Welcome to my October Reads, dearest Pragmaster!
As you venture into this reading list, please, keep in mind that I believe no book is ever truly perfect. I rate books based on overall quality and enjoy-ability from my perspective. I may feel a book wasn’t written very well, but still give it a good rating because it had great characters, or I just really enjoyed it.
A person can love a certain book/series while another hates it, so please be courteous of people’s right to their own opinion.
I present to you, my October reads & listens:
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
My Rating: 5 of 5 | 2019 Goodreads Challenge 26 of 20
This is a children’s book written from the perspective of a tree that lives in the front yard of two neighboring homes where one family is Muslim and the other not.
I listened to this book thinking it would be a cute children’s book about a tree, but I was severely mistaken.
This book squeezed my heart and left me in shock at several points. We watch this little girl and her family being treated less than welcoming by everyone in town and even her neighbors, but this tree does her best (with the help of her animal friends) to get the girl a friend, but the landlord threatens to cut this historic tree down. The wishtree is a tradition in town, where once a year everyone puts a wish on the tree they want to come true; this story is told by the town’s wishtree.
In the end, this book had me literally bawling like a loser while driving home after a long day of work, but in the best of ways. The adult themes of politics, family, racism, discrimination, life, death, and all kinds of moral lessons makes this a book one I would highly recommend to kids of reading age and even adults.
This book felt very fall to me, probably because it takes place partially in fall and a tree is involved. Maybe the leaves? No matter the season, this book is worth the read.
I know I will be revisiting this book in the future, for sure.
Will I pursue other Katherine Applegate books? I will definitely look into her other books, due to the fact that I loved this one so much.
Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks
My Rating: 4 of 5 | 2019 Goodreads Challenge 27 of 20
As my first English graphic novel, Pumpkinheads genuinely surprised me. I finished the entire thing in one sitting of about 40 minutes, which is an uncomfortable feeling as someone who usually takes many days and hours to read/listen to a book.
I did not realize this was a romance when I began, but to my surprise it was a very cute, whimsical love story. The tasteful diversity, of this book and its characters, is a nice breath of air. The sexuality, race, and promiscuity of characters is tasteful and not shoved in the readers’ faces. Sometimes books try to be too focused on being inclusive, so the sexuality or race of a character becomes the drive of the story instead of having representation in a good story.
The art in this book is fantastic and the relationship between the main characters is precious. Aesthetically, this book is top tier. The pumpkin patch, fall snacks, and closing of autumn is beyond satisfying. I think the book could have been more impactful as a movie or full novel.
In my opinion, graphic novels seem like the worst of both worlds when it comes to watching entertainment and reading entertainment. I prefer reading for the depth of details for characters, world, and plot. I think visual entertainment has the benefit of interesting visuals and good, impactful soundtracks. A story in writing can be made better with an impactful sound track, and a visual story can be improved with an in depth, detailed written version. Graphic novels don’t have music or heavy detail, so I have to put them in my least preferred method of storytelling for that reason.
With all of that said, I did enjoy this book quite a bit and will start giving graphic novels a chance from time to time. I don’t think I would read this book a second time, but I will consider Rainbow Rowell’s other novels.
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
My Rating: 5 of 5 | 2019 Goodreads Challenge 28 of 20
This was the second time I’ve read this book, both having been for a class. Both times, I loved this book.
For a children’s chapter book, this story is deep and heavy on the feels. Esperanza Rising is about a family from Mexico that immigrates to the United States during the Great Depression thinking they will have great opportunity. When they arrive they, have escaped Esperanza’s cold-hearted uncles only to face oppression, fear, and hard labor.
This is a story of perseverance, culture, economic struggle, and moral awakening. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. The culture that Ryan has written into this story is beautiful, and the story is wonderfully written.
I will probably revisit this book again someday with my own children.
The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1) by J.R.R. Tolkien
My Rating: 3 of 5 | 2019 Goodreads Challenge 29 of 20
I am pretty conflicted about this book. I listened to it on double speed because it is really slow and not a lot happens.
I found myself wanting to skips parts, especially ones I felt like wasted my time (like each character recounting what just happened in the book to each other), and I found myself wanting to finish this book so bad, so that I could just move on to a new book.
Despite how slow the story is, I did find some parts to be very interesting and some of it I enjoyed a lot.
I can admire the effort put into this book, but the pacing and lack of depth that came with it took away a lot from my enjoyment. Maybe I should continue the series when I am in a slow book mood… like really really in the mood for a very slow book. Maybe then I can just sit back and enjoy the ride instead of forcing myself to finish it, because I literally didn’t want to listen to it.
I feel like Tolkien could have portrayed just as much (or even more) of the world and characters with an interesting plot and faster pace, but that is just my opinion.
I probably will never read this book again, because it is so slow that I could just watch the movie and enjoy it more.
I will try to finish the rest of The Lord of the Rings series, but I am in no rush to do so, so there is no saying how long that will take me. I already own the series in paperback, but I will probably only be able to get through it if I can get the audiobook versions, like I did for Fellowship of the Ring.
Thanks for checking out my October Book Overview!
It was not the best month in terms of reading, since I didn’t get through as many books as I would like, but it is still better than earlier this year.
Don’t forget to check out my Booktober series “2019 Book Overview”.
-Knight of Cups ❤
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