Book Recommendations: October 2020 Edition

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Are you ready for my October book recommendations?  The year is almost over, folks, and I’m not certain I can hit my goal of reading 120 books this year.  I feel confident I can hit 100, however, so I’m soldiering on.  I continue to be incredibly busy this fall, but it’s all good!

The second part of my goal involved cleaning off some bookshelves: I wanted at least half of the books I read this year to be books off my shelf versus a new/used book purchase.  That goal is coming along nicely.

October saw a very eclectic mix of books for me.  Roughly half were fiction, half non-fiction, and there was really a little bit of everything in there.  It was a heavy month for audio books, which means I must have had a really clean house in October, since I still wasn’t doing much commuting!  And since four of the seven books I read were either audio or kindle, my stack for the photo is pretty short.

Without further ado, here are my October reads.  (Each heading provides an Amazon link for your convenience.*)

What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty (audio)

Back with another audio thriller.  In a way, this book was similar to the one I read in July, Before I Go to Sleep.  Both were about women who have some sort of amnesia, and the chaos that ensues.  What Alice Forgot was a nice read (or in my case, listen), and less thriller, more suspense, maybe.  Alice has an accident at the gym which causes her to lose a decade of her life.  She cannot believe she even goes to the gym, because ten-year-ago Alice would never step foot in a gym.  It was a fun book with a nice ending.  I enjoyed Big Little Lies when I listened to it a couple years ago, so I thought I’d give this author another try.  I was glad I did – great escapism reading.

Drinking: A Love Story, by Caroline Knapp (audio)

This audio book popped up as a recommendation or a daily deal or something like that, and it caught my attention.  Caroline Knapp was a raging alcoholic, but she finally got sober.  This is an autobiographical account of how she did it.  She’s a great writer, and I found the story very touching, at times funny, and a good lesson in dealing with life’s obstacles.  Sometimes I have wondered if my nightly wine habit is a problem.  While I could relate to some of the reasons Knapp used alcohol as a crutch, based on her account, I can firmly say that I do NOT have a drinking problem.  What a relief!

The Obstacle is the Way, by Ryan Holiday (new)

Last month I listened to another of Holiday’s books, Ego is the Enemy.  I enjoyed it so much, I came back for more.  This is a book I can see myself rereading every year or so.  It’s philosophy, but imminently practical and accessible.  I’m really a Ryan Holiday fangirl now.  This book is based on Stoic philosophy and encourages us to focus on the things we can control and not to let apparent obstacles get us down.  It’s full of wisdom and great stories.  Now I’m reading Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations.  I’m hooked!

The School of Greatness, by Lewis Howes (shelf)

Ok, I’m just going to cut to the chase.  I did not enjoy this book.  There seems to be a new “brat pack” of sorts in the form of modern-day young men who are gurus at lifestyle curation (and related affairs).  I might be making this all up, but it seems to me these fellas all run together: Tim Ferris, Lewis Howes, Ryan Holiday, and others.  I’ve written before about my attachment to Tim Ferris’s work, but even then, it’s sort of an “at arm’s length” enjoyment.  Many instances in his writing it is abundantly clear he’s writing for an audience that is. . . not me.  Ryan Holiday’s work seems different and better in this regard; but these guys are all friends, I think.  This book by Howes is not my cup of tea.  Don’t misunderstand, the messages in this book are terrific – they just aren’t written for an audience like me.  If you are a young man in your 20s or 30s, you would likely get a lot out of this book.  But the incessant sports references were too much for the likes of me.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, by Phaedra Patrick (audio)

Pure sunshine and delight.  This was another audiobook that popped up as a recommendation and I decided to give it a try.  I adored the narrator for this fun, touching, and frequently hilarious book.  Retired Arthur’s wife has been dead for a year, and he decides it is finally time to clear out her things.  He discovers a mysterious charm bracelet in one of her boots, and this causes Arthur to embark on a mission of discovery: to find out who his wife really was, since he apparently didn’t know everything about her life before they met.  Full of quirky, lovable characters, it was a joy to follow along on Arthur’s adventures.

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien (shelf)

My daughter Rowan and I embarked on a summer project to read (among other things) Tolkien’s trilogy.  This is her first reading of this classic, and my second.  As you can see, we didn’t finish in the summer.  We read the first two books and then watched the corresponding movie.  I finally got back to this third volume and finished it in October.  Rowan is still working on it, but I keep encouraging her to finish so we can watch the third movie.  As I said in my previous reports, if you haven’t read this trilogy, I’d ask you why not?!  When I read them the first time, I had read little to no fantasy previously.  In the 30-odd years since my first reading, I have read plenty of fantasy.  It’s neat to see how Tolkien’s work has influenced so many authors over the decades.

College Without High School, by Blake Boles (kindle)

This obviously isn’t a book of general interest.  I read it for a specific reason, and that reason is that we have been seriously contemplating pulling Rowan back out of school and going back to homeschooling (which we did from the start all the way until fall 2019).  Our reasons are a subject for another day.  Suffice it to say that I decided to do some research into homeschooling high school, since that is coming up soon and the stakes are higher.  The book is over a decade old, but most of the concepts are still applicable.  It was an interesting read, and I learned a few useful things.

A pretty short list, alas.  Here’s hoping that I can make up some reading ground in November.  Thanks for indulging my book habit!


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You might also enjoy:

Books I Read: August and September 2020 Edition

Monthly Reading Report: July 2020 Edition


*I am an Amazon Affiliate.  If you purchase items using my links, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thanks!





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