I’m excited to share a couple months of reads with you today!
In October and November, I listened to:
- Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky. Salt is a fascinating topic for a book. Since ancient times, so much history around the world has revolved around salt. I learned a ton reading Salt. However, it took me ages to get through the entire book. The timeline jumps around widely within each chapter, which is confusing, and the writing is pretty dry.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I’ve busted through so many celebrity memoirs as audio books and have been mixing up the routine a little bit lately with some classics. I first read To Kill a Mockingbird in middle school English. It isn’t an inappropriate age to read it, but I got so much more out of it now. It really is a fantastic book. To Kill a Mockingbird is so well written and the subject matter is still so relevant. I’m glad that it’s one I revisited.
- How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan. Similiar to Salt, I learned a lot about a fascinating subject reading How to Change Your Mind but didn’t love the book. I think I would have gotten as much out of the subject matter in a book half the length. I also think it should be said that Michael Pollan explored this topic because he was interested in LSD experimentation himself. He goes quite in depth about his own experiences with said experimentation.
- The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien. The Two Towers is my favorite of The Lord of the Rings movies, and I think that it’ll be my favorite of the books as well. I love where Tolkien takes the narrative through this part of the journey. I think that the pacing is the strongest of the three books, too, with a nice mix of action, back story, and character development.
In October and November, I read:
- Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime of Writing for The Simpsons by Mike Reiss. I’ve talked before about how I’m a huge fan of the early years of The Simpsons. I found this book at random in the new nonfiction section at the library and had to give it a read. Even after years of listening to all of the commentary on The Simpsons DVDs, I still learned a lot reading this book. Mike Reiss is definitely really full of it, which got old. He rips on a lot of other comedic shows and comedians in general (like Seinfeld, what?). It’s unnecessary and detracts from the best parts of the book.
- The Prodigy by John Feinstein. I read all of John Feinstein’s fiction and always look forward to his new releases. I still want him to write another Stevie and Susan Carol book, as they remain the strongest of his fiction books. But his other fiction is all solid, and I think The Prodigy is among the strongest of the non-Stevie/Susan Carol stories. The story is very believable, and the insight into the Augusta is fascinating.
- Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion. Two Steps Forward is one of those books that took me forever to finish, and it didn’t feel worth finally making it to the end. The writing isn’t terrible, but I couldn’t get into either of the main characters at all. It would have been disappointing to read this type of book no matter what. But it was especially disappointing after The Rosie Project books. Read The Rosie books and skip this one.
- Results May Vary by Bethany Chase. I liked the characters in Results May Vary better than the characters in The One That Got Away. They’re much more dimensional. However, overall, I liked the story in The One That Got Away Better, even though it was just as predictable. Chase could have taken the high road in Results May Vary and had her character take the tougher path. But she didn’t, which was disappointing and ultimately, left me a little disappointed with the book.
- Wonder by R. J. Palacio. Wonder is absolutely fantastic, young adult fiction at its best. I can see why it’s so popular and am glad that I finally read it. Palacio handles a tough subject with seamless ease, drawing sympathy for all of her characters without getting too sentimental or giving the book an over the top unrealistic ending.
I don’t have any re-reads for October or November because I was working my way through The Two Towers and then starting Return of the King. As I’ve mentioned before, I can only do one epic fantasy series at a time. Most likely I’ll finish out the Harry Potter series after the holidays.
When I started writing my what I read posts in the beginning of 2018, I wasn’t planning on writing them every other month. So I didn’t start the every other pattern until February, and I have an extra month left now. I’m going to wrap my December reads into my final 2018 reading post, summing up favorites and whatnot from the year, in early January. Stay tuned!
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What have you been reading and loving lately?
I’m always looking for new suggestions! Feel free to leave links in the comments.