Ever since graduating college, one of my favorite activities is entering a bookstore knowing I can select a book and read the title guilt free. No studies are being neglected and no procrastination writing a paper is occurring. Following decades of formal education, I enjoy reading whatever appeals at the time, and I’ve grown to understand it’s OK to bail on a book I’m no longer enjoying or enjoying as much as anticipated. Those factors have combined and translated to my reading 66 titles so far in 2019.
My favorite fall read was Alix Harrow’s debut novel The Ten Thousand Doors of January. The story quickly captured my interest and reminded me of my experiences as a child losing myself in a book, its own peculiar world and a collection of rich, multi-layered characters. I found the book reminiscent of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which is not a comparison I make lightly.
Incidentally, the book’s cover is also my favorite of the year. The title and artwork complement one another wonderfully, and I was delighted to see that, when the author signed the copy I happened to purchase from my local independent bookstore, she added a key icon to her signature. How does one not love the playful extension of such a creative motif?
Here are the other titles I read the previous two months:
- A Dream About Lightning Bugs: A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons, by Ben Folds – An interesting memoir fans of the multi-talented musician will be sure to enjoy, the book provides first-hand lessons on a variety of topics, including moderating ambition and the importance of not behaving badly.
- The Secret Diary of Hendrik Green, 83 1/4 Years Old, by Hendrik Groen – A heart-warming and genuine exploration of the over 80 set, try it for its humor and stick with it for reminders of the elements that make friendships so rewarding.
- Crush, by Richard Siken – I was strong-armed into reading this collection by a family member partial to intense dramatic productions, and Crush doesn’t disappoint on that front.
- The Best American Essays 2018, edited by Hilton Als – Essentially required reading for English majors, the annual series reliably collects important writing from the previous year.
- Year of the Monkey, by Patti Smith – I chose the audiobook version of this title, and I’m glad I did. No other narrator could likely capture the nuance of Smith’s delivery reading her own casual and genuine memoir.
- Analog Science Fiction and Fact, September/October 2019 – Sometimes you just want to read a variety of futuristic space exploration and first contact stories, and Analog never disappoints. The Fall volume collects works from a variety of authors and presents an equal variety of landscapes and storylines, all well worth the minimal price.