October Bookshelf & Other Book News

october bookshelf

So the September bookshelf thing didn't quite happen! October is kind of perfect for the creepy, crawly, mildly disturbing type of novel. It's the time of year to stay up late once in awhile and read something just a little bit scary. 

The Black Cat & Other Stories
. Edgar Allan Poe. Sufficiently creepy & I have such a cute copy.

The Monk. Matthew Lewis. I haven't read this but I have plans.

The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton. I did my senior thesis on Edith Wharton. Ghost stories might not exactly be her thing. It kind of reads like she was hoping to get a rise out of Henry James. I wonder if it worked? 

Vampire Stories from New England
.  Lawrence Schimel. I just realized Bram Stoker's Dracula is not on my bookshelf. Such an oversight! It's so readable and still really scary. You should read that before Vampire Stories of New England.

Rebecca. Daphne du Maurier. I started listening to this book on Audible and then got so involved that I had to run down and get myself a copy so I could finish it more quickly. Very suspenseful.

The Little Stranger. Sarah Waters. This was short-listed for last year's Booker Prize. Post-WWII creepy English house. Read it. Sarah Waters is a wonderful writer.

Casting the Runes & Other Ghost Stories. M.R. James. I haven't read this but I want to.

The Haunted Bookshop. Christopher Morley. Surprisingly quite fun. I must confess I bought it for the title alone but it surprised me.

The Secret of the Old Clock. Carolyn Keene. Did you know as a child I read all 100+ Nancy Drew mysteries IN ORDER? I was a little preoccupied with order even then. Cate plays with the Nancy Drew's that I own – she pretends they are telephones. "Hello Nancy? Solved any good mysteries lately?"

The Ladies of Grace Adieu & Other Stories. Susanna Clarke. From the writer of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. British history of magic and fairy stories. You will know immediately if you like this type of thing. She's a fabulous writer.

The Woman in White. Wilkie Collins. Sometimes credited as the first detective novel. You will not be sorry you read this. It's held up remarkably well. Collins & Dickens were friends.

Death in Holy Orders. P.D. James. James is my favorite mystery writer and Death in Holy Orders is my favorite of the Adam Dalgliesh series. The writing is sublime and the characters are intensely real. 

The Thirteenth Tale. Diane Setterfield. To some of you, this is old news but I really, really love this novel. It's all here – somewhat crazy British writer, creepy bookshop, lonely moors, mysterious childhoods. I have read it three times. 

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Washington Irving. How have I not read this? Definitely will before the end of the month.

In other book news, it's a sad state of affairs on my 52 in 52. I am sure you are all enjoying my weekly reviews! Hah! I am a bit behind and I am NEVER going to restrict myself like this again. I am too old to feel guilty for procrastinating on an imaginary project.

Week 31/52: A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley. Based on King Lear but set on a prosperous Midwestern farm. The women are all complicated and the men are all just short of evil. All feels a little forced, especially by page 450.  

Week 32/52: So Much for That by Lionel Shriver. I love everything by Lionel Shriver except for this. It's a healthcare novel! I obviously have read every New Yorker article she has and boy is it all here. Maybe it's a case of preaching to the choir?

Week 34/52: The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson. Oh my word. If you haven't read this I highly, highly recommend it. The full title is The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic — And How it Changed Science, Cities & the Modern World. So the title is a bit grandiose but honestly this is gripping stuff. 

Week 35/52: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. Based on Hamlet but set on a Midwestern dog-breeding farm. Beautiful sentences, gripping story. As a dog-lover myself I was hopelessly enthralled with Edgar and his family.

Week 37/52: The Archivist's Story by Travis Holland. A beautiful debut novel set in Stalin Russia in 1939. Pavel Dubrov is a former literature teacher and is now a book destroyer for Stalin's regime. An encounter with Babel (famous Russian writer) and one of his unpublished manuscripts forces Dubrov to take another path.

Week 38/52: Out of Africa by Isak Dineson. Lovely, meandering memoir of Dineson's coffee farm in Kenya. A pleasure to read.

Week 40/52: The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews. An easy-breezy roadtrip novel with charming, quick dialogue. Enjoyable. A Powell's Indiespensable volume.

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One thought on “October Bookshelf & Other Book News

  1. Marbs

    I’m glad you enjoyed The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I definitely enjoyed it. I read it last year and it has still stuck with me. Now, to get Anna to read it.

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