October 2019 Reads
I wish I read more in October but I had a busy week. Lucky for me, the books I did manage to read were very interesting - I think it was a month of quality over quantity in terms of the books read.
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
This book was super cute! I rarely give perfect 5 star ratings on Goodreads but that’s exactly what I gave this book! The Flatshare is an interesting spin on a romantic comedy - Tiffy and Leon are roommates who share a one-bedroom flat, at different times. Tiffy, a book publisher, occupies the flat in the evenings and weekends, and Leon, a night nurse, has the run of the place at all other times. Though they have never met, they leave notes for each other around the flat to communicate and after a meet-cute, they begin a whirlwind romance. It has the usual jealous exes element of many romantic novels, but it also explores interesting concepts like emotional abuse and even a wrongful conviction and prison sentence. I highly recommend this book, even if you’re not into the romance genre because it’s just really cute!
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
I thoroughly enjoyed The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead’s previous book, so I was really excited to get into his new book, The Nickel Boys. The story follows two black boys, Elwood and Turner who attend Nickel Academy, a juvenile reform school with a reputation for progressive reformation of delinquent boys. In reality, the school, based on the real-life school, the Dozier School for Boys in Florida, is a dark place. The students are beaten, sexually abused, and even killed. The story starts at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement and you can really see how that affects the boys: Elwood is a believer in Martin Luther King’s vision, while Turner is more of a skeptic.
I had moments where I was horrified by the treatment of the students. For example, when I read that they had segregated “punishment” chambers because “white boys bruised differently than black boys,” I gasped out loud. If you’re squeamish about abuse, this may not be the book for you, as this was a classic example of the kinds of things that happen in the book but I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Nickel Boys and I recommend it.
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
This book was super hyped and I was really excited to read it and… to be honest it was a bit of a letdown. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy watching the relationship between Alex, the first son of the first woman president of the United States, and Henry, the Prince of Wales, developing. However, I just couldn’t really enjoy reading about the characters themselves because I found them a bit unlikeable. I feel like Alex’s know-it-all charm is played out and stale. Henry is like a cardboard cutout of a character. I get that Alex is supposed to be only around 21 years old, but I find it immature to read about characters antagonizing others because they find them infuriatingly boring (like how Alex initially finds Henry). I know there are people in my life I find boring and rather snobby but do you know what I do? I just walk away and avoid them. I don’t purposely find reasons to talk about them and annoy them because to me, that’s admitting they consume your thoughts in some way and I’m too stoic to give anyone that. I mean, I get it, it’s a way to illustrate that Alex loved Henry all along, yada yada yada. I still was annoyed.
After realizing I felt that way, it kind of soured the rest of the book for me. I wished I could like the characters more than I did because the story was really cute. I didn’t mind the sex scenes and the emails they wrote each other was cute to read. But I just couldn’t get over how much I found the two leads so boring.
I gave it 3.5 stars.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
This book was a very interesting read! It’s a post-apocalyptic novel revolving around several key characters whose lives intersect at various points in time and paints a full picture. When the Georgia virus hits the earth, civilization collapses leaving few survivors. There’s Kirsten Raymonde, an actress who is connected to previous famous (now deceased) actor, Arthur Leander, his ex-wife the graphic novelist, his wife and child, his friend Clark, and Jeevan the entertainment journalist.
I’ve honestly never read anything like this book and I was so fascinated how the story unfolded. I couldn’t put this book down until I finished - it was that good! I gave it 5/5 stars on Goodreads!