Reading Room: October

**Every year I do a reading challenge through the site Goodreads. For the last few years, I’ve set my goal as 365 books for the year. It’s not something I realistically think I can achieve, but there’s definitely a sense of accomplishment in striving.**

20 books this month bringing the year-to-date total to 191.

A few allowed me to complete the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, but most were commissioned reviews.

**

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Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky by David Connerly Hahm

It’s difficult to find any books let alone ones worth reading set around the Purchase area of Kentucky. I had to venture into a story set in the center-east of the state instead–where all the people live.

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Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

This is one of the best, most imaginative books I’ve ever read. It is also gruesome & profoundly affirming and uplifting. A novella on par with or perhaps surpassing the most charming & creative of Neil Gaiman’s work.

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Odyssey by Homer

This new verse translation showed up at my doorstep, and I couldn’t have been happier with the surprise. A superb version.

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Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide, Monster Manual, & Player’s Handbook

I’ve decided to try my hand at roleplaying in an effort to spark some creative juices and have something sociable and regular to do with friends. We’ll see how it turns out…

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Words of Fury by Ritchie Valentine Smith

A commissioned review, Smith’s fantasy world envelopes the reader creating that most delightful of sense of lost time in a book. Lovers of fantasy fiction will find in Words of Fury an intricate story already underway beckoning them to join, to follow along.

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Jim and the Universe by DM Green

This coming of age story was another commissioned review. Jim, an English boy, is not too different from any American middle school boy. With every interaction between himself, others, and ‘the Universe,’ Jim becomes less and less anxiety-ridden and more confident as well as outgoing. The growth of Jim is a story that will appeal to many young readers.

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Anger Anonymous by Dennis Ortmann

This self-help book for those suffering from and those enduring someone with anger issues was a commissioned review.

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No Thanks Mom by Elizabeth Stewart

Another commissioned review, here we have Stewart exploring what to do with collections that the collector’s children are unwilling to accept. Given the massive number of Boomers, the techniques of No Thanks Mom are perhaps best used by X-ers and Millennials when it comes time to disperse or dissolve their parents possessions as they retire or pass away. All in all, Stewarts book gives readers much needed tactful advice on how, why, and when to downsize belongings.

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The Christmas Camel by Anne Bancroft Fowler

This children’s book takes a crack at telling a new religious Christmas story, a commissioned review.

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A Bit of Candy in Hard Times by Blaine Beveridge

A debut story deeply and intimately tied to not just its place but the era yet still manages to feel brazenly contemporary. Readers are given compelling characters who due to their circumstances have a moral flexibility they must endure. A commissioned review that turned out to be a very pleasing read.

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The Regenerative Business by Carol Sanford

Reading business literature can be mind-numbing but I’ve kinda gotten use to it. This commissioned review came at a good time as I’ve become more familiar with ‘biz-lit’ of late. 

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China Girl and Other Stories by Ho Lin

Perhaps not as engaging as I had hope but I think this is on me. There’s a tone to each of these long-ish short stories distancing themselves from my intellect leaving me cold to much of their content. However, that is not to say these aren’t well-crafted stories and I think a more attune reader will find them as pleasing as any Carver.

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Will China Dominate the 21st Century? by Jonathan Fenby

I approached this hoping to learn some nuances to the current hostility of US business and politics to China. While definitely well done, it ultimately read as rather too reactionary for my tastes.

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The Slave-Trader’s Letter-Book: Charles Lamar, the Wanderer, and Other Tales of the African Slave Trade by Jim Jordan

Every English literature PhD student’s wet dream, a found text in need of exegesis. Snark aside, this is a fascinating work and a truly engaging examination of a piece of history.

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The PlayStation Dreamworld by Alfie Bown

Perhaps the best book I read this month and definitely one of the most utile studies on gaming available.

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Don Quixote Goes to Yale by Eytan Halaban

I’ve already done commissioned reviews of two of Halaban’s novels, and this one certainly doesn’t disappoint.

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Wild World by Peter S. Rush

A forthcoming commissioned review, this novel of early 70s social unrest is equal parts thriller, period drama, and literary fiction. 

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Trace by Archer Mayor

The thriller/mystery/suspense genre is littered with heroes whose story spans a multitude of novels. This forthcoming commissioned review is no exception hitting all the right notes for fans of the genre.

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