What I Read In October And November

A month's come and gone, and I missed my chance to post about what I read in October. So now I've decided to mash two months together, and condense my thoughts as much as I can. I ended up with 27 books; 16 in October, and 11 in November.

Without further ado! My books:

#1 - Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie - Classic - 5/5 stars

I wanted to read this for a long time, since Peter Pan was one of my favorite movies, and I was on a quest to read some good classics. I was blown away by how much I loved this book. It's timeless, whimsical, emotional, and its themes are so developed I don't even think that I understand it all. I absolutely love this book, and it's one of my new favorites.

#2 - My Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok - Literature - 5/5 stars

Chaim Potok is my favorite author, and I can't say anything about this book except that I almost wish I could take back all the times I called a book 'beautiful' and 'incredible' and 'moving' so I could give more worth to my words when I call this book beautiful and incredible and moving.

#3 - Firefight by Brandon Sanderson - YA Sci-Fi - 4/5 stars

The second book in a superhero series that has been quite the ride. I categorized this book as 'junk reading' in my mind as I was going through it. It was my least favorite of the series, but it definitely redeemed itself by the end and it though it lagged near the middle, it was a fun read.

#4 - Decade of Triumph, The 40s by Time Life Books - Non-fic

This was a book I read for school and research, and I enjoyed it well enough. Learned quite a bit, and it had great pictures.

#5 - Out Of The Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis - Classic - 4/5 stars

Most people don't know that Lewis had a sci-fi trilogy as well as his Chronicles Of Narnia. The first in the series was a great book, very quick and easy enough to read for its more complex language. Very nearly one of my favorite sci-fi books I've ever read. The worldbuilding was absolutely fantastic, not what I was expecting from a fantasy author, but what I should have expected. It was an odd and fantastic book, essential for any Lewis fans. I'm incredibly eager to continue the trilogy.

#6 - Horseradish by Lemony Snicket - Non-fic - 2/5 stars

A collection of sayings or quotes by Lemony Snicket. Some of them felt they were trying too hard to be insightful or witty, but there were some that I genuinely loved, like: " If writers wrote as carelessly as some people talk, then adhasdh asdglaseuyt[bn[ pasdlgkhasdfasdf. "

#7 - The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti - His-fic - 3/5 stars

I read this book for book-club and it is a too fast-paced telling of a boy in Nazi Germany, trying to do what is right. Most things in the book besides the main character was poorly done, and it was terrible his-fic. Its saving grace was the main conflict of government and justice, and it barely made it to three stars for me.

#8 - Because Of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo - Children's - 3/5 stars

Heartfelt and sweet, this book is great for kids though I found it a little lacking in cohesiveness and overall story, but it was a cute book with a wonderful theme that I feel bad about giving it so low a rating. Seriously, it's great!

#9 - Adorning The Dark: Thoughts On Community, Calling, and The Mystery Of Making by Andrew Peterson - Non-fic - 5/5 stars

Not just because of the amazing cover, but because Andrew Peterson wrote one of my favorite series ever, was the reason that I bought it before it even came out. I was not disappointed. I love and agree with so much of Peterson's philosophy on life and creativity that I just felt refreshed reading it. Each chapter was episodic and taught me something in itself, so that the whole book is just a wonderful take on creating with God. It felt a little rough around the edges, but I don't think that's a reason to knock any stars off. Peterson even said he likes to leave some drafts as they were purely written to preserve the atmosphere of sincerity that he felt in writing it. While I don't disagree, I think it could have used some touching up. Overall, just amazing, go buy it.

#10 - A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck - Children's - 2.5/5 stars

Read-aloud to my younger brother and he didn't enjoy it very much. The chapters were episodic and barely connected enough to tell a cohesive story. The main character did absolutely nothing throughout the book. But the book was sweet and had its moments. Enjoyable but not very well written. It was a newbery medal winner, which is obviously a mistake.

#11 - Calamity by Brandon Sanderson - YA Sci-fi - 4/5 stars

I'd have to say it's probably my favorite in the series, though it almost felt the worst in terms of literary-quality. It was the ending of a superhero trilogy, and I really liked the ending because I'm an odd person who likes odd endings. I ask a lot of endings to be honest and I don't know how to reverse this. This ending satisfied me though. It felt a little scattered and it had quite a lot of problems, but I did love it. Not my favorite series, but a fun one.

#12 - All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater - YA fantasy - 5/5 stars

I absolutely loved this book and it's one of my new favorites. It's written by one of my top favorite authors, who wrote The Scorpio Races. I was shocked at how different in tone this book was from her other one. It has such a quirky, fun personality--with just amazing characters and worldbuilding. I can't tell you how much I adore this book.

#13 - Rover Saves Christmas by Roddy Doyle - Children's - 4/5 stars

This one was another one that I read aloud to my little brother, and he absolutely loved it. It's one of the few physical books I had to read when I was overseas, so I read it and reread it over and over. I was surprised at how it held up--especially the humor. I had a hard time keeping a straight face when reading, and my little brother just cracked up.

#13 - Mighty Jack and Zita The Spacegirl by Ben Hatke - Graphic Novel - 2/5 stars

I loved the Zita The Spacegirl series because it was another one that I read a lot when I was overseas (even though I was only able to read it at a friends house because we didn't actually own the books). The Zita series is sweet and endearingly fun. Then Hatke came out with Mighty Jack and I didn't like it as much--the first or the second book. So I was a little annoyed at how lacking this was as a crossover, and how poorly Hatke treated Zita in this one, making her almost a side character and stealing her personality. Disappointed for sure.

#14 - Bomb: The Race To Build--And Steal--The World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin - Non-fic - 5/5 stars

I am beginning to wonder if reading purely fiction is good for me, and this book finally tipped the scales to allow more non-fiction in my reading diet. I really didn't know history could move me, and stir up emotion in the way that fiction does. This book is heavily researched, incredibly interesting, and thoroughly enjoyable. I learned a whole bunch from this book--and I highly recommend it to those who are resistant to non-fiction like I was.

#15 - More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell - Non-fic - 3/5 stars

I had to read this one for school and I didn't resent it like I did for some other books that I was forced to read. It was basic, yet a practically a quick read to hand someone who wants to start learning more about christianity. It wasn't in-depth enough to satisfy me, but helpful, and it made some points that I appreciated.

#16 - The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and The Fight For Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin - Non-fic - 4/5 stars

This was another fun history read, that moved me again in the way that fiction does. Steve Sheinkin really knows how to write history, and this was again thouroughly researched, and well-presented. I learned a lot from this book about a forgotten story from the civil rights' history. I've told this story to many other people because I find it so interesting, and this book would be another great place to start for those resistant to non-fiction.

#17 - The Right Side Of History: How Reason And Moral Purpose Made The West Great by Ben Shapiro - Non-fic - 4.5/5 stars

I think this is my favorite non-fiction that I've ever read (which is out of a small pool, but still a compliment I guess). I read this on a deal between myself and a friend, where she would read my fiction book, and I would read her non-fiction book. Well, I held up my end of the deal and dove right into this book. It's incredibly thoughtful and deep and practically looks at the problems of today by focusing on the past. Shaprio leaps through history and philosophy, looking at the structures of religion and science that have built our nation. He is a jew, so he doesn't cover all the bases in respecting what the New Testament had to say about government, but it was the strongest case against atheism and humanism that I've ever read.

#18 - The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson - Classic - 3.5/5 stars

My chemistry professor was acting in a Jekyll and Hyde musical, and I wanted to go, so I decided to read the source material first. It was short, and worth the read. It wasn't the most fantastic story, but I liked it and the mystery around it, even though I already knew what happened. But the ending still surprised me in that the theme was well-developed. It was written a little stiffly, but I was able to read it quickly.

#19 - Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer - Children's - 3.5/5

My brother has been bothering me about reading this, so I decided to give it a try, and I really liked it. This book is incredibly fun and rompy, while keeping a level of maturity. Some aspects weren't so great, and the story was somewhat predictable. But it was an overall good read, and I'm going to continue the series.

#20 - The City Of Ember: The Graphic Novel by Jeanne DuPrau - Graphic Novel - 2/5 stars

I don't remember how much I liked the actual novel, but it was decent enough. This adaption though, really didn't do it justice, and I just didn't like it.

#21 - Frindle by Andrew Clements - Children's - 5/5 stars

This was another one of my childhood books, and I read it over and over and over. I wanted to be Nick Allen. I wanted to invent a word like 'frindle'. This book was my childhood. So I decided to read it to my little brother to see if it would hold up. I knew it would, but as I was reading, the pacing seemed a little quick. There were some odd moments, and I thought 'ah well, still a great book, but just not the greatest book.' Then I got to the ending (which, for some reason, I never understood as a kid), and this book redeemed itself; because I read the whole book so many times, and never understood the ending, so it was like I was experiencing the ending to one of my favorite childhood books, for the first time. That was an experience, I can tell you. And I can tell you that I still love this book. It's so original, yet familiar. The story is just fun to read because it was the sort of thing I daydreamed about doing. This book is just a wonderful book for kids and parents and grandparents and infants and even the deceased. It's for everyone. It's a classic, that's what it is.

#22 - Doomsday Book by Connie Willis - Sci-fi/His-fic - 5/5 stars

The subtly intricate character work, the wit, the attention to detail, the grounded writing, the amount of work that went into this, and the emotion it made me feel in the last 50 or so pages made this book quite worth the long read. I loved it. I almost gave it four stars because of some slow pacing, but I couldn't do it. A slow few chapters was hardly excuse to demote this masterpiece down a star. It's wonderful sci-fi with in-depth worldbuilding that does the opposite of indulge itself; and incredible his-fic that is neither too gritty and dirty, nor unrealistic and infactual. It really is a masterpiece.

#23 - The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis - Fantasy - 5/5 stars

This book has cemented C.S. Lewis as one of my top favorite authors. The way he can pack such a punch in such a tiny book is beyond my own understanding. How his characters argue sensibly and reasonably so you see the truth; how he paints hell as boring and sad, and how he paints heaven as scary and wondrous; how he convicts me to confront my issues; how he understands biblical philosphy so well; how he brings out ideas that I've never considered before, introducing them with simplicity yet impact--it all makes his writing so wonderful.

#24 - Hamlet by William Shakespeare - Play - 5/5 stars

I don't know what I was expecting of Hamlet, but I wasn't expecting it to be so good. Hamlet as a character, is such a deep and conflicted character, who also sasses people with his self-inflicted manic. I found myself desperately wanting to see a Hamlet production--and I'll be on the watch for one anywhere near me. I think I'll be reading a lot more Shakespeare from now on.

#25 - Starsight by Brandon Sanderson - Sci-fi - 4.5/5 stars

This was my most anticipated release of 2019, a sequel to Skyward, which is one of my favorite books of the year. The sequel is not as good, but it's a wonderful addition to the world, and I loved the book. It was a wild ride reading it, as I went from hate to love from the first half to the second half. But I'm incredibly satisfied that he wrote a worthy sequel.

#26 - As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From The Making Of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes - Memoir - 3.5/5 stars

This was a light read, written in anecdotes from the magical producion of The Princess Bride, told from the perspective of the young and nervous Man In Black, or Cary Elwes. It was awesome learning all the fun tidbits and behind the scenes stories. But it was a bit more fluff than I wanted. Nothing really to get out of it or any connected storyline. Plus, he repeated himself a lot with complimenting people. But it did remind me of the wonderful times I've had with friends in the best way possible.

#27 - The Adventures Of Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carrol - Children's - 2/5 stars

I read this one aloud to my little brother, and he really liked it. But it was too weird for me, both structurally, visually, and thematically. It's iconic, but not really my book (though I did like the Disney animated version better than the book).

And that took a lot of time to write, so I hope you enjoy it! I know I did, sorting out all my thoughts on what I've read. I'll be back next month with more books and more thoughts!

- Elijah

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