What I Read in October | October 28, 2020

So this month was for the ladies. It wasn't even intentional, I just somehow grabbed a month's worth of books that presented (or at least intended to, we'll get to that) women in strong leads. Made for a lovely month, and since I spent most of it perched between Ryan and Duke in the camper, also lots of interesting discussions. When he's driving, I talk Ryan's ear off and usually read aloud every sentence that I think is worth ruminating on. COVID wrecked my book club, so I force Ryan to be a one-man show. 

What I Read in October | biblio-style.com

Side note - I'm trying a little different format with this review, mostly to keep myself from rambling and/or throwing out spoilers. What do you think? Does it work okay?


Educated || Tara Westover 

5/5 // Non-fiction

One Sentence Synopsis: A young girl grows up in a family of survivalist Mormons who reject public education and modern medicine, and somehow she manages to earn a PHD and not die from infection. 

Review: Oh easily the best book I've read all year. It's so bonkers and it's non-fiction. This family has a bunch of kids, as fundamentalists do, and multiple (!!!) members are lit on fire, nearly killed in car crashes, and in general, just completely neglected, yet somehow, nobody dies. The weird part - amidst some actual abuse - I got the feeling that the parents honestly loved their children. They're just so blinded by the bizarre things they believe, that they couldn't make protecting their children a priority. 

Tara and two of her brothers crave education so badly that when they're finally free to pursue it, they go all the way. It's like being forced to sit your whole life and when the handcuffs come off, you're like, "fuck it, I'm not going for a walk. I'm running the whole GD marathon." No formal education and yet there are three PHDs in this family. Wild. It is so good. 

Bonus: if you're into Facebook style drama, several members of her family dispute the details of this book and have taken to Amazon to argue in the reviews. 

Three Women || Lisa Taddeo

3/5 // Non-fiction

One Sentence Synopsis: The author spends nearly a decade with three women from different socio-economic backgrounds as they take control of their sexual lives. 

Review: I struggled with this book. The reviews are mostly excellent and it's been hailed as a hugely important book about women and their desires, but -- and I'm afraid to admit this -- I didn't get it. The premise is that these women are taking control of their sexual lives, but I found quite the opposite to be true. One of them is a highschooler very clearly being groomed by her teacher, which feels unquestionably unbalanced in terms of control. I will say that I found ways to relate to each woman, in terms of her feelings. Perhaps that's part of the magic for some readers - you can certainly see yourself in moments of these women. 

It's one of those books that is a cultural phenomenon in terms of popularity, so I'd only recommend it if you enjoy book discussions on current bestsellers. Otherwise, I just wasn't into it. 

Feminasty || Erin Gibson

4/5 // Non-fiction

One Sentence Synopsis: A book of essays in which the writer, Erin Gibson, hilariously attacks old fashioned patriarchal policies that manage to linger in modern society. 

Review: I would like to acknowledge that 95% of the men I know are actually quite lovely, however I laughed a lot while reading this book. I didn't agree with everything, but in general, Erin is a gal with some opinions and she's willing to humorously fight for them all day long. She covers Betsy DeVos, how women have been traditionally blocked in STEM careers, and my favorite, Mike Pence. 

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald || Therese Anne Fowler

2/5 // Historical Fiction

One Sentence Synopsis: Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald had a tumultuous relationship from the very beginning and this book follows the marriage of America's First Flapper and the writer of the Jazz Age. 

Review:  I wanted to love it, because I think the Fitzgeralds are fascinating, but to me, the writing just never sparked. I kept reading because I hoped it would get there. These two had a wild start to their marriage and I think probably a few happy years, but Scott became an alcoholic, and Zelda had some misdiagnosed mental things going on, and they just spiraled. So much promise for the couple that were the Jazz age. Scott made a ton of money writing, and they spent just as much on gin and fur coats, bless them. I wish the book was as interesting at their marriage was. 


Read With Me | biblio-style.com

Have you guys read any of these books? What are you reading lately? 

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