A Month in Books · Books · Reviews

A Month in Books: October

I love reading. I read cereal packets, adverts on tubes…anything I can get my hands or eyes on. Since 2011, I have taken part in the 50 Books Challenge which is what it says on the tin-attempting to read 50 books in a year. This year, I am currently on 49 books, so I’m really excited to make the goal this early!

I thought I would do wrap-ups of the books I’ve read each month so you can get some recommendations, or know what to avoid! In October, I read 8 books, and you can find out about them below.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (Harper Perennial, 2014)

Bad Feminist is an essay collection by Roxane Gay who first came to my attention as a columnist for The Guardian. This collection covers everything from Scrabble tournaments (seriously) to sexual assault, and Gay’s voice is fantastic throughout. Whilst there are a few cultural essays that might get lost in translation across the pond, this collection is really worth a read. It was really eye-opening for me to get a perspective on feminism from a woman of colour, something that much of popular feminism has been lacking of late.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (Sceptre, 2014)

This was my most anticipated novel of the year. David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas is one of my all time favourite books so getting my hands on a new work of his was something I could not resist. The Bone Clocks is twisty and spans decades, using the life of Holly Sykes as its centre to tell a story of immortality. Mitchell’s ability to create character and place is fantastic. If you like your books twisty then you’ll love this. And the cover is glorious.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (Disney-Hyperion, 2008)

Lockhart’s name may be familiar to you as she wrote this year’s much hyped and wonderful We Were Liars. I adored that book, and so instantly bought her other works and sadly this novel really fell short of what I expected. Frankie Landau-Banks is a student at an elite school who becomes super hot one summer and lands an eligible boyfriend; but she is upset when he refuses to include her in his all-male society. Lockhart is clearly trying to make some important points for young girls throughout the book but it didn’t really fly with me. Frankie’s boyfriend and his friends were incredibly annoying and Frankie was the sort of girl who looks down on others for enjoying baking. Perhaps worth looking into if you know a 13-year-old who likes Bella Swan a little tooo much, but not great.

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris (Penguin, 2007)

I’ve owned this book since *2008* (which should give you an indication of my book-buying habits) and sadly it really wasn’t worth the wait. Ferris set his debut novel within an advertising office which is obviously rich with opportunity (hello Mad Men). Sadly, I found this book really boring and could not connect with any of the characters. There is a lovely bit in the middle of the novel, where Ferris really focuses in on one of the characters and the writing is gorgeous-but unfortunately the rest of the novel didn’t follow.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith a.k.a. J.K. Rowling (Little Brown, 2013)

After the previous two books, I was definitely a little dubious going into this-especially as reviews of Rowling’s post-Potter books have been mixed. However, I really enjoyed The Cuckoo’s Calling. In case you don’t know, the novel is about Cormoran Strike, a private detective who is hired to investigate the apparent suicide of a famous supermodel by her brother. Yes, at times it was definitely a little predictable. Yes, Cormoran Strike did possess weird abilities to get people to tell him everything. Yes, occasionally Rowling’s writing was a little unnecessary flowery. But all in all, the book was fun and fast-paced and I loved some of the inside fashion-industry jokes (cats called Viktor and Rolf-amazing). I’m definitely going to pick up her second Strike novel The Silkworm soon.

Where Rainbows End/Love Rosie by Cecelia Ahern (Harper Collins, 2008)

I picked up this novel because the gorgeous Sam Claflin is starring in the film adaptation (with Lily Collins and Suki Waterhouse [!?]), and I was intrigued by the fact that it is told mainly through letters. The book is about childhood friends Rosie and Alex who are meant to be together but can’t be, for various plot reasons. The novel reminded me of One Day, only I found this waaay more frustrating. The writing style meant that we frequently got weird info-dumps in the middle of ’emails’ and we had to get through an awful lot of random exposition about Rosie’s friends. It’s definitely cute and the ending did make me a little teary. Apparently the film is only loosely based on the novel anyway, so I’m definitely still going to give it a watch.

It by Alexa Chung (2013, Penguin)

I am an unashamed fan of Alexa Chung. Her sense of style is so en pointe, I love her hair and her overall attitude is just so great. I’ve wanted to get my hands on It since its release so I was super excited to get my hands on the paperback version in Waterstones. I was a little disappointed by this book, just because having read Chung’s work for Vogue and elsewhere it is obvious she is a talented writer which isn’t really shown here. I literally read this in an hour on the train, but will be keeping it because I love her writing about heartbreak and style in general.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (2007, Penguin)
It’s always nice to finish the month on a bit of a high. The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a pretty skinny volume so I don’t want to talk too much about it. But, the novel follows Changez, a Pakistani migrant to America who thrives at university and in his finance world job, but after 9/11 his rose-tinted glasses with regard to his  home country are thrown off. Brilliantly written, with an almost-gasp inducing ending, this is worth reading in order to gain a greater understanding of the dangers of some of the West’s actions in the Middle East.
What books did you read this month? If you’re a user of Goodreads you can add me here.
Amy

 

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