Books I Read in October 2017

Books I Read in October 2017I read lots of books in October, and thanks to surgery recovery I had a strong emphasis on easy-to-read titles. So you’ll see lots of kid lit on the list, and memoirs make up the bulk of the nonfiction.


  1. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

    Read for bookclub, and my biggest complaint with it is only that the mystery element took a long time to truly develop, and it was fairly weak. But that feels like an incredibly picky complaint because if I’d read the book not expecting it to be a mystery I’d have been completely satisfied with it. It’s a terrific historical novel, even if it did make me cry a bit.

  2. Gunpowder Plot by Carola Dunn

    Listened to #15 in the Daisy Dalrymple series, and it was light and entertaining and perfectly fit the sort of books I was emphasizing this month.

  3. Blood at the Root by Peter Robinson

    Continuing on with the Alan Banks series, and this one got fairly gruesome at the end. Yuck. I still will keep going, but I wish I’d been reading it in print, as I could have quickly skipped over the particular scene that was so brutal. That’s harder to do in audio.

  4. Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie

    Super dated with the racist and anti-Semitic comments, enough so that it’s hard to recommend this title except with big caveats, as the book itself isn’t good enough to outweigh the offensive parts.

  5. A Casualty of War by Charles Todd

    The latest in the Bess Crawford series, and I’m sad to be all caught up with it. I love this series, even though I can see the flaws with it.

  6. Nonfiction

  7. The Yes Effect: Accepting God’s Invitation to Transform the World Around You by Luis Bush with Darcy Wiley

    My friend is the co-author, so I fully admit to being an unbiased reviewer.

  8. 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris

    Interesting, but very skippable. If I hadn’t been needing audiobooks due to eye issues post-surgery (I had trouble focusing while on painkillers) I wouldn’t have kept going with it.

  9. Hoist on My Own Petard by Dan Harris

    A brief (as in, chapter-length) follow-up to his book. It was free on Kindle, and mildly interesting if you finished his memoir.

  10. The Wonder Trail: True Stories from Los Angeles to the End of the World by Steve Hely

    Reminded me a bit of a Bill Bryson in how he combined history and travel stories in a humorous fashion, although Hely has a lot more drugs and partying involved in his book. Most of it I enjoyed but there was a stretch towards the end that was not so interesting. Unless you like hearing the drug and party stories. But Hely is entertaining as he reads his own book, so overall I enjoyed his memoir.

  11. What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories by Laura Shapiro

    Not entirely what I wanted it to be, and as much as I wanted to love it (food history + women’s history!) it didn’t really work for me. It was remarkably dry, and some of her claims seemed to be a stretch based on the available evidence.

  12. Life-Giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally and Sarah Clarkson

    Another one where I wanted to love it, but ended up being disappointed because I only liked it somewhat. I strongly prefer one of the author’s writing style, so the chapters by the other writer were always a let-down. In addition, the content ended up being fairly obvious so much of the time that I ended up skimming heavily. I may have just overhyped it to myself and had too high of expectations from the start.

  13. The Feast Nearby: How I lost my job, buried a marriage, and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering, and eating locally (all on $40 a week) by Robin Mather

    Reminded me a bit of Animal Vegetable Miracle, but with a stronger emphasis on affordability, and the trade-offs finances often require.

  14. Kid Lit

  15. The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

    Sequel to the fantastic The War That Saved My Life, and it is just as good as the original. It’ll make you cry, but it is such a great pair of books, and I highly highly highly recommend them to anyone looking for historical fiction, especially set in England during World War II. Be aware that there is tough stuff discussed, so don’t just hand them off to younger or sensitive readers, but they are so worth reading.

  16. Greenglass House by Kate Milford

    LOVED this book. LOVED it. So much so that I finished it and immediately began rereading it to see just how the author had pulled off some of the events. Super fun, and I’m anxiously waiting for the sequel.

  17. Audrey Goes to Town by Christine Harris

    Book #2 in the Audrey series (Book #1 is Audrey of the Outback, a delightful story). This follow up is just as fun, but it involves a big spoiler for the first book, so read them in order.

  18. Audrey’s Big Secret by Christine Harris

    Book #3 in the series, and this one takes a slightly more serious tone, as it touches on events involving the Aboriginal population, and how children were taken from their homes and rehoused. Still highly recommended, just with a caution for sensitive readers that you want to be aware of what’s going to be discussed.

  19. Bo at Iditarod Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill

    Enjoyable sequel to Bo at Ballard Creek, and while I didn’t like this one quite as much, that was mostly because it’s hard for sequels to match up to the original.

  20. Poppy by Mary Hooper

    Interesting historical fiction and I wish my library had the sequel, as I’d like to continue on with her story. This is more of a young adult novel than the middle-grade or elementary fiction that make up the rest of my month’s reading.

  21. Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath

    Great as an audiobook, but a caution for sensitive readers – there are some tough things that happen in the book, and even though it’s handled in a very light way (even humorously), if your child is likely to be bothered by physical injuries, or missing (and presumed dead) parents, you may want to skip it. I enjoyed it tremendously, and think my daughter will as well in a couple of years.

  22. One Year in Coal Harbor by Polly Horvath

    Sequel to Everything on a Waffle, and it follows the familiar characters, plus introduces a couple of new ones. Don’t read this without having read Everything on a Waffle first, as it will be very strange and nowhere near enjoyable enough.

  23. Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

    Cute book puzzle/mystery set in San Francisco. Appealing characters and fun brain teasers, and I’m on hold for the second book in the series.

  24. Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen

    Very dated as far as girls-can-do-this, while boys-can-do-that, so much so that it detracted from the book to the point that I wouldn’t recommend it. Too many other great books, from all time periods, to deal with this one that didn’t have enough going for it to outweigh the negatives.

  25. Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

    Pre-reading it as a possible readaloud/reader for my kids in the future. It reminded me a bit of Ramona Quimby, with the girl who keeps having things go wrong no matter how she’s trying to behave. It was funny, and it’s staying on my list for future reads for the kids.

  26. The Terrible Two by Jory John and Mac Barnett

    Pre-reading it as a possibility for my son. It was fine, and if you’re looking for an elementary-level humorous book I’d give this one a try. I think it might have had a touch of crass humor of the cows farting variety, but I’m not even certain if it did, as that’s not something I worry about him reading so I would have skipped right over it. So far he hasn’t tried it, but if he ever does I’m certain he’ll like it.

  27. Viking Adventure by Clyde Robert Bulla

    Pre-reading a story that my son is reading for school. It was fine, and I’m sure he’ll like it as there is a lot of adventurous happenings of the sort that he’ll enjoy.

  28. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book I: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

    Super entertaining and amusing, with lots of funny lines that had me cracking up, and wishing my son would have been amused by it so I could share it with him. He would not be amused by it, and so I have to wait and see if either of my girls grow up into kids who will find this one as funny as I did.

  29. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book II: The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood

    Apparently, one book in the Incorrigible Children series is all I can handle in a month, as reading the second left me rolling my eyes at things that had me chuckling the first time. It’s very much a continuation of the story begun in the first book, and for the target audience, I’m sure binge-reading them is fine.

  30. Unfinished Angel by Sharon Creech

    I love Sharon Creech, but I did not love this book. I didn’t find it interesting, or funny, or even all that coherent. Skip this one and read her other books instead.

  31. Never Finished

  32. Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste by Bianca Bosker

    Tried the first few chapters and wasn’t enjoying it enough to spend the reading time. Didn’t care for her style or the overall approach towards the subject.

  33. Caraval by Stephanie Garber

    May give this another try someday, but after trying several times to get into the story it wasn’t capturing my attention. Might just have been the wrong timing for me, which is why I’m not ruling it out for the future.

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