October was a great reading month as I’ve been on uni holidays and I started working in a bookstore, which means buying all the things. (Yes, I know I’m on a no-spend year, but the four I’ve bought so far were ones I’ve been wanting for a while. That’s valid, right?) (Right!?)
I read three poetry books. The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One and The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One (Amanda Lovelace) I gave four and three stars. I commented on her first book in this poetry-trilogy that this isn’t what I would call poetry, though I like the titles, covers, and premise. These two did seem better than the first, however; though they weren’t ‘poems’, they were more original. Somebody Give This Heart a Pen (Sophia Thakur) I gave five of five stars. Beautiful, vivid, captivating. Each poem pulled at my heart even if I couldn’t fully relate, which is what good writers do. Cannot recommend this enough.
Two classics; Cranford (Elizabeth Gaskell) and Anne of the Island (L.M. Montgomery), which both received four stars from me. Cranford had some dull moments that I struggled to pull through, but once I found the rhythm it was a gentle, lovely novel that warms the heart and made me laugh. It’s a short book about different people in the town of Cranford, mostly old spinsters who spend their days speculating about others in the town. There are a few wonderful love stories in there, too. Anne of the Island was also gentle and lovely and follows Anne (of Green Gables) as she grows up. I love how Anne just winds up helping everyone around her and gaining their friendship. Also – Gilbert. That’s what we’re here for!
I also read two non-fiction books this month. Books that Saved my Life (Michael McGirr) I gave four stars, and Prison to Praise (Merlin Carothers) – a reread – was the five I gave it last time. McGirr’s book speaks of books that made an impact on him somehow; he tells, in a highly entertaining manner, stories of meeting authors, teaching students, reading books at pivotal moments in his life. I loved this book because I found out about the McGirr’s life as well as the history of the authors he writes about. Some include, Les Murray, Nelson Mandela, Toni Morrison. Prison to Praise is a little Christian book that speaks to thanking God in all situations regardless of whether we can see the good in it or not. There are some good pointers in this, but as always read the Bible too.
Finally, I read the novel Before the Coffee Gets Cold (Toshikazu Kawaguchi) which I gave four of five stars. This is one I read in one, relaxing day, so it’s got lovely connotations. The premise of this book has so much promise and is something I’ve wished for: to go back to a moment in the past. There are rules, however; you have to finish the coffee before it goes cold, the present won’t change regardless of what you’ve said or done, you can’t leave a certain seat in the café… Despite the amazing idea, I don’t think the storytelling quite lived up to the potential. I think part of that might be the translation though, so something might have been lost there. Overall, an enjoyable, emotional, quick read.
I also started reading fifty thousand books, which is the problem when you pick up a book, then another, then another, before you’ve finished anything else. Still, that’s part of the fun.