Monday, October 30, 2017

October Reading Wrapup

October was an interesting reading month for me.  I started off the first week or so reading absolutely nothing.  Then, I got my book-footing and read a whole bunch.  In total, I read 9 books in October.

The Art of Failing, by Anthony McGowan (read as an ebook) - A humorous glance into daily life in West Hampstead, London, with the author, Anthony McGowan.  Structured as a diary and organized by season, there are daily-ish entries outlining something humorous/bizarre/unexpected that happened to the author that day, or at least a noteworthy observation.

The Circle Game, by Margaret Atwood - Published in 1964, this is Margaret Atwood's first commercially-published poetry collection and it explores womanhood, colonialism and indigenous peoples, environmentalism, and many other topics.

Madwoman, by Shara McCallum - In this powerful collection of poems, Shara McCallum calls upon folklore and traditions from her native Jamaica as well as modern day experiences and microaggressions.  There is clear, strong feminism that permeates throughout the work, that grabs the reader from the beginning.  The author plays with language in very deliberate ways, interplaying rhyme, free verse, patois, and lots of symbolism.

A Year in Provence, by Peter Mayle - When Peter and his wife move from their home in Devon, England to the South of France, it is a culture shock to say the least.  They learn that time is thought of in seasons rather than hours or days, good food and wine are vital, and construction projects where the contractor uses the phrase "Normally..." are not going to be completed anytime soon.

Candide, by Voltaire - In the early eighteenth century, Gottfried Leibniz published his Theodicy, in which he purported that the world we're living in is the best of all possible worlds, because it was created by God.  No matter the suffering, violence, poverty - it is the best world.  This worldview is commonly called "philosophical optimism", and Voltaire disagreed vehemently with it.  He wrote Candide as a satirical take-down of Leibniz's approach, as well as many of the literary traditions of the time

The Diamond as Big as the Ritz, by F. Scott Fitzgerald - In this strange little novella, published in 1922, John T. Unger leaves his well-to-do family in Hades, Mississippi to attend a prestigious men's boarding school in Boston.  While there, he befriends a fellow student named Percy Washington.  John knows that Percy, a keep-to-himself kind of guy, is very wealthy, but he has no idea just how right he is until he is invited to summer with Percy at his family's home in Montana. 

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding - I appreciate the plot of this story (plane crashes on deserted island and only a group of schoolboys survives and has to forge its own society) but I take great offense to the choices in gender and overall characterization, as well as the use of the term "savage" as the author chose to employ them.  I would love to see (if there isn't already one out there...let me know if there is!) a modern interpretation of this book, where the cast of characters show more diversity and sensitivity.

Horrorstor, by Grady Hendrix (read as an ebook) - When an Ikea-esque store called "Orsk" begins experiencing strange phenomena, manager Basil recruits two of his employees, Amy and Ruth Ann, to work a covert, overnight shift to figure out exactly what is going on.  But what is going on is so much more than anyone had bargained for.

The Five Children and It, by E. Nesbit - The story features four elementary school-aged siblings - Cyril, Anthea, Robert, and Jane - and their infant brother Hilary during a summer spent in Kent.  During playtime at a gravel quarry, they uncover a sand-fairy who offers to grant them one wish every day.  Whatever they wish for will last for only that day; when the sun sets everything will go back to the way it was before.  They wish for things as children would, which is to say naively.

Now that we're almost into November, it's time to start thinking about all the non-fiction that I want to read during the annual Non-Fiction November challenge.  Stay tuned for more details on that...

Librorum annis,