I think my brain has turned to mush this last few weeks. Somehow I got ahead of myself and wrote this post as a November reading update. I blame the sudden onslaught of Black Friday adverts on TV and Christmas-themed songs in the shops for my confusion about where in the year we actually are.
Now that I’ve got myself sorted, it’s time to talk about the reading month that was October.
It was a much better month than September. Only one book abandoned part way through: Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams. I had my suspicions this tale of the troubles of Queenie Jenkins, a vibrant 25-year-old British-Jamaican woman , wouldn’t be to my taste. And so it proved. I can see the appeal, particularly to younger readers unfamiliar with Bridget Jones’ Diary, but it did little for me.
I read five books, two of them genres I don’t typically read: short stories and science fiction.
Books read in October
Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers : I loved the atmosphere of 1950s London but otherwise this didn’t wow me. My review can be found here
Summerwater by Sarah Moss: I read this in preparation for Novellas in November. Moss perfectly encapsulates the minutiae that comprises “normal” life but ultimately I found this a disappointing read.
Maybe This Time by Alois Hotsching: these strange tales about identity and displacement from one of Austrial’s leading writers were artfully constructed but they did nothing to persuade me to become a fan of the short story format.
The Promise by Damon Galgut. i failed in my first attempt to read this book shortly after it was announced as last year’s Booker Prize winner. It just didn’t fit my mood at the time. I’m glad I gave it another go; it’s a thought-provoking novel about the disintegration of a white family in apartheid South Africa.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir — having given up science at the age of 16, a large part of this novel went right over my head. But it didn’t really matter. Weir’s novel can be read purely as an adventure story. A quite bonkers one but highly enjoyable.
I did however do a little better with my #22in22 project, an attempt to clear some of my backlog of books by reading 22 books from my TBR that were bought before 2022. The Damon Galgut novel counts as book number 21 so just one more to go by end of the year. By the end of September I’d read two more, to take me to 18.
Next year this will get a little more challenging since I’ll have to read 23 books….
I also managed to complete two more squares on my Wanderlust Bingo card. Andy Weir’s novel fits with the “Space” square and I’m using the Alois Hotsching short stories for “Europe” . The “small town” category is going to be a tricky one since it can’t be in North America, Australia, New Zealand, France, India, Far East, Scotland, England or Ireland. I’ll need suggestions for this — somewhere in Europe is probably the most likely candidate.
Bookshelves Ins and Outs
A very small improvement on the TBR front. By the end of October I was down five from the previous month to 275.
Amazingly I went the whole month without buying any books – not even one! I didn’t plan it that way, it just happened. The new books that did come through the door were either library holds or voucher copies.
I don’t expect to report a further drop by the end of November however since I’ve already bought two books and there is another I will need to get for book club.
How was your October reading? Were there any stand out novels that you would recommend? I would love to know what you’ve been reading, and what you’re reading this month. I know a lot of you are joining in with Novellas in November and it’s also Australia Reading Month and German Reading Month.