An Open Book: What I Read in October

Sometimes you blink and time has completely evaporated.

October felt that way to me. I look back at the month and it seems like so long ago since I read any of these books and that I barely read anything at all.

Looking back at my book haul for the month, though, it really was a good reading month. I’ve already recommended a few of these books to others to read. Based on that, even my sister, who is stingy and strict with giving out stars, would agree with some of my five-star ratings.

And with that, we run full speed into November. What books are you still hoping to read before the end of the year?

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I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai (4/5 stars)

Three-line review: Told from the perspective of a teenage girl shot by the Taliban, Malala’s passion and advocacy for education and girls’ rights in Pakistan are admirable. What I enjoyed most about this book was her perspective as a civilian living under the Taliban regime in Pakistan. With all the tragedies taking place around the world each and every day, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that people are people, regardless of the circumstances in which they live. This book offers an important reminder of that humanity.

The Overstory by Richard Powers (5/5 stars)

Three-line review: One of the most beautifully written books I’ve read in a long time, The Overstory is a linguistic metaphor for trees and the perilous condition of our planet. I loved how all the characters’ stories were intertwined, feeding and growing off of each other in often unsuspecting ways. I know some people found this book to be too long; I read slower and slower as I reached the end, trying to stretch the experience out even longer.

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (5/5 stars)

Three-line review: Heart-breaking, frustrating, riveting, and touching, The Great Believers follows two stories three decades apart tied together by the AIDS epidemic. Laced with the legitimate fear that raced through the gay community in the 1980s, I felt emotionally invested in the lives of both main characters, Yale and Fiona. Makkai definitely deserves all the awards and accolades this book received.

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The Freelance Content Marketing Writer: Find your perfect clients, Make tons of money and Build a business you love by Jennifer Goforth Gregory (5/5 stars)

Three-line review: Filled with actionable advice and brutal honesty, this book is written by a content marketing pro for people who want to become content marketing pros. Gregory has always been generous about sharing her experiences, and this book compiles all of her insight — about marketing, client issues, payment and contracts, pitching, and more — in a single place. I don’t work much in content marketing anymore, but a lot of the information in this book is useful for anyone managing their own writing career.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (4/5 stars)

Three-line review: Like Eat, Pray, Love, I think I’m supposed to want to hate Wild, but the truth is I actually really loved it. Yes, Strayed was inexperienced, ignorant, and unprepared to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, but she is brutally honest and admits all of those things. Having hiked long distances before, I very much understand and appreciate how her journey was a healing one.

Ecosocialism: A Radical Alternative to Capitalist Catastrophe by Michael Löwy (2/5 stars)

Three-line review: I wanted this book to educate and inspire me, but instead I found it confusing and quite dull. I personally agree with the main concept of the book — that capitalism and over-consumerism are killing the planet — but the arguments weren’t cohesive or clarified well. Even if the idea of ecosocialism interests you, skip this one.

2 Responses to “An Open Book: What I Read in October”

  1. Laurie

    Wow so many non-fiction books. Great reviews. These darker seasons make me read fantasy a lot, however it’s my go-to genre. I barely read non-fiction and definitely so many back to back.

    • JoAnna

      Thanks for stopping by, Laurie! i try to read at least one fiction and one non-fiction book each month. Some months are heavier on one over the other!


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