October 2020 Reading List

Here’s what I read in October! Only 5 books this month (I was really on a roll in September, this is much more reasonable). I knocked out two books in their entirety (Oona Out Of Order and Daisy Jones and The Six) while on our cabin getaway; the rest were before-bed wind-down reading (a ritual I started a couple months ago and have come to really enjoy).

One Day In December by Josie Silver – I enjoyed reading parts of this book. Mostly, though, I just wanted to scream that every single character would have so many less problems if they would just honestly communicate with each other. I get it, people are young, mistakes are made, opportunities are missed… but this book is almost a lesson in torture with how many things the reader knows that the characters don’t, because they won’t just talk. The further I read, the more frustrated I got, and a promising story became bland and (in places) cringeworthy, with an ending that felt cliche and uninspired.

Hench by Natalie Zina WalschotsHench is a brilliant novel, and a fresh take on superheroes. It’s a little nerdy, but well-written and incredibly clever. It’s just a little bit satirical, though there’s enough wit and charm to keep it from becoming too dark. Walschots had previously published two collections of poetry, but I really enjoyed Hench and hope she publishes a second novel.

Oona Out Of Order by Margarita Montimore – I liked this book, but not as much as I thought I would. The premise was interesting, the execution was fine, but like Oona herself, I had trouble connecting to characters who were here and then gone, young and then old, etc. To add to that, I couldn’t bring myself to care much for Oona either, who seems to be the queen of making bad decisions and (inadvertently?) hurting other people.

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – Reese’s Book Club strikes again! I was unaware the book was written as a script-style mockumentary, but by the time I realized that stylistic choice wasn’t going to end, I was already invested enough in the characters to continue. Oddly enough, for this book, I think it works… even with the twist at one point, where we learn some things about the interviewer. In some ways, Daisy Jones and The Six is a mystery novel — nobody knows why the band broke up, and we’re going to figure it out from this interview, but first there’s going to be so much exposition, and so many clues… I really enjoyed this book.

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan – This is the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians, which I read earlier in the summer. I actually enjoyed China Rich Girlfriend more — Crazy Rich Asians had too many characters doing to many things and I couldn’t keep everyone straight in my head. China Rich Girlfriend zeroes in on Nick & Rachel, Astrid, and Kitty Pong, and while Kwan does introduce some new characters (and some old friends make cameos), they’re tightly coupled to those four main choices, which I feel makes for a more solid narrative. The over-the-top descriptions of omg-levels of money and material goods is still there (somewhat annoying) but China Rich Girlfriend was enough to make me put Rich People Problems (book three of the trilogy) on hold at my library.