I struggled with reading during the month of October. I felt like I spent a lot of time reading… but I actually lost track of the number of books that I quit. I kept searching for a cozy October autumnal book and everything I was trying was just too cheesy to continue 🙈 And of course this just left me in a reading rut.
YELLOWFACE by R. F. Kuang
Yellowface is a book I was seeing everywhere and I knew I wanted to pick it up and give it a try. Honestly, I had no idea what it was about going in and it impressed me! I was engrossed in the story from the very beginning. In it, after her friend dies in a freak accident, the main character ends up publishing her secret manuscript as her own. The rest of the book is the fall out from that fated choice. It tackles racism and the publishing world and, honestly, it’s kind of hard to read at times because the main character is just so unlikeable. BUT, it has a razor sharp perspective, teetering into satire. It’s brilliant. I could NOT put it down.
CACKLE by Rachel Harrison
In my quest for a cozy October read, I decided to read Cackle. Ultimately, it just wasn’t for me. I actually enjoyed the beginning and had higher hopes for a cozy, spooky read in a cute town. Annie leaves NYC after a breakup and gets a teaching job that brings her upstate to a quaint town. She befriends a woman in town named Sophie who she quickly hits it off with and the two become practically inseparable. The friendship kind of drove me crazy (Sophie calls Annie “pet” for example)– I just couldn’t get past that. (Or the actual pet spider.)
THE EX HEX by Erin Sterling
This was a cute Halloween-y rom-com read. I swear I say this every month, but I just want to love romance novels and I keep trying even though it’s not my favorite genre. The Ex Hex is a super light, cute little novel about a witch who accidentally curses her ex-boyfriend. If you need a palate cleanser next October, this could be a great option. It’s just easy to get into and easy to read.
BRIGHT YOUNG WOMEN by Jessica Knoll
Wow, I loved this book. I haven’t read anything else by Jessica Knoll, but had heard glowing reviews about Bright Young Women. I could not stop reading it and– the sign of a really good book for me– I couldn’t stop talking about it after I finished. I told so many people to read it!! It’s a novel inspired by the actual victims of Ted Bundy. If you have a book club, this would be an excellent pick one month because I think it would lead to great conversations, too. It’s a novel, but it’s also a critique on popular culture glamorizing serial killers and creating celebrities out of them. I thought it was genius how Jessica Knoll tackled this and other feminist themes. Excellent!!!!
WEYWARD by Emilia Hart
My sister recommended this book as a good October read and she was right! It is the stories of three women throughout three different periods of time (modern day, WWII, and the Salem Witch Trials) and how they’re all connected. I loved how Emilia Hart shared what it really means to be labeled a witch as a woman. Some complicated themes as they relate to women and women’s issues.