November 2, 2023

October 2023 Wrap Up

October was both fast and incredibly long. But I did read some books. Let's discuss.

Bitch In a Bonnet: Reclaiming Jane Austen From the Stiffs, the Snobs, the Simps, and the Saps by Robert Rodi - Once I got used to this book being something completely different from what I expected it to be, I enjoyed it. I expected insights into Austen's writing and how her life informed her work, etc. What this actually is is a retelling of three of Austen's books in current vernacular. I already know these stories very well, so I didn't really need it translated for me. Sometimes Rodi had some interesting thoughts about the text, but mostly it was just funny. He got some things very wrong. For example, he said Jane Austen didn't play the piano based on some thing in one of the books, but actually, she would get up super early to play before other people were awake, to keep from irritating her mother. 6/10 bookmarks.

Lena and the Burning of Greenwood: A Tulsa Race Massacre Survival Story by Nikki Shannon Smith - Smith was one of the authors at the OK Teen Book Con I went to last weekend. I grabbed this to read before the event. Girls Survive is a series of girls living through historical events. This book is written for middle grade readers, so there was a lot of stuff she couldn't put in because it was just too difficult. She did a good job of following the actual events and timeline of the massacre. 8/10 bookmarks.

Columbine by Dave Cullen - Wow. Just. Yeah. Cullen spent 10 years researching this situation. He read the shooters' journals and talked to the survivors and the parents of the kids that didn't make it. I remember when this happened, the going theory was that the kids were turned bad by violent video games. This was incorrect. They weren't really gamers. The actual ring leader was a psychopath. He wanted to go out in a blaze of glory. He wanted the Columbine event to be bigger than the bombing of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City. It was a contest to him. How had the bigger body count. The other kid was horribly depressed and had already been contemplating suicide before he signed on with the psychopath. The worst part about it all is that several people saw the problems and blew the whistle, but no one listened. Balls were dropped. People died. 10/10 bookmarks.

A Mean Piece of Water by Jes McCutchen - This is another book by an author that was at the book con from last weekend. Kye is a non-binary teen spending Spring Break at the lake. Kye has a big ole crush on Dani, a lake merperson. A local cult latches on to Dani's cousin to help them bring about the end of the world with his mer-powers. Dani and Kye have to stop them. This book includes a giant, mutant, octopus monster, which is a nice touch. I had trouble with the number of typos and grammar issues that took me out of the story as I was reading, but otherwise it was fun. 7/10 bookmarks.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond - This was pretty depressing. It shows how owning property in the poorest areas of a city is extremely lucrative for landlords and a vicious cycle of renters. I wonder how much of this has changed since Covid. I'll have to read his new book for those answers I think. In this one, the author tells the story of a few people who rent in some of the worst neighborhoods in Minneapolis. It also follows a couple of the landlords. It is eye-opening and heart-breaking. 8/10 bookmarks.

One of Us Is Back by Karen M. McManus - I finally got to this one! I think I had it checked out from the library for 6 weeks. This is the third book in a trilogy of YA mystery/thrillers. It brought back all the characters from the first two books. It was fun to be back in Bayview with them. The plot was fast-paced and finding out who done it was a great twist. It's not great literature, but I have a great time with her books. 8/10 bookmarks.

Tombstone: The Earp Brothers, Doc Holliday, and the Vendetta Ride From Hell by Tom Clavin - I save this book for last because I knew it would be less depressing than Columbine or Evicted. I was right. It was a good time. All I know about Tombstone I learned from the movie with Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer. After reading this book, I'd say they got a lot of it right. In the movie, though, it seems that the vendetta ride takes place just days after Morgan Earp was ambushed and killed. In fact, it was months later. And Morgan was assassinated almost 6 months after the shootout at the O.K. Corral. The book was fascinating and I had a great time. 9/10 bookmarks.

And with that, I have finished my 50-by-50 challenge. Yay me!

What did you read in October?