What I Read: October 2016

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Oh hey, remember me? I am still here. I had this baby of mine on October 17th, and it turns out having four kids is a whole lot of work. 😉 I haven’t done much except hold her. But you’ll forgive me, right? She’s pretty darn cute.

Meet our Hannah Katherine. She was born 10/17/16 at 3 p.m. on the nose, and was 8 pounds 5 ounces.

Hannah Hannah headband 4 kids

And so even though it’s November 14th 17th, I want to share about my October reads!


Commonwealth by Ann Patchett – I read Patchett’s Bel Canto in 2014 (review here), and it’s been one I have reflected on often. I like books that are character studies, and she does that well. In Commonwealth, Patchett tells the tale of two families, joined and broken by marriages and divorces. The story reflects on a childhood tragedy, the children’s times together, and follows them through to mid-life. The characters are vivid and not easy to forget, and I find Patchett utterly readable. I’d like to tackle State of Wonder next, but I’ve heard the ending can be very off-putting. Should I read it?


Before the Fall by Noah Hawley – Before the Fall was released in May, and has been a bestseller and Amazon book of the month. It’s touted as a thriller, but it doesn’t read like one, in my opinion. There is a mystery: a plane crashes, and there are two survivors: an unknown artist friend and a little boy. The mystery unfolds as the artist and police try to figure out what happened on the flight. Was it an accident? Is the artist hiding something?

It’s a quick-paced novel with interesting characters, and I enjoyed the quick read. I found the ending very disappointing, though, after the build-up of the novel. (And many others have said the same.)


My Antonia by Willa Cather – I’ve slacked off a little bit on the one-classic-a-month route lately – an exhausted pregnancy and a crazy summer for my reading buddy will do that for you. But I did finish My Antonia, finally, in October. It’s a short read, one that tells the tale of a young boy who moves in with his grandparents in Nebraska after his parents die. At the same time, a family of Bohemians move nearby, including Antonia, a girl a few years his senior and utterly fascinating to young Jim. Cather describes Jim’s upbringing and young adulthood, always intertwining with Antonia’s story. It’s a beautiful narrative, although a little slow for the modern reader, maybe. I’d like to listen to the audio version now to truly soak in Cather’s writing.


Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman – Backman’s 2016 novel gives us another grumpy, older protagonist in the vein of A Man Called Ove: Britt-Marie is a compulsive cleaner who bullies her way into a job in the tiny town of Borg, Sweden after she is confronted with her husband’s infidelity (which she knew about) and he leaves her for the other woman. Fiercely insistent on her ways, meal times, and structure, Britt-Marie is astounded by the people of Borg, and finds herself entwined in not only the town and people, but the youth soccer league. Backman writes older people so well, and he has got the curmudgeon nailed. This one didn’t speak to me quite like Ove did, but it’s still a good read. You can’t help but smile at the transformation of Britt-Marie.

What have you been reading lately? 

This will be linked to Quick Lit at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

2 thoughts on “What I Read: October 2016

  1. A baby is a good excuse for just about anything. 😉 Congratulations! She is adorable!

    I’m a little late getting to responding, but I figured that it’s a case of “better late than never.”

    I’ve wanted to read “Before the Fall,” but my library hasn’t had a digital copy. After seeing your review, I checked again, and now they do. I’m checking that one out. 🙂

    October reading for me was:
    Die Like an Eagle- Donna Andrews (cozy mystery, love the series, this one was so-so)
    Rich and Pretty- Rumaan Alam (Found this one OK, but not great. I finished it, but wouldn’t really recommend it.)
    An Irish Country Wedding (part of a series I reread pretty much every year. I should finish rereading the series by the end of 2016)
    Killing Thyme- Leslie Budewitz- (Another cozy mystery, by a Montana author. She lives close to my Montana home, and I’ve met her. This one is set in Seattle, where I’ve visited a couple of times. It’s always fun to read books where you can recognize the places.)
    The Stuff that Never Happened- Maddie Dawson (dives deep into motivations and what’s going on underneath the surface. I love that type of thing.)
    Magnus Chase- The God’s of Asgard- Rick Riordian (reading with the kids, interesting, but I felt like this series is not as strong as his first works)
    Truly, Madly Guilty (I started this a few months back, abandoned it, then went back. This time, it really gripped me. While I couldn’t completely identify with the characters, they felt like people I might know, and I got really into their lives and responses to things.)
    Coming Clean- Seth Haines (memoir-ish- I expected to really like this one, but had to push myself to finish it. There are good things in there, but I felt like I was really working to get through the mediocre parts to get to them.)
    The Rumor- Elin Hildebrand (I always enjoy her books)

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