Monday, November 12, 2018

What I Read in October

It's entirely possible that I will not hit my arbitrary reading goal for 2018. I set myself the goal of reading 52 books this year--one book a week--and my reading pace is not exactly keeping up. Between getting the creeping (and lingering...and lingering...and lingering...) crud in October, just after my husband came down with pneumonia, and my inability to turn my brain off enough to immerse myself in a book, it's been a weird month (and year), reading-wise.

I'd feel disappointed about this except for two things.

1. This is a completely made up, arbitrary, meaningless goal I have set for myself. If I don't hit my dinger, there will not be a big man named Spike from the reading goal enforcement agency to exact my punishment.

2. I'm still reading. A lot. Even if I'm not finishing books. I have abandoned a number of books that weren't working for me. In general, they weren't bad books, but I just put them down and didn't pick them back up again. Also, I tend to comfort read old favorites when I'm anxious, down, or stressed, which means I've been revisiting some literary friends and not counting them in my book total.

Still, I will try to reach my 52 book goal. 52 new-to-me books read between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018. Let's see how far I can get.

So without further ado, here is what I read in October:

42. Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

What an odd little book. Dr. Greta Helsing (the family dropped the van several years after emigrating to Britain) is a physician to the undead. She helps reconstruct mummy feet, proscribes anti-depressants to ghouls, and patches up vampires who have been infected with garlic.

She is good friends with several characters who are straight out of classic horror. The Ruthven and Varney are apparently the names of some of the vampires of 18th century literature. (The book makes sure to explain that their exploits were greatly exaggerated in their respective books.) Fastitocalon is a demon (with COPD), but also the name of a turtle in a Tolkien poem.

I loved the well-thought out details of this world. About how Ruthven is overwhelmed by boredom--as who wouldn't be after 400 years of life? And how Greta and Fastitocalon repeat lines from Monty Python. And how even ghoul babies get ear infections.

I can't say if I really enjoyed this book or not. I listened to it on audio, and downloaded the second book after finishing the first, but I couldn't bring myself to keep listening to the second. (However, this was in part because the narrator changed how she pronounced the name Fastitocalon from the first book to the second, and I just couldn't get over that. Is it FAS-TEE-TO-CAY-LON or FAZ-TEE-TO-CAY-LEN? Make up your mind and stick with through ALL the books!!)

Still, it was kind of the perfect read for October in preparation for Halloween.

Finished: October 5, 2018

43. Genealogy by Mae Wood

Mae is a good friend of mine, and I was really excited when she asked me to be a beta reader for her newest book. This one is a bit of a departure from her previous Pig & Barley books, and I really really really loved it.

The story is told in two parts. The first is Ali's story. She is a doctor who is facing a major life upheaval after not getting the job she wanted--which meant she couldn't move with her boyfriend to California. She has a temporary position in Saint Louis, where she grew up, while she tries to figure out her life. While helping to clean out her grandmother's house, she finds 100 year old love letters that were written to her great-grandmother Alice, for whom Ali was named--but the sender was not her great-grandfather.

Ali reads the letters from Elliott to Alice and learns more about the love story that could have been, had distance, war, and circumstances not gotten in the way. She decides to track down the descendants of the man who had loved her great-grandmother, and finds her own love story.

This book was everything. Bittersweet, romantic, fun, and some incredible examinations of what love really means. Mae really outdid herself, and that's saying a lot.

Finished: Back in August, but I forgot to include it in my August round-up because I was cramming three months together all at once and since I read it on my Kindle I didn't have the physical book to remind me that I was being a knob who had forgotten to include her good friend's tour de force of a book.

What have you read lately?


  1. Whether you reach your goal or not, youre reading and that what matters :)

  2. I'm really curious about Strange Practice. Definitely a fun one for Halloween!


  3. Hmm, Strange Practice sounds really cool!

    I've hit a reading slump happens. The most important thing is that you are enjoying reading, and letting yourself put things down is important to that.

  4. I love beta reading for friends.

  5. yeah the goal is such a silly thing, nothing to get stressed over. you still read more than the average american, and it's not a competition. i read an insane amount because it's my only hobby lol. i am very curious about the vivian shaw book, but the narrator changing the pronunciation of that would drive me bonkers too!

  6. I don't know that I'll reach my goal either. Oh well.

    I haven't read Mae's book yet. I feel like a piece of shit about it.

    1. Don't beat yourself up! I know Mae wouldn't want that!