October Favorites

This month started very promising – I read 10 books by October 16th. After finishing my 100th book of the year, I lost my momentum with binge reading all day and have only finished two books since then. Which makes it sound like I quit reading, which I haven’t, I’ve just been reading Kingdom of Ash at a reasonable person’s pace of 50 pages a day. Unfortunately that book is almost 1,000 pages long, so at this rate it’ll take me until well into November to finish it.

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Tower of Dawn

Amazon | Bookshop

Tower of Dawn is the second to last book in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. If you’re new to Throne of Glass, you’ll want to start with either Assassin’s Blade (novella prequel set) or Throne of Glass (the first book). Right now is a great time to buy if you want the original covers – the new covers come out in February 2023.

Paranormal fiction

Sign Here

Amazon | Bookshop

Sign Here is maybe the best debut novel I’ve read all year. Chapters alternate between Pey – who works for Hell – and the family he is trying to make a deal with. Sign Here is completely different from anything I’ve read all year, and I was riveted until the very end! If you love dark humor, this is for you.

I would check trigger warnings if you have any sensitivities – there are pretty vivid depictions of torture and self harm. There were two pages I barely skimmed and mostly skipped.

For the Bridgerton Fans

A Reckless Match

Amazon | Bookshop

A Reckless Match was my first Kate Bateman book, and I immediately read the second in this series. I would have read the third too, but it doesn’t come out until December!

This series follows rival families the Davies and the Montgomerys (Montgomeries?). No one remembers quite how the rivalry started – was it over a stolen pig or a stolen woman? – but they are committed to continuing the rivalry.

If you like childhood rivals to lovers, you’ll love this one.

Devil in Winter

Amazon | Bookshop

Devil in Winter is the third book in the Wallflowers series, but is everyone’s favorite. If you cannot handle reading books out of order, you can start with the first book – but it’s everyone’s least favorite. I would recommend reading the second – It Happened One Autumn – before Devil in Winter, because it does set this book up nicely.

The Wallflowers series follows four friends – Annabelle, Lillian, Evie, & Daisy – who band together to help fight their wallflower tendencies so that they can get husbands.

All of the books I read in October

Well Met (reread)
The Hating Game (reread)
Pride and Prejudice (reread)
Tower of Dawn
Devil in Winter
The Four Winds

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches
It Happened One Autumn

A Reckless Match
A Daring Pursuit
Sign Here
Northanger Abbey

Last Standing Woman, Winona LaDuke

last standing woman cover

“Wazhaskoons eyes still looked past the priest; it was disrespectful to look directly at an individual.

The priest froze. Why would Wazhaskoons not look at him; was he being contentious or rebellious?”

Last Standing Woman, Winona LaDuke, p. 52

Last Standing Woman, by Winona LaDuke, spans seven generations of the Anishinaabeg – from 1862 to 2018. It spans generations of Anishinaabeg trying to live their lives, and white people getting in their way. From treaties, to conflicts with settlers and raiding parties, missionaries and boarding schools, to loan sharks who steal land, and finally the generation who works for justice, to take back their traditional lands, homes, and the artifacts and ancestors that were taken to museums.  It is one thing to read in history books about the effect of colonization on Native Americans, and it is quite another to watch in unfurl before your eyes, and to watch the effect colonization has on families and communities. To watch, for example, two young girls in a sanitarium, the older sister falling asleep and waking up to find her younger sister has died in her arms overnight. It is much easier to read in history books.

The book started out a little slow for me. The names were long, and the shifts between characters, as well as the steady march of time, made it hard for me to connect to the story at first. However, the last half of the book took on a more traditional Western narrative structure, following the occupation of White Earth reservation, and sticking to a few main characters that you got to know for more than a few pages at a time. But this is when the beginning of the book also pays off – because you know so much of their history, you understand the characters’ motivations more deeply.

While reading Last Standing Woman, I was also reading White Fragility, and the parallels between what Robin DiAngelo explains and the actions the white characters were taking in Last Standing Woman were both depressing and fascinating.

“There is a peculiar kind of hatred in the northwoods, a hatred born of living with with three generations of complicity in the theft of lives and land. What is worse is that each day, those who hold this position of privilege must come face to face with those whom they have dispossessed. To others who rightfully should share in the complicity and the guilt, Indians are far away and long ago. But in reservation border towns, Indians are ever-present.”

Last Standing Woman, Winona LaDuke. p 125

Honestly, it made me feel like a bit of an idiot that a book written in 1997 could clearly show the racism that a book published in 2018 has to lay out for us self-proclaimed well-meaning whites. It reinforced that so much of the “study” of racism is just white people opening our eyes to the oppression people of color have felt for generations. You don’t need to explain the nuances of racism to everyone. (Just white people.)

“The idea of racial inferiority was created to justify unequal treatment; belief in racial inferiority is not what triggered unequal treatment. Nor was fear of difference. As Ta-Nehisi Coates states*, “But race is the child of racism, not the father.” He means that first we exploited people for their resources, not according to how they looked. Exploitation came first, and then the ideology of unequal races to justify this exploitation followed.”

White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo. 

*The Case for Reparations, Ta Nehisi-Coates.



All this rambling is not to say that reading Last Standing Woman was the hard work of allyship or activism in some way. I genuinely enjoyed the experience, and will hold Winona LaDuke’s characters in my heart for a long time.