Books I Read in October 2021 | October 2021 Wrap Up

Another book list, hey! And today, it’s time for my October 2021 wrap up, in which I share with you all the books that I read in October 2021. I read 12 books, I think, including some for the Scaredy Cat Readathon, which I failed miserably at. But I’m pretty happy with that number, especially because it came during a horrid month that went all shades of bad to worse. But never mind that. November is going GREAT and I couldn’t be happier with my present reading month.

The video for my October 2021 wrap up isn’t yet live because I haven’t even filmed it yet. But I’m hoping to post it on Thursday. Today is going to be the day I film it, hopefully. Fingers crossed and all that. But that aside, let’s get on with this list already!

1. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

The first book I read in October 2021 and what a book it was! I really enjoyed Alex and Henry’s banter and how their relationship evolved. I also liked how high the stakes were, given that Alex is the First Son, a child of the first female President of the United States, and Henry, a prince of the British royal family. I thought it would get TOO sappy at times but it was offset by the sharp repartees between the two main characters. Oh, Henry and Alex have my heart! I can’t wait to start reading Casey McQuiston’s new book, One Last Stop now. Eeeeeee!

My rating: 4.5 stars

2. Frank Carter: The Complete Saga by Yashesh Rathod

I did a written review of this book that you can read here.

A historical fantasy, this book follows Frank Carter, the protagonist, who has moved to the cursed Yellow Lotus region and is now finding out the extent of the backlash. With time travel and lots of action, this book promises a lot, but is thwarted by the writing and language used. I just wish the author had done more rounds of editing and proofreading and/or gotten it done by a professional. Combined with this, the magnitude of the plot that seems like he has bitten off more than he can chew, only undermines the author’s prowess.

My rating: 2 stars

3. Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark

This was supposed to be a snappy, fast-paced thriller, if its marketing was anything to go by. But the confused interweaving of points of view through time turns it into a dragged narrative that strings along a long list of convenient plot twists. It goes on for so long that the final revelation, which is rather good, in my opinion, is dampened and looks like another of the convenient plot twists. Plus, the number of new characters entering the scene even 350 pages in, was another annoying thing about this book. Not for me.

My rating: 2 stars

4. Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

I liked this so much better than All the Light We Cannot See! Yes, there’s a lot of nuance to the earlier book, but this one, despite its winding narrative (or maybe because of it) that goes through three different periods in time, makes some very interesting points vis-à-vis humanity and the environment, and also about how humans are living, moving turds. I really, really enjoyed this one and I heave a sigh of relief because now, I know that I will read more Anthony Doerr, something that I wasn’t sure about until I read this one. I did a full reading vlog for this one, which I’m really glad to have done!

My rating: 4.25 stars

5. The Influencer: Speed Must Have a Limit by Abhaidev

Another book that I’ve done a written as well as a video review about. You can read it here and watch it here.

Book cover for The Infuencer: Speed Must Have a Limit by Abhaidev

This is the story of ‘influencer’ Aditya Gupta, who can literally influence the willpower of people around him. He is just one of many in the world and works for the World Influencers’ Society that insists on influencers remaining anonymous. But something happens through which his wife learns the truth and now, WIS is on his case, intent on removing him from the picture. The book is fast-paced, with an intriguing plotline, easy-to-read, and has a cliffhanger that you’ll love. But the extra moralizing and details, inconsistent writing, and the contrived path to the destination put me off a little. Otherwise, it’s a fun one-time read.

My rating: 3.5 stars

6. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

A fantasy about a girl, a witch, a dragon, and a monster, this follows Luna, who the witch in the woods saved and fed moonlight instead of starlight. There’s a lot of politics to go with this and it’s not exactly just Luna’s story. Instead, it lays bare how humans will do anything to get power, including oppress the very people they claim to protect. It was a good read, but I felt like I’ve seen everything in this before. The writing too isn’t wonderful or anything. But it’s fast and easy-to-read, so that’s something.

My rating: 3.5 stars

7. Displacement by Kiku Hughes

This is the review I posted to Goodreads.

Displacement is a fantastic graphic novel that demonstrates how governments, media, and oppression can be so different from what we know about them and how memory can be colored unto itself. The collective trauma inflicted upon a community doesn’t only stay with the generation that has to suffer it. It trickles down to the generations following them and becomes the reasons behind their traditions, their customs, what they know about their families’ pasts as well. It is by no means easy to read about such atrocities committed in the name of nationalism. But what we read as readers far removed from these experiences is nothing compared what people actually went through.

And Kiku Hughes, with a clever mix of fact and fiction (as the author herself puts it), does a fabulous job of bringing these lessons to the front. To talk about the Japanese Issei, Nisei, and Nikkei and how each of these generations were affected and how the past had a reflection in recent years, answering generational and familial questions about the behavior of one’s ancestry – it all came together in this very informative graphic novel. I would highly recommend this one!

My rating: 5 stars

These next few books I read for a 48-hour readathon that I did for myself because I wanted to check off some books from my TBR:

8. How I Broke Up with My Colon by Nick Seluk

This is the review I posted to Goodreads.

I love The Awkward Yeti and when I saw that this one was at a cheap price, I got it immediately. I wasn’t disappointed! These are nothing like the comics that he makes on Instagram because these are real stories. It’s fun to see the weird medical problems that people faced, how they came to be, and how they were tackled. I felt a leeeeetle bored at one point, but it was fun overall and I would recommend this for a quick read.

My rating: 4 stars

9. Pride by Ibi Zoboi

A Pride and Prejudice retelling with every main character in here being persons of color! This is set in Brooklyn where the prim and sophisticated-looking Darcy brothers move in across from where Zuri and her 4 sisters have been living with their parents all their lives. It’s typical P&P, as mentioned before, and it’s nice to listen to, although I felt that there was something missing, despite Elizabeth Acevedo’s narration. And you know how much of a fan I am of her. I listened to this on audio on the Storytel app.

My rating: 3.5 stars

11. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Oh what a fun little novella this is! A story about mistaken identities and the bumbling reasons behind these identities, The Importance of Being Ernest is hilarious while doing a little social commentary about the times it was set in, given how much importance is given to finding a ‘suitable’ marriage. I mean, it being a product of its times is all too obvious, which is why I lopped off a star, but otherwise, I must say that this is a fun one that made me cackle my way to the end!

My rating: 4 stars

11. They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, Harmony Becker

This memoir in graphic novel format tells us about George Takei (of Star Trek and LGBTQ activism fame) and his time in the Japanese internment camps in the early 1940s along with his family. His father’s belief and trust in the institution of democracy while being incarcerated and interned, and George’s takeaways from their experiences is gut-wrenching to read. This was the second graphic novel on this subject that I read in 2 days – as part of the 48-hour readathon – and I was glad I did because I’ve learned so much just in these two books!

My rating: 5 stars

12. The Last Gift by Abdulrazak Gurnah

Close on the heels of Abdulrazak Gurnah being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, I listened to the audiobook for this book and did a vlog for it, and really liked the intent behind it. The Last Gift starts off with Abbas collapsing at the door of his home in a small English town. It goes into his flashback of running away from his family years ago, interweaving with the story of his wife, Maryam, who has always lived the life of a foundling. With Abbas suffering consecutive strokes, Maryam begins to start living for herself while Abbas unloads his past secrets to her and as a consequence, onto their children, Hanna and Jamal. Will this be the last gift that Abbas and Maryam give them, or does it just become another burden to carry, forms the entire story.

This book talks about raw, unlikeable human characters while grappling with larger topics like racism, colonialism, immigration, and foster care. While the writing is brave, its back and forth between the past and the present makes it jarring. Plus, the unnecessary repetition of details made me grind my teeth in annoyance. Other than these, I do feel like this is a book that you must try, irrespective of whether or not you think you’ll like it.

My rating: 3.5 stars

So that was my October 2021 wrap up and the books I read in October 2021. Which of these have you read? Which ones do you want to read? Which ones did you like? Which ones didn’t you like? What were your favorite or least favorite books of October? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

I’ll be back soon with a new blog post.

Until next time, keep reading and add melodrama to your life! 😀

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