Whatcha Reading? October 2017 Edition

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old book on the bench in autumn parkIt’s Whatcha Reading time, where we discuss all the highs and lows of our month’s reading. We all hope you’ve had some good book noises this month, but we know sometimes that doesn’t happen. Feel free to rage and gripe as much as you want. However, we can’t be held responsible if your TBR pile doubles in size from the book recommendations you’ll most likely get.

Sarah: I am reading a nonfiction and a romance, because my brain is tired and stressed. The nonfiction is Deep Work by Cal Newport (insert all jokes here) (insert jokes about inserting jokes here) (fin). On one hand, the reframing of what is deeply focused work and what is shallow, distracting work is interesting and very helpful to my own feelings of productivity and accomplishment, especially when paired with a recent podcast interview with Basecamp CEO Jason Fried.

I’m constantly questioning what I do, and why I do it, and whether I can do less, do things more efficiently, or not do them at all. So the idea of focusing intently on my creative projects and goals is something I’m very curious about. But the book itself, while it contains several helpful concepts, grates on me with the sexism and the ignoring of other work that women typically do (e.g. emotional labor and caretaking). Most of the examples are men, with two exceptions, one of them negative, and most of these examples portray work as a singular monolith or field of study. So I take frequent breaks between chapters so I don’t get too angry to keep reading and cheat myself out of valuable ideas.

Carrie: I am reading Chasing Power, a YA by Sarah Beth Durst ( A | BN | K | G | iB ), and also What She Ate, a nonfiction about six historical women and their relationship to food. The former is entertaining but uneven and the latter is excellent.

Sarah: I’m also currently reading The Offer by Sara Portman ( A | BN | K | G | iB ), which is coming out on 10/24. The heroine is a penniless vicar’s daughter who opens the story in the strange position of deeply envying her best friend, now a duchess, who is in the midst of horrible morning sickness. The hero is also in debt, and not in a position to offer for anyone unless that person comes with several wagonloads of money, so OF COURSE they are going to be drawn to each other. I just started it, and am very curious, so ahoy, more reading time for me.

Elyse: I just started The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan. It’s an epic fantasy about a group of women with magical abilities working to overthrow a patriarchal, repressive society. Their magic is tied to the ability to read and use words of power, so it’s pretty solidly my catnip

Sarah: I read the first chapter of that book and so wanted to continue, but it was giving me the “your brain is going to wake you up with nightmares” feeling with some of the violence. But the women in that first chapter are SO INCREDIBLE.

Elyse: One of the things that I found really fascinating and relevant is that the authoritarian regime bans reading as a means of controlling its populace

Sarah: YES. This is a perfect example of a book that I wanted to read but knew would give my brain middle-of-the-night freakouts.

Amanda: Can I just say that I love these little conversations we have about books? What we like, what we don’t like, what aspects work of us as readers. It gives me the warm and fuzzies.

Sarah: I know, me too.

In the past year I have learned so much about how to work with my brain and my brain chemistry. it’s life-changing on a very basic level.

But knowing when something violent is going to exacerbate my anxiety to the point of losing sleep is a big help, much as I want to read this book.

Redheadedgirl: So…I maaaaaaaaay be at “one book bought per day of trip” so that’s a lot?

Elyse: Nah.

Amanda: I just finished an exhausting week in South Florida, cleaning out my late grandparents home where they lived for over 40 years. On the cool side, I found my great grandmother’s bible from 1917. On the bad side, who knew just looking at belongings could sap so much energy. Because of this, I’m waffling between two different types of reads – dark and gritty to channel some of my negative feelings. And reading an autobuy author for some comfort.

For the former, I have An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard from my library ( A | BN | K | G | iB ). It has a magical NYC and a heroine who wants to destroy the current magical system.

For the latter, I have Roomies by Christina Lauren. They write such great modern romances that make me laugh and cry. It’s like a hug in book form and something that I totally need right now.

What have you been reading this month? Something spooky? A comfort read? Let us know in the comments!


By request, since we can’t link to every book you mention in the comments, here are bookstore links that help support the site with your purchases. If you use them, thank you so much, and if you’d prefer not to, no worries. Thanks for being a part of SBTB and hopefully, you’ve found some great books to read!

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