veep in like a week. The entire series. I really enjoyed it. And yes, I have mixed feelings watching this right before the election, but it was funny enough to (mostly) be a distraction.
Daphne du Maurier’s book is one of my favorites, so you all know I had to watch the Netflix adaptation. Overall, I thought they did a great job. It captured the story and gothic themes pretty well. I enjoyed it.
I tried to fit in a few horror movies this month, because Halloween. People have been recommending this to me for a while and everyone seems to say great things about it. But, honestly, it wasn’t my favorite. This was kind of like Mother! where I get what the story is about, but I still didn’t really like it.
This was a weird month for me. And this post was basically just stream-of-consciousness word vomit about how working from home is the best and worst. And also how time has no meaning and it’s just hard to read books now. But the world is on fire (literally if you’re in California like me), so it’s okay to give ourselves a break. We’ll get through this. Eventually.
That’s it for October! I still genuinely can’t believe it’s already over. But it was a fairly good month, and I am looking forward to November, especially because it is time for Nonfiction November, and I have some pretty exciting books to choose from!
What was your favorite book this month?