Bookends: October 2016

I’m typing this from the stairs that overlook our front door, interrupted every few minutes by children dressed in costumes I can’t identify and begging for candy. Actually, it’s less begging and more demanding, and when I offer them the candy bowl, they empty a quarter of it with two handfuls. If the candy is going to last, I’m going to have to start handing it to them myself. Although if I let them take it all right away, I can turn off the porch light and ignore the door for the rest of the night. What a tempting idea…

These kids and their Halloween. They don’t seem to realize that last weekend was the real holiday: Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon! Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas pale in comparison, and now that Dewey’s has been and gone, there’s nothing to look forward to until the next readathon in April. (Well, except maybe for this in January.)

I’ve read online about people who give books to trick-or-treaters. It’s an interesting idea, but I wouldn’t want to hand out picture books or middle-grade lit. No, this would be my chance to make a difference in the world outside my household by handing out titles like What Are People For? by Wendell Berry, Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin, Living More With Less by Doris Jantzen Longacre, and How to Live Well Without Owning a Car by Chris Balish. Or I could get into the Halloween spirit and share Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House or Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. I’d bet their parents would really appreciate my promoting a love of reading in their children.

At any rate, here’s what I read (or stopped reading) this month before I devoted myself to being an active Halloween Scrooge:

Grown-ups’ Books:

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Memento Mori by Muriel Spark (audiobook)

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (audiobook)

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante (book three of the Neapolitan Novels)

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (The fourth and final Neapolitan Novel)

Mr. g by Alan Lightman (audiobook, stopped reading)

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard (stopped reading)

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (audiobook, stopped reading)

Kids’ Books:

Coraline by Neil Gaiman (read-aloud re-read)

Winter Cottage by Carol Ryrie Brink (read-aloud)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (audiobook re-read)

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (audiobook)

Currently Reading:

  • A Failure of Nerve by Edwin H. Friedman
  • White Fang—The Call of the Wild and Other Stories by Jack London (audiobook; we would have finished this long ago but my digital check-out expired and now I have to wait in the holds queue again)
  • In the Woods by Tana French
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (audiobook)
  • The Histories by Herodotus (for my Cavalcade of Classics, as a never-ending read-aloud with my daughter)
  • The Last Days of Socrates by Plato (read-aloud with my daughter)

My To-Read List for November:

Once again my to-read list is bloated, this time because I’m playing catch-up from my overly-ambitious October list. Luckily, I’m letting myself stop reading books that aren’t grabbing me (as you might have gathered from my list of books for October) so I’m able to work through my TBR a little more quickly than I have been. A lifespan is finite, and my TBR is, for all intents and purposes, infinite, so something’s got to give.

  • A Trumpet in the Wadi by Sami Michael (the October SBC selection; yes, I didn’t get to this one this month)
  • Interfaith Leadership by Eboo Patel
  • An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor
  • In the Woods by Tana French
  • The Likeness by Tana French
  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (the November SBC selection—Read along with us at our Goodreads Group!)
  • She’s Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan
  • Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp
  • Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin

What have you enjoyed reading in the past month? What’s on your to-read list for November? Are you a Halloween lover or a Halloween Scrooge?

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