Book Chat

Reading Log: October 2012

Hope you had a great Halloween!  It’s time for another monthly update on my Reading Log!  October marched on by, and here we are in November already.  This month… the weather was wacky, I decorated for Fall and Halloween, and voted (by mail) for the first time as a resident of California!  It was a pretty good month for reading, too.  Once again  I am unapologetically hooked on YA Lit!

So here’s my Reading Log for October 2012, 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 (even if I started some of them outside of the month).  Plus I like to rate the books I read on the grading system and keep track of the binding.  I’m not exactly sure why I started recording that… except that I like my statistics at the end of the year 🙂

October 2012

HB = Hardback, PB = Paperback, AB = Audio book, K = Kindle.

Title Start Finish Grade/
Beauty Queens,
by Libba Bray
9/27/12 10/5/12 A+
Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp,
by Stephanie Klein
10/5/12 10/15/12 A-
A Casual Vacancy,
by J.K. Rowling
10/5/12 Still Reading TBD
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,
by T.S. Eliot
10/10/12 10/10/12 A
A Great and Terrible Beauty (A Gemma Doyle Book #1),
by Libba Bray
10/15/12 10/19/12 A
Rebel Angels (A Gemma Doyle Book #2),
by Libba Bray
10/20/12 Still Reading TBD


Beauty Queens, by Libba Bray

This was a joy to read from beginning to end.  Teen beauty pageant contestants crash lands on an island… think Lost meets Lord of the Flies meets Toddlers and Tiaras.  Except instead of society barely holding together the girls’ innate animal tendencies, it’s the opposite: learning to survive and become independent helps the girls realize how society has conditioned them to mask their true selves.  That sounds trite but the writing is great and the satire is edgy and witty.  It never gets too preachy, and somehow stays light and action-packed while hitting on some pretty insightful themes.  I might have found a new favorite YA Lit author.

Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp, by Stephanie Klein

Written when the author is an adult, pregnant with twins, looking back at her history of weight gain and loss.  Specifically the years spent at “fat camp” as both a camper and counselor.  I have to hand it to the author, she is achingly unswervingly honest.  Painfully, brutally, agonizingly honest about the emotions of overeating and the stigma of being overweight during adolescence.  And life doesn’t get miraculously better when she’s thin, because she struggles to have a healthy relationship with food (and probably, at the time of writing, still doesn’t entirely have a grasp on a “healthy” relationship yet).  The honesty forced me to appreciate the writing, but at the same time I couldn’t really enjoy it.  It was witty and acerbic, and sometimes just a bit too biting.  Painful, yes, but I would read another of her books (and her blog) without hesitation.

A Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling

Still Reading.  I have to admit, I’m not hooked.  I’ve been reading bits and pieces because I just haven’t gotten into it yet.  But I’ll keep plugging away!

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, by T.S. Eliot

The collection of poems by T.S. Eliot that inspired the musical Cats with illustrations by Edward Gorey—both masters of their craft!  In a word, delightful.  Loved the silly cat personalities and it’s so read-aloud-able that I couldn’t help but treat Sam to some of my favorites.  There were two slightly racist words, which just goes to show how PC we have become as a nation since the 1930s (in a good way).  It’s still a bit astounding to think that mild racism was accepted so casually, but there it is.  Another thing that’s changed?  I kept wishing I was reading the Kindle so I could look up the words I didn’t recognize!  Didn’t see that one coming in a book written for children.  And I was too lazy to use a dictionary, so I had to muddle along just like pre-Kindle days.  Despite those two issues, a fun collection and great illustrations.

A Great and Terrible Beauty (A Gemma Doyle Book #1), by Libba Bray

So many, many, many of my favorite things jumbled up in one book and somehow it worked!  A thrilling tale: gothic romance/mystery set in Victorian England, and then let’s throw in an all-girls boarding school, supernatural societies, and a spunky main character!  I’m probably the perfect target, since I’m a sucker for even one of those aspects.  This was especially fun to read right before Halloween, with the spooky vibe of a foggy mansion, creepy characters, and spirits.  Not perfect, maybe, but a great start to a trilogy and I can’t wait to find out more about Gemma Doyle.  

Rebel Angels (A Gemma Doyle Book #2), by Libba Bray

Still reading.  I’m enjoying this trilogy!  Quick and fun mystery series, and the sequel is developing the characters and the plot in an intriguing direction.

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

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