Week in Reading: October 17th

Wow, remember when I used to write things? Yeah, me neither. It has been a minute. I'm hoping to ease back into some kind of regular flow with this old blog after an unplanned-for, unanticipated 3 weeks away. To recap: Since I've last been here, I've been on an overnight train (best thing ever), a conference in Chicago (where I spoke twice), a wedding, a baptism, a panel presentation for work, a half-marathon, and just about a few dozen off-site meetings. In between, I fought off a multi-day migraine (and by "fought off," I mean "laid in bed and whined a lot and did very little else of substance"), taper madness (the struggle is real), and a host of anxiety- (and election-) related ups and downs.

Suffice it to say, I haven't been reading much. Even when I've had the time (with taper comes more free time!), I haven't had the mental capacity for it, so I've taken to the kitchen, where the methodical process of chopping, dicing, slicing, stirring, baking, and transforming has been oddly and unexpectedly soothing.

But here I am, ready to get my reading groove back on (hey, did you hear, Readathon is this weekend!?). I finished an incredible audiobook last week (Strangers on a Train; have you all read this? Because it is creepily, chillingly awesome.), and have since started The Invasion of the Tearling. Lady fantasy writers and lady rulers and imperfect situations in magic books are my jam, and this series packs all three of those things; combine that with a much better narrator for the second volume (Davina Porter) and this book is single-handedly making me survive the many hour-long drives I've had of late.

In print, things have been a little rougher. I struggled through Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother's Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South. Besides having about the longest subtitle of all time, this was an interesting topic for nonfiction (two albino black boys kidnapped by the circus at the turn of the 20th century) that ultimately lacked enough focus to gel in any coherent way. The Secret Life of Souls was a slightly contrived story of a dysfunctional family, though it proved interesting enough to carry me through to its unexpected conclusion. And though I got a slow start to The Ornatrix, I ultimately fell head over heels for Howard's nuanced historical fiction about beauty, power, womanhood, and how the three intersect in sixteenth-century Umbria. It's an odd book, but a good one. (Expect full reviews of the latter two of these in coming issues of Shelf Awareness.) Luckily, this month's pick for the Social Justice Book Club has been incredible thus far, and I can't wait to read on in Men We Reaped.

So now here I am, hoping to catch up on review requirements before readathon this weekend so I can spend my reading day in pure pleasure-reading peace. I'll be finishing Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens, and am excited to start Island People: The Caribbean and the World on its heels. And then to plan my readathon stack... but that will have to wait until later this week.


What are you reading this week? What should I have on my radar?

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