What I Read in October

Friday, November 1, 2019


And I'm back in the game! I did a significant amount of reading in October that was still not as much as I could've read, but... well, given how busy I have felt all freaking year, I'd say that six books is a pretty reputable number.

I'd like to be better at relaxing in November - like, truly. And you know what means? More books. In the meantime, here's what I read in October. How 'bout you?

Know My Name by Chanel Miller
This memoir, narrated by the author, absolutely blew me away - with its pain, yes, but also with its beauty. Miller, under the pseudonym Emily Doe, made headlines during the Brock Turner trial, not only because he was convicted of sexually assaulted her but because she gave a stunning, powerful victim impact statement that went viral. Here, the artist & writer shares her story in a way that will stay with me, truly, like no book ever has. Easily my top book of the year so far. ★★★★★

Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan Van Ness
I didn't expect to like the Queer Eye's memoir nearly as much as I did, but damn, this was a good one - plenty hilarious & sassy, like JVN himself, but also incredibly deep & serious, at times. The star, who's known for being friendly, vivacious, & vibrant, is a childhood sexual assault victim & a recovering addict who is living with HIV. His story is amazing - & he manages to tell it with both grace & humor. ★★★★☆

Hey, You Punks! by Don Billie & Gloria Pridemore
I gave this book its own post earlier this month, so suffice it to say that I really enjoyed it. Local native Don Billie, a Cleveland State alum, writes about his childhood shenanigans growing up on the West Side in the late '60s & early '70s; Cleveland Institute of Art grad Gloria Pridemore has turned his words & stories into a graphic novel that makes for a fun, visual way to hear about Don's time as a "young punk" in the CLE. ★★★★☆

Shquirat, #7 by Kyle Osborne, Shep Dogwood, & Marcus Pavilonis
Author Kyle Osborne gave me this book as a little gift after I interviewed him at his print shop, Outlandish Press, here in Cleveland. This is the seventh & final issue of his comic book, & this issue is about his teenage friendship with a woman named Shelly, a care facility patient recovering from triple pneumonia. The drawings are expressive & evocative - & Osborne's heart-breaking story is heavier & more emotional than I'd expect from a comic. ★★★★☆

Blood Work by Kisha Nicole Foster
This book also comes from Outlandish Press (though I paid for it myself! I bought a bunch of things when I visited). It's a small, zine-style publication that includes 10 original poems about family & grief from a German-born Clevelander who won the 2019 Cleveland Arts Prize as an emerging artist in literature. Devastatingly relatable for anyone who's lost a parent. ★★★★★

The Color of Love by Marra Gad
I read this memoir for work, but I would've read it anyway - & in fact, I read it for work because I offered to. The author is a biracial, Jewish adoptee who grew up in a white family, facing galling racism from her extended family & much of the broader community. When her most racist relative - a long-estranged aunt - devolves into late-stage Alzheimer's, only Marra is able to step up to care for her. Their story is equal parts infuriating & incredible, a true testament to the author's compassion, courage, & integrity. ★★★★★

Tell me what you're reading, then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch & see what I've read in months past. You can also follow my bookstagram account!

My "What I Read in..." posts include Amazon affiliate links to the titles I discuss. If you buy a book using one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of commission. Please don't feel any obligation to use these links, but if you do, it will help me buy more books.

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