Book Challenge Check-In [October-November]

October was not a super great reading month for me, as I expect the next several months won't be either, so I decided it wasn't worth devoting an entire post to a measly two books. It wasn't a total loss, however, because I managed to complete Erin's fifth Book Challenge by Erin! That makes it my second book challenge win after I finished Megan's a couple months ago. Look at me go!

Here is what I did manage to read in October:

30 points: Read a historical fiction book. | The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (440 pages, ★★★)
I spent nearly the entirety of this book feeling anxious and sick, and then heartbroken and despairing at its conclusion. A testament to the story and the writing that brought it to life. I can see why so many friends recommended it to me.
BONUS | 10 points: Read a book with five words in the title. | You'll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein (291 pages, ★★★)
I think I was expecting more since I knew Klein was one of the writers of Inside Amy Schumer. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. Entertaining, but not by any means, laugh-out-loud funny.
FINAL POINTS: 210 (I won!)

November kicked off Megan's Semi-Charmed Winter Book Challenge, so I set my standards low, but managed to check a few books off my list for her challenge, as well:

10 points: Read a 2016 finalist (long list or shortlist) for one of the following literary prizes: National Book AwardMan Booker or Man Booker International. | The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie (430 pages, ★★)
If I was rating solely based on the strength of the writing, it would be a 5. However, the story tumbled past quirky and became downright weird very quickly. Perhaps it was over my head, but I really struggled to get through it. 
20 points: Read a modern retelling of a classic | Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (237 pages, ★★)
Perhaps it was because I never read the story this book was based on, or I may have appreciated it more. It just didn't do anything for me. I was "meh" about it until the ending. The last few pages pushed me over the fence of ambivalence to actual dislike. (c/o NetGalley)
40 points: Read two books: one by an author whose first name is the same as the last name of the author of the other book. | Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (224 pages, ★★★★★) and Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (This one is a two-fer so I don't get the 40 points yet)
Like most people, I was familiar with Trevor Noah as host of The Daily Show. I've long thought he was incredibly insightful, intelligent, articulate and funny so I assumed his memoir would be the same. It was all of those things, but admittedly, it was not very humorous. I don't know how you tell a story of growing up "born a crime" in post-apartheid South Africa, or as a survivor of domestic violence and make it funny. So Noah didn't and it was amazing just the same. 
The entirety of this book I was so thankful that someone with Noah's celebrity status shared his story and in turn, gave a voice to many voiceless South Africans who don't share his star power. This book was touching, horrifying, melancholy, with a dash of hope and it was phenomenal. Definitely a must-read! (c/o NetGalley)


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