Book Chat

October 2016 Reading Log

What a month! Baby arrived mid-October so this month’s reading was divided in half: a frenzy in the first half to clear my reading list, then I found myself up at all hours and tired of scrolling through social media… so I could actually read more than I thought! For the next few months, eBooks will be my new best friends. Everything takes about three times as long as it used to, especially blog posts!

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log

October 2016 Thoughts


You Learn by Living, by Eleanor Roosevelt

The Amateur Librarian // August 2016 Reading Log
Start date: 8/13/2016
Finish date: 10/22/2016
Genre/Format: Memoir / eBook
Grade: B

Not so much a memoir like I expected, but life lessons from Eleanor Roosevelt’s many years in the public sector as First Lady during 1930s and 40s. America seemed quaintly unregulated by today’s standards – for example, why was the First Lady in charge of inspecting prisons and CCC camps? Ultimately nothing too earth shattering was revealed, but a gentle read during late night feedings was just what I needed.

Sweetbitter, by Stephanie Danler

The Amateur Librarian // September 2016 Reading Log
Start date: 9/6/2016
Finish date: 10/3/2016
Genre/Format: Fiction / Audiobook
Grade: C

I cared enough to finish this modern coming-of-age tale but it was way over-buzzed as the “book of the summer” in my opinion. Maybe I’m just too old to find self-destruction for no good reason that compelling. The main character moves to New York and gets sucked into a life of partying and a destructive love triangle while working at a high-end restaurant, which is about as clichéd as it sounds, but the main character certainly doesn’t realize it and I couldn’t tell if the author does either. None of the characters (including the love interest) were very memorable, and the dialogue was often pretentious. For once the audiobook was not the best option, through no fault of the narrator; there were just too many eye roll-inducing lines to read! Obviously not my favorite.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue, by Melanie Benjamin

The Amateur Librarian // September 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 9/19/2016
Finish date: 10/9/2016
Genre/Format: Fiction / Library book
Grade: A

Historical fiction based on real-life people can be tricky, but this dishy behind-the-scenes story of Truman Capote’s social rise and fall was really well done. The characters and emotions felt real and you can tell the author had so much fun imagining the conversations to fill in the blanks between facts. (Side note: Everything about the New York socialite life sounds so glamorous, but if you Google the “Black and White Ball” and other happenings, it always surprises me that the main players are much older and the events are on a much smaller scale compared to today’s level of celebrity excess.) I am still fascinated by Capote’s tragic life after my binge a couple years ago, so this was right up my alley and the perfect escapism during my last weekend of pregnancy before Amelia arrived.


If you’re interested, here are my thoughts on other Capote-related books:

A Christmas Memory (November 2010 and November 2014)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (November 2014)
Capote: A Biography (October 2014)
A Diamond Guitar (November 2014)
House of Flowers (November 2014)
In Cold Blood (March 2015)

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, written and illustrated by Dan Santat

The Amateur Librarian // October 2016 Reading Log
Start date: 10/6/2016
Finish date: 10/6/2016
Genre/Format: Children’s Lit / Hardback
Grade: A

On my first day of maternity leave, I indulged in some time with the children’s book collection that we’ve been building for Amelia. This is such a sweet story of an imaginary friend looking for his perfect human companion, and the illustrations are great. (Fun fact: I *almost” took it as a sign that the baby should be Alice instead of Amelia. Hormones!) A gift from Uncle Brock makes it extra special – can’t wait to read it aloud when baby is finally here!

What to Expect When You’re Expecting, by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel

The Amateur Librarian // October 2016 Reading Log
Start date: Early 2016
Finish date: 10/10/2016
Genre/Format: Nonfiction / Paperback
Grade: A

Finished this the weekend before Amelia arrived. The “Pregnancy Bible” gets a bad rap for fear mongering but I found it much more comprehensive than the pregnancy apps I perused (too click-baity) and much more direct than Google (so many opinions!), although I did my fair share of that too of course. Each month of pregnancy was covered briefly and the Q&A sections were largely helpful – I just skipped over the ones that didn’t apply to me. I read in real time month-by-month so by the time I got to the Labor and Delivery section I knew that baby was breech and I skipped right to the C-section portion. Now that pregnancy is behind me, I can see that I (and the most common questions) focused on worries that were mostly irrelevant (so much really does come naturally) and not enough about other things (definitely should have paid more attention to recovery) but like I heard so many times, nothing can really prepare you for parenthood.

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, by J.K. Rowling

The Amateur Librarian // October 2016 Reading Log
Start date: 10/23/2016
Finish date: 10/26/2016
Genre/Format: Children’s Lit / eBook
Grade: A

I have tried and failed to get invested in the Pottermore website and I’m always frustrated when I hear that J.K. Rowling has released new material that I can’t access, so even though previously-published essays that are available on a free website might seem like a money-grab, I didn’t mind shelling out $2.99 each for three eBooks. This short collection fills in background tidbits with bios on Professor McGonagall, Remus Lupin, and Sybill Trelawney and related essays on topics like werewolves and seers. Nothing crucial but I always love visiting the wizarding world!

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists, by J.K. Rowling

The Amateur Librarian // October 2016 Reading Log
Start date: 10/27/2016
Finish date: 10/28/2016
Genre/Format: Children’s Lit / eBook
Grade: A

More of the same, concentrating on the baddies like Professor Umbridge, Peeves the Poltergeist, and Azkaban. Fun distraction and easy to read during nighttime nursing sessions!

Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, by J.K. Rowling

The Amateur Librarian // October 2016 Reading Log
Start date: 10/28/2016
Finish date: 10/30/2016
Genre/Format: Children’s Lit / eBook
Grade: A

Probably my favorite of the trio, with fun background info about the Hogwarts castle like the resident ghosts, the Hufflepuff common room, the talking portraits, etc. I wish these eBooks were available as printed books – I try to keep my physical book purchases to a minimum these days but I’ll always be a sucker for the world of Harry Potter.

Still Reading:

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J.D. Vance

The Amateur Librarian // October 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 10/30/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Memoir / eBook

I heard good things about this book from both Modern Mrs. Darcy and Everyday Reading, so when the eBook went on sale I indulged. It seems especially relevant during this election season, so even though I’m sick of politics at this point, I jumped right in. Fascinating stuff so far.

Books read in October: 8
Books read so far in 2016: 58
Still reading: 1

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of October, the tenth (!) month of 2016 (& first month of motherhood!).  I’m always looking for more book recommendations – are you reading any good books?

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