October Reads 2016.

How can it be November already?!

I had a good October overall (apart from failing yet another driving test) and because I went away to Cornwall for a week of it, I got a fair few books read. I’m especially happy though as I found some new favourites.


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1. The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson.

Premise: Earth is at the brink of its destruction thanks to us humans, but a new habitable planet has been found and our narrator is one of the lucky few to scope it out.

October’s whizzed by and yet it feels so long since I read this.

I really enjoyed the first few chapters of this book, but in the middle it switched very suddenly to someone else’s point-of-view, a person we are never properly introduced to, and then switches back again to the original narrator. I found this unknown second narrator very dull and then I couldn’t get back into the story when we switched back. If the narrative have been more linear I think I would really have liked this, but this sudden change in narrator and genre ruined the second half of the novel.

My Rating: 2.5/5


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2. The Curvy Girls’ Baby Club by Michele Gorman.

Premise: The co-founders of the Curvy Girls’ Club find themselves pregnant at the same time.

This wasn’t as good as the first book: I missed Katie, the narrator of the previous book, as in this she was kind of a background character. I suppose Gorman wanted to explore the other characters more, but I felt it didn’t have the same warmth as The Curvy Girls’ Club. It was a cute, fun read though, and made some good points about how big women are seen, especially in the TV industry. I was really rooting for Jane.

I wouldn’t read this again though, and I would read the first book again, so this was a bit of a disappointment.

My Rating: 2.5/5


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3. Swing Time by Zadie Smith.

Premise: “Two brown girls dream of being dancers – but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either…”

If you’d like to read my review, click here.

My Rating: 3.5/5


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4. No Virgin by Anne Cassidy.

Premise: Stacey has been raped. We visit the events leading up to the rape and see her battle with the decision of whether or not to report what’s happened to her.

If you’d like to read my review, click here.

My Rating: 2/5

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5. Nina is Not OK by Shappi Khorsandi.

Premise: “(…)if Nina sometimes wakes up with little memory of what happened the night before, then her friends are all too happy to fill in the blanks. Nina’s drunken exploits are the stuff of college legend.
But then one dark Sunday morning, even her friends can’t help piece together Saturday night. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her…”

If you’d like to read my review, click here.

My Rating: 5/5


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6. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie.

Premise: The story of the boy who never grew up.

I’m always a bit wary of classics, even children’s ones, because you’re never quite sure how much of a slog it’s going to be. However, this was a really lovely read. The opening scene in the nursery was hilarious: I loved Mr Darling’s refusal to take his medicine and the way Nana was described. Captain Hook was an excellent villain, much more nefarious in the book than in the many films, in which he’s usually portrayed as a bit dopey. There was a bit of a dip in the middle where I lost interest but it quickly picked up again and all in all it was a great book. If I have kids, I’ll definitely be sneaking it on to their bookshelves.

(My kids had better be into reading. My niece hates books and it breaks my heart every day.)

My Rating: 4/5


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7. Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos.

Premise: “Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone is a prisoner in her own house. Everything she says and does 24/7 is being taped and broadcast to every television in America. Why? Because her dad is dying of a brain tumor and he has auctioned his life on eBay to the highest bidder: a ruthless TV reality show executive at ATN.”

I won’t say too much about this book for the moment as I have a full review on the way, but I probably won’t be reading it again. It’s certainly not a very memorable book, despite having some excellent ideas at its core.

My Rating: 3/5


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8. Labyrinth: One Classic Film, Fifty-Five Sonnets by A Corrigan.

Premise: Ever wanted to read the plot of the film Labyrinth in sonnet form? Does what it says on the tin.

If you’d like to read my review, click here.

My Rating: 3/5


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9. My Grandmother Sends her Regards and Apologises by Fredrik Backman.

Premise: Elsa is bullied at school but it’s OK because her granny always knows how to make things better, even if her methods are somewhat mad. When her granny dies of cancer, she leaves Elsa with a letter for one of their neighbours, sparking a treasure hunt in which Elsa learns more and more about the granny she thought she knew.

I read A Man Called Ove in January and thought it was wonderful, so I finally decided to pick up another Backman novel. I’m so glad I did: it has that same warmth and feeling as Ove, and the relationship between Elsa and her granny is so funny and moving. I won’t say much more as I’ll probably write a review, but I will say that you should definitely, definitely read it, no matter what genres you’re into.

My Rating: 5/5


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10. The Traveling Bag and Other Ghostly Stories by Susan Hill.

Premise: A collection of 4 short stories, which you are better off not knowing anything about.

As you may be aware, I love Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black so I have been working my way through the rest of her ghost books as and when it takes my fancy. This collection of short stories came out quite recently so I wasn’t going to pick it up for a while, but it was reasonably priced for a pretty hardback so I decided to get it.

I wasn’t a big fan of the first two stories in this collection, ‘The Traveling Bag’ and ‘Boy Twenty-One’, but I loved ‘The Front Room’ and ‘Alice Baker’. These two had exactly the kinds of themes I expect from a Susan Hill book. I was genuinely shivering while reading certain parts and it’s put me in just the right mood for this weekend (off to see The Woman in Black at a local theatre – eek!).

My Rating: 4/5


I won’t be reading much in November as I’m focusing on writing for NaNoWriMo, but I’ll try to read when I can. I’ve downloaded samples of Fellside and The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey and loved what I’ve read of both of them, so they may end up getting accidentally bought and read this month.

Thanks for stopping by!

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2 thoughts on “October Reads 2016.

  1. How funny…I believe the title of the Backman novel here in the States is “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry.” Some great titles here … haven’t read any of them yet but a couple of them are TBRs.

    Like

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