September wasn’t a great reading month for me. Don’t get me wrong, I read some pretty great books, but I didn’t read very many books.
- I read three books that were over 400 pages. Long books means less books read.
- I discovered TikTok.
- Hybrid teaching leaves me brainless by the time I get home.
- I am doing more work at home than I usually do–because hybrid teaching leaves less time to get lessons made and papers graded at work.
- Did I mention TikTok?
- I quit reading two books: The Guest List by Lucy Foley and The Dragonette Prophecy by Tui T. Sutherland.
- Tokking of the Tik.
Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson–published 2020–romance–two stars: Jesse’s foster mother, who owned a knitting shop, passes away, leaving the shop to not just him, but his three foster brothers too. They’re all dangerously sexy, but Kerry, a woman who worked in the store and looked to Mama Joy as a mother as well, has always had a thing for Jesse, a bit of a fuck-up. She’s finally finished with school and looking to make her way in the city, but she agrees to help Jesse tackle running the store. Maybe I’m too critical of this genre, but it was just so bland.
Making Faces by Amy Harmon–published 2013–YAL romance–three stars: When the small-town golden boy Ambrose convinces his buddies to join him in the military after the September 11th attacks, Fern Taylor, a small, nondescript redhead who is the preacher’s daughter, pines for him. She’s been in love with him for years. When he returns from war drastically changed, she and her cousin Bailey, who has muscular dystrophy, convince Ambrose to ease back into life in the small town. There’s something very wholesome and innocent about this book, but this book didn’t age well. Be prepared for a tearjerking ending.
Afterland by Lauren Beukes–published 2020–dystopian fiction–four stars: A virus plagues the world, killing off most of the men. After her sister betrays her, Cole tries to keep her son, one of the few remaining males in the world, safe from the government by dressing him as a girl and joining a traveling nun cult. Totally Atwoodian but with song lyrics and less serious. It’s refreshing to find a contemporary novel that isn’t completely beholden to some rigorous genre-specific plot line. I totally dug Beukes’s writing style.
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip–published 1974 –YAL fantasy–four stars: Beautiful. I had a hard time keeping the beasts’ names straight until halfway through the book, but it was a nice change of pace in comparison to the contemporary YAL that gets published anymore. I’ve been slowly making my way through some older fantasy books, and I’m really enjoying them.
Bitten (Otherworld #1) by Kelley Armstrong–published 2001–urban fantasy–three stars: And then I read something like this and am proven wrong by the last sentence of the last review I wrote. I don’t think urban fantasies age very well, and I know to keep in mind the time period in which they are written, but I didn’t much enjoy The Mortal Instruments series either . . . and it could have had something to do with the fact that I read them wayyyyyyy after they’d originally been published. I was totally into Bitten, but parts of it weren’t very fleshed out and it was pretty predictable. I thought maybe Elena lacked a female protagonist’s depth because the book was written by a male author, but nope. Totally penned by a woman. I guess I was expecting a bit more of a badass female werewolf? And it had a totally sexist storyline and it is part romance novel, but . . . Give me Vampire Academy instead?
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid–published 2015–contemporary fiction/romance–three stars: Hannah moves back home to L.A. from New York to be closer to her best friend and to distance herself from a bad relationship. She has high hopes of rekindling a love affair with her old high school flame Ethan. But on the evening of her welcome back party, she has to make a decision to go home with Ethan or not, and the audience gets to see how her life plays out if she makes either choice. You can tell that this is an early novel from Reid. It’s not as well done as Daisy Jones & The Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and there’s way too much emphasis placed on Hannah’s high bun and cinnamon roll obsession.
The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones–published 2019–YAL fantasy–four stars: A zombie fairytale? Lovely and a bit scary. A great October read.
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism–published 2019–nonfiction–four stars: If you are a white person and haven’t read this book yet, you should do so. It’s an uncomfortable read. But being uncomfortable is key to growth. I still have so much work to do in identifying and correcting my own behaviors, thoughts, and speech when it comes to discussing race in America. And I still have so much work to do in identifying and correcting my own behaviors, thoughts, and speech when it just comes to existing in a racist society. I learned from this book that we need to rethink what it means to be racist. I learned from this book that relying on intelligence and hiding behind the guise of reading certain books has racism behind it. Earlier this year, I made of list of recommended books to read about racism in America and posted it on Facebook. Was that racist? Yes, because I hid behind intellectualism. I learned about how Black people view white women’s tears, and my gut reaction was, tears? Really? This book points out how our emotions are a product of socialization. Did I mention that I have a lot of work to do?
Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1) by Janella Angeles–published 2020–YAL fantasy–four stars: Caravel meets Night Circus, but sexy, in a young adult way, and a bit of Stockholm syndrome? Yes, please! It was bit too long though. This is a great October read too.
Anybody have any great October reading recommendations? I want to read something that will scare the shit out of me. Please!