Bookends: October 2013

The first day of each month, I’m posting a summary of what I read the previous month and what I plan to read in the coming month. I would love if this could become a conversation in the comments about what’s on your reading list, too!

It’s a rainy, rather slow Halloween night, and I’m sitting here on the stairs in our entryway trying to ignore the organic fair trade chocolates I have set to distribute to the neighborhood children.

I had been reading The History of England, Volume V, but that wasn’t distracting enough, so as another mini dark chocolate melted in my mouth, I reached for my laptop so I could tell you all what I’ve read this month. Preview: We went all-out with the Beverly Cleary audiobooks this month.

Here’s the complete list (well, complete minus all but the most notable of the picture books my kids and I read this month):

Grown-ups’ Books:

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (a fictional, present-tense account of the court of Henry VIII told from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell)

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (a casualty of the bursting of the dot-com bubble takes a job working the nightshift at a San Francisco bookstore that’s more than it seems (although I’m pretty sure that most San Francisco bookstores are more than they seem). This was the October selection for the Sisters Book Club.)

Kids’ Books:

Watership Down by Richard Adams (is this a kids’ book? It’s about bunnies, which should make it a kids’ book, but they’re kind of badass warrior bunnies, which makes it a little non-kid-ish. It’s an awesome book, regardless, and I put it in the kids’ books section because I read it to my eight-year-old.)

Lumberjack by William Kurelek (a picture book about life in a traditional Canadian lumber camp)

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (an eleven-year-old girl living in turn-of-the-(20th)century Texas discovers Darwin’s theory of natural selection and a coming-of-age story unfolds. We listened to this on audiobook.)

Dial-a-Ghost by Eva Ibbotson (two women establish an agency whose mission is to find homes for displaced ghosts)

Henry and the Paper Route by Beverly Cleary (audiobook) (#4 in the Henry Huggins series; Henry lobbies for his own paper route. Will he get it, or will Ramona Quimby and his dog conspire to keep him route-less?)

Henry and the Clubhouse by Beverly Cleary (audiobook) (#5 in the Henry Huggins series; Henry and his buddies build a clubhouse at which there are “No Girls Allowed,” reigniting my son’s interest in declaring that various places around our house are off-limits to girls. Luckily I am not a girl, according to my four-year-old.)

Ribsy by Beverly Cleary (audiobook) (The 6th and final book in the Henry Huggins series; Cleary went avant-garde with this one and told it from the dog’s point of view.)

Ellen Tebbits by Beverly Cleary (audiobook) (Ellen feels lonely in her neighborhood and in her third-grade class until she finds another little girl who wears the same kind of underwear she does.)

Currently Reading/To-Read for November

Right now I’m still working on Lori Duron’s Raising My Rainbow and David Hume’s The History of England, Volume V, although I’m happy to report that I have made tremendous progress on the Hume (I’m just past the Irish uprising!). In addition to these, I’m reading A Game of Thrones and my kids and I are listening to the audio of Brian Jacques’s Redwall (which I’m starting to enjoy even though the full-cast version we have is really tough for me to follow. Incidentally, Constance the Badger on this recording sounds just like Osha from the Game of Thrones t.v. show (and it might be, but I can’t find a cast listing for the audiobook to see if it’s actually Natalia Tena)).

On tap for November:

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud (the Sisters Book Club selection for this month. Read along with us and join the conversation here on the blog or at our Goodreads group)

The Seminal Gospel by George Kimmich Beach, which I’ll be reading for a book discussion group at church.

Maddaddam and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. I read Oryx and Crake several years ago, but I’ve forgotten a lot of details and I want to read it again because the trilogy ends with the newly released Maddaddam. Because it’s a re-read, though, it will be a B-list book.

And now the kids are home from trick-or-treating and must have done some sampling en route because they’re totally juiced up. I either need to go manage them until bedtime or find a better place to hide so I can leave them to my spouse.

What have you enjoyed reading in the past month? What’s on your to-read list for November? If you blog your answer, please post a link in the comments (and/or link back to this post, if you’re so inclined).

4 Replies to “Bookends: October 2013”

  1. I just finished reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I enjoyed it BUT I thought it was going to be more of a spine tingle and it wasn’t. It fell flat and I’m in no hurry to read the second installment when it comes out next year. That said, I’m looking for a good book to start. I would like to get into Historical Fiction and I don’t know where to start. I loved the show the Tudors if that’s any help. Do you have any suggestions?


    1. Well, if you liked The Tudors, you may very well like Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall as it begins just before Anne Boleyn replaces Katherine and ends before she’s fallen completely out of favor with Henry. I didn’t like that it was told in the present tense, but it was a good book aside from that. Being inside Thomas Cromwell’s head was very interesting. I’ve not read The Other Boleyn Girl, but that might be another to try out from that time period. And I really enjoyed Iain Pears’s An Instance of the Fingerpost, which is kind of an historical mystery.

      I have Miss Peregrine’s Home on my to-read list. The cover certainly looks spine-tingly, which I suppose just goes to prove the old adage about books and their covers.


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