Hi, friends! I was looking forward to things slowing down in October after such a hectic year. Sadly, with everything going on in the world, my mental health is struggling as I’m sure many of you can relate. I will say I deleted Facebook and TikTok for maybe half a month at this point, and wow it is true that you have more time when you’re spending less time on your phone!!!
Here’s everything I read in October:
GLOSSY: AMBITION, BEAUTY, AND THE INSIDE STORY OF EMILY WEISS’S GLOSSIER by Marisa Meltzer – 3.5 stars
I feel like 2023 has been the year of consumer culture books (i.e. The Kingdom of Prep & Swipe Up for More)! Glossy was on my radar though I have actually never been a Glossier customer/consumer. I had seen some discourse regarding Glossier’s downfall on the Internet in the last couple of years so this book piqued my interest. As the The Kingdom of Prep highlighted the founding father-daughter duo and the subsequent “faces” of J. Crew, Meltzer writes about Emily Weiss, the founder of Glossier extensively in Glossy, starting from her “super intern” days on The Hills. Considering the intertwinedness between the brand and Emily Weiss, Glossy half reads like a biography. You might get more out of Glossy than I did if you’ve been a fan of Glossier as a brand.
SAME TIME NEXT SUMMER by Annabell Monaghan – 3.5 stars
I had been seeing Same Time Next Summer quite a bit this year though not to the degree of Every Summer After last year. Possibly controversial, I think Same Time Next Summer is better, or I liked it better at least. These two books share a lot of similarities, second chance romance with a childhood/first love where so many memories are from the summer months spent together (at the beach house for Same Time Next Summer; lake house for Every Summer After). Same Time Next Summer wins for me thanks to its plot. Without spoiling too much, the obstacle Sam and Jack overcome felt more like a real people problem to me.
FOURTH WING by Rebecca Yarros – 4 stars
Undoubtedly the most talked about book of 2023, Fourth Wing did not quite live up to the hype for me (it did take me over two weeks to finish it) but I can see why it’s become such a popular book. The dark academia setting where the dragon riders go through the most brutal and ruthless training is fascinating. The world Yarros creates is uncomplicated enough to follow easily. It took me 1/3 of the book to really get into it but the plot is well-paced by that point so you stay invested and interested. My partner Alex read this book first actually, and his main critique throughout was that the dialogue sounds juvenile in 2000s teenager way FYI. It didn’t bother me because I had plenty of warning from him lol.
P.S. It was disappointing to see the pro-Israel/neutral stance Yarros took on the Israel’s occupation/genocide of Palestinian people. I had finished Fourth Wing earlier in the month and planned to preorder the second book of the series but will not be doing so anymore.
ALL’S WELL by Mona Awad – 4 stars
I loved Bunny so I had to read more from Mona Awad. All’s Well is a newer book by her (not the latest–her 2023 release Rouge is next on my list). While the premise, the plot, and the voice is completely different from Bunny, Mona Awad writes another haunting horror story. All’s Well follows Miranda, an actor-unwillingly-turned-college theatre director, who lives with chronic pain and is trying to put on Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well despite quite literally everyone else’s opposition. Her life seemingly changes when she meets three strangers at a pub that she frequents. Again, Mona Awad creates a disorienting reality. You’re not exactly sure how things happen and how the book ends exactly but I remain absorbed in her storytelling the entire time.
THE RED PALACE by June Hur – 4.5 stars
My immediate thought after finishing The Red Palace was that I need to read more historical fiction set during the Joseon dynasty of Korea. The Red Palace follows Hyeon, a palace nurse who grew up as an illegitimate daughter, as she tries to solve a murder mystery in order to prove the innocence of her mentor nurse. I loved reading and learning more about the time period, and this YA mystery is short and reads fast (this combo doesn’t always happen…😉)! Because it is geared towards a younger audience, there is some shallowness to the plot in the sense that the plot continues progressing and unfolding relatively easily.
P.S. This book has has got me finally watching Kingdom! I binged the first season over this weekend and am anxious to watch the second season!!
WOW, NO THANK YOU by Samantha Irby – 4 stars
After holding onto a friend’s copy of Wow, No Thank You, I finally read it! I read We’re Never Meeting in Real Life earlier this year so I was accustomed Samantha Irby’s voice, both literally and figuratively. Like I found with We’re Never Meeting in Real Life, Wow, No Thank You is a compilation of chaotic rambles by Irby but for some reason, I found it funnier?! She’s funny in a self-deprecating way but she also has such a distinctive voice that I enjoy listening to. Point in case: I am currently listening to her latest book Quietly Hostile which came out earlier this year.