October Reading Wrap-up 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017
I wanted to read a lot in October as there were multiple readathons and to be honest, I've never taken part in any readathon but autumn seems like the best season to read and to read as much as possible especially as it's halloween season too. I had lots of halloween themed books that I wanted to get to so I attempted to take part in the Spookathon, cosy reading night, Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, #AutumnReadathon, Sbooktober and lastly, Hallowreadathon, phew. I managed to read 11 books and two audiobooks which is a little disappointing as I wanted to read much more.

Killing The Dead by Marcus Sedgwick (117 pages - available now) - ★★★
The first few books I read this month were just spooky, atmospheric and halloween(ish) books rather than complying with a readathon challenge. This book is the first by Marcus Sedgwick that I've read and I loved his writing style as well as the feel of the book although it was just too short. It was created for World Book Day 2015 and it follows a group of girls before a school ceremony but there's tension about it as last year something tragic happened and throughout the book you're wondering what fully happened. It was quite atmospheric and I loved the school setting but it was just a bit lacking.

The October Country by Ray Bradbury (306 pages - available now) - ★★★ 
Ray Bradbury is one of my favourite authors as his writing is just incredibly atmospheric, unique and wonderful. I read The Halloween Tree around this time last year and loved it! The edition I have is American and was published in 1996 but the book was first published back in 1943. It's a short story collection featuring autumnal and halloween themes as well as crime and supernatural creatures.

My favourites stories from the collection include: Next In Line, Skeleton, The Man Upstairs and Homecoming but they all have amazing points. The stories feature the darker sides of us, human emotion, death and more. I cannot recommend Ray Bradbury books enough especially The Halloween Tree and The October Country for this time of the year!

Rest In Pieces by Bess Lovejoy (279 pages - available now) - ★★★
I haven't read as many non-fiction books this year as I'd hoped; however I did read a couple of non-fiction reads in October. Rest In Pieces looks at 'the curious fates of famous corpses' including Lenin, Hitler, Beethoven, Lord Byron, Oliver Cromwell and many more. It was filled with so much interesting information, some of which I knew, that it was a little overwhelming but I did love this book, particularly the unique narrow shape and illustrations.

*Killer Fashion by Jennifer Wright (56 pages - 14th December) - ★★★
I adore short quirky non-fiction especially if there are illustrations so this little e-arc fits the bill perfectly. I love the illustrations and it was an extremely quick but interesting read even though I knew quite a lot of the information already (I watch too many documentaries). It was a quirky non-fiction that I'd definitely recommend!

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman (243 pages - available now) ★★★
This is the second Neil Gaiman book I've read this autumn and it's one of his more recent books - I've heard mixed reviews so I was a little cautious going into it but overall I really liked it. The book follows the narrator as he remembers his childhood which involves his friend Lettie and her family as well as the darker memories, death and creatures we fear as children.

At first I found it too slow and a little boring but it became far better as the story unfolded as it was filled with magical realism, unusual creatures and the Hempstock family which had the same kind of feeling to me as characters that Terry Pratchett or Roald Dahl would write. I loved the magical realism, how real but imaginative the writing was and his writing style. I now need to read more by Neil Gaiman but I can see how his books can be a little polarising.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (304 pages - available now)
 - ★★★
This is the third Neil Gaiman book I've read in the past couple of months, he's become one of my favourite new authors so I wanted to read another. The Graveyard book fits the 'spooky book' challenge for the #AutumnReadathon and the 'spook word in the title' for the Spookathon readathon. It's illustrated by Chris Riddell, who's one of my favourite illustrators!

We follow Nobody Owens, an orphaned child who grows up within the graveyard, that he can't leave, with the friendly ghosts and spirits that look after him as he learns about the people in the graveyard and all manner of spooky, magical things. I love the atmosphere of all the Neil Gaiman books I've read so far and I love his writing and imagination (which is wonderful) but his writing seems to make me slow down and I can't read his books as quickly as I can with other authors which is a little frustrating and I felt like DNFing this book a couple of times but I did read it fully.

While I enjoyed the atmosphere, the writing, feel and story on the whole but it was a little too slow for me and I feel as though it could have been much shorter. Out of the three books and one audiobook book from Neil Gaiman, I think this is my least favourite (I loved the illustrations though). I would still recommend it, I was just a little disappointed.

The Simpsons Spooktacular Comic by Matt Groening (139 pages - available now) - ★★★
The Simpsons is one of my favourite cartoons ever, it's so nostalgic for me especially the amazing Treehouse Of Horror episodes which are my favourites! I have a few of these Simpsons comics that I bought ages ago as they were cheap but I'm only just getting round to reading them and the Spooktacular edition seemed perfect for autumn and the reading challenge of 'a book with orange on the cover' for the Spookathon readathon.

It features numerous comic strip stories as well as other extras, I adore the illustrations as it's just like the TV show and I did enjoy the stories too. I also picked it as it would be fairly short and quite quick for a readathon. I did enjoy the comic but I don't think I'll read any more of them - I'll stick to the TV show.

Very British Problems Volume 3 by Rob Temple (271 pages - available now)
 - ★★★
A few years ago I read the first book in this series, then I read the second last year and a few weeks ago the third book was released so I had to read it, not only as they are funny and relatable but this cover is just stunning. The cover is so autumnal so in my opinion it fits with the 'autumnal non-fiction' challenge for the #AutumnReadathon. It was a very quick read, I like the illustrations and it's an interesting, funny and relatable read, if you are an awkward Brit like me! I would definitely recommend the first and the third books, not so much the second.

*The Apothcary's Shop by Roberto Tiraboschi (327 pages - available now)
 - ★★★ (3.5)
I was very kindly sent this book from the lovely people over at Europa Editions and it sounds amazing! It was translated from the Italian by Katherine Gregor. I started this book for the 'historical fiction' challenge as part of the #AutumnReadthon recently as it's set in Venice 1118AD. It is such an unusual book with a crippled former monk, a dwarf apothecary, Venetian nobles and so much more.

We follow a fairly large cast of characters in particular, a former monk turned scribe for the Grimani family, an influential noble family within Venice and an eccentric female physician. I adored the setting of Venice as not only have I been there but it's such an incredibly atmospheric, eerie and vivid setting as well which fits the book perfectly as it too is dark, mysterious and unusual. I loved the writing and story on the whole, even though at times it is very disturbing and the author seems to like graphic descriptions when it comes to dead bodies, sex and medical examinations which may not have been needed in such detail...

I liked the mystery, even though at times it was a little predictable; I also liked the characters, especially Kallis, Abella, Sabbatai and Edgardo who were all vidid and interesting characters. The ending was great, if a little disturbing, yet again. I would definitely recommend it especially for this time of the year but maybe not if you aren't comfortable reading about overly detailed and unusual descriptions of human genitals, medical topics or dead bodies...I would rate it higher but it was a little slow at times and it took me a while to get into it. It definitely reminded me at times of The Plague Charmer by Karen Maitland so if you're interested in this book but want a similar read with less disturbing themes, then check it out - I'd highly recommend both and I was very close to rating The Apothecary's Shop four stars!

You Should Have Left by Daniel Kehlmann (111 pages - available now) - ★★★
I have heard a lot about this book recently as it's meant to be a very creepy haunted house type story so I thought I've give it a go (I have the gorgeous little hardback edition). It's a short book, almost a novella so I thought it would be good for a readathon and I chose it to fit with the 'spooky setting' challenge for the Spookathon readathon as haunted houses are pretty terrifying!

We follow a family, the father is a screen writer and you get the story he's writing as well as his narration of his life while he is in a remote cabin in the woods with his family. Then he starts to see things...it is an usual book with an unusual writing style which I don't think will be for everyone but I did enjoy it overall. However, I definitely won't re-read it and for me it wasn't nearly as scary as I'd heard it was for others - it was a little disappointing.

*Coraline by Neil Gaiman (audiobook) - ★★★ (3.5)
Neil Gaiman is fast becoming one of my favourite authors but this is the first Neil Gaiman audiobook I've listened to and it is actually narrated/performed by Neil Gaiman himself. It's less than four hours long, it's entertaining and even though it's a children's book, it's a little creepy at times (especially the singing...). I love Neil Gaiman's narration and the story on the whole so I'd definitely recommend this audiobook on BookBeat.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman (291 pages - available now) - ★★★★ (4.5)
I've heard nothing but great things about this book as well as how genuinely creepy and scary it is so I had to read it in October! We are thrown into story at the present with Malorie and her children but the book goes back and forth from the past to the present to explain how Malorie is in the situation she is in now. It takes place in an almost apocalyptic, dystopian world but not quite and there is definitely a creepy, spooky and terrifying element to this book that I won't spoil - it gave me strong vibes of the film The Village (2004) which I watched as a teen and it still scares me now!

I love his writing style, I liked the story and how unique it was as well as the very creepy, suspenseful moments. I would highly recommend it although I wish there was a prequel book as well as a second book after this one but sadly there isn't. I also wish there was an explanation as I'm left with so many questions and the more I think about it, the more creeped out I become! A genuinely scary read and one of the most memorable books I've this year.

*The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro (audiobook) - ★★★
I watched most of the TV show The Strain a couple of years ago and loved it so I wanted to listen to the audiobook and I enjoyed it on the whole even though it's SO long at almost 14 hours! If you are familiar with the TV show then you'll know the story as from my memory, it's very similar to the audiobook.

We follow Ephraim Goodweather and his team from the Center for Disease Control as they are called to the airport as a plane has mysteriously landed then stopped working and there are no communications from it. What follows is a mystery with supernatural elements, creepy creatures and an unusual disease. I liked the narrator, I loved the story and it was entraining but for me it was too long and towards the end of the audiobook, it became a little confusing and if I hadn't watched the TV show, I don't think it would have been as easy for me to follow along. I'd still recommend it as well as the TV show.

Have you read any of these books? Are you going to take part in Non-Fiction November? 

20 comments

  1. So many great recommendations here, I’ll definitely check out the Gaiman books as he’s one of my fave authors too!
    Emma | emmadrury.com

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  2. You read so so much - it is lovely to see! I wish I read as much as this, but I just don't have the time anymore :(

    Erin || MakeErinOver

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  3. REst in pieces sounds so interesting!

    Cole xx

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  4. Wow! You’ve read so much! I need to get back into it! X

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  5. I never feel like I have enough time to read and it sucks because I love it, very british problems sounds like a funny read!
    Alice Xx
    www.blacktulipbeauty.co.uk

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  6. You make my reading shameful, I think I've managed 2 books this months!

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  7. I love how you do these great reviews each month

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  8. The graveyard book sounds so interesting! I love the very British problems books too - they ring so true with me (and many people, I’m sure)! I wish I had time to read more! x

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  9. You always make me wish I read more!! I need to make a big effort this month!
    Chantelle x
    The Girl In The Tartan Scarf

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  10. Bird box sounds right up my street x

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  11. Adding lots of these to my list x

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  12. Another few books on my ever-growing reading list thanks to you! x

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  13. I have not but I too love the simpsons and that book sounds cool. I am much more of a fiction fan personally
    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

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  14. Wow you read soo many books in October, that's impressive! I'm not sure if any of these books are up my street, however it's great to explore different genres so I may have to give one or two a read and see how I get on xo

    Char | www.charslittleblog.co.uk

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  15. I used to collect the Simpsons comics and the treehouse episodes of the show were always my fave :)

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  16. You have some fab recommendations here, this is such a useful post to refer back to if anyone needs so good reading recs! xx

    www.imjustagirl16.co.uk

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  17. You read so much, it is admirable, I am terrible xx



    Zoe ♥ MammafulZo

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  18. One of the only things I can buy for my mum for Christmas that she’s guaranteed to like is books! Thanks for the recommendations

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  19. I've just started getting into reading again and I'm loving it! Nothing better than getting stuck into a good book x

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  20. I barely read one book! You’ve done so well x

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