October in Review

Note: I occasionally accept review copies from the publisher. Posts written from review copies are labeled. All opinions are my own. Posts may contain affiliate links. I may receive compensation for any purchased items.

I read a lot in October, but I’ve slowed down my blogging for fear that I’m burning out. My monthly reading list below has 21(!) books and audiobooks on it, but do notice that a few are short, with 100 pages. Of course, that said, this is the largest reading month (counting pages and audiobook hours) since I began book blogging. It’s also the first month when I’ve had eight books still waiting to be reviewed as of the first of the next month!

I’ve also made some blog changes. For example, I eliminated my blog roll which I never found time to updating. Instead of a blog roll, I’m considering doing highlights of blogs that have awesome articles. Of course, I’ve been trying to make my blog less stressful by posting less frequently, so I am not sure how I’ll find time for everything I’d love do. I’m realizing it’s a constant battle, but I’m also hoping I can get a handle on it!

As for reading challenges and what I’m planning for November and/or December, I’ve gotten back on a Spice of Life kick and although I’ve officially “finished” the challenge myself, I hope to read a few more books for that challenge (since I’m hosting it) in the next month.

I’m incredibly excited because November marks the beginning of The Really Old Classics Challenge. Heather and I are hosting this from November until the end of February. To participate, you need to read one (1) really old classic (something written before 1600 A.D.) between now and then! It doesn’t have to be an epic (it can be something shorter) and you have four months, so don’t be intimidated: come sign up! Details here.

Further, today is the first day of the Wilkie Collins Classics Circuit. I’m really excited about this project and I’m looking forward to coming months because some great things are in the works!

The beginning of November is also the beginning of the Women Unbound Reading Challenge. I will probably sign up for that challenge as well; more details to come as I decide which books I will read.

All that said, I’m still hoping to get away from challenges and back to what I want to be reading at the moment. Yet, as you can tell, I’m having a hard time separating myself from the fun that is reading challenges. Although there are a number of “unfinished” challenges in my lists below, I’m still working slowly but surely and I may or may not finish them all. I have a number of personal projects I began months ago (even last year), though, and I do want to be getting back to those for the year 2010.

Fiction and Nonfiction Reviews

In October, I reviewed a few things I finished previously.

I also read or reviewed the following things:

  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (310 pages; children’s fiction).
  • Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (215 pages; fiction).
  • Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda (90 pages; Spanish and English translation, poetry).
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (190 pages; children’s fiction). Began in September.
  • The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White (250 pages; children’s fiction).
  • Stuart Little by E.B. White (125 pages; children’s fiction).
  • Better by Atul Gawande (about 6 ½ hours audiobook; nonfiction).
  • Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (480 pages; fiction).  A reread/no review.
  • The Great Equations: Breakthroughs in Science from Pythagoras to Heisenberg by Robert P. Crease (270 pages; nonfiction)
  • Complications by Atun Gawande (290 pages; nonfiction).
  • La Casa en Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (115 pages; Spanish translation, fiction).
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (115 pages; fiction).
  • The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Emanuel Schikaneder (opera).
  • Macbeth by Shakespeare (190 pages; play, audiobook, and essays of commentary).
  • Jane Austen: A Biography by Carol Shields (5 CDs about 5 hours total; nonfiction/biography).
  • The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (550 pages; fiction).
  • Proust was a Neuroscientist by Jonas Lehrer (200 pages; nonfiction).
  • Too Many Cooks by Emily Franklin (360 pages; nonfiction/memoir/cookbook).
  • Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child (110 pages; nonfiction/reference/cookbook).
  • The Neil Gaiman audio collection (about 1 hour on 1 disc; children’s fiction).
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (425 pages; fiction).

Children’s Projects

In addition to the children’s books reviewed above, I reviewed a few picture books.

Other Posts

Not all my posts were reviews this month.

Challenges Update

As I mentioned above, I’m adding two challenges. One is my own four-month challenge, and the other is a year-long challenge. I also finished two challenges this month and I’m almost done with two more (Dewey Decimal Reading Challenge and Science Book Challenge). I’ve definitely finished The Spice of Life Challenge but I’m still reading more for it!

Past and Ended Challenges

  • Hispanic Heritage Month (1 book between 15 September to 15 October). 1/1 I reread The House on Mango Street in Spanish and English.
  • The RIP IV Challenge (until 31 Oct 2009). 4/4 I read and reviewed Dracula and The Graveyard Book. I also read Macbeth and The Moonstone. I hope to review those in the coming week or two. My favorite probably was either The Graveyard Book or Macbeth. None of these books were all time favorites –I’m not surprised, as mystery, horror, and otherwise sinister stories have never been favorites of mine! I did enjoy being a part of the challenge.

New Challenges

Challenge Progress

Some projects appear on more than one list because part of the challenge is timed, but the overall project is not. I’ve made a note if I’m currently reading a book that applies to a particular challenge.

See the list of books I’ve read and what I’m planning on reading for each challenge on my Current Challenges page.

Timed Challenges

9 for 09 challenge (until 27 Dec 2009). 3/9 (Coming up: Too Late the Phalathrophe by Alan Paton)
BiblioShakespeare Challenge
(until 31 Dec 2009). 4/6 (Coming up: ?)
Dewey Decimal Reading Challenge (until 31 Dec 2009). 9/10 (Coming up: something from the 800s century)
Everything Austen Challenge
(until 31 Dec 2009) 3/6 (Coming up: a Jane Austen quote book, Jane Austen’s History of England, Sense and Sensibility)
Science Book Challenge
(until 31 Dec 2009). 2/3 (In the middle of Oliver Sack’s Musicophilia)
The Spice of Life Challenge
(until 31 Dec 2009). 8/6 (I’m also planning on reading My Life in France by Julia Child and Tender at the Bone by Rachel Reichl)
World Citizen Challenge
(until 31 Dec 2009). 5/7 (I have Guns, Germs, and Steel; Naked Economics; and an anthropology-type book checked out currently.)
The Japanese Literature Challenge (until 30 Jan 2010). 0/1 (Coming up: The Pillow Book. I will read this over the next few months.)
Really Old Classics Challenge
(until 28 February 2010). 0/1[4] + 0/1 (Coming up: Medea)
Women Unbound
(until 30 Nov 2010). (I haven’t decided level of participation yet or which books to read.)

Personal Projects

HTR&W project: poetry. 0/21 poems (Coming up: poetry by Houseman) I need to get working on this project.
Nobel Challenge
. 15/101 authors
Pulitzer Challenge
. 11/82
Newbery Medal
. 28/88
Caldecott Medal
.  42/72
My History of Children’s Literature Project
. 6/15 chapters (I’ve read 11 chapters, but am reading novels from chapter 6 still. In progress: Treasure Island)
U.S. Presidential Reading
. 2/44 presidents
Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
. 1/15 presidents (Coming up: Brigham Young, American Moses by Leonard Arrington)
My Short Story Author Project
My Poets Project
Favorite Authors to Read

Classics/Must Read Lists

Beowulf on the Beach Challenge . 15/50
101 Great Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers
. 42/101
Martel-Harper Challenge19/59

Reviewed on November 2, 2009

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  • You had a great month in blogging. I loved the McCloud book and House on Mango Street is an all time favorite. Nice! 🙂 I admire all the challenges you do- I’d never be able to keep up with all that. You’re very organized!

  • I know exactly what you mean about keeping the blog from being too overwhelming but also trying to get everything done that you want to get done! Looks like you’re reading a lot, though…I envy that! 🙂

  • I’ve had a really challenging time with challenges (hardy har) too, lately – trying to finish up my last few, and I thought “OK, I’m done. No more challenges, unless they’re from my wife.” But, then new ones come up, and it’s just too easy to think ‘yes, well, this one…’ I don’t know. It’s hard. AND, then, when someone I’m well acquainted with starts a challenge, I feel bad turning them down, too. But I really enjoy your reviews, and LOVE your taste, so I’m glad I’ll get to see some of your own personal choices over the next year. I like that you make personal challenges, that align with what you want to do :).

    On that note, btw, for poetry, you don’t have any Russians on your poetry personal challenge! I just read Marina Tsvetaeva and loved her, and Pushkin earlier this year, and want to read Anna Akhmatova, and Aleksandr Blok in the near future, and I’ve heard great things about Boris Pasternak. But, I imagine Ms Eva would be a better advisor than me. Actually, it looks like you don’t have a lot of translated poetry at all – which I can understand. Translated poems are always dicey. And, when you read EB Browning, you have to read Aurora Leigh, it’s one of my favorites 🙂

  • Marie, I have been a bit overwhelmed with challenges but it is fun!

    Amy, since I’ve stopped blogging every single day, it lets me read instead, so yeah, the reading it still a lot lately! Time to get the reviews written.

    Jason, Well, that’s why I love seeing other’s challenge lists: it’s just plain fun to see what others want to read, so I find I keep making lists too because it’s fun on this end! Trying to get everything read by the end of the year, on the other hand, has become quite stressful.

    Thanks for the poetry note. It has actually been a long time since I’ve updated that poetry page. Yes, I don’t have much translated poetry because I took my list from a different list and it was rather American- and English-centric. Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll add them at some point in the next month so I can be more updated there!

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}