It’s that time of the month again! I didn’t really expect to look forward to doing these wrap-ups but I am enjoying it. It also lets me talk about those books that I’ve read that I haven’t really mentioned in any place. October has been a very busy month – professionally and personally. I am gearing towards a lot of significant changes that will happen in my life in the next couple of months so it’s been really hectic. Religiously setting aside time to read has been my self-care, something constant that really grounds me these days. So, thank you reading, books and the authors who keep churning out art! 💛
Anyway, for October 2021, I managed to finish 5 books:
- The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood – 4/5☕ [short review]
- The Sandman: Act II by Neil Gaiman, Dirk Maggs – 5/5☕
- Nothing but Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw – 2.5/5☕ [short review]
- Kitchen Confidential: Adventure in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain – 5/5☕
- The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara – 5/5☕ [short review] [full review]
With the exception of Nothing But Blackened Teeth (which really disappointed me, tbh; I spent a whole day ranting about it to my family even if they have absolutely no idea what I was talking about 😂), this has been a very fantastic month! I finished Kitchen Confidential which was soooo good. It was kind of bittersweet hearing Anthony Bourdain’s voice and narration and I’m still beating myself up for only reading this book now. He has such a unique and brilliant writing voice that I wanted to read more of his works. But at this point, I can’t look at a show/episode or piece of writing related to him without being a bit sad. 😔
On a brighter note, I finally succumbed to reading The Love Hypothesis after seeing the book for the nth time in bookstagram– and I was not disappointed! It gave all the endorphins I expected and it promised. There are some heavy topics that were touched upon but it really is a hopeful book and it made me feel more alone than I already am lol. I was also able to finish listening to the second act of the Dirk Magg adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. I’m still trying to figure out if I like this more than the first act but there are definitely high points in this book that are my favorites: all the Endless in the same room at the same time, that bit about Lucifer in Hell and also that freakin’ creepy part narrated by Augustus Ceasar (it was graphic and I felt really uncomfortable because, you know, it was dramatized in audio).
And last but not the least, and perhaps my favorite and most memorable this month, would be Hanya’s The People in the Trees. I swear, this book! I stopped reading this before and after a few months (I don’t know what came over me – maybe it’s the A Little Life itch again), I went back and finally finished it. And it was one of the most confusing and unsettling reading experiences ever. I don’t know, it just forces you to think. I was hanging out with my friends last weekend and it still didn’t leave my mind. I wrote a full review of this HERE if you want to read – where I tried really hard to put my thoughts into words. But I would guess that it is not something that a lot of people would like because it is so polarizing. It really left a deep impression to me and it kind of transforms the more days that passed after I read it. Hanya Yanagihara is a writer that always excites me – it’s weird. This makes me more eager to get my hands on her next book, To Paradise.
What I’m reading right now
This is almost a personal running joke because I can’t seem to finish a lot of books that I start in a given time. But I am listing them still because it gives more chance to talk about more books. These are the books that I am currently (actively) reading right now:
- Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endo – I don’t usually track the mangas that I read but I just want to put it out here that I LOVE THIS FAMILY. It’s about a spy who needed to create a fake family in order to execute a long-term mission. He was able to get a wife (who happens to be an assassin) and a daughter (who is a telepath) – and they have no idea (except the daughter of course). This was so freaking funny and soft and wholesome (except for the obvious violence) but I haven’t enjoyed a new manga in a long while. I started reading this because it is being adapted into an anime in 2022.
- How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times by Roy Peter Clark – I saw this at Jed’s feed (of @yourliterarylawyer – who is one of the booksta reviewers whose taste I trust) and found it really interesting. Plus the audiobook is free on Scribd so I started it listening to it over breakfast. I think it’s relatively short and I am enjoying it so far. I am learning a lot and, surprisingly, I am getting a lot of recommendations because the author keeps mentioning a lot of books.
- Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky – I am slowly trying to pick up books I stopped reading. I read part of this around last year (it’s featured in my September 2020 Taking Stock post) and I already learned a lot of stuff that I am admittedly applied to my daily life balancing my work and personal life. I hope I could finally finish it this time around.
I still have a lot of things on my plate but I recently recovered my copy of Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow and I’ve been itching to open it since. I might try to start that this month as well.
Anyway, I just checked and my current count for my 2021 reading challenge right now is 54 (!!!). It’s waaaay over what I was expecting to read this year and I still have a lot of things on my plate so let’s see what our final tally would be. This is really shaping into a very good reading year for me. January books seem like ages ago!