Books – October 2018 Roundup

I’m feeling pretty good about October.  I finished a book that had been languishing, and managed to finish three additional books – two of which were quite long.  Plus, I’m making headway with books for next month, so that’s good.


Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Huzzah!  I finally (re-)finished this book!  If you haven’t read it before, I highly recommend it, because this is where Anthony Bourdain as food writer became a thing, and you can see where a whole generation of chefs and food writers/bloggers came from.  Well worth spending your time on – even a SECOND time – and something I’m happy to add to my already stuffed shelves.

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

This was hard to listen to, but not because it was bad.  I cried a few times during the reading (by HRC herself!) because I felt like I was so disappointed in our country that we couldn’t have elected someone who was this competent, and willing to try and unite Americans as opposed to what we ended up with.  It brought back a lot of the feelings that I had on November 9 of 2016, which was hard to relive, but it was certain harder for Clinton herself to relive them.  Yes, she does a lot of Comey-blaming, but it sounds like he deserves it.  Thankfully she does take responsibility for the things she could have done, but it’s made me more aware of how the media really does fall under the sway of Trump, and how they’re willing to rehash whatever story he thinks is important and is talking about instead of getting to the real issues when it comes to the election cycle.  Worth your time if you think you can handle it without getting angry or frustrated at the country/other people.

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

I’m amazed that I got this book as soon as I did, especially considering I only put myself on the list for it AFTER the book came out, and granted, that was only a day or two afterwards, but it’s a new book.  It should be flying off the shelf!  Perhaps people like me were just gobbling it up.  I was surprised to read a New York Times review that said it was long-winded, because it felt like it needed all that time to address the various things going on in the story and side-plots.  I may have sort-of figured out what happened, but it didn’t really click until close to the end, so it didn’t feel like I spoiled myself.  Just that I was right there with Strike and Robin.  Very satisfying overall.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

This is another very new book, and I finished it this morning, and then read a review and was SO surprised that it wasn’t glowing, because I so thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It’s one part science-fiction, one part critique of current social-media and political punditry, and one part mystery/puzzle.  It reminded me a lot of Ready Player One for that last reason.  One of the things I most appreciated about the book is that the main character knew when she was being a jerk – she would admit it as an after-the-fact thing that she recognized – but it felt very real.  This is how people would react in unusual and incredible situations.  I’m sort of frustrated that the book ends the way it does, because I’m hoping that Hank Green has a sequel lined up to release quickly (SOON, HANK!) because dang – it does not feel fair to cut us off at the point that it does.  A shorter book, but one I finished in less than a week because I needed to know.


Victoria: A Life by A.N. Wilson

Yes.  Still.  At some point when I’m not desperate to tear through a bunch of books and have some time, I’ll devote some time to this one.  I think the fact that I’m continuing to make the effort with it at all is pretty good, but it helps that Queen Victoria is an interesting character.

People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges by Jen Mann

This is a Kindle book I started over the long weekend in Charlottesville, and I got about halfway through it.  Am hoping that I can make more progress enough to add it to the pile for the year.  V. funny so far.

Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear

Second in the Maisie Dobbs series, and I’m thoroughly amused, because I definitely heard Hillary Clinton mention Winspear as a mystery author she has enjoyed in “What Happened”.  Me and HRC – reading the same kind of books!


I’ve made a small amount of progress for my goal for the year because of this month – instead of being 5 books behind, I’m only 4 books behind being on track for my end-of-year goal.  So that’s something.  I think the strategy is to read more short books (LOL – that’s my strategy every month, and every month I choose TOMES), and if there’s a book I like and want to finish, it’s ok to go beyond my usual times of listening to the book, and have it on when I’m doing things like, loading or unloading the dishwasher.  Gotta get in those book moments whenever possible!

4 Comment

  1. Beverly says: Reply

    Your Grandmother has read (listened) to all the Maise Dobbs books! She and HRC also read same books too. HAHA!

    Well done reading so many books. For some reason I haven’t been able to read as many without a commute to help me out. I need to figure out when to fit reading into my day. I have always considered it a luxury which isn’t a good way to think.

    You inspire me. xoxoxo

  2. Nicole says: Reply

    Neither the Richmond Public Library nor the DC library (which I still have an account with) have the audiobook of Lethal White! I don’t mean they don’t have any copies available – they don’t own them! And the wait list for the ebook is 6 months!!!!!!!

    Good news though – there IS a sequel to An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. It should come out next year, I believe, which is torture. But I LOVED that book. Did you happen to read my review of it on Goodreads? This is a book that I just keep thinking about. Like, it has so much to say about so many things and it does it so freaking well, I have just been mulling over it for weeks. Ben is reading it now, too, which says something because he hasn’t finished a physical book in, like…..years I think.

    1. maggie says: Reply

      So frustrating about Lethal White – they’ll have to get it at some point. Unless their audiobook collections aren’t very robust?

      In any case, I did see your Goodreads Review, and agree with almost everything you say (not that there’s anything I disagree with, I just don’t feel those feelings as strongly as you do?). I think the challenge here for Hank is that the book is being treated as if it’s part of some kind of Vlogbrothers YA empire, when the only things that are YA about this book are a) the diversity of the characters b) the more modern tone of voice and c) the use of social media and its discussion. Which is totally unfair, because those things are just ways that YA tends to be better than literary fiction – it’s not fair to think that if a book has those things, obviously it’s for kids. Because based on the number of times April May says “FUCK”, the discussion of sex/sexuality, and the fact that none of the main characters are under the age of 21…it’s definitely not for your average 13 year old. Not that 13 year old couldn’t enjoy it or any other novel written for “adults”.

      1. Nicole says:

        I don’t think that’s a problem specific to Vlogbrothers though; it’s the ghetto of YA. Like you said, any book that has to do with young people gets lumped in this category and somewhat discounted. Even if Hank wasn’t Hank of Internet-fame, it would probably be categorized the same. I just feel like this book captures the zeitgeist really, really accurately right now.

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