Books – October Roundup

If you have eyes you can see that I read a lot of comic books this month.  Lucky for you, I’ll group those all together since they’re part of one series.


A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

One of the stranger and more metaphysical books that I’ve read in recent years.  It reminds me of a treatise in philosophy that has been turned into a novel somehow.  The two worlds that we enter through the story are both interesting and engaging, and it’s a credit to the author that each time we leave one, we miss it in equal measure – wanting to know what happens, and what our characters will find out.  This is also one of the more difficult books I’ve read in recent years (in terms of wrapping my brain around things), so it’s probably good that I did this as an audio book.

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? By Frans De Waal

I really enjoyed this book.  I think I put it on my “to-read” list when it won a Goodreads award last year in the science and technology category.  As a former biology student, this sort of writing is very enticing for me, and so I loved being able to listen to something that let me learn more about a topic in which I am fairly ignorant (animal behavior and cognition), and left me feeling just a little bit smarter.  Highly recommended – especially to anyone with a science background.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

My book club book.  It’s funny having “read” this book long ago, because I have no strong memories of reading it.  Most of my remembrances seem to come from having watched the series so recently, and even then, I was surprised.  Surprised at how closely the series stayed to what was in the books.  Yes, the order of things may have been switched around, and it was all updated very slightly to make sense coming out of a more modern era instead of the 80s, but wow.  It’s scary to read here about a dystopian future that seems possible, mainly because of the way women and their reproductive rights have been treated in recent years.

Spinster by Kate Bolick

Is it weird, as a married lady, to identify so strongly with this book?  I believe that it’s based on an article that appeared in the Atlantic a few years ago by the same author, but this book is more of an exploration of what it means to be single by choice, both to the author, and throughout the history of the United States.  Having spent the majority of my adult life as a very very single lady, even though it wasn’t entirely by choice, I feel like I understand where this book is coming from.  Obviously it’s not a thing I can relate to entirely the same way anymore since I am a married lady and stepmother, but still.  I feel like this book was really good, and is potentially inspiring for those who are struggling with their single status, but could also be seen as just what this one woman wants.  I don’t know.  In any case, it’s the kind of book that when reading could be both frustrating, uplifting, or also useful as a way to reconcile a non-single life with those who are living that way.

Fables, Vol. 2-8 by Bill Willingham

Oh hey guys – I read 7 volumes of the Fables series over the course of the month.  Surprise!  Or not.  These books are so good, and fit so perfectly into the Maggie-beloved-niche of fairy tale re-tellings.  I forgot how brutal and gory the books could be when I restarted them, though that really shouldn’t have been a surprise after playing the video game.  The story is so wide and wonderful, and I love the way that characters get introduced and used in new and surprising ways.  Back in 2008 I only got so far because it was a continuing story.  Lucky for me, the series wrapped up a few years ago, so I get to see a conclusion…in about 100 issues (which is another 14 or so volumes).  Hurrah!


Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

I chose this one because it’s a classic, and I honestly had no idea what it was about.  So far, it is very odd, and confusing, and I’m sure it makes a lot more sense (especially Chapter 2, I think?) if it’s written out, instead of done as an audiobook.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

My book club book for November.  I’m not really into the meat of it yet, but I’ll get there, and it seems like it has lots of potential so far, which isn’t surprising since it won or was nominated for a slew of awards.


Eleven “books” this month, including 4 proper book-books.  I’m quite proud of myself.  Goodreads tells me I’m ahead of schedule for the year, but I’m having a hard time figuring out by how much that is now.  Yay for bingeing on comic books!

4 Comment

  1. Beverly says: Reply

    I was thinking of reading the Ruth Ozeki book since it’s by a Japanese author and I would love to read something set in Japan in honor of our upcoming trip. Your review makes me want to find something else. I’m not convinced that book would be a good choice for me. Do you have any thoughts on other possibilities?

    1. maggie says: Reply

      Er…I would explore the “Japan” tag on Goodreads, but just my looking at that leads me to think that the book “Pachinko” might be interesting. It’s a Korean-Japanese story, and it already seems to be on your to-read list, so might be good? Goodreads also lists “Above the East China Sea”, which specifically takes place in Okinawa.

  2. […] enjoyed so far.  And this one is interesting so far since I can see similarities to another book I read last month – “Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?” which was about animal […]

  3. […] through your mouth.  It reminded me vaguely of two other books I’ve read recently – A Tale for the Time Being, which was also set in Japan, and had characters who were living more unusual daily lives, and […]

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