I don’t know about you, but to me it feels as if the beginning of October was about three months ago instead of a little over one. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: time just works differently in 2020. A lot has happened since the beginning of October – both in the world and my personal life – and I was surprised when I looked at Goodreads and saw some of these books. Did I really read those only 30 days ago? Apparently I did!
As for my reading in October; it was another good month. I finally managed to finish The Lord of the Rings, and I also read and loved my two most anticipated releases of the year. In total, I read six books, which seems to be about average for me in 2020. I’m still amazed at the fact that I’m reading so much this year! I never thought I would’ve read over 60 books at the end of October, but I guess social distancing definitely has some perks as well.
Anyway, let’s get into the reviews!
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta ★★★★☆ (4)
The Black Flamingo is a coming-of-age novel in verse in which we follow Michael as he comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay boy (and later man) in the UK. I was surprised when this novel opened with a scene of Michael as a six-year-old boy (or about that age) because I had anticipated it being a YA novel, but it actually follows him throughout his life until he’s at university. I listened to the audiobook, which was a wonderful experience as it’s narrated by Dean Atta himself which meant he read the verse to me in the way he wanted it to be read. Michael’s journey is a very honest and beautiful one and I loved seeing him become more and more secure in himself. This was quite a short novel, though, and I would’ve liked to see a bit more of Michael’s life at university, especially of his experiences with drag. It felt a little bit like getting a bird’s eye view of his life and while it was good, I didn’t feel entirely satisfied by the end.
Loveless by Alice Oseman ★★★★☆ (4)
This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year! I love Alice Oseman and I’ve liked all of the books by her that I’ve read so far. Loveless was highly anticipated by the book community, partly because it promised to be one of Oseman’s more personal novels to date, since it features an asexual main character, and Oseman is asexual herself as well. Loveless tells the story of Georgia as she moves to university and struggles with her sexuality. Eventually, she realises that she is aromantic asexual and the novel deals with Georga accepting herself for who she is. I learned a lot about asexuality from this novel, which was wonderful, but I loved it for aspects beyond that as well. I love Oseman’s writing style, especially her dialogues, and she really makes her characters shine on the page – messy and imperfect as they are. I also very much enjoyed getting a look at the British university system, which I don’t know all that much about.
The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien ★★★★☆ (4)
I took a hiatus of about a year after finishing The Two Towers, but in October I finally read the final book of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I actually wrote a full post about my experiences with reading The Lord of the Rings for the first time, so go read that if you’re interesting in my full thoughts! I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this series, but I ended up really enjoying The Return of the King. Before going in, I feared this book was going to put me in a reading slump (because that’s what The Two Towers did), but I actually ended up reading it pretty quickly and being completely engrossed!
Scarlet by Andrew Stopyra ★★★⭑☆ (3.5) (sent to me in exchange for an honest review)
Scarlet is the first book in the Haslewood Mysteries and introduces us to the main character Scarlet, who is a very talented con artist. The novel is set in 1920s Paris, London and Venice and features some flashbacks to before and during the First World War. The main focus of the book is Scarlet’s newest plan for a heist: she wants to sell the most famous painting in the world: the Mona Lisa. I liked Scarlet as a main character: she’s smart, cunning, wears the most beautiful outfits and adores a good pastry. I wasn’t a big fan of the ending, but overall I had a great time reading this and I’m interested to see what Scarlet gets up to next. This was also a wonderful autumnal read as it had the feel of a cosy mystery, which I loved.
The Invisible of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab ★★★★★ (5)
Ah, Addie LaRue! My most anticipated release of 2020 – the one I’d been looking forward to for months – and it didn’t disappoint one bit! This ended up being one of my favourite books of the year and I wrote a full review with my thoughts on it, since there was no way they would all fit in a mini review. You can read the full post here!
How to Be Ace: a Memoir of Growing up Asexual by Rebecca Burgess ★★★★☆ (4)
The last week of October was Asexual Awareness Week and I decided to read this graphic memoir to learn more about asexuality. Rebecca Burgess beautifully draws and writes their journey to self-acceptance through high school, college and university and I really enjoyed going along for the ride in this memoir. It really opened my eyes to how much pressure our society puts on us to find love and how sex is presented as the be all end all in any relationship. You’re not having sex? Then there must be something wrong with you and your relationship is doomed to fail (at least, that’s what society makes us presume). I read this in a day and enjoyed it a lot. I would highly recommend this graphic novel if you want to learn more about asexuality!
And that’s it for the books I read in October! It was another great reading month with lots of wonderful books. What was your favourite book you read in October, or did you read any of the books I mentioned? Let me know in a comment down below and we can chat about it!