Books, Real Life

October Wrap-Up: Starring Seasonal Depression

I have been doing my best not to think about climate change.

Then we got 80-degree weather for almost a week in the middle of October.

I would not like to be confronted with this reality, thank you.

Autumn’s a really hard season for me. On the one hand, I love the colder weather and all the holidays. On the other hand, the heavy rain and gray days make it hard for me to get out of bed.

I barely watched any horror movies. That’s how you know things are serious.

It was a hard month overall.

I read A LOT, though.

Let’s talk about it.

October Reading Stats

In October, I completed 19 books.

Of the books I read,

  • 53% were fiction
  • 10% were non-fiction
  • 32% were graphic novels
  • 5% were poetry/verse
  • 42% were physical books
  • 37% were audiobooks
  • 21% were e-books
  • 53% were Adult
  • 15% were Middle Grade
  • 32% were Young Adult
  • 58% were new books
  • 42% were rereads

Listen. Listen to me. It’s gay fantasy romance or nothing. (Please ignore the many other genre slices in my pie chart.)

October 2022 Genre Breakdown Pie Chart

My top moods last month were lighthearted, dark, and adventurous, which I GUESS reflects my mental state for the month.

October 2022 Reading Moods Pie Chart

My average rating for the month was 3.96, which isn’t bad considering how low some of my ratings were. Behold.

October 2022 Star Ratings Bar Chart

THREE books made my list of favorites in October and one became a top ten contender.

I also read some truly mediocre graphic novels.

I told you it was a wild time.

Notable Books

I’m going to do more rapid-fire reviews for some of the books I read last month.

Sheets by Brenna Thummler
Age Group: Middle grade

Sheets by Brenna Thummler

I didn’t like this! Why is a thirteen-year-old running a laundromat by herself!?

The Collectors by Phillip Pullman
Age Group: Middle grade

The Collectors by Philip Pullman

Spooky! Unsettling! A creepy tale featuring Mrs. Coulter and the golden monkey!

How to Be Eaten by Maria Adelmann
Age Group: Adult

How to Be Eaten by Maria Adelmann

Reminded me of a fantasy version of Women Talking. Fantastic. Left some surprises at the end.

Anne of Green Gables adapted by Mariah Marsden, illustrated by Brenna Thummler
Age Group: Middle grade

Anne of Green Gables adapted by Mariah Marsden, illustrated by Brenna Thummler

Obsessed with this! Thummler’s art style really suits Anne’s story! Reading this reminded me how much I love the original!

Cryptid Club by Sarah Andersen
Age Group: Adult

Cryptid Club by Sarah Andersen

Rivals Fangs (also by Andersen) for the title of Best Halloween-themed Graphic Novel. Funny and cute.

Do I Feel Better Yet? by Madeleine Trebenski
Age Group: Adult

Do I Feel Better Yet?: Questionable Attempts at Self-Care and Existing in General

Would have worked better if the author had been the slightest bit vulnerable. The conclusion–that we’re all scared people trying to find things that make us feel better–fell flat after 250 pages of nothing but jokes.

The Demon’s Bargain by Katee Robert
Age Group: Adult

The Demon's Bargain by Katee Robert

I’m obsessed with Ramanu. I didn’t think Robert could top The Dragon’s Bride. I WAS WRONG. This book was such a delightful revenge fantasy. Did I mention I’m obsessed with Ramanu? I love them so much. More genderfluid demon romantic leads.

Other Ever Afters: New Queer Fairy Tales by Melanie Gillman
Age Group: Young Adult

Other Ever Afters by Melanie Gillman

I WEPT over these stories. Melanie Gillman strikes the perfect balance between bittersweet and hopeful. This collection reminded of a lot of No Man of Woman Born by Ana Mardoll. The story about the tired knight broke my heart. Also, the art is gorgeous.

It Came From the Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror edited by Joe Vallese
Age Group: Adult

It Came From the Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror

A few sour essays in this excellent collection kept this book from sweeping the competition.

Many of these essays are brilliant. A few highlights:

  • Carmen Maria Machado dissects Jennifer’s Body alongside her own bisexual experience
  • Jen Corrigan brings a queer reading to Jaws, which intersects with her own “subtle” sexuality
  • Laura Maw recalls a romantic friendship that ended badly while she notes the queer subtext in The Birds
  • Sarah Fonseca sees her own abusive father in the film Eres tu, papa?

Sadly, there were some definite lows.

  • Joe Vallese likens allowing his toddler to chew on his fingers to Grace’s horrific sacrifice in the 2009 film Grace. Also centers himself in a story of his surrogate’s miscarriage. I know you were there and it was hard on you, man. I still feel like the experience was harder on her.
  • Will Stockton recounts filming his foster son having a meltdown so they can watch it together later and his son can see how “crazy” he is. This is exploitative as shit. Get fucked, Will.
  • Viet Dinh glosses over the transphobia in Sleepaway Camp to discuss the film’s “camp” nature. You, um. You don’t get to do that.

I LOVED this book and I want my own copy. I will also be skipping a few of these essays when I reread it.

Galaxy: The Prettiest Star by Jadzia Axelrod and Jess Taylor
Age Group: Young Adult

Galaxy: The Prettiest Star by Jadzia Axelrod and Jess Taylor

I would like to throw this book in a cage with Light From Uncommon Stars and make them fight.

Listen, I can get down with a queer allegory. I’ll absolutely take it. The allegory in this book, however, made zero sense.

Making your protagonist an alien forced to live in a human body is ENOUGH. Contorting the plot so that she’s also forced to live in a differently gendered body (and not even in a Sweet Polly Oliver fashion) just confuses the metaphor. Having your body changed WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT is a different experience than being born into body that doesn’t fit how you feel!

Galaxy spent years in her “real” body, was forced into an unfamiliar body (which, okay, could represent puberty), then changes BACK into her “real” body with the help of a magic sci-fi space tool!

This is a PRETTY unique experience that doesn’t work as a representative Trans Story.

The magic sci-fi space tool that can change one’s appearance at will would have been fascinating if explored with a genderfluid character. While it’s a cool device, it doesn’t work if your goal is to explore the emotions of binary transition.

Annoyingly, Galaxy’s family members kept flip-flopping in terms of who was transphobic and who was supportive. There was no rhyme or reason to it.

Also, I DON’T think it makes sense to include the “what if she harms our children” line of argument that transphobes love when the main character is an alien who has no control over her powers. Like…WAIT, SHE’S ACTUALLY DANGEROUS?? I HATED THIS SO MUCH.

I have been watching horror movies with my friend Fox and reading as many smutty e-books as I can find time for.

Work is going really well. I’m happy to be at a stable company.

I put warm blankets back on my bed and invested in some cushy stuffed animals. I have created a perfect little reading environment that is ready to welcome me whenever I come home from work.

Otherwise, I’m trying to survive SAD, feed myself, and support the people in my life.

Things are both good and hard. I need extra rest.

Hope you’re all doing well and staying a comfortable temperature.


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