Show us your books: October 2017

October 10, 2017

Up to 32/50 books read this year and now I’m only 6 books behind where I should be. This month’s drop in reading volume was due to the fact that I got a new PC and that messed with how Adobe Digital Editions interfaced with my Philadelphia Free Library account. I could download books when they became available, but not open them, likely because I didn’t deauthorize ADE off of my dead computer and had to create a new id, which didn’t work either. I ended up losing 2 of my available holds that way.

It’s so tiny and light!

My consumerist solution was to get a Kindle Paperwhite and I am tickled pink to be done with side loading books onto my Nook. I still have plenty of purchased books on the Nook (thanks to BookBub). AND it also interfaces with Goodreads. I think I have achieved corporeal assumption into the Amazon Universe. I AM KIM PRIME!

Onto the books! For reviews, I use the Goodreads scale, which is:
One star: did not like it
Two stars: it was ok
Three stars: liked it
Four stars: really liked it
Five stars: it was amazing

The Folded Clock: A Diary – Heidi Julavits

This is a journal covering about two years in the author’s life. What made it charming was that every entry started with “Today I,” which is how she started her diaries as a child. About 15% through the book I realized that the diary entries weren’t in chronological order, which I HATE and I WHINE and MOAN all of the time about how this stuff messes up my enjoyment of books. However, part of her reason for writing this was because at her age she was finding that her time isn’t measured anymore by mere days, but weeks, months, quarters, etc. Even I, without the multiple residences, children, jet-set writer’s lifestyle, hundreds of ex-boyfriends who adored me, etc, can relate. I tried to let the lack of chronology go and focused on the recurring themes and … it was a good read. Julavits herself seems a bit unhinged at times but you know what? So are we all. She carries a tap handle with her, I wear special earrings on the days I travel home. My diary is free online and remains mostly chronological. Three stars.

What is Not Yours is Not Yours – Helen Oyeyemi

Whenever I pick up a book of Helen Oyeyemi’s I know I’m in for a difficult, twisty read and I LOVE IT. This was the second ebook library loan I couldn’t fulfill on my nook and I was pissed enough to drive to my local library to borrow a hard copy. This is a collection of short stories with the theme of locks and keys. Like her other books, the characters here are wonderfully diverse and mostly human. Characters drift in and out of each other’s stories. My favorites of the stories were “A Brief History of the Homely Wench Society” and “Books and Roses.” Five stars and I’m going to start diving into her backlist.

I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual — Luvvie Ajayi

This is the book from blogger Luvvie Ajayi. It sucks you in with funny observances about how crappy people can be in real life, and then hits you with essays on sexism and racism and homophobia before whip-lashing back into funny essays about poor behavior in social media. I didn’t mind the serious stuff — we all need to be reading that — but I’m an adult and I don’t need my vegetables pureed and hidden in my spaghetti sauce to trick me into eating them. And most of the blurbs were of the “LOL I CAN’T STOP LAUGHING!!!” type. The book was funny and well-written, but I’m about 20 years beyond the audience that would benefit most from the life lessons inside. Three stars.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear — Elizabeth Gilbert

Oh my gosh I was so disappointed in this book, probably because I lloOOOOOooooOOOoooooVVVVVeee Elizabeth Gilbert’s writings so much, even the books that aren’t Eat, Pray, Love. Even the fiction books. This was … nice … and all, but there was so much woo (and I like woo) and name-dropping of her famous friends, and casual reminders that she happened to write Eat, Pray, Love I wanted to check out after every single chapter. To save you time, here are my takeaways: We’re all creative, we don’t have to quit our day jobs to be so, and actually it’s best that we don’t quit our day jobs, and that if an idea pesters you and you dismiss it, it will find its way to someone else who will fulfill it.

Two stars. Watch her lovely TED talk instead. And if you want fiction, read Signature of All Things.

Lincoln in the Bardo — George Saunders

Bardo: (in Tibetan Buddhism) a state of existence between death and rebirth, varying in length according to a person’s conduct in life and manner of, or age at, death.

A super-strong showing from the only dude on the list this month. This book captivated me. It was confusing — ridiculously confusing — at first, but then once I got used to the format and the multiple narrators it gelled. It was beautiful, heartbreaking, and uplifting. Abraham Lincoln’s son, Willie, dies at the age of eleven. His body is placed in a crypt in Washington DC. His father is distraught. We learn about this both from the ghostly residents of the neighborhood (think of a very adult version of the graveyard of Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride) and through selected passages from a wealth of historical documents. It’s a marriage of fact and faith and I read 368 pages in a little over 24 hours. Trigger warnings for rape, violence, and death.

Five stars!

Currently reading:

Console Wars – Blake J. Harris. Still. This is the book I pick up when I have nothing else available.
What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky – Lesley Nneka Arimah. I just started last night and a woman was just shot in the back so we’ll see how far I continue. I might not have the heart right now for extended violence.

Missed due to stupid Adobe ID/Adobe Digital Editons/Overdrive/Nook issues:

Chemistry — Weike Wang
Idaho — Emily Ruskovich

The Holds list:

This is my current Philly Library holds list. I need to add a few.

To read:
I’m going on a (non-Disney) cruise next week and I’m looking for something upbeat and fun. Beachiness is preferred but optional. I may crack and buy Sourdough, because I adored Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Maybe A Night to Remember? 😉

All of my book lists and reviews are on Goodreads.

This a part of the Show us Your Books linkup from Jana Says and Life According to Steph. If you want to read more bloggers gush about the books they’ve read this month, click the button below and have fun!

Life According to Steph

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  • Brittany Pines October 10, 2017 at 10:01 am

    I’ve seen Luvvie Ajayi’s comments on FB, didn’t know there was a whole book! I LOVED Eat, Pray, Love…but the marriage book that followed up was such complete trash for me that I haven’t tried any more of Gilbert’s stuff 🙁

  • SMD October 10, 2017 at 10:17 am

    I LOL’d at I AM KIM PRIME. I always prefer a physical book but the paperwhite rocks.

    I adore Luvvie. I’m going to Together Rising in Philly at the end of the month. She’s one of the possible speakers and I’m hoping beyond hope she is there.

  • kristen October 10, 2017 at 10:37 am

    i got sourdough from book of the month but haven’t read it yet.
    such a bummer about big magic! i read eat pray love several years ago and liked it at the time, but haven’t read any of her other books.

  • ShootingStarsMag October 10, 2017 at 10:38 am

    I’m Judging You sounds kind of fantastic. I hadn’t heard of it before, so thanks for sharing. I also really want to read Lincoln in the Bardo. I’m glad you ended up loving it!


  • Heather October 10, 2017 at 10:50 am

    I’ve heard such mixed things about Big Magic and I just don’t think it’s for me. Have fun on the cruise!! I’d recommend Taylor Jenkins Reid if you haven’t read any of her books yet 🙂

  • Megan, The Hungry Bookworm October 10, 2017 at 11:08 am

    I read Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird and didn’t love it, so I’ve been hesitant about picking up anything else by her, but you make that collection sound wonderful! I might have to give it a try. I’ve also had The Signature of All Things sitting on the shelf for a while now… Should probably pick it up.

  • Amber October 10, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Technology is great…when it works! I have an old Nook and it was always such a pain to get library books onto it!

  • Tanya @ A Mindful Migration October 10, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    I was in the love camp for Big Magic but not every book speaks to everyone the same. That’s why books real and link-ups are great. Helen Oyeyemi is someone that has been on my TBR for sometimes but I know she’s going to punch me in the face with her honesty and realness so I avoid her. I need to stop doing this.

  • Jana @ Jana Says October 10, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    I know I want to read Lincoln in the Bardo but I keep not requesting it.

  • Elizabeth October 10, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    Lincoln in the Bardo is on my library hold list. I prefer paper books but I’m becoming more attached to my Kindle.

  • Alexandra Consolver October 11, 2017 at 11:09 am

    George Saunders was at my library last night speaking. I didn’t go, because i haven’t read his work, but that’s awesome how much you loved his book. I have Big Magic on my shelf, but have not read it yet, I hope I enjoy it more than you did. haha I am one of the few who did not like Mr. Penumbra. It drove me bonkers, so I’m just going to skip Sourdough to be safe. But I hope that you and everyone else enjoys it. I know I’m in the minority on that one. I just added I’m Judging You to my TBR. Here from SUYB. 🙂 XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things