Earlier in September, I posted a little note about the books that I’d picked up for my fall reading season. It was a very short list at the start, only four books accompanied by one that I was reading at the time. I finished those five books as well as an additional eleven titles. Sixteen books for the fall season? Not bad, especially since I’ve only recently gotten back into binge-reading.
There were definitely ups and downs, good ones and bad ones in this list. Out of the sixteen books, I rated:
- 0 ★☆☆☆☆
- 2 ★★☆☆☆
- 7 ★★★☆☆
- 6 ★★★★☆
- 1 ★★★★★
Fortunately, there were no books (this time) that I rated only one star. To be honest, I’m not sure I could ever rate a book that low, but I’m sure that philosophy will be tested in the future.
The two two-star books that I read were a bit of a struggle. To get through, that is. The two were on completely different topics—one was a Star Trek novel, the other a “historical*” novel about the Medici family—but they were similar in their fashion of poor writing and bland storytelling.
A good majority of the books I read this season were on the good-great range between three and four stars. (If only Goodreads let you give half-star ratings!) These books were good and fun to read, and, all things considered, perfectly middle-of-the-road. There were stand-out books amidst this group, such as The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls and Girl, Woman, Other. Some were less impressive, like Devotion and Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, but were still deserving of a three-star tally.
The one truly stand-out book that I read this season was Megan O’Keefe’s novel Velocity Weapon. Every page was a shock and every chapter opened up new mysteries and secrets into this new universe. There was one instance in which I fully gasped, shut the book, and threw in across the table I was at out of pure shock**. As sad as I was to have finished the book, I’m so excited because it’s the first in a trilogy that O’Keefe has planned for her Protectorate series. The second book hasn’t been announced yet, but once it is, I’m immediately going to pre-order it.
Breaking down this reading list by genre, I read:
A further breakdown (one that I absolutely loved getting to look at) was quantifying my reading list by author gender^. As I went through my list, I was absolutely thrilled to find that 75% of the books that I read this season were written by women. Given how many of the great “classics” were penned by men and male authors, it was—how to describe it?—amazing, fantastic, astounding, wonderful to know that so many of the books that I read came from the minds of women. And, I’ll admit, I savored a moment of pride when I noted that both of the books I had rated two stars were written by men. (Take that, patriarchy!)
Out of all of these books, my favorite is tied between Velocity Weapon and Girl, Woman, Other. While I tend to favor science fiction books, Evaristo’s Booker Prize-winning novel absolutely took my breath away. It follows the lives, loves, and losses of twelve womxn; although seemingly disjointed and unrelated, the stories and the womxn are intertwined and connected and weaved together into a literary tapestry. I cannot recommend the book enough. O’Keefe’s novel, too, is stunning. Imagine a book with more than one plot twist!—it’s captivating and there’s hardly ever a boring moment.
It’s never fun to read a bad book and there are some that don’t believe in finishing bad books—“life’s too short to read bad books!” I can’t find it in myself to DNF books, even when they’re excruciatingly difficult to finish. Medici: Ascendancy was definitely my least favorite out of the sixteen. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, but Strukul’s book hardly touched upon the “fiction” part. It was an incredibly bland “faux-telling#” of the Medici family; the book is actually the first in Strukul’s Medici series, but only the first book has been translated from Italian.
It’s been such a pleasure to read (most of) these books. Over the course of fourteen weeks I tore through these sixteen books. It puts my reading rate at roughly one book per week, with an allowance of two extra books wedged in there. I’ve completed my reading challenge and then some, and I’m still deciding at which number to set my 2020 reading challenge. Twenty? Thirty?
I’m not sure, but I intend to continue reading like a monster: devouring books.
*It wasn’t much in the way of historical fiction, rather it was a bland faux-telling of the Medici family
**My friends were not impressed in the slightest, and when I tried to describe why the twist was so shocking, they looked at me like I was crazy. if you’ve read the book, see if you can guess which moment this was!
^In which I fully understand and acknowledge that gender exists as a social construct and that the identities of these authors have been sorted into distinct binaries based on their preferred pronouns
#I say “faux” because I’m not certain how much of the content was accurate and it was hardly a story. Strukul recited scenes instead of telling them. It reads more like a history textbook than a historical fiction novel. And it wasn’t good. That part is important to note.