01 November 2011

Last Month in Review: October 2011

As I sit here on this, the 29th day of October, to compile my list of books read (or listened to) this month, there's a wild storm a-raging outside my window.  The light has almost failed outside and we've had three inches of snow in just as many hours.  It may prove to be dangerous, too, since most of the leaves are still on the trees and we've already had two branches break in our yard--hopefully none will break over the driveway or our power lines! Since moving to New England I've grown accustomed to (but very weary of) these 5-month-long winters of ours, but this is unusual even for here.

I've got a total of 16 books read this time 'round, and not a single work of online fanfiction, which is a bit out of character for me as of late.  Four books of non-fiction, which raises my monthly average by a factor of two, five works of YA, which is also higher than usual, and two audio books, one of which doubles as a non-fiction read.

1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.  This book was very hard for me to read but I relished writing the review, found here.

2. Dead to You by Lisa McMann.  This is one of my YA books, read in ARC form.  I'll at least do a blurb/shelftalker for it, but probably won't do a full review.

3. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris.  Ahh, David Sedaris.  This was my multi-tasking nonfic/audio book of the month.  He's such a good reader!

4. Matched by Allie Condie.  This has been reviewed everywhere, so I probably won't do one for myself. First book in a YA trilogy that I bought & read on vacation.

5. Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller.  I also bought and read this on vacation.  Good  memoir, but I preferred her recent release that I reviewed here.

6. The Possessed by Elif Batuman.  Another work of non-fiction, which I bought & read on vacation and reviewed here.

7. What Would Mr. Darcy Do by Abigail Reynolds.  That's right--a published work of fanfiction that picks up in Pride & Prejudice at the point where Darcy comes about Miss Elizabeth in the inn at Lambton, and after she confesses what has happened to Lydia, he takes her in his arms, where they are caught out by the Gardiners.  Good times ensue.  Won't review it, but it was a fun airplane read.

8. The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel.  I'm a BIG fan of her work and this, her third novel, did not disappoint.  Review forthcoming, as is the book itself.

9. Crossed by Ally Condie.  The sequel to Matched, and while I probably will not review it, I will say that once I got over the dual narrative (I hate multi-person narrators), I found it among the better of the "Book Twos" that I've read.  More like The Empire Strikes Back (my favorite of the original three Star Wars films) than Catching Fire (the weak book two of The Hunger Games franchise).

10. The Midwife of Venice by Robert Rich.  Reviewed here.

11. The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston.  Reviewed here.

12. Fool by Christopher Moore.  This was the second audio book of the month, and while I thought that the reader was simply outstanding, I wasn't entirely enamored with the story.  Comic and graphically crude retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear, with good doses of MacBeth thrown in.

13. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson.  Another YA, reviewed here.  This one pretty much scared the pants off of me.

14. Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan.  Another YA, which I might review.

15. The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate.  I met Martha at NEIBA at the Algonquin author dinner and then she came to my bookstore this past week.  She's nifty!

I am deeply smitten with this writer (Verghese)
16.  The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese.  Verghese has written my favorite (and I think the best) book of this century so far -- Cutting for Stone.  This book, his second memoir, is about his time living in El Paso, working at Texas Tech teaching hospital, and the friendship he developed with the young man he was mentoring at the time--and the frustrations when that young doctor started shooting up again after a year and half of sobriety.  This is definitely the best book I've read this month and Verghese convinced me once again that his prose towers over that of the so-called grand masters of American letters. 


  1. Soooo, did you like Matched? Is this something I should look into? I haven't quite finished The Hunger Games yet, but I'm on Mockingjay.

    By the way, started The Family Fang, and I want to marry it.

  2. You got so much read! I head to St. John this weekend...maybe my vacation reading will be as productive as yours seemed to be?

  3. Alice, I'm afraid you cannot marry the family fang because we are already betrothed. But I did like Matched--very much, in fact.

    Melody, I hope you enjoy St. John and get lots of reading done and then you post all about both on your blog so that I can live it again through you!


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