Looking back, looking forward: October 2015

It’s hard to believe that there are only two months left of 2015, especially as the weather has been so lovely here this weekend. It was even warm enough to sit outside with my book this afternoon; it didn’t feel like the first day of November at all!

Looking back at October I read ten books, which seems to be about average for me this year. Apart from two recently published books, the rest were older books and classics.

Book of the month:

Flood of Fire

Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh (2015)

This is the final part of Amitav Ghosh’s Ibis Trilogy, set in China and India during the First Opium War. I enjoyed the first two books in the trilogy but in my opinion this one is the best of the three. I’m hoping to post my thoughts within the next week.

Read and reviewed in October:

A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie (2014)
Footsteps in the Dark by Georgette Heyer (1932)
The Glass Blowers by Daphne du Maurier (1963)
My Antonia by Willa Cather (1918)
Beau Geste by P.C. Wren (1924)
Hammer for Princes by Cecelia Holland (1972)

Also read in October but not yet reviewed:

Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell (1936)
The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles (1969)
Non-Combatants and Others by Rose Macaulay (1916)

Plans for November:

Lory of The Emerald City Book Review is hosting a Witch Week this week, celebrating fiction based on fairy tales, folklore, myths and legends. I am reading The Last Enchantment, the third book in Mary Stewart’s Merlin trilogy and enjoying it so far.

November is also German Literature Month. I haven’t decided what to read yet – I was thinking about reading Wolf Among Wolves by Hans Fallada, but the length is putting me off. I also have Death in Venice by Thomas Mann, which is shorter but sounds less appealing to me. I do want to participate, though, so I will definitely try to read something!

What have you been reading in October? Do you have any plans for November?

26 thoughts on “Looking back, looking forward: October 2015

  1. Alex says:

    I had my morning break in a garden too, Helen. Something I didn’t get to do that often when it was supposed to be summer.
    I loved the first book in the Ghosh trilogy but when the second one came out I felt I would need to go back and re-read the first to refresh my memory of where he was going and I didn’t have the time. Now the full trilogy is available perhaps I should go for a complete read through.

    • Helen says:

      I’m lucky in that when I began the trilogy the first two books were already available and the third was about to come out, so I’ve been able to read them all in close succession. Flood of Fire does pull together threads from both of the previous books, so a re-read might be a good idea!

  2. eduardodefrutos says:

    Among the books that I read last month were How green was my valley, The big town or the only book published in Spain by Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobil… but I think the one I liked the most was The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa.

    • Helen says:

      I’m glad you liked The Housekeeper and the Professor; I’ve seen a lot of good reviews of that book and would like to read it myself at some point. I do have a copy of How Green Was My Valley, but haven’t read it yet.

  3. kaggsysbookishramblings says:

    Some nice reads there! I’m looking forward to taking part in German Lit Month – currently making my way through The Magic Mountain!

    • Helen says:

      I hope you’re enjoying The Magic Mountain. I’ve never read anything by Thomas Mann but will probably try Death in Venice first as I already have it on my shelf.

  4. beckylindroos says:

    I read 16 books in October including 10 (!) crime novels – Adler-Olsen and the new Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling). The best of the lot was Patrick Modiano’s Missing Person. Next up was City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg but Trespass by Rose Tremain was very good. I read Flood of Fire the last days of September – good book – the whole trilogy was good. I have no idea what I’m reading in November – More crime I’m sure but also The Octopus by Frank Norris and The Dwarf by Harold Pinter – we’ll see what comes up in the new releases. ?

    • Helen says:

      16 books is very impressive! I’m glad you liked Flood of Fire too and I’m pleased to hear Trespass was good. I haven’t read anything by Rose Tremain yet but I do have a copy of one of her other books, Restoration, which I’m hoping to read soon.

  5. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review says:

    I would love to look into the Ghosh trilogy – I have that problem about forgetting the earlier books in a series when the later ones come out, so it’s probably best for me to start when they are all available! Right now I’m reading The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse, which does double duty for Witch Week and German Literature Month. Looking forward to your thoughts on The Last Enchantment.

    • Helen says:

      The Last Enchantment is great so far. I had heard it wasn’t as good as the first two, but I’m enjoying it just as much as the others. I’ll look forward to hearing what you think of The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse!

  6. Delia (Postcards from Asia) says:

    Hi Helen,
    You’re a fast reader – ten books in a month!
    Looking forward to your review of “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”, a book I read a few years ago and liked.
    I’ve been reading horror last month for R.I.P, a reading event I love. “The Ruins” by Scott Smith was the perfect book for that.
    This will be my first year participating in German Literature Month. Exciting!

    • Helen says:

      I loved the beginning of The French Lieutenant’s Woman but started to lose interest a little bit halfway through. I did like it overall, though, and will be posting my full thoughts in the next few weeks. This will be the first year I’ve participated in the German Literature Month too!

  7. camilledefleurville says:

    I read “The French Lieutenant Woman”, “The Magic Mountain”, and “Death in Venice”. They are classics that I liked.
    One question though: why events? Why are people joining events when there are so many things to read by oneself?

    • Helen says:

      Camille, some of us enjoy taking part in reading events and some of us don’t. Most of the books I read are books I have chosen to read by myself, so I don’t see any harm in joining in with things occasionally. It can encourage me to pick up a book that I might never have thought about reading otherwise, it can be interesting to see what other participants are reading, and sometimes I just like to show some support for the blogger who is hosting the event. If other people prefer not to join anything, of course they don’t need to – there are lots of different ways to read or to blog.
      Anyway, I’m pleased to hear you liked the two Thomas Mann books. I will probably read “Death in Venice” soon.

  8. Charlie (The Worm Hole) says:

    Liking the number of different decades there! Wondering if it’s worth you finding a book that’s somewhere between the two you’ve in mind for GLM, or maybe switching between them? I’m planning to read a non-fiction this month as I’ve only read two so far this year.

    • Helen says:

      Yes, I was pleased to find that I’d read across such a range of years! Switching between the two German books sounds like a good idea…or maybe I’ll just try reading the beginning of both and see which one draws me in the most. I should probably read some more non-fiction soon too, as I haven’t read much of it this year either.

  9. jessicabookworm says:

    Looks like you had a good month. In October I enjoyed reading more spooky and mysterious reads for the R.I.P event. My favourite read was The Hound of the Baskervilles. Happy reading in November 🙂

  10. JaneGS says:

    I actually really like Death in Venice–I’ve read it at least 3 if not 4 times. It is not a happy book, but it is beautifully written and poignant. I did go through a Thomas Mann stage decades ago and read most of his stuff–this is among the best.

    I’m still hoping to read The French Lieutenant’s Woman one of these days. I love the premise.

    Great set of books, btw. You’ve been busy!

    • Helen says:

      I’m pleased to hear you liked Death in Venice enough to have read it so many times! I think you and some of the other commenters above have convinced me that I should read it for the German Literature Month. 🙂

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