October is my favorite month of the year. The weather begins to finally chill, shutting down the heat of summer and giving everything time to freeze and prepare for a cleanse and rebirth. The air is crisp, the leaves are richly painted with shades of the sun as it sacrifices its heat in my tiny town.
This beautiful, transition month is also full of history and opportunities to be mindful. Halloween is approaching, which we can celebrate by seeking out scares, researching some of the events that influences this holiday, or just taking the time to reflect on the end of a year.
Breast cancer awareness is celebrated, and those who have been directly affected or are currently suffering are given the tools to help them fight. Survivors tell their stories. Loved ones mourn or celebrate the battles others have fought or are still fighting.
It’s also LGBT history month. The 11th is National Coming Out Day in honor of remembrance of Matthew Shepard’s untimely murder on October 12th, 1998. The first march on Washington took place on the 14th in 1979, and the 20th has now been dubbed Spirit Day, where participants wear purple in support of LGBT youth.
With all of this happening during October, I decided to put together a list of books you can read to celebrate and acknowledge the loaded context of the month that serves as a marker for so many things each year. Here we go!
by Stephen King & Owen King
The Master of Horror has teamed up with his son in this behemoth of a novel just in time to celebrate Halloween. King’s website gives the synopsis of the book as follows:
In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place…
The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied? Or is she a demon who must be slain?
Set in a small Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women’s prison, SLEEPING BEAUTIES is a wildly provocative, gloriously absorbing father/son collaboration between Stephen King and Owen King.
Something terrifying in an Appalachian town? I’m in. If you’re more of a fan of the visual, Netflix just release an adaptation of King’s Gerald’s Game, and word on the street is that it’s a total creep-fest.
The New Generation Breast Cancer Book
by Elisa Port, M.D.
Dr. Elisa Port is the chief of breast surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. In her new book she sheds some light on the overload of sometimes conflicting information that’s available for women diagnosed with breast cancer and how it’s changed over the last ten years. Port encourages women to be optimistic in this day and age when they received their diagnosis. This book offers her insight and advice on the most healthy adjustments to make to daily life when moving forward, including tips for a healthy diet and choosing the right team of people to provide support along the way.
by Caroline Kepnes
A predator during the social media digital age is the most dangerous kind of predator, according to Caroline Kepnes. I have to say, I agree. YOU is brought to us from the point of view of the antagonist, Joe, who actually isn’t any more unlikable than Beck, the so-called protagonist and source of his obsession. She’s one of those self-absorbed girls who thinks the world revolves around her, and it’s annoying, she definitely doesn’t deserve what’s coming to her from an admirer who requires all of her love an attention.
by Naomi Alderman
In the wake of the election, 2017 has become a divisive year when it comes to just about every topic, but one group has come together in droves to battle injustice and oppression: women. In the dystopian (or utopian?) sci-fi novel The Power, women across the globe find themselves with the ability to release jolts of electricity from their fingers, shifting the weight over power to the female gender. What happens when the human race finds themselves engulfed in a universe ruled by the matriarchy? I can’t wait to find out. This book is featured as one of the options in Book of the Month for October, so use my referral link and head on over to get it straight to your mailbox.
by Michelle Darné
A trailblazer for the LGBT community, Michelle is known for starting a groundbreaking magazine for nontraditional family, called And Baby. This memoir catalogues her journey in meeting, dating, marrying, and splitting with her ex, whom she had twins with. Since her ex, who she refers to simply as ‘X’ throughout the book, carried the twins, and Michelle, thinking she’d have her lifetime to do it, had yet to legally adopt them, this mother has been digging her heels into the mud she’s been drug through for decades trying to get equal parental rights of her children. I reviewed the book for AfterEllen.com here.
by Stephen King
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (which I wouldn’t blame you for doing this year), you know that IT continues to break records at the box office that transcend the box of the genre it lies uncomfortably in. The film has it all: laughs, tears, fears, and an unflinching look at what it’s like to go through puberty when you just don’t fit in. The massive 1986 novel has even more though, so be sure to experience it for the time if you haven’t, or break open that spine again if you have to relive the terror. Oh. and that super weird orgy.
by Mary Shelley
As many of you know, I’m back in school right now, reading away a page at a time toward my Master of Arts in English. One of my first courses focuses on literature of the Romantic period, and the finite gothic novel Frankenstein is a benchmark of this era. This story has been rehashed and distorted over the years in both print and on screen adaptions, but nothing is quite like the original. If you’ve never read it, you’re in for a real treat, because the story is far from what you’ve been taught over the years. I’ll leave it up to you to decide who the real monster is here.
What books are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments section below!