October 2017 Reading List.

october 2017 reading list | grace atwood, the stripe

This was a really, really good month for books. A novel from one of my all time favorite authors, a juicy Gossip-Girl-esque YA read, and a really important book that made me sob. Everything on this month’s list had me fully engrossed, for one reason or another. As always, for more recommendations you can check out my Book Club page, where you can sort and filter all of my favorite books by genre… and also take a peek at last month’s reading list!

AND… (if you have a moment!) Please comment and tell me what you are reading… your suggestions are always my favorite… I literally shop the comments section of these posts (two of this month’s books were recommendations from you)… you always have such good recommendations!

* The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman. I was *so* excited when this arrived in the mail. (I was sent an advanced copy from Simon & Schuster*). Not only is Alice one of my absolute all-time favorite authors (my mom’s too!), this is the prequel to Practical Magic which I read years and years ago and absolutely loved. It’s the story of Jet and Franny (and their brother Vincent) who later on become the elderly aunts in Practical Magic. It’s a wonderful story (set in New York in the sixties) and I’ve always been fascinated by anything pertaining to witches and/or magic. If you feel similarly, you will LOVE this. It chronicles love and loss, and somehow manages to be both very sad at times (I cried once) but also up lifting. Alice Hoffman has such a magical way of writing… dreamy, thoughtful… she’s just a wonderful story teller!

* The Child, by Fiona Barton. I bought this from my Book of the Month subscription a while back. I love Fiona Barton – I devoured The Widow last summer (see my review here) but I liked this even better. An old home is demolished and a construction worker finds the skeleton of a tiny baby. A journalist is determined to get to the bottom of what happened, and in the process she uncovers some pretty major secrets of three women. It alternates back and forth between the different women and their stories (including a couple very unreliable characters). It’s a great thriller, with a major twist. I will say that I did guess the ending, but I have this problem reading thrillers lately where I become determined to figure out what happens. I really really enjoyed this though.

* Amanda Wakes Up, by Alisyn Camerota was a fun read about a less fun topic. Written by a CNN anchor, it’s the story of a morning news anchor who goes from the local news to a channel called “FAIR News,” dedicated to (supposedly, at least) providing news coverage from both sides. She’s covering an election in which the characters are a qualified senator – and a hollywood actor. Sound familiar? Yup. Throughout the book there are a lot of ups and downs, misunderstandings, and massive parallels to this past November’s election. What I think I loved so much about the book was that she managed to cover something really serious (that we are all frankly, pretty exhausted by) and make it light and enjoyable to read. It felt like a beach read, with serious undertones. It was a really interesting take on the media and their coverage of elections/politics… written in a light, page-turning way. I tore through it in just a few days.

* The Thousandth Floor, by Katharine McGee was recommended to me by so many of you in the comments of previous reading lists…. THANK YOU! It is a part of a trilogy, and many of you described it to me as a futuristic Gossip Girl. So obviously, I had to check it out! I TORE through it. It had been a while since I’d last read a YA novel that I couldn’t put down and this had me addicted. It’s the story of five teens in a futuristic world (Manhattan, 2118) where there is now a giant tower spanning nearly the entirety of the city (42nd street upward through Harlem). The thousand floor tower spans 2.5 miles, with the most expensive, exclusive apartments being on the higher floors. It was a really fun read and I can not wait for the second one!

* The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas is not going to make you feel comfortable or happy and it may make you ugly cry (it made me sob), but it is probably the most important book I’ve read all year. Starr Carter is a black teen straddling two worlds: the poor neighborhood she grew up in, and the fancy (mostly white) prep school she attends. When her best friend is shot by a police officer, her entire world explodes. The story chronicles the thirteen weeks that follow his death – from all sides… how her friends react, how she has to hide the fact that she was the witness, to the grand jury’s decision. It’s technically a YA novel, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a fresh, beautifully written, and a very real look at both racism and police violence. Thank you to all of you who suggested this one, it was an amazing read. If you have a book club, I would highly recommend this; the conversations you’ll have about it afterward will be amazing.

october 2017 reading list | grace atwood, the stripe october 2017 reading list | grace atwood, the stripe

*Publishing houses frequently send over advanced copies of their new releases to me – I’m never obligated to read or write about them, but in the spirit of full disclosure: I received advanced copies of The Rules of Magic and Amanda Wakes Up.

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  1. The Hate U Give sounds like an amazing read. Will be checking it out. As always, thanks for the recommendations!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    10.10.17 Reply
  2. Going to check out The Child! I’m reading The Residence right now all about the first families who have lived in the White House and it is SO interesting!

    10.10.17 Reply
  3. The Rules of Magic sounds like it’s right up my alley (I love anything with witches!). I’ll have to pick that up next. I’m currently reading Burntown by Jennifer McMahon. She’s one of my favorite thriller authors – highly recommend!

    10.10.17 Reply
  4. sydnee:

    I highly recommend The Dry by Jane Harper! I couldn’t put it down.

    Design by Sydnee | A Lifestyle Blog

    10.10.17 Reply
  5. Tierney:

    I love your book posts! Here are some that are legit amazing (and hopefully you haven’t read yet!)

    Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Fowler. This is the book that inspired the short-lived, not so great (in my opinion) Amazon show. I am obsessed with the Fitzgeralds already, and this is a carefully researched fictional account of Zelda’s life. I read this in about two days. (And the Hemingway cameo is fascinating – makes you wonder what their relationship was really like!)

    The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin. Another fictional account of true events, this is the story of Truman Capote’s friendship with socialite Babe Paley. I love glitzy accounts of the ultra rich, and the details of this are so fun to read through. It’s also fun to look up the real life pictures of all the characters and parties as you read.

    The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World’s Most Perplexing Cold Cases by Michael Capuzzo. So I don’t know your thoughts on serial killers, but I can’t get enough of learning about the psychology that drives them and the way detectives catch them. This is a non-fiction book about a group of the world’s most brilliant people – detectives, forensic scientists, psychologists – who band together to solve murder cases that have long gone cold. The writing can be a little rough, but I was obsessed with reading about the science behind catching serial killers and then seeing the actual cases unfold.

    YA TIME!!!!! I could recommend YA books alllll day.

    Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I’d pitch this as Ocean’s 11, only set in a steampunk, magical universe. A criminal overlord, a wraith-like spy, a prostitute/witch, and a witch killer all have to team up to pull off a huge heist, and I loved seeing this elaborate plan come together.

    A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas. Maas has quickly become one of my favorite authors of all time because of how well she writes strong female heroes. This book (first in a trilogy) is a twist on Beauty and the Beast where a peasant girl is forced to live with a magical beast under a curse. When she fails to break the curse in time, she has to go rescue him (and his people) from a wicked queen. I literally cried at the ending (and I’m not a crier!). The first book is great, but the second book turns everything on its head and is incredible. (Disclaimer: A few author friends and I loved this series so much that we started a FB group just so we could fangirl privately!)

    Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. Another story with a kickass female hero (my kryptonite lol). There are like six books in this series (and it’s still going strong!) and it’s the first series of books that I immediately started rereading the moment I finished. (True confession: I read this for the first time while in Europe, and I was so absorbed that while my friends were shopping in Paris, I sat outside on a bench and kept reading.) It’s the story of a cocky assassin who is entered into a contest to escape a life of slavery and become the King’s Champion. The twist is that the King is evil, and she has to beat dozens of other murderous thieves and killers to win her freedom.

    10.10.17 Reply
    • OMG Tierney, thank you so much for such detailed suggestions!!! I am going to look into all of these! xx

      10.10.17 Reply
  6. I love, love your book recos! Thanks for sharing and keep them coming!! xx

    10.10.17 Reply
  7. Elisabeth:

    These all sound really good! Thanks for the recommendations 🙂

    xo, Elisabeth

    10.10.17 Reply
  8. So, I don’t usually read thriller/horror books but I figured I would try Final Girls by Riley Sager because I needed something good for fall. It ended up being the perfect fall book! While it is a thriller/horror story (good for October, I suppose), the main character is a baking blogger and its set in New York in the autumn, so there’s lots of cozy details throughout an otherwise scary story.

    Briana | youngsophisticate.com

    10.10.17 Reply
  9. I cannot wait to get my hands on The Rules of Magic! I first heard about its release last month and I’ve been patiently waiting for its Oct 24th release date! Almost there! I’m currently reading Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan. It came across my radar a couple months ago so I borrowed it from my local library. I’m just over halfway through and so far it’s a lovely story about two sisters who emigrate from Ireland to Boston. It’s historical fiction and family saga all rolled into one!

    10.10.17 Reply
    • It is so amazing – you will love! Thanks for the suggestion… I love historical fiction!

      10.10.17 Reply
  10. Can’t wait to read these! I’ve been gravitating towards books with fun and (very) different characters and plots as a kind of escapism from current affairs, and the two below are my favorites so far. That being said, I’ll definitely make an exception for The Hate U Give, which seems like a perfect example of the importance of listening even when it’s difficult.

    1) Celine by Peter Heller- strong older female lead in a detective role which was a really refreshing perspective
    2) Euphoria by Lily King- one of my favorite books of the last 2 years, about anthropologists in New Guinea. Fascinating details about tribal cultures (total escapism from every day life!) and the human condition while also following the main characters’ own relationships with each other.

    10.10.17 Reply
    • Thank you SO much for the suggestions, and totally with you on escapism right now. The Thousandth Floor is extra good as an escape! x

      10.10.17 Reply
  11. Cory:

    Soooo…is it weird how much I look forward to your monthly reading lists?? I think I actually did a little happy dance in my chair this morning when I saw it on my Bloglovin feed. 🙂 The Hate U Give is in my stack to be read and I am definitely going to have to check out The Thousandth Floor. I am currently reading I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott. I am a sucker for good historical fiction and I love reading anything about the women behind important historical/political figures.

    10.10.17 Reply
    • Not at all! Makes me happy you enjoy them!!!

      And thank you for the suggestion – I love historical fiction as well.

      10.10.17 Reply
  12. Christina:

    I think you would love “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” and “Kitchens of the Great Midwest”!

    10.10.17 Reply
    • Ahhhhhh the first has been suggested to me SO many times, and I actually have Kitchens of the Great Midwest! Thanks for the suggestions!

      10.10.17 Reply
    • Betsy:

      Came to suggest Eleanor Oliphant as well. Incredible book. (Kitchens is also excellent.)

      10.11.17 Reply
  13. Sarah:

    I just finished I Am Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. What a quiet, beautiful musing on relationships, family, expectations, and overcoming your circumstances. Such a lovely read.

    10.10.17 Reply
  14. I’ve added every single one of these books to my Goodreads list. They all sound like books I would really enjoy reading. I just finished reading The Marriage Lie last night and it was a really good read. I couldn’t put it down but I did kind of guess parts of the ending half way through. So I’m actually looking for a new book to start reading today and I think I’ll try one of these you listed.

    10.10.17 Reply
    • Yay! Thanks for the suggestion. I have heard good things about The Marriage Lie! x

      10.10.17 Reply
  15. I love coming to your blog every month for book recommendations 🙂 Buying The Hate U Give right now…

    10.10.17 Reply
  16. The Thousandth Floor was amazing, and I’m so excited to read the second one! Swear On This Life was another YA book that I really enjoyed. Will definitely check out your other recommendations!


    10.10.17 Reply
  17. Quinn:

    I’ve been on hold at the library for The Hate U Give for weeks and I’m so excited to get my hands on it! I’ve heard nothing but amazing things. I’ve been trying to read more authors- particularly women- of color. I recently noticed how 80% of the authors I read are white men and women and it was quite eye-opening. Another book I read recently and LOVED was The Mothers by Brit Bennett. The cover is just as beautiful as the book itself, too!

    10.10.17 Reply
    • It’s such a great book. Love the idea of trying to read more books by women of color, and thank you for the rec!

      10.10.17 Reply
  18. Ellie:

    Just added The Thousandth Floor to my list. If you liked a futuristic Gossip Girl, I HIGHLY recommend The Luxe trilogy which is essentially Gossip Girl in the early 1900’s. LOVE LOVED it and read it twice.

    10.10.17 Reply
  19. Laura:

    Great recs! You have probably read some of the following, but they were my recent favorites:
    -The Address
    -The Alice Network
    -Before the Fall
    -Dating You/Hating You

    10.10.17 Reply
    • I actually haven’t read any of these (though I just bought The Address!) Thank you!!!

      10.11.17 Reply
  20. Lindsay:

    Absolutely love these posts & your voracious appetite for reading totally inspires and motivates my reading habits! Just about to finish “What She Ate” which I had heard reviewed on NPR a little while back. Each chapter chronicles a different woman throughout history and tells their story through food. I’ve enjoyed some chapters more than others, but for a history book (if you can call it that), it’s pretty interesting! Hope you’re having the most incredible time in London!

    10.10.17 Reply
  21. Kel:

    Reading the new book on Bunny Mellon and so interesting…hard to put down.

    10.10.17 Reply
  22. Oh, all these books sound wonderful. I’ve been reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series for a hot minute now and I’ve been craving for something a bit different. You made all these books sound so beautiful, so I think after this book I’ll have a bit of a break and read The Rules of Magic before digging up in the next one in the Game of Thrones series. I’ve just recently found you but I must say, I absolutely adore your book posts!

    10.11.17 Reply
    • Thank you so much for the suggestion, and I’m so happy you like these posts! Rules of Magic is a MUST!

      10.11.17 Reply
  23. Jess:

    I’m currently reading Young Jane Young and I can’t put it down.

    10.12.17 Reply
  24. Kimberlly:

    I’m reading one of your picks from last month- The Silent Girls- I picked it up for my recent beach trip and so far it is amazing! I love this type of story!

    Thanks for all of your recommendations- I cannot wait to pick up the next one on my list- The Seven Husband of Evelyn Hugo!

    10.13.17 Reply
    • Loved that one!!! You will love The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – such a good one!

      10.14.17 Reply
  25. Rhiannon:

    I started reading, but I HAD to stop and comment after I saw your fascination with witches. I’m currently reading “Witches of New York” by Ami McKay. If you haven’t read it before, I highly recommend it. It’s intriguing, suspenseful, opulent, and she writes her (mostly) female characters so, so well. It’s filled with complexity and magic. Check it out, when you have the time/if you haven’t read it before!

    10.15.17 Reply
    • Oh my gosh THANK YOU! I love witches!!!!!!

      10.16.17 Reply
      • Rhiannon:

        Of course! I just finished it a few days ago, and I really enjoyed it (though the ending is a bit unsatisfactory, so just know that)! Have fun!

        10.19.17 Reply
  26. Cat:

    Wow The Thousandth Floor sounds amazing I am definitely going to check that out! I just finished reading Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid and it was amazing!! In the beginning Hannah, the main character, is faced with a choice to leave with her friend or stay with her old high school boyfriend and the book follows the path of both her two choice to leave or to stay. It takes various unexpected twists but the ending wrapped up both paths so well. I recommended it to all my friends the moment I finished it!

    10.16.17 Reply
  27. Shelley:

    I just finished the Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom and it was such a beautiful story. Highly recommend!

    10.17.17 Reply
  28. I just read ‘Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give’ on a plane (short read!) and it was SOO good. I’m a newlywed so I love hearing marriage and relationship advice and this was deep but super funny. Basically things she really wants to say to people getting married but could never actually say in a wedding toast (because it’s too real and raw.)

    10.18.17 Reply
  29. At the moment I’m reading A Series of Unfortunate Events as I’m waiting to see the Netflix tv series (and I prefer to read it first before I see either a movie or series). It might be childish, but it makes me escape from the busy and messy daily life! But next book on my list is ‘ The curios incident of the dog in the night-time’.


    10.21.17 Reply
  30. I read the Thousandth Floor when it came out and loved it! The second one is so good too!


    10.23.17 Reply
  31. Hi Grace,
    I found you on Instagram thanks to my explore feed and I am soooo happy I did. I am a big bookworm so I am loving your book posts!

    The Hate U Give is by far the most important book I’ve read in a while. It’s a story that desperately needed to be told and Thomas tells it with such honesty, intelligence, courage, clarity, passion, and wit. While reading, all I could think was: “this feels so real.” I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking during certain scenes. I cried, laughed and felt sick to my stomach. Definitely inspired me to speak up and take action!

    Also highly, highly recommend Around the Way Girl by Taraji P. Henson. I read this memoir from cover to cover in an afternoon. While reading it, I felt like I was catching up with a friend. Henson opens up about her childhood, being a single mom, and her path to Hollywood. LOVE her authenticity and no-nonsense attitude. A beautifully written and incredibly inspiring read!

    Have you read Faithful by Alice Hoffman yet? It was my first book from her and I loved it. Adding Rules of Magic to my reading list!

    I read my first YA novel last January and once I started, I just couldn’t get enough. It’s now one of my favourite genres!

    YA novels I read and loved last year:

    Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston
    What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
    Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
    Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist
    Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake

    Happy reading!

    2.8.18 Reply