October reading round-up

Two Friends by Oliver Ingraham Lay (1877)
Two Friends by Oliver Ingraham Lay (1877)

Happy Halloween! Tim and I have been celebrating the eeriest day by watching Stranger Things, but most years I try to read something a bit on the spooky side. October has been so mild it has barely felt autumnal (though the colours are amazing) so it’s only now that the clocks have changed and the evenings are long and dark that I am starting to yearn for ghost stories.

What I have read this month has been fairly eclectic, not least because I have working on filling out my Books on the Nightstand Book Bingo card. I’m currently three-quarters of the way through two books for that – a popular-science title and a random book picked off the shelf. I even shut my eyes!

How was your October? Did you pick out a special Halloween read?

Books read

Giant Days Vol. 3 by John Allison, Max Sarin
The story of university roommates Daisy, Esther and Susan continues. There’s student union elections, camping, exams and some romantic ups and downs. Still a very lovely series.

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 4: Last Days by G Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona
Teen inhuman Kamala is facing the classic superhero test: the end of the world. Can she keep her family, friends and school safe and oblivious to the fact they may only have hours left to live? This series to be excellent.

Saga, Vol. 6 by Brian K Vaughan, Fiona Staples
Another excellent series. Hazel has started kindergarten at the prison camp she is living in with her grandmother, while her parents continue to fight their way across the universe. This really is beautiful and moving.

And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
A slim volume of poetry by one of the greats. I was struck by how many of these poems read like song lyrics – which is interesting in light of Bob Dylan’s Nobel win.

The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna
This romance set in Sierra Leone touches on issues not only of war but also, more importantly, the after-effects of war.

The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett
The annotated diaries of the years when Bennett’s driveway was occupied by the titular lady in a van, Miss S., an elderly woman whose eccentricities are gradually outweighed by her infirmaties. It’s a sad story, told with humour and pathos.

Disgrace by J M Coetzee
A fairly disturbing read about a professor in South Africa who has an affair with a student and the increasingly bad situation that follows. Extremely well written but I found it hard how much I disliked the main character.

Short stories read

“The next world and the next” by Alice Sola Kim (Lenny Newsletter, July 19, 2016)

“How can I help?” by Rivka Galchen (New Yorker: The Author’s Voice podcast, Sep 13, 2016)

“Namaslay” by Jessica Grose (Lenny Newsletter, Aug 30, 2016)

“I love Betty” by Kaitlyn Greenidge (Lenny Newsletter, Aug 30, 2016)

“Let me do this” by Jackie Thomas-Kennedy (Lenny Newsletter, Aug 30, 2016)

“The mechanic” by Lena Dunham (Lenny Newsletter, Aug 30, 2016)

“Gender studies” by Curtis Sittenfeld (New Yorker: The Author’s Voice podcast, Aug 23, 2016)

“Chicken Hill” by Joy Williams (New Yorker Fiction Podcast, May 2, 2016)