I have been talking about “all the books I’m going to read in October” since…. July? Pretty much since I found out that July – September would be totally crazy busy and I didn’t set my hopes very high, outside of reading books from publishers. Well OCTOBER is finally here and I’m so excited to get cozy with some of the books on my shelf! This month is all about BOOKS FROM OTHERS. Borrowed, Traded, and Gifted!
Having been focused on books from publishers over the summer, I made my grand return to the library last week for two books I’ve been waiting on for what feels like a while.
I love reading contemporary fiction in the fall. Maybe it’s because everyone in my family has a September birthday but it seems like a good time to reflect on family. I’ve seen a few great reviews of this book, and am excited to read it.
Goodreads Description: The Connor family is one of the few that is still left in their idyllic fishing village, Big Running; after the fish mysteriously disappeared, most families had no choice but to relocate and find work elsewhere. Aidan and Martha Connor now spend alternate months of the year working at an energy site up north to support their children, Cora and Finn. But soon the family fears they’ll have to leave Big Running for good. And as the months go on, plagued by romantic temptations new and old, the emotional distance between the once blissful Aidan and Martha only widens.
Between his accordion lessons and reading up on Big Running’s local flora and fauna, eleven-year-old Finn Connor develops an obsession with solving the mystery of the missing fish. Aided by his reclusive music instructor Mrs. Callaghan, Finn thinks he may have discovered a way to find the fish, and in turn, save the only home he’s ever known. While Finn schemes, his sister Cora spends her days decorating the abandoned houses in Big Running with global flair—the baker’s home becomes Italy; the mailman’s, Britain. But it’s clear she’s desperate for a bigger life beyond the shores of her small town. As the streets of Big Running continue to empty Cora takes matters—and her family’s shared destinies—into her own hands.
This book is the hot book of the moment — after being selected for Reese Witherspoon’s book club in September, this book has been on everyone’s radar. I’m proud to say that I requested it from the library before it was chose, but here we are. Part beautiful scenic writing, part murder mystery – I’m ready to have all the feels!
Goodreads description: For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.
I love doing book swaps with friends! Both of these are were traded to me (temporarily) by friends who read and loved them, in exchange for a book I read and loved!
I borrowed this book from a neighbor months ago after raving about The Great Alone by the same author. I have heard nothing but amazing things about this book, and I think Hannah’s writing style combined with a WWII backdrop, will make for a beautifully gripping novel!
Goodreads description: In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.
Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences.
Ok – I have been hoping to read this book for SO long. I tried listening to it on audio twice, but couldn’t focus. But I heard incredible things from friends, and I mean, it won the National Book Award, so I plan to persevere and read the hardcopy a friend lent me.
Goodreads Description: Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager.
His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister’s lives. She is an imperfect mother in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is Black and her children’s father is White. She wants to be a better mother but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. Simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high, Leonie is embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances.
When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love
I love getting books as gifts, and I usually try to read them soon after I get them. One of these is new and unfortunately, the other I’ve been dragging my feet on for almost a year.
For my birthday last week I said “no books!” when my boyfriend asked what I wanted. So what did I get? A graphic novel! I’ve never run one of these, but I’m really excited about this one. It’s the graphic novel behind the Tony winning musical, so you know after I read it, I’m gonna be listening to all the tunes!
Goodreads Description: Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the Fun Home. It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve
I got this book as a Christmas present last year and it really is right up my alley – you may not know this about me but I’m form Pittsburgh and I love the Pittsburgh Steelers. This book is about a football town across the river from were I grew up which is notorious for producing stars from an underprivledged community. I’ve been swamped with other books I want to read this whole year, but I think it’s time for me to pick this one up!
Goodreads Description: In the early twentieth century, down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh, the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company built one of the largest mills in the world and a town to go with it. Aliquippa was a beacon and a melting pot, pulling in thousands of families from Europe and the Jim Crow south. The J&L mill, though dirty and dangerous, offered a chance at a better life. It produced the steel that built American cities and won World War II and even became something of a workers’ paradise. But then, in the 1980’s, the steel industry cratered. The mill closed. Crime rose and crack hit big.
But another industry grew in Aliquippa. The town didn’t just make steel; it made elite football players, from Mike Ditka to Ty Law to Darrelle Revis. Pro football was born in Western Pennsylvania, and few places churned out talent like Aliquippa. Despite its troubles—maybe even because of them—Aliquippa became legendary for producing football greatness. A masterpiece of narrative journalism, Playing Through the Whistletells the remarkable story of Aliquippa and through it, the larger history of American industry, sports, and life. Like football, it will make you marvel, wince, cry, and cheer.
What are you reading this month? Are you usually good about reading books lent/gifted to you??