Fargo Mom Reads: October Book Recommendations

book recommendations

Here are some book recommendations from what we have been reading this month!

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Written after the death of her beloved husband of 40 years, this captivating book is an honest portrait of grief. Joan Didion was able to put to words her feelings in a vulnerable time. As a result, she captures firsthand the experience of the bereaved.

This memoir is an account of the year after her husband, John, died suddenly. The author was able to show how truly altered her life was by her husband’s death and how her only daughter’s medical issues affected the grieving process. She shares vivid stories of her life with John, their friendship and adventures and intertwines it with the devastation she felt in the days, weeks, and months after his death.

This book provides eloquent insight into the grieving process. First, it shows her initial denial and disbelief. Then how she kept replaying the events of his death in her head, how everyday experiences would trigger a certain memory of their life together, and the pain would be fresh. Above all, it explores life and death and grief and denial and ultimately moving forward. And is an intimate look into the relationship between husband and wife and mother and daughter. 

The author shares her memories and experiences generously and her intelligence and wit shines in this book. Her remembrances are a tribute to the love she and her husband shared. In conclusion, although this book is mostly about her husband’s death and its effect, I think it is more about life, looking back, and finding a way to move forward.

Check out the reviews on Goodreads here.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

This is a true story of the author’s unique upbringing in the mountains of Idaho. Tara Westover’s parents did not allow her to go to school and did not provide her with any real instruction in the home. Her father was a survivalist and most likely mentally unstable. As a result, she had an unconventional and, at times, dangerous childhood.

The great descriptions of the people and scenarios of her childhood really bring her strange world to life. Above all, it is an inspirational story of how she worked hard to overcome many obstacles to give herself an education in order to create the future that she desired. In addition, this book explores the bonds of family versus the needs/desires of the individual. Please note some parts detailing abuse were hard to read. However, overall it is such an interesting memoir that had me cringing many times, but also rooting for the narrator all the way through.

Check out the reviews on Goodreads here.

Intimations: Six Essays by Zadie Smith

This slim book (only 100 pages) was written during quarantine. It is a snapshot of this very strange time. The author takes the reader into her everyday life, into her thoughts and feelings and it is both very personal and very relatable.

These essays explore a bit of philosophy, in addition to issues such as privilege and suffering, and contempt. As a result, this short memoir feels very relevant to our time in history; Zadie Smith gives a voice to the feelings and experiences of many. In conclusion, it was a quick and interesting read full of keen observations into a world in crisis.

Check out the reviews on Goodreads here.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

This book is an entertaining read that has been made into a series on Hulu. While this book is fictional, it was very easy to identify with in the state of the current world. It relates to a busy mom’s life, a struggling mom’s life, and even to racial issues that some moms face. It includes some scandal and even an inside look into some problems that teens face. This book just goes to show that at times outside appearances can be deceiving. Overall, it shows that we never know what one person may be experiencing, or has experienced in the past, and to not pass judgment.

Check out the reviews on Goodreads here.

For more book recommendations, check out our other lists! What book recommendations do you have? Share in the comments!

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Leah is a true Midwesterner: born in Minnesota, educated at the University of North Dakota, and living in Fargo since 2009. She has a degree in English and spent years working as a paralegal. Leah is now a stay-at-home mom to two boys, Andrew and Sammy. She spends her free time reading, traveling, and getting a good workout in. She loves learning, music, art, coffee, the oxford comma, and is continually pursuing the elusive goal of having an organized home.


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