October Summary and Plans for November

The BookDepository

October was an amazing reading month for me. I read four outstanding books (a 5* review is coming soon!), which I think is a record for me. All were very different in terms of style and content, but I highly recommend them all.

Books of the Month

The Last Banquet is an atmospheric story set in 18th century France. The descriptions of animal butchery mean that it isn’t for the squeamish, but if you enjoyed The Cook by Wayne Macauley then this book is for you!

Beneath the Darkening Sky is a disturbing insight into the plight of Africa’s child soldiers. It is a really important book and I hope that word about its brilliance spreads.

Difficult Conversations  makes you look at arguments in a different light. It has changed the way I interact with people and had a positive impact on my life.

The Last BanquetDifficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most[ DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS: HOW TO DISCUSS WHAT MATTERS MOST ] By Stone, Douglas ( Author )Nov-02-2010 PaperbackBeneath the Darkening Sky

Books Reviewed in October

Beneath the Darkening Sky by Majok Tulba 

The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood 

Difficult Conversations by Stone, Patton and Heen 

Wild by Cheryl Strayed 

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth 

419 by Will Ferguson 

Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupery 

The Skinning Tree by Srikumar Sen 

The History of Mary Prince by Mary Prince 

Plans for November

I plan to be an active participant in German Literature Month and am trying to read a diverse range of genres. I’ve already read several books and have a few more in the pipeline. My German books will include:

Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus

The Hunger Angel by Herta Muller

The Carpet Makers by Andreas Eschbach

Back to Back by Julia Franck

The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers

I also plan to join Ghanaian Literature week by reading:

Not Without Flowers by Amma Darko

If I have any time after that I plan to squeeze in some of these:

Tampa by Alissa Nutting

The Orenda by Joseph Boyden

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

A Man In Full by Tom Wolfe

I hope you have a wonderful November!


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21 Comments

  1. Lucybird says:

    I’d be interested to see your thoughts on Tampa. I’m still on the fence about whether I would like to read it or not.

    1. Jackie says:

      Lucybird, From what I’ve read it looks like ‘Tampa’ is one of those books you can’t sit on the fence about. It is such a powerful book it will elicit strong emotions of either love or hate. I hope my review will be able to give you a good idea about whether or not it is for you.

  2. Lizzy Siddal says:

    Look forward to sharing thoughts on the Franck, Jackie.

    1. Jackie says:

      Lizzy, The Franck will be a good one to discuss. I look forward to comparing notes.

  3. Sounds like a wonderful November!

    1. Jackie says:

      I hope you have a great one too :-)

  4. Jackie – you always amaze me with your monthly wrap ups . You did great once again. So many of these are new to me.

    1. Jackie says:

      Thanks for the kind words!

  5. Sandy says:

    That definitely WAS a great month for you! You don’t hand out those 4 and 5 stars easily. I’ve read The Interestings, and I liked it well enough but it will be curious to see what you say, and whether it holds your attention.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, That sounds as though I shouldn’t raise my expecations for ‘The Interestings’. I hope it manages to hold my attention.

  6. Caroline says:

    I second Lizzy. I almost bought it but I’ve still got another novel by her which I haven’t read yet. I thought the topic of this one was more appealing though.
    I’m also interested in Moers. I’ve read another Eschbach and it was a page turner. I hope this one is good as well.

    1. Jackie says:

      Caroline, I’ve nearly finished ‘The Carpet Makers’. It is a real page turner and I think I’ll read all of his books now. I look forward to seeing what everyone else reads for German literature month.

  7. David says:

    I like that you read such a wide range of books in October, Jackie (as you do every month) – my October was almost exclusively Canadian fiction (finished reading the Giller shortlist) with the odd Australian and American book thrown in. A few of the books I read aren’t available in the UK yet, but highlights for me were:

    Dan Vyleta’s tense and brooding pair of novels, ‘The Quiet Twin’ and ‘The Crooked Maid’, set in Vienna in 1939 and 1948 respectively;

    Alex Miller’s new novel, ‘Coal Creek’ (out here next spring) – I’m a fan of his work anyway, but this ranks as one of the best of his I’ve read;

    Richard Flanagan’s ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’ about Australian soldiers taken prisoner by the Japanese and forced to labour on the Thailand-Burma railway. It’s just brilliantly written and harrowing and ought to show up on the Aussie prize lists.

    And I’m just getting to the end of Joyce Carol Oates’ ‘My Sister, My Love’ which has been sitting on my shelves for a few years now. The last few JCO books I’ve read have been either short stories or novellas so it has been nice to sink my teeth into one of her chunky novels again (this one is 565 pages) and has made me want to read a few more.

    I’m hoping to get to ‘The Orenda’ in the next few weeks so I look forward to comparing thoughts with you on that. Three other books I’ll definitely be reading in November are the new novels by Maria McCann, Tim Winton and Thomas Keneally. Other than that I always look forward to November through February when there aren’t so many new books and I tend to read more older stuff or catch up on some I might have missed this year and last.

    1. Jackie says:

      David, All the books you mention sound appealing – there is something about books not released here that makes them even more interesting!

      I ordered ‘The Quiet Twin’ from my library when you mentioned it a couple of weeks ago. It should come in soon and hopefully I’ll be able to try it at some point in November.

      Miller is one of those authors I’ve been wanting to try for a while. I won a copy of his book about horses from Kim’s blog and hope to try it soon.

      I love ‘Gould’s Book of Fish’, but haven’t tried any of Flanagan’s other books. It is good to hear that his new one is worth waiting for. I should probably pull ‘One Hand Clapping’ off my bookshelf over the winter.

      I hope that you enjoy your upcoming reads. I look forward to hearing all about them! Have a wonderful November :-)

  8. stujallen says:

    sounds like a great month I loved beneath the darkening sky as well such a harrowing but important read ,all the best stu

    1. Jackie says:

      Stu, Hopefully we’ll be able to spread the word about it in the next few months. More people need to read ‘Darkening Sky’!

  9. I read The Carpet Makers several years ago and really enjoyed it. I look forward to your thoughts on it!

    I tried Tampa, but just couldn’t do it. Not because of the subject matter, which I found intriguing, but because I thought the writing was poor.

    1. Jackie says:

      threegoodrats, I’ve nearly finished ‘Carpet Makers’ and am really enjoying it. I love books with such original themes!

      I’ve just started ‘Tampa’ and agree that the writing isn’t great. Hopefully the plot will make up for that in the end….but it isn’t looking hopeful at the moment :-(

  10. Shan says:

    I look forward to reading your thoughts on The Orenda. It’s a long one, almost 500 pages, but it is excellent. I think it’s an important read in terms of Canadian history. I’m interested in hearing what people outside of Canada think of it.

    1. Jackie says:

      Shan, I’m not familiar with this period of Canadian history at all so it will be interesting to see how I get on – I’ll let you know!

  11. Ooh, The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books! I’ve read The City of Dreaming Books and have a couple others by Moers to read (Captain Bluebear, Rumo) but haven’t come across this one before. Must be a sequel, yes?

    A Man in Full is the only Wolfe book I’ve read so far – way back at uni, a total whim read but I really enjoyed it. Don’t remember what it was about, just that I liked it!

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