All the creepiness last month!

My goal for October:

Let’s go with 5 again.

I’m only counting 4, though technically 1 of those included 2 books in a set. More below… Also, I consumed a lot of dark and stormy Poetember-related video, audio, and live events.

What I read: (Link to my Goodreads 2017 shelf where you can find individual reviews that may or may not differ from what is posted here.)

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl – (Anne Frank) – 4* – (Oct 9)

This may be the scariest thing I read all month. I found this book hard to read for many reasons. I believe it’s an important look at the experiences of those who went into hiding, from their hopes and fears to food shortages and their daily ways of surviving. However, at times the details felt like a chore to read – it was very slow-going. For me, the most fascinating part was the emotional turmoil Anne and the others experienced. Being a teenager, missing out on the vibrant life she had before they went into hiding, not being able to experience boyfriends and parties, sparring with her mothers, and growing up too soon all weighed on her, even though she tried to stay upbeat.

Finally, it was heartbreaking when she became so optimistic after the D-Day invasion, hoping she’d be able to return to school in October. Knowing how her story ends, it was crushing to read about her dreams. Had she survived, I believe Anne would’ve been a much-celebrated writer, not only for her diary but so many other stories. Reading this book made me think about how many others suffered a similar fate but we don’t have the detailed records to give them faces and names.

Important reading, even if it was sometimes tedious.

Scary Stories Box Set – (Alvin Schwartz) – 3* – (Oct 12)

Having recently read book 1 in another edition, I read only the final two books of the box set. I enjoyed them, but since I hadn’t read them repeatedly as a child (like book 1), they didn’t hold the same nostalgia. Also, this was a different illustrator and the images were not nearly as creepy. I’m only counting this as one book because they’re so short.


Poems Bewitched and Haunted – (John Hollander) – 3* – (Oct 31)

Despite being a visually stunning book, I’m still just not a big fan of poetry. As I read it, I marked my progress on Goodreads to note any poems I particularly liked. It took me 106 pages to find the first one.

Highlights for me:

  • The Fearful Traveler in the Haunted Castle – George Moses Horton
  • The Erl-King – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
  • The Ghost’s Petition – Christina Rosetti
  • The Haunter – Thomas Hardy

Ghostly: A Collection of Ghost Stories – (Audrey Niffenegger) – 4* – (Oct 31)

I rated each of these short stories as I read them on Goodreads. I found Niffenegger’s notes for each to be only semi-helpful and her illustrations were not what I’d call amazing. Only a couple of stories were less than 3* and most fell in the 4* category. Here are a  few notable 5* exceptions:

  • The Black Cat – Edgar Allan Poe
  • Click-Clack the Rattlebag – Neil Gaiman
  • Playmates – AM Burrage
  • The Open Window – Saki (HH Munro)

Three authors (AM Burrage, Saki/HH Munro and Kelly Link) made enough of an impression that I plan to look up more of their work.

I started with three reading goals this year but added a fourth:

  1. Read 40 books: – Completed in August. I’m now at 56, which is 23 ahead of schedule. Woo!
  2. Complete the Rhymes with Croatia 2017 Reading Challenge: There are 24 categories, and I’ll count no book for more than 2. I also decided not to count re-reads (unless the category specifies it must be a re-read). Numbers below are new/add’l categories completed.
    1. January – 5 (set somewhere you’ve never been, set in a school, thriller, library, kick-ass woman protag/female author)
    2. February – 4 (teaches something new, recommended by a friend, embarrassed to be seen with in public, takes place during winter)
    3. March – 3 (collection of short stories, one-word title, adapted to tv/movie)
    4. April – 4 (new-to-you classic author, banned book, historical event, famous author never read)
    5. May – 2 + 1 alternate (purple cover, coffee table book, Bonus: TBR 3+ years)
    6. June – 1 (book with a flower/plant in title)
    7. July – 0 (ouch! 7 left to go)
    8. August – 1 + 1 alternate (family history/heritage, Bonus: punny title)
    9. September – 1 alternate (written by a doctor – AND I made plans/purchases for the final categories)
    10. October – 2 (biography/memoir, another belief system)
    11. Still to complete (2) – year I was born, one-hit wonder  (Corrected May to include purple cover, April to include banned book, famous author & historical event)
  3. Decrease my TBR: 
    1. January 1 – 88 physical/29 digital
    2. January – 91/29 (read 2 physical, added 5 – 2 were gifts)
    3. February 28 – 91/30 (read 1 physical, bought a few, donated and otherwise updated my shelf to reflect what’s actually there)
    4. April 6 – 88/31 (no new physical, despite my birthday, bought 2 digital)
    5. May 3 – 89/32 (bought 1 physical, received 1 at a writing conference, bought 3 digital)
    6. June 1 – 86/32 (I only read 1 – the other 2 are being read slowly now)
    7. June 30 – 78/32 (I decided to donate some but mostly read from the library)
    8. July 31 – 82/32 (Some people buy magnets on vacation – I buy books as souvenirs)
    9. August 1 – 77/32 (Despite buying 2 and reading several library books, I managed to decrease the TBR – assuming my count is accurate)
    10. September 29 – 81/35 (Some of what I bought was specifically to meet reading challenge categories, some was trip souvenirs, and one was a gift)
    11. Nov 1 – 81/18 (I did some shelf updates, made some donations, ditched a whole bunch of digital that were in my tally but I had no interest in reading)
  4. Read more political/activism books: Does Anne Frank count?

Diversity? Poetry, short stories, middle grade, and a tough biography.

Star ratings: I base this on the flat stars Goodreads displays in list-view, not the quarter-star system I assign in my reviews.

  • 5 stars: 6 books
  • 4 stars: 24 books
  • 3 stars: 20 books
  • 2 stars: 2 books
  • 1 star: 0 books
  • 0 stars: 0 books

Pages read:

  • January – 2936
  • February – 1075
  • March – 1380
  • April – 1786
  • May – 1064
  • June – 2272
  • July – 1157
  • August – 2409 (wow!)
  • September -2009
  • October – 1327

Why not more pages? Because I spent time watching some dark tv and movies, listening to podcasts, and attending live events:

  • Movie: Stephen King’s It (1990 version)
  • Movie: The Witch
  • Movie: Get Out
  • TV: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (annual tradition!)
  • TV: An episode of Lore (Amazon Prime Video)
  • Podcast: Limetown
  • Podcast: Criminal
  • Podcast: Lore
  • Podcast: Dirty John
  • Live: A local Ghost and Graveyards tour
  • Live: An Edgar Allan Poe impersonator

I also did quite a bit of writing.

So, November plans? I want to finish my reading challenge, which means I Am Malala and probably Wuthering Heights. Love and Other Consolation Prizes by the lovely Jamie Ford. And a couple of short books as well. Let’s go with 5.