October 2019: How My Attempted Spooky Read AND Punk Book Turned Out to be Flops

***Sorry no photos! I have some that I may add later but my computer is malfunctioning at the moment. 😦

What I Read:

  • Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker
  • Opal by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (school book)
  • Pet Sematary by Stephen King
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  • A Tongue in the Mouth of Dying by Laurie Ann Guerrero (school book)
  • Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldúa (school book)
  • Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
  • Teeth Never Sleep by Ángel García (school book)
  • Life is Wonderful, People are Terrific by Meliza Bañales
  • Intelligence in Nature by Jeremy Narby (school book)
  • Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud (school book)

What I Got:

  • Mooncakes
  • Cursed by Thomas Wheeler and Frank Miller
  • Second Son by Ryan K. Sallans
  • Transforming Manhood by Ryan K. Sallans
  • Life is Wonderful…
  • Wild
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Here’s my hot take on the book that many people, including the author, consider the scariest book ever: Pet Sematary was not scary. There’s this whole introduction in my edition by Stephen King himself about how he thought this story crossed a line and he didn’t want to publish it initially, and I found myself waiting and waiting for the scary part. It never came. Sure, the forest and the cemetery beyond the “Pet Sematary” were eerie, and the whole resurrection thing was creepy, and the plot gets very sad, but I would not use the word scary or terrifying to describe this story. I thought that the whole “evil Indian burial ground” thing was insensitively done and the plot was super slow. It was building suspense but the suspense never actually amounted to something.

Pet Sematary was my classic horror novel for October 2019. Last year I read Dracula (kinda boring but ultimately an interesting read) and the year before, Frankenstein (a quality book), but unfortunately, I have to say that Pet Sematary did not impress me that much. It was a good read, but not scary or horrific or amazingly unique. It was just “meh.”

Mooncakes was a delightful switch from the sluggish eeriness of Pet Sematary. The story follows a nonbinary werewolf and their witch friend as they work together to defeat a demon. It is adorable and lovely and offers an ideal world in which sexuality and gender are just accepted as they are. The artwork is full of fall colors and autumn vibes, which was perfect for October. I might even re-read it next October, just because it is so perfect for the season!

The one short story I read this month, Opal by Maggie Stiefvater is a short story following The Raven King about a dream girl from one of the character’s dreams. I loved the glimpse back into Ronan and Adam’s world (especially because Ronan is my favorite) and it was a quick read that I got done at work. Maggie Stiefvater is AWESOME at imagery.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed was the Sibling Book Club book for this month. It was another okay read. This story is written so well and is a well-done slow burn, but I had trouble connecting to Cheryl’s story. I sometimes wanted to skip the internal memories and monologues she had just to get to the descriptions of the trail or the interaction she had with other hikers. This is a very important book, and I’m glad it’s out there and that my sister connected super well with it, but it just was not for me. I still would recommend it to some people, though.

Oh my goodness… Sawkill Girls was such a diamond in the rough. I found it for two dollars at Half Price Books, in good quality, and figured that meant it was a bad book that no one wanted to read. Still, I had heard good things, loved the cover, and was curious enough to drop two dollars on it. And I loved it! There were a few cheesy moments during which a man-cult is so overtly sexist that it seems ridiculous, but the whole idea that the island is a source of power and that three girls are the ones who need to save the day were so wonderful that it counteracted the cheese. There are no all good or all bad characters, which is something I look for in books. I would one hundred percent recommend this book to anyone!

The last book I want to discuss here that’s not a school book is Life is Wonderful, People are Terrific. I am so sad that I didn’t like this book. It’s about a Chicana punk who goes to Santa Cruz for college and works as a stripper. It sounded like a really interesting read, because I love reading about the punk scene, but it was so disjointed and poorly edited that I could not enjoy myself while reading. Missy, the main character, seemed to have no clear motivations and there were very few consistent side characters. I wanted to learn more about the Chicana punk scene, but I learned very little. So disappointing!

I don’t have a lot to say about most of the school books I’ve read this month because I’ve been sick most of the month and, frankly, don’t remember a lot. However, I do want to give a shout out to Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. It’s a history of comics as a comic. Amazing, right? I learned so much about what goes on behind the scenes when comic artists make comics and, because of the medium, I was able to see what McCloud was discussing right in front of me. It got a little confusing at times, but I bet if I re-read it I would absorb more and it would make more sense. A great book!

October was a hazy month—just like the plot of Pet Sematary—but I did manage to get a big chunk of reading done. And I’m hoping Thanksgiving break gives me more time to read in November, especially because I’m reading Ninth House with my sister!

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