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For the Love of Reading: October 2023

October was another slower month for me when it came to reading, I only have 5 books to share with you once again.

In Other Words, Leadership: How a Young Mother’s Weekly Letters to Her Governor Helped Both Women Brave the First Pandemic Year by Shannon A. Mullen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I enjoyed listening to this book as it brought back the many ways I sought hope during the early days of the pandemic. I have a lot of respect for Maine Governor Janet Mills and knowing that she read letters from her constituents to help her navigate those confusing times made me like her even more. I do think it was a bit of a stretch to turn this into a book, it felt repetitive and overdone at times.

Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Amazing, isn’t it, when you think about it, how the world keeps on turning, no matter how fucked up things get?
I honestly thought I had read this years ago and only realized I hadn’t when I read the overleaf for Sully #3, Somebody’s Fool . . . which, coincidentally I have now decided not to read. This book was enjoyable for it’s quirky characters and realistic setting. There were moments where I laughed aloud or nodded my head in understanding human nature. And yet, despite very good writing, it felt somewhat repetitive and as if Russo was grasping to bring things back to life that maybe should have been let alone after Nobody’s Fool ended.

The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic by Breanne Randall
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I was truly looking forward to a Practical Magic/Gilmore Girls vibe and this book did not deliver at all. Everything felt contrived, from the one dimensional characters to the Instagram inspired setting, to the plot that just never took off. And there were these weird moments were characters cursed that just felt wrong, it was rather jarring. I suppose I should know better than to get book recommendations from TikTok, I’ll chalk this one up to a lesson learned.

Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a solid entry in the world of habit building but there wasn’t really anything new under the sun either. Clear gives plenty of tips on both breaking bad habits and creating new ones and his chapter summaries are particularly useful.

Wellness by Nathan Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When you cling too hard to what you want, you miss what’s really there.
I loved everything about this book. The fabulous writing, the wonderful story, the deep and realistic and flawed characters . . . it all just works together and it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. I laughed out loud at times and found it all so relatable, from love and relationships to childhood trauma and coming of age, to the pursuit of becoming an evolved and authentic person . . . whatever the hell that even means. I loved The Nix but Wellness has surpassed that by far and I sure hope Nathan Hill is already working on his next novel.

As always, I hope you find something on this list you think you will enjoy.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. I’m on a pretty long list for Wellness…I may cave in and buy it for Thanksgiving weekend! (My reading is slow going right now too…)

  2. Wellness really redeemed the month of reading for you, didn’t it? I think it was an amazing book. I might have to buy a copy, because it’s one I think I’ll have to reread at some point because there is just so much there.

  3. I did have Unfortunate Side Effects on hold, but thanks to your review, I’ve cancelled it and opened up a spot for something better. And I agree, Wellness is wonderful!

  4. I, too, am in the queue (#40 out of 68) for Wellness. Looking forward to it. Years ago I read Empire Falls by Russo and none of his other books have ever lived up to that one for me. I enjoyed Bridge of Sighs and That Old Cape Magic, but they were not (again, my opinion) at the level of Empire Falls. I have not tried any of the Sully books yet – I keep taking the first one out and then returning it without opening it!
    Thanks, as always, for your reviews Carole.

  5. I also loved Wellness! This year we had so many satisfyingly beautiful books that just struck the heart in a very strong way.

  6. I’m about 150 pages into Wellness … please know that if you don’t see much of me for the next couple of days it’s because I’m reading!

  7. First, let me say . . . good call on letting Sully #3 go. And then, of course. Wellness. SO GOOD. Perfection. XO

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