Book Chat

Reading Log: October 2011

It’s time for another monthly update on my Reading Log!  I used to post every month…but then things got a bit wonky when we moved to SF, and my ensuing health issues… but now I’m back in the habit, what with all my time to read nowadays.  I’m officially a Lady of Leisure, didn’t you know?

So here’s my Reading Log for October 2011, with my thoughts about each book to help me remember what I read.  I’ve included all the books that I’ve read or finished during the month of October, even if I started some of them outside of this month.  Also, I like to give a rating to each book I read and I like to keep track of the binding of the book, don’t ask me why.  HB = Hardback, PB = Paperback, AB = Audio book, K = Kindle.

Word for word, straight from my diary:

Title Start Finish Thoughts Grade/
What Color is Your Parachute? 2012: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers,
by  Richard Bolles
9/3/11 10/19/11 Conversational read, with lots of good advice about being unemployed, and how to revise the traditional approach to job hunting.  Some pretty rigorous exercises to identify what you want and what transferrable skills you can use when changing careers.  Took me several hours to complete the written exercises, although it’s the sort of thing that I actually have time to do—since I’m unemployed!  Still not sure what kinds of jobs utilize the skills that I have, or what my “dream job” is… but I’m still letting the book’s ideas soak in. A
The Girl Who Was on Fire: Your Favorite Authors on Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy,
by Leah Wilson
9/24/11 10/6/11 Sixteen essays by YA Lit authors about the Hunger Games trilogy.  Enjoyed the analysis and added depth to different themes from the books, from clothes to politics to genetic experiments.  Hope the movies can live up to the books, but I have high hopes—there’s enough action and the plot’s fairly straightforward.  Might read more of these SmartPop books. AK
Traveling with Pomegranates,
by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor
10/1/11 10/15/11 As a whole, I really liked this book and I did relate to it: mother-daughter trips to Greece and France, both figuring out what to do with their lives in terms of finding career and aging.  But I had specific problems with the narrative that soured the realism for me.  In Eat Pray Love, Gilbert was almost annoying b/c she constantly apologized for being able to afford her travels; in TWP, there are no apologies!  They go on weeks-long trips to Europe every year, both quit day jobs to write full time, and spend hours contemplating and journaling their internal struggles.  I could relate to the daughter’s self esteem crisis when one career path didn’t work out, but then she quit her job at a magazine to write a book that took her 8 years to complete!  Can’t relate to that at all.  Good for them that they feel they deserve it all, but I will never be able to be that financially secure—or that sure of myself. B+
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,
by Ransom Riggs
10/6/11 10/7/11 Raced through this spooky fantasy novel, clearly the start of a series.  Very similar to an X-Men setup—children with special abilities protected in a school while battling enemies, except add time travel.  Vintage photographs throughout are really interesting and add an extra element.  Very entertaining fantasy! A-
James and the Giant Peach,
by Roald Dahl
10/11/11 10/11/11 I remember a teacher from daycare reading this book aloud one summer, and of course the movie, but I don’t think I’ve ever read it myself.  Until now!  As always, Dahl is delightfully cruel and funny.  I wonder how my daycare teacher censored the random sprinklings of “You ass!” A
The Wedding Machine,
by Beth Webb Hart
10/11/11 10/20/11 Some good old-fashioned chick lit, served Southern style.  Family secrets, young and old generations battling over conventions and weddings.  Didn’t realize it was a “Women of Faith Fiction” until the end, which is fine in general, but it felt like the religion was tacked on at the very end—which is not fine.  Library book B
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell,
by Susanna Clark
10/14/11 Still reading—great for the hours during my infusions! K
Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage,
by Madeleine L’Engle
10/21/11 10/23/11 A beautiful meditation on marriage, as L’Engle recounts her life with her husband as he dies of cancer.  Thoughtful and comforting, like her novels.  She doesn’t shy away from the difficult questions, but her faith doesn’t waver.  Hers is a faith I deeply admire, with no hint of falseness or hubris.  Sad but powerful. (1988) A+
The Magicians,
by Lev Grossman
10/23/11 10/27/11 Now here is a novel that proves Fantasy can be for adults, too!  It’s like Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia, but add teenaged angst and young adult ambivalence.  Plus some dead-on dialogue and attitude and anticlimactic adulthood experiences.  A whole new look at magic, with the meta outlook of characters who grew up wishing for it all to be real, then finding out that magic doesn’t solve anything at all.  Definitely want to read the sequel.  Mixed reviews for both novels, but I think I’m in exactly the right place and time to enjoy this book.
Gift from Emily
A Circle of Quiet,
by Madeleine L’Engle
10/29/11 Still reading… Crosswicks Journal #2 (I hate when I read series out of order… but I didn’t realize that A Two-Part Invention was Crosswicks Journal #4)

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of October.  Anyone else reading a good book?

One thought on “Reading Log: October 2011

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