october 2020 books

I’m currently writing to you as we await election results on November 3, 2020, which also happens to be our 8th wedding anniversary. Like much of the nation, I’m experiencing a bit more anxiety than usual today, so I decided it was a great excuse to write another blog post.

Reading time was a little disjointed this month. I started off reading a book and just could NOT get into it, but I managed to power through to the end. Then I picked up a book that enjoyed immensely and finished it in a weekend. So it goes!

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

I picked up this book because it spoke to my inner foodie. It tells the tale of chef Evan Thorvald and a host of characters who enter her sphere either intimately or just in passing, beginning with her birth parents, Lars and Cynthia. Although this book includes a few intriguing characters, abundant and vivid food imagery, and even a few recipes…I just couldn’t get into it. I picked up this book more than ten times and never really felt a connection to any specific element. Each chapter is a new story with a few common characters from the preceding one, kind of like “Love Actually”-style fiction, but I was left feeling like I had read a bunch of unfinished stories (which is the nature of reality, I suppose). As I alluded to above, I finished the book, but I won’t be rushing out to read another by this author.

3/5 stars.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

I think I found this suggested title from a favorite blogger after desperately searching my favorite sources for recommendations–I was a little desperate for something good after the flop I described above. This book reveals the unlikely relationship between Lillian and Madison, who end up as roommates at an elite boarding school, against all odds. Many years later, Madison invites Lillian to become the full-time nanny for her step-children as her husband attempts to advance his political career. The catch: these children spontaneously catch on fire. NBD. The premise of this book is admittedly pretty odd, but I absolutely loved it, because I’m weird. And also because it is a sort of a weird proclamation of how children enrich our lives and why we love them so dearly, even when we have every reason not to. They can be real monsters, but they’re my little monsters. My only wish is that this book had been a tad longer so that we readers could have enjoyed even richer character development.

4.5/5 stars.

What did you read in October?

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