October ’16 Wrap-Up

Books Bought

  • Bee Journal, Sean Borodale
  • The Gallery of Lost Species, Nina Berkhout
  • The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, Nick Hornby
  • Dior by Dior, Christian Dior
  • Random Family, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
  • George and Sam, Charlotte Moore
  • Adulthood is a Myth, Sarah Anderson
  • Love Poems, Carol Ann Duffy


Books Read

  • The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, Nick Hornby
  • The Bookshop, Penelope Fitzgerald
  • The Watcher in the Shadows, Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • Adulthood is a Myth, Sarah Anderson
  • Love Poems, Carol Ann Duffy


To start out, yes, I have completely stolen this format from Hornby’s Polysyllabic Spree. No I am not sorry. It’s a damn good format.

This month was a bit strange for reading as it was the month I started back at university, so although I finished The Raven King fairly early on in October, every other book on the ‘read’ list was finished from the 30th onward (although I must add that most of these were books I had already started in previous months but not finished – if only I had the ability to read five books in two days!).

I had pre-ordered The Raven King on kindle before it came out way back in April, but for some reason despite my great love for this series I just never seemed to pick it up. But eventually I did finish it, and thankfully it was the beautifully written, climactic end to the series that I was hoping for – although now I’m just disappointed I can’t read any more about the exploits of these wonderful characters. Perhaps now would be the time to invest in physical copies and re-read them?

The Complete Polysyllabic Spree was a book I ran across quite by chance through a reblogged Tumblr quote, and I’m so glad I decided to give this book a go. It’s a collection of Hornby’s columns for the Believer where he chronicles his reading experience month by month, listing ‘books bought’ and ‘books read’ as above – and it was so great to find a kinship with another reviewer with a compulsion for buying more books that one could ever hope to finish in a lifetime, but that look rather impressive stacked in the living room – and consequently I added George and Sam and Random Family to my ever growing TBR after his glowing reviews of each.

The Bookshop is a tiny volume of literary fiction about a woman who opens a bookshop in a conservative small town in the south of England. Rather than being a fluffy number about the power of books that most such novels are, it’s quite a melancholy story about the ‘cultured’ vs. ‘uncultured’ (with the former being spiteful characters and the latter being lovely and kind-hearted, if adverse to buying books) and the pettiness of small town politics. It was definitely not what I was expecting to find when I cracked back the covers, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable and cleverly written book packed into 120 pages.

The Watcher in the Shadows is a book I’ve had on my shelves since Christmas 2014 – yes, yes, I’m a terrible person, blah blah blah – and although it showed dramatic and suspenseful story-telling, I’m not all that sure if it was worth waiting two years to get through. I didn’t realise until the end that it was supposed to be aimed at a younger audience, which does very much explain my overall reaction of ‘it was a pretty cool idea and well written but nothing to write home about’.

Adulthood is a Myth is a great little collection of Anderson’s comics, a lot of which I’d already seen floating around the internet but still make me laugh. I technically bought this book for my boyfriend, but I ended up just reading the whole thing over his shoulder. Every panel is funny, relatable (a particular favourite panel of mine involves a girl hiding under the covers shouting NOOOOOOO) and is such a great book to be able to flick through if you’re in need of a fast pick me up.

I’ve loved Carol Ann Duffy for years now, but I picked up Love Poems as I feel like I’ve only really experienced downbeat pieces of hers. As always she’s witty and clever, and not every poem is a mushy declaration of passion, but instead many are filled with narrative and more complex feelings that come hand in hand with love, such as jealousy, guilt, and sometimes, indifference. My particular favourite was one called Tea, which is probably one of the only poems I’ve read with such a sweet and innocent sentiment that doesn’t make me feel like I’ve just swallowed a spoonful of jam.


What books have you been reading this month?



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