Friday, November 17, 2023

Book Stack ~ October 2023

 A monthly post about what I've been reading.

January 2023

February 2023

March 2023

My books-per-month rate went way down between September and October, in part because I didn't have another week away at a residency and in (larger) part because I spent a lot of time binge-watching Ugly Betty. But somehow I managed to read three new releases, a possibly unprecedented occurrence. 

At the beginning of October, I participated in a book fair, and the author whose booth was next to mine was Rebecca Turkewitz, with her debut short story collection, Here in the Night, a delightful melange of spooky tales, which in an uncharacteristic move, I actually read soon after coming home with it. If you love short stories, you'll love this book. If short stories leave you vaguely unsatisfied, pick up this book--every single one hits that elusive short story sweet spot. 

I also read one more Mary Stewart, Rose Cottage, which was a nice, pleasant read but not very suspenseful--there's a sense of something amiss when the main character returns home to clean out her grandmother's cottage, but it ends up going in a very different direction than Stewart's suspense stories. 

I had the good fortune of attending a reading by my friend Melanie Brooks of her new memoir A Hard Silence in early October (and, again, read the book right away--perhaps I'm turning over a new leaf and no longer hoarding books before I get around to reading them!). It's about the corrosive nature of secrets--specifically the secret her family harbored for years about her father's HIV diagnosis, because of their (very rational) fear of the stigma they would experience. It's a heartfelt, moving, loving, beautifully crafted book.

Finally, I read Soil, by Camille Dungy, a gorgeous book (inside and out--I mean, look at that cover!!!) about turning a suburban lawn into a wildflower paradise, parenting during the pandemic, contending with nearby wildfires and other signs of climate change, grappling with systemic racism and the colonial history of agriculture, nomenclature, and taxonomy, writing about nature from a perspective other than the Lone White Male, and lovingly tending the land. I admire it so much, and it made me want to get my hands dirty, even though I'm the world's laziest garden (I really love that Dungy's primary garden focus is flowers--vegetables are secondary!).

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