October '21 Book Recs

Talia Moodley
November 1, 2021

Need a light at the end of the tunnel to get you through exam season? Our Discord members have got you covered with all the memorable books they read in October. Scroll through to build up your summer break TBR tower!

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Cover image of If Beale Street Could Talk.

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

Recommended by Yasmine

Genre: Romance / Fiction

CW: rape, violence, explicit language, sexual content, drug and alcohol references

Comments: If Beale Street Could Talk is an eye-opening novel portraying the harrowing realities of injustice through the eyes of a young African American women. Trish and Fonny are a young African American couple living in Harlem and going through the highs and lows of a newly expecting couple. Their ‘happily ever after’ plans of settling down and becoming husband and wife are cruelly snatched away when Fonny is imprisoned after being falsely accused of rape. Baldwin provides us with the first-hand experience of the failures of the criminal justice system and the pure love between African American families wanting to protect the next generation.

Cover image of We Hunt the Flame.

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Recommended by Mykee

Genre: YA Fantasy / Romance

CW: death, torture, violence, misogyny, child abuse, child death

Comments: I personally really enjoyed this and recommend it because: (1) there were interactions between the main characters that were hilarious and the world was so interesting and lush (it’s inspired by ancient Arabia!), (2) it has a sort of enemies to lovers trope, except in my opinion, they warm up to each other very quickly but take forever to reach the lovers part and (3) if you love those comedic relief side characters who severely underestimate how much everyone else loves them, then you’ll probably love Altair.

Cover image of The Secret History.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Recommended by Emily Au

Genre: Dark Academia Thriller / Psychological Fiction / Mystery

CW: murder, suicide, incest, homophobia, sexism, racism

Comments: This book is amazing if you are looking to read a book about how the lives of awful, awful people completely fall apart because of their own terrible decisions. Tartt has a wonderful way of contrasting lovely prose with the horrific nature of the characters’ actions. Her way of writing creates the image of a messed-up yet strangely beautiful world. It also really delves into the dangers of an elitist, exceptionalist mindset. Be warned, though, this book includes a lot of sensitive/problematic topics. Thankfully, all of them are portrayed to be as horrible as they are, but be careful if you plan to read this.

Cover image of The Scorpio Races.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Recommended by Grace Marie

Genre: YA Fantasy

CW: death, forced servitude, violence, gore, animal death

Comments: When I am telling people to read this book, all I say is the opening line: 'It is the first day of November and so today someone will die.' screaming. This is the perfect way to kick off November, as it tells the mystical tale of a horse race that takes place in November and reading it in this same month just immerses you all the more.

Cover image of Know My Name.

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

Genre: Memoir / Non-fiction

CW: sexual assault/rape, suicidal thoughts

Comments: I had been wanting to read this for a little while as there is an obvious importance to the issues that the book discusses, but I didn’t expect to be so touched by it. This is probably the best memoir I have ever read – it is a powerful recount and telling of a horrific time and circumstance, but Chanel Miller takes you through her thought process, experiences, ideas and concerns in such a vivid and complex fashion. Chanel Miller has pure talent in how she writes, and it is so powerful and inspiring to see her come forward and reclaim her story and forward an important and must-have discussion.

Cover image of The Kingdom of Back.

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

Recommended by Melissa

Genre: Fantasy / Historical Fiction

CW: child abuse, serious illness, misogyny, murder

Comments: Marie Lu’s writing has a way of making you get attached to the world and characters even if you think you’ve seen it all before. The Kingdom of Back is no exception; the sudden appearance of a magical world, seemingly birthed from the Mozart siblings’ stories in a Peter Pan fashion, becomes a temporary escape and place of clarity. It doesn’t offer a permanent solution to all of their problems, hence I loved being able to see a female lead work through her insecurities and ambition with the aid of the fantastical elements.