October 2021 Wrap Up

A Little Change, & Little Disney, a Little October 2021 Wrap Up

Posted November 8, 2021 by Amber in Checking In / 0 Comments

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Hello my beautiful monsters!

I came across a reel of Anne Frances Murphy singing “A Little Bit Alexis” in Schitt’s Creek a couple weeks ago, and it’s been annoyingly in my head ever since. We actually just finished Schitt’s Creek (I’m not a binge-watcher) so a year later, I’m finally caught up with the rest of the world!

October is my favorite month of the year. At the beginning of October, we were just coming back from Alaska and at the end of October, we headed south to Orlando, Florida. In between these two adventures, we’ve been lucky to have the most glorious weather. The trees are so pretty this year. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting outside just enjoying the beautiful weather and I couldn’t be more grateful.

This month has been one of difficult steps and decisions for me as well. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve been giving, and things have been ramping up in that world. I have so lucky to be able to do a little DEI work in my spare time these last couple months and it just… feels… right. Doing it doesn’t feel like work – it’s a joy, and it’s important, and I think I want to do this forever? Professionally, I mean. I’ve had some conversations about it, and I’m going to make a transition over the next year. I’m really excited.

But that’s enough about all that for now! Lets talk about books!

Reading | Reading Challenges | Blog Updates | Writing | My Life | Up Next

Oh my gosh, there were so many good books this month. I didn’t read as much in Alaska as I did in Greece, but I did get some reading done… and I enjoyed almost everything in October. I started early in the month with Ace of Spades and that was absolutely fantastic. I know most the Book Community read it when it came out, but it was very much worth waiting for. The hype is deserved. That book made me feel so many things. And that was just at the beginning of the month!

14 books found

★★★★★

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

★★★★★

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

★★★★

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

★★½

American Monsters

★★★★★

★★★★½

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

★★★★★

★★★½

Edgar Allan Poe Master of Horror

★★★★

The Kingdom of Back

★★★★

The Last Ever After by Soman Cahinani

★★★

The Only Black Girls in Town

★★★★★

The Wild Ones by Nafiza Azad

★★★½

This Shattered World by Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufmann

★★½


Once again, we have adventurous books taking the lead! What can I say? Adventure is my jam. After that, emotional books came next, followed by lighthearted. I hope that means the “emotions” in “emotional” were good ones! Strangles, I read mostly slow-paced books in October. Other than American Gods, they didn’t feel very slow! The books I read were mostly 300 pages and over, which doesn’t take into account any audiobooks. I’m back to reading mostly fiction, although there was one non-fiction book in October!  I’m back to young adult and fantasy as my top genres, and given my current hardcopy TBR, I don’t expect that to change any time soon. Unsurprisingly, I listened to more audiobooks than I read print books. My average rating was 3.92 stars, which is a bit down from September, though still indicates a pretty good reading month!

Other than Ace of Shades, I really enjoyed both A Constellation of Stars and Binti. I lost myself easily in all three of these books. Binti came completely as a surprise – it’s a novella, I’d never read anything by Nnedi Okorafor before, and I had no expectations for it… but it was right up there to my tastes and definitely a book I’ll be purchasing. On the other end of things… I had really high expectations for A Constellation of Stars, and it definitely did not disappoint.

Honestly? The books in October were all objectively good, even the ones I didn’t enjoy (like American Gods and The Wild Ones).

I only read five hardcopy books in October – I got stuck on American Gods at the beginning of the month and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea at the end of the month. That said, I beat my month goal of four books so I still think I’m doing alright! And even though I’m stuck on Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, it’s not because I’m not enjoying it! I actually enjoy this classic, I’ve read it multiple times since childhood… the translations tend to be a little bit heavy and since the book was written in the late 19th century, the language can be a bit dense. I like it though, I really do! I just sometimes skim over the descriptions of various fish.

5 books found

★★★★★

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

★★½

★★★★½

★★★½

The Wild Ones by Nafiza Azad

★★★½


Of the five books I read in October, I ended up donating two of them. The Wild Ones wasn’t for me. It’s artistic and has wonderful characters and I think there’s an audience for it. I’m glad it was written, even if it’s not something I’ll read again. American Gods has Neil Gaiman’s classic writing and there’s a lot of interesting things about it, but it’s also boring and unnecessarily crude for my tastes and it rambles. It’s nice to get rid of a couple books, but I didn’t unhaul as many as I hauled in October, but almost! I ended up hauling three books, two preorders and one ARC. Not quite cutting down the size of my library, but not growing it too much either.

One of my favorite things I’ve added to the blog this month is the Diverse Reading Lists page. I wanted to add another resource to the blog, and I thought this would be a really good, positive one to add. In the community, we make a lot of various kinds of lists, and a directory collecting the resources from around the community seemed like a wonderful hub to help folks diversify their reading. There’s still a lot of work to do on it a lot of expansion needed, but it’s a good start! I hope it’s useful, I hope it makes reading diversely a little easier for people.

What’s New on the Problematic Authors page?

A few new authors this month, although at the very least, at least there have been no new Code Red authors! In Code Orange, we have two new additions. First, we have John Green, who has been far from perfect in his very transparent online presence. From choices made in The Fault in Our Stars to perpetuated harmful stereotypes. Next, we have Amie Kaufmann. Kaufmann is here because of her fervent defense of Jay Kristoff, including dismissing concerns of the AAPI and BIPOC community about his writing. We also have an update in the Code Orange section – in light of the things I learned while researching Amie Kaufmann, I’ve moved Jay Kristoff to Code Orange (leaning Code Red, if I’m being honest) because of his behavior towards criticism (particularly Asian and Black criticism) about his books.

In Code Yellow, we also have two new entries and an updated one. First, we have historical figure Jules Verne, one of the kings of science fiction. I’ll give Verne a little credit because compared to his contemporaries there is very little problematic content in his books. However, there are harmful stereotypes of Jewish, Black, and female characters in a couple of his books that must be noted. We also have Melissa de la Cruz as a new edition. De la Cruz’s entry here is not about her own writing, but rather, a collection she edited containing fetishization and homophobia. Our updated entry is Marie Lu, regarding the recent Realms of Ruin scandal. I’m not moving her up a level because I believe she handled the outrage well and she and her colleagues immediately pulled back the project with an apology. Whether or not she becomes a blacklisted author for you is a personal choice.

All the Posts You May Have Missed…

I honestly haven’t been writing too much in October. With trips blending both the beginning and the end of the month, I think I’ve spent most my free time in October doing laundry? Which is… exciting. In addition, I’ve been doing a lot of writing for my job as I’ve been building instructionals and informative articles. It’s the type of thing I like to do at work, but it’s also brain-exhausting and I haven’t had a lot of oomph for either fiction writing or blogging. I haven’t even had a lot of energy for personal journalling, which guts me, so I’m trying to readjust and learn how to balance all that again.

Despite my personal lack of progress, I wanted to keep this section because I would like to wish everyone who is participating in NaNoWriMo this month GOOD LUCK! <3 I believe in you and I’m excited to read about your adventures.

As mentioned… vacations. I’ve been blessed and very fortunate to have the privilege to travel and to travel in relative safety and remain healthy. I’m going to throw in my usual disclaimer here and say that while I have been traveling, I DO NOT recommend travel at this time. COVID-19 is still present and a very real danger. Please, if you can, get vaccinated. Stay safe, continue to follow the CDC (or your country’s) guidelines in relation to the pandemic. Safety should be a number one priority at this time and if you must travel or choose to do so, please take extra precautions such as frequent testing, wearing your mask at all times, keeping a 6 ft. distance from others, avoiding large indoor gatherings, and washing your hands/sanitizing frequently.

I will have travel related posts for the rest of the year as I share our experiences and information about Universal Studios Florida and the Walt Disney World resort. I am aiming not to be too repetitive as I’ve spoken about Disney World in the past, so hopefully you’ll find the new content interesting.

November is a smorgasbord of different types of posts. I’m finishing up the Alaska travel posts and giving y’all a teensy break before jumping into Orlando. I’ve got a NaNoWriMo post, a blogging-is post, and a possibly controversial (???) discussion post coming up!

As far as hardcopy books, I don’t expect to make a big dent as I’ve still got a chunk of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea remaining and I want to finish my Full Flight ARC before pulling anything else out of the TBR pile… but here are the next eight hardcopy books I’ve got upcoming!


Kinda fun to see a non-fiction book in there – I remember enjoying Under the Black Flag when I last read it years ago. I’m interested to see how it holds up! I’m also nearly finished listening to American Street by Ibi Zoboi and it is (!!!) good. You’ll see a review for that real soon.

That’s all for October folks! Wishing you all a delightful November! Happy Native American Heritage Month!

send me your thoughts

How was your last month?

Did you read anything good, travel anywhere fun, or practice self-care? Whatever you did, I want to hear all about it!

Share with me in the comments!

stay magical amber

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