I had all of these big plans of writing more full-length book reviews again and posting more on my blog, but here I am, nearly a month after my previous post, with another round-up of books I read in the previous month. Who knows, maybe I’ll do better again next year! For now, I’m focusing on writing the second draft of my novel, as well as reading the final books on my list of 10 books to read in 2022. I also started a new job in October, so I’m still trying to figure out how to balance it all. I think I might’ve mentioned in a previous post that I started a TikTok bookish account, but I deleted the app from my phone again after two months because I did not like what it did to my mental health.
Anyway! That’s where I’m at, more or less, so now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to the books I read in October. I didn’t read that much last month: five books in total, two of which were only short ones. Let’s get into the reviews!
Leven en laten leven: een gedachtenwisseling over abortus by Madeleijn van den Nieuwenhuizen ★★★★⭑ (4.5)
This is a Dutch essay (which translates to Live and Let Live) on abortion by a feminist media critic who gained fame on Instagram. I’ve followed her for a couple of years now and I’m always impressed by how eloquently she manages to express her thoughts and opinions on a whole host of social issues, but recently on abortion rights especially (with a focus on the US since she lives in New York). She was already working on this essay when Roe v Wade was overturned, and it came out shortly before or after (I don’t remember). The essay focuses mostly on abortion law in the Netherlands and the history of it, but the author also gets personal when she writes about her own experience with abortion. In my opinion, the final section of the book is the most interesting. It’s a collection of bite size opinions on abortion (collected via Instagram), and all of the complexities surrounding it, from many different people. It’s a very powerful way of showing that this topic is incredibly complex, and that the media commits a gross simplification when it pits ‘pro life’ and ‘pro choice’ against one another, as if there isn’t a myriad of points of view in between. Don’t be mistaken; Van den Nieuwenhuizen is firmly pro choice (as am I), which made it all the more admirable for her to give voice to such a wide range of standpoints.
The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld ★★★★⭑ (4.25)
The Bass Rock is one of the books on the list of 10 books to read in 2022 I mentioned earlier, and I’m glad I put it on there because I really enjoyed it! It was a gift from my parents and I hadn’t heard about the book before they gave it to me, which is always a bit of a thrill these days. The novel tells the story of three generations of women in a small seaside town, and the violence inflicted on them by men. That sounds rather bleak, and parts of this book were really bleak, but there’s always this anger burning right underneath the surface of the narrative that kept me fully captivated. I, too, am angry at all the injustices women have had and still have to suffer, and this book described it in a sometimes harrowing but always beautiful way. I loved the writing style and the two female main characters. Highly recommend!
Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi (no rating)
I have never read the Shatter Me series and have no intention of ever doing so. However, in October I did read this novella that comes after the first book in the series and that’s because it was reissued as a gift to hand out to customers buying English books in bookstores during the Week of the English Book we had in the Netherlands. Since I work in a bookstore, I decided to read the novella to know what we were handing out. It didn’t feel right to rate it, though, because it so clearly is a sequel to the first book. Destroy Me starts as soon as Shatter Me ends (as far as I can tell), and there’s very little explanation about the world the story is set in and what on earth is going on. My main takeaway was that it was a very strange decision to choose this novella as a gift to hand out to all readers of English, since you have to have read the first book to really enjoy it.
Renegades by Marissa Meyer ★★★★☆ (4)
I love Marissa Meyer’s writing (The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favourite series) and when I bought Renegades a couple of years ago, I was very excited to read it, but somehow it ended up languishing on my shelves. That’s why I put it on my list of 10 books to read in 2022 (yes, another one), and I’m glad I did. This was such a fun, fast-paced, high-stakes adventure story! We’re following two characters in a futuristic world where Renegades (superheroes) reign in society. Adrian is the son of the most powerful Renegade (Captain Chromium), and Nova is a supervillain who has every reason to hate the Renegades and is on a mission for vengeance. I loved how this was not only a fun action novel but also an exploration of the fantasy that is ‘good versus evil’: there’s always a grey area in between. I had such a good time reading this, and I’m looking forward to reading the other books in the trilogy.
Beartown by Fredrik Backman ★★⭑☆☆ (2.5)
I was very excited to read Beartown since it’s such a favourite within the bookish community, but unfortunately, I wasn’t a fan. This book tells the story of a small, isolated town that completely revolves around ice hockey. It’s more than just a sport; it’s the thing that’s supposed to save Beartown’s future, so it’s very important to a lot of people. We follow quite a few different characters, and one thing I will say for this book is that the characterisation is amazing: all of them jumped off the page vividly and complexly. However, I thought the pacing was too slow and I also wasn’t a fan of the writing style – it was too contrived and melodramatic for my liking. There is one traumatic incident that’s an important part of the plot that was rather triggering and difficult to read about for me personally. I’m definitely not going to read the sequels to this book, but I’m still on the fence about whether or not I want to try one of Backman’s other books.
And those are all the books I read in October! Have you read any of these books? What was your favourite book of October? Let’s chat in the comments!