Reading Better | October.

I added 19 books to my Read shelf last month, bringing my YTD total to 174 (Goodreads link).

Here are a few more stats from October’s book journal summary page:

nearly one-third (6/19) were audio – I thought that words on a page were trending up after last months 75%, but October is right in line with August.
nearly two-thirds (12/19) were borrowed, two I owned, and five were purchased (four “new”, and one “used”) … which was almost identical to last month!
four were non-fiction … more similar to earlier months and I credit the NBA non-fiction short list for getting me to read two of those.

My Reading Intentions continued to be pretty balanced, except that Connection is still lagging (gah, still…) I can only hope that number picks up as more folks read – and want to talk about! – new releases and books from the prize short lists:

Connection – 7
Growth – 8
Diversity – 10 (yay, nearly half!)
Delight – 19

Three books checked all four boxes:

  1. A Passage North, short-listed for the Booker Prize (and note that I only “liked” it; checking all the boxes does not necessarily equal “love”)
  2. Her Body and Other Parties, for Fiction Matters’ October bookclub – I really loved this collection of short stories, even the horror bits (why it checked the growth box) and learned a lot from the discussion.
  3. The Fortune Men, also short-listed for the Booker Prize … and one I was rooting for to win! It wasn’t released in the US until November, so you might be able to find it in libraries now. It didn’t win the prize, but I still highly recommend this one for the story, the characters, and the writing (I won’t give a book five stars if I don’t think it has all three).

Other ♥ notes from my journal:

♥ paper is still way easier to borrow these days, especially for new releases.
♥ loved reading books I purchased – The Fortune Men, Tastes like War, Cloud Cuckoo Land, and Great Circle were all recent releases (I even pre-ordered Cloud Cuckoo Land) that I’m glad I have on my bookshelf … so I can lend them to others, and revisit as the mood strikes.
♥ short lists! five of the seven 5-star books were from those lists.
♥ growth = learning about war in Sri Lanka, “horror”, the story of Mahmood Mattan (The Fortune Men is based on his true story), and more about racism, immigration, Korea, research/story-telling methodologies, … and Toni Morrison.
♥ love memoir that relates to a bigger picture or theme; it’s not just enough to be “a good story, told well”, I want to learn about something broader.
♥ stories. looking forward to diving in more intentionally in 2022.
♥ sticking to my TBR really helped me read the books that mattered to me (some of these had been on my mental list for months and I made time for them this month). Of the 19 I finished, 17 were planned reads at the beginning of the month

I was delighted with the Booker winner (The Promise) last week and look forward to the NBA prizes next week (November 17). Four of my 5-star books came from the NBA short lists (The Prophets and Cloud Cuckoo Land for fiction & All That She Carried and Tastes Like War for non-fiction) I cannot recommend these books highly enough and expect they’ll all make my best-of-2021 list.

I’m trying to stick to my TBR again this month … and I’m probably most excited about that bottom row

Katie lent me the Ruth Ozeki, a signed copy (!!!) of The Sentence arrived in today’s mail, The Island of Missing Trees is in my audible library … and I have about six hours left to listen to The Lincoln Highway.

What are you most excited to read this month?

Here’s to reading better!

10 thoughts on “Reading Better | October.

  1. Oh, I was thrilled to see there was another Ruth Ozeki being published… can’t wait to hear what you think about it.

    Your Reading Better posts are so much fun – I still haven’t found a way to climb back onto the reading wagon, but know there are so many good books waiting for me when I manage to find my way back!

    Is The Sentence the first for the Erdrich read along? It is IN at my library right now and I’m putting a hold on it NOW!! 🙂

  2. Congrats on another month of reading, big time! Several of your current TBRs are on my short list as I slowly return to reading more print/less audio – it’s hard to read print when one’s walking. I have Ruth Ozeki’s newest in my Audible library…have begun; I also have Cloud Cuckoo Land on the table awaiting and expect Louise Erdrich’s The Sentence to arrive any day.
    Read and knit on!

  3. I am 81st in line for Cloud Cuckoo Land, which Libby estimates is about a three-week wait. I’m really looking forward to that one. And I started reading Great Circle on Tuesday and am so glad you encouraged me to read it, because I’m really enjoying it. I’ve started thinking about what I want to take for my trip in December, because traditonally I get a lot of reading done then, and I think Braiding Sweetgrass is at the top of the list (I’m going to try to take only one or two physical books) because I’ve been meaning to read it for a long time and want to read it before the author comes for the local speaker series.

  4. I’m so glad you had another month of fabulous books to read, your discipline at tracking them is impressive! I’m looking forward to reading several on your list.

  5. I went to a virtual author talk with Louise Erdrich last night and now I want very much to read The Sentence. Last week I had four books show up in my library holds and I ended up postponing all of them because I am loving Braiding Sweetgrass so much. So many good books.

  6. Congratulations on reading lots of books and lots of good books! I’m fairly excited about reading a non-fiction book, Immune, about the immune system. So far, I’m finding the writing to be in a sweet spot between too little and too much information, and it’s also beautifully illustrated. I’m also looking forward to Lily King’s book of short stories, Tuesdays in Winter, and Donal Ryan’s Strange Flowers if I can ever get my hands on a copy.

  7. I’m excited for you to read Still Life as well as many others on your list. I hope The Sentence shows up today in my mail. I have Tastes Like War from the library and I am looking for my next audiobook. I may even read Jonathan Franzen. You are inspiring, Mary. How many books have you read this year?

  8. I finished reading Strange Flowers yesterday and it was one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a long time.
    What am I most looking forward to read? It’s hard to choose because there are so many good books to choose from. I just look forward to having time everyday to relax with a good book. Congratulations on another month of great reading! I’m impressed with both the number of books you read and the quality of those books.

  9. Oh-The Sentence looks so good. Your reading is amazing Mary! I’ve got about 4 hours remaining to complete Middlemarch. I think The Other Black Girl is next for me in my Audible library. Reading Katie Couric’s book on paper so that should go quickly!

  10. I’m thrilled to find more time to read. Audio and e books have helped especially at work when I’m the only one there I’m finding more listening time. Am loving The Lincoln Highway and I have Diane Gabaldon’s last book coming soon [I hope].

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