October 2011 in Review

October 2011 Stats

Books in progress: 14
Books read: 4
Pages read: 1,129

Happy Halloween (almost)! This month, I started more books than I finished, but I was still able to post some regular features and a few reviews. Enjoy!

Books reviewed

Holy Ghost Girl by Donna M. Johnson was a very personally rewarding book; in glimpsing Johnson’s strange childhood, I found insights into my own experience.

In another video review, I relied upon my recent interest in travel narratives to critique Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust to Go.

In my review of Maman’s Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan, I relied upon a different skill set–my palate. Bijan’s memoir is a fabulous homage to food and family.

I was fascinated to read about World War II flygirls in . It is so rare to find an under-covered aspect of the war in literature, but Friedrich managed to do so, and I applaud him for his originality.

Top Ten Tuesday

In Surprise Endings, I recounted the top ten book endings that left me with my mouth hanging open–because of a cliffhanger, because the ending was mindblowing, and so on.

I had a lot of fun describing the value of and my favorite haunting and horrific classics for Halloween reading.

Wordless Wednesday

I recently visited one of my favorite sights in D.C., the Tidal Basin, at sunset; my favorite picture is of a beautiful young mother fishing with her baby. Next, I walked by the Washington Monument, which looked like an epic weather battleground; on one side, clear skies fades to a light blue, and on the other, dark clouds are cast in the pinks and peaches of a setting sun.

A few weeks later, D.C.’s parks filled with the Occupy DC movement, which still has not gotten nearly as much attention as the original movement in New York (despite obviously superior signage).

Speaking of nature, I stumbled across a gorgeous wild garden near work one day, and I was delighted to see a butterfly flitting from flower to flower. The last days of Indian summer!

Subscription Saturday

I assembled a handful of articles I found interesting in Productivity, Poverty, and Public Radio and Travel, Bookstores, and Factchecking. I then decided that this feature would be more interesting if I focused on one publication at a time, as I did for SPIN and The Believer magazines.

Sunday Salon

My stats sucked in September in Review, and I resolved to read more books this month as the weather grows cooler. I finished half of the books I outlined in Fall for Reading, and I’ll polish of the remainder in November and December.

Jack and I traveled to Lynchburg to say goodbye to his grandmother, Gene, while also celebrating the lives of loved ones who are still here–and the joys of change!

Reading Challenges

I didn’t get as much accomplished during Readathon 2011 as I’d hoped, but at least I put a dent in the stack!

For Bookshelf ROWDOWN, I completed A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, which was a fantastic book–I can’t wait to review it!


I’m currently giving away Donna M. Johnson’s memoir, Holy Ghost Girl. This is one of the best books I’ve read all year, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in faith and identity.  I’ll be randomly choosing the winner at midnight on October 31–that’s tomorrow!

I’m also giving away Donia Bijan’s delicious and deep memoir/cookbook, Maman’s Homesick Pie. Well-written and light-hearted yet deeply moving, Donia Bijan’s memoir about growing up in Persian, American, and French kitchens doesn’t miss a step–but it’s impossible to read while hungry! I’ll be randomly choosing up to three winners of this book at midnight on November 15.

To enter, leave a comment on my review of the book you’d like to win (hyperlinked above). I’m sorry, these giveaways are only open to readers in the United States or Canada. Good luck, my fellow North Americans, and stay tuned for another giveaway coming up soon!

2 replies »

  1. I’m a good friend of Millie’s and she turned me on to your columns, which
    I’m enjoying a lot. Thanks for writing them!


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