What I Read in October 2018

Here’s what I read last month in five-word reviews. I did a lot of academic reading in October for an upcoming research trip to South African and Botswana.


Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne: cute poems for Pooh lovers

This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga: after war woman wanders, falters

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown: spunky lesbian grows up, discovers

African Gender Studies: Western feminist lens isn’t African

Transgender History by Susan Stryker: they are people with history

Rhetoric Retold by Cheryl Glenn: women’s history of writing/speaking

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck: as good as first time

The Pursuit Of Love by Nancy Mitford: Downton Abbey from child’s perspective

Women’s Organizations and Democracy in South Africa: bada$$ women organize for change

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi: magical stories of connected keys

The Professor’s House by Willa Cather: two plot ideas smashed together

Working in the Archives: basics of my favorite research


books october

It was so fun to finally reread The Good Earth! It became my favorite book when I first read it in seventh grade, and while other favorites replaced it along ago, I still love it.

What did you read last month?

19 thoughts on “What I Read in October 2018

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  1. I have Nancy Mitford on my ‘explore’ list…

    I have been library-cheating in my shelf books, and read the new Alexander McCall Smith Ladies Detective Agency book, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Clock Dancer, and a new Patrick Taylor Irish Country… and a new Susan Wittig Albert. Kind of a reading vacation; read The Last painting of Sarah Devos for an art museum book club, and I am almost ready to plunge into Susan Orlean’s The Library Book.

    I always get compelling suggestions from your lists; thanks, Emily!

    1. I love the term “library-cheating.” I think I’ve been doing that consistently for the past year or so. I’ve been doing a lot of second-hand book shopping, so those are taking priority in my reading.

    1. You definitely should give The Good Earth another try. I noticed this time around that it is very accessible and easy to read, which is why I probably enjoyed it when I was younger, but the moral of the story and the compelling humanity of it still stands as a great read, in my opinion.

  2. I read The Good Earth last summer, finally!!!! I also loved it. This month I’ve read Tattooist of Auschwitz, Thanks a Thousand, Song of Solomon, Merchant of Venice, Mary Balogh’s Simply Unforgettable and hope to finish Beloved and Commonwealth soon. Thanks for the heads up about Rhetoric Retold and I haven’t thought of Rubyfruit Jungle in years but have fond memories of the journey.

    1. I was interested in Rubyfruit Jungle because a feminist theorist I read had mentioned it as formative to her. While I am not a lesbian, I found the story important, delightful, and interesting. I ended up gifting a copy of the book to a student of mine who has recently come out and she loved it!

        1. I’m planning an archival research trip to South Africa and Botswana on women’s historical organizations and technical writing/rhetoric. The reading right now is to prepare and get a literature review ready for a midterm report due to the funders of my project. Thanks for asking!

  3. The Good Earth is so so good. I should pull out my copy and add it back to my to-be-read stack. I also love Willa Cather but I have not read The Professor’s House. In October I read, The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston, Greenglass House by Kate Milford, Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, and The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See. All of these were good in their way but Lisa See has a way of pulling me in big time and Hope Jahren really touched my heart about women in science and how personal & professional come together in one person’s career. Thanks for your list and I love the 5 word reviews. I’ll add some of these to my list too.

  4. Hi, I was looking at your stack, saw some stuff on feminism and gender studies, and thought you might be able to help me with a book recommendation. There are a lot of books on masculinity that are both descriptive (what is masculinity) and normative (how should one, if one is to try and be an “ideal man”, act), but I’ve had trouble finding the same type of book on femininity. I found Women Who Run With Wolves, and am currently working on that, but I was wondering if you might have any suggestions?

    1. Peter, it sounds like you are looking for a book that is about traditional femininity, rather than a critique of it. Is that right? In that case, I don’t really know. You may have to look historically.

      1. That’s not quite what I’m looking for, but I think you might have hit the nail on the head in regards to most of the prescriptive stuff being older and not quite what I’m looking for either. A lot of the more contemporary stuff I’ve read seems primarily focused on describing the structure of oppression and how to combat that oppression, specifically.

  5. Wow that’s a ton of reading!!! I think my favorite book of the last month or so was How to Walk Away by Katherine Center. It was a fast read but such a fun main character – I didn’t want the book to end!

  6. I just finished reading Nervous Conditions by Twisting Dangarembga and absolutely loved it, I’m looking forward to following Tambu’s story. How did you find your read? I believe it’s book 3 in the trilogy isn’t it?

    1. Yes, This Mournable Body is the third book. It was dense and written in second person and hard to follow, but rewarding. I have just finished Nervous Conditions as well. I loved it! I think it is better than the third book. I am looking forward to reading the second one.

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