Remember when my September was filled with interesting reads? Well, October carried on that good reading streak. I read 10 books—4 of which were rereads—and I thoroughly enjoyed most of them. The ones I didn't enjoy were still interesting in a way.

I'm excited to tell you my thoughts on the books I read, let's get to them!

the king's men by nora sakavic

the king's men book cover

I read this at the beginning of October and absolutely loved it. It was the perfect ending to the series. It was so good that I actually reread the book twice more (starting with my favourite part) because I couldn't get the characters out of my mind. As I remember the book now, I feel like reading it again.

It has been a long time since I loved a series as much as this one. The first two books were great but the last book took everything to a new level.

The character growth was brilliant. The characters grow over the series and seeing them peak in this book was too good. It warmed my heart, made me want to cry, and made me want to reach through the book and hug them all. Kevin's growth was nice to see but Andrew and Neil? They have my whole heart. Watching Neil go from warily keeping a distance to trusting his team wholeheartedly was the highlight of the book.

The relationship growth was toooo good. While the series is told from Neil's point of view, it's about the entire team. We get to know the entire team in varying degrees. They were a broken team with factions and trust issues within themselves. Watching them slowly bond and rally together—especially for Neil—reached some part of my soul that I didn't know needed it.

When my friend suggested this series to me, she called it a traumatic series with traumatized characters. That is true, but it is so much more than that as well. It is about broken people finding their family in each other while they play a sport that they love. This might have genuinely helped me if I read it during high school, but better late than never. I don't know if I'll ever again read a series that emotionally hits like this one.

building a second brain by tiago forte

building a second brain book cover

I first read this in October 2022 and it was one of my best books of 2022. I've been using some of the tips from the book over the past year and there is a clear improvement in my daily life and creative process. I wanted to revisit the book to take more action items and tweak my process to fit my current life.

The first time I read the book, I was focused on understanding the information and connecting the observation points to what I noticed in my life. I did take the advice but I wasn't reading it with that in mind. It was purely an exploratory read.

During this reread, I was focused on implementing the suggestions in my life. I read it slowly over a month and tried to correlate my requirements to suggestions in the book. I took some of the methods as they were, modified some, and discarded others.

I've never read a book with this intention before. It's a process of skimming over the fluff and seeing only the core information in the book. It made me realize how all of the suggestions were a part of one overarching concept. The point of the book is the concepts, not the specific implementation methods.

I didn't fully follow the CODE method, which the book is about, and used a modified version of the PARA method. Over the past year, I took a bare minimum of the book and applied it. This time, I picked up a few more action items and understood why some things worked for me and made them better.

It was a productive reread. During this, I organized my personal laptop and cloud files and finally organized my work notes and files (which were in an atrocious state). It is taking a bit of time for me to get used to my new digital workspace (especially at work) but I see the point of it. I will be working on getting used to it and modifying it to fit my exact needs.

I'm also considering making a post on my digital organization setup and process, let me know if you'd be interested in that!

Read my full review here.

the para method by tiago forte

the para method book cover

While Building a Second Brain has a section about the PARA method, there is quite a bit more to it. Especially to make it work for various parts of life. I have seen a few YouTube videos of the author and read a few of his blog posts. When I heard that The PARA Method was releasing, I was looking forward to it and bought a copy soon after its release.

In the middle of Building a Second Brain, after finishing the PARA section, I switched to The PARA Method to dive into it more. I read it to get useful action items from it. I also wanted more on identifying the different projects and areas, suggestions to maintain the spaces, and tips on making it work for different situations.

While the book answered a few of my questions, it was largely a disappointment. Firstly, the book is way smaller than I expected it to be. That wouldn't be a problem if it was filled with new information. But it didn't.

The main disappointment was the large amount of reused content in the book. A couple of pages were clearly lifted as is from Building a Second Brain. A bunch of other sections were stuff from his YouTube channel or articles. I'm not even a die-hard follower of the author and I noticed so much. For a proper follower, this would be useless.

I don't recommend The PARA Method. The author clearly took his own advice from BASB on reusing his notes and content. But there are areas where it shouldn't done. A book that people pay for isn't one of them.

Read my full review here.

rebecca by daphne du maurier

rebecca book cover

I haven't enjoyed classics much and hence usually stay away from them but I heard so many praises of this book that I had to try it. Unfortunately, my paperback copy had an introduction which told almost the entire story with details on subtexts and I didn't know enough to not read it 🙃 So, I started the story knowing a lot about it.

My favourite aspect of the book is the atmospheric and dreamy writing. Right from the first sentence, we are pulled into the scene effortlessly. The author describes the scenery very well by mentioning the colours, the scent, the wind, and more. The writing skill showed when the author was able to describe dreams and reality at different moments. The same place feels different if the person who's viewing it is going through different emotions and the author captured that.

The introduction aptly described this as a "strange, angry, and prescient novel." With a naive main character, a strange house, a stranger husband, and the overlooking presence of the dead ex-wife in a house which is a character on its own, this book is definitely strange.

For half of the book, I read at a crawling pace and was annoyed by almost everything. But once the pace picks up after half-point, it becomes interesting to read. I didn't like any character or the plot but I don't think we're supposed to. The book is about a bunch of different things and about almost nothing at the same time. It depends on how deep we look into things.

Right after I finished the book, I didn't appreciate it. But I appreciate it more now as I remember it. It is a book with a presence and not one that you will forget easily. Even though I liked nothing besides the writing, all parts of the book linger in my mind. The way the main character was manipulated by people, the way the book ends, the way the ex-wife is portrayed by different people, how we'll never really know what is true, and more.

Overall, it's a book that stands out even after so many years. I see why it's a well-loved classic that isn't popular in the mainstream.

fourth wing by rebecca yarros

fourth wing book cover

Several months after the book took off online, I finally read it. I got it quite a while back but I didn't feel like reading it until now. The time gap helped because I was well away from the hype and social media to go into it without expectations.

Fourth Wing is a New Adult book about a girl training to become a dragon rider in a deadly academy. I don't think much of the premise is unique or new but it has a good enough combination of things to catch attention. The story is easy to read and the characters or plot isn't too complicated, so it was an easy binge-read. I read the book in almost one sitting.

It employs a bunch of popular tropes and themes from popular books so I felt like I was reading another version of books I've read before. The main character is weak but strong (and often needs help from the love interests), there's a love triangle with a childhood friend golden boy and a villainy guy with a secret soft side, and the characters aren't very deep. The book reminded me of A Court of Mist and Fury and The Plated Prisoner series.

However, the use of the popular tropes didn't make the book boring. The plot was predictable on all counts but it was such a mindless read that I couldn't help but gobble it up. I didn't have to employ my brain at all and it was a good escapist read. At one point, I lost track of time and looked up to see that 3 hours had passed.

One of the reasons why the story was so captivating was because it was a little like a game. The main character faces challenges of increasing difficulty throughout the book and she comes up with different ways to win them because of her weaknesses. There was always some new threshold to cross so it was interesting to read.

Overall, it was not an outstanding book but was an enjoyable escapist fantasy read. I'm looking forward to the sequel (which releases soon!)

our missing hearts by celeste ng

our missing hearts book cover

I wanted to listen to an audiobook while drawing and randomly picked this on I've read and enjoyed Little Fires Everywhere by the author and hoped to enjoy this as well.

Our Missing Hearts is a dystopian book featuring an extremely racist society which removes children from their homes if their parents don't live according to "good morals." It took a long time for me to understand the main plotline, though. The book is narrated by a 12-year-old boy whose mother disappeared a few years back and has left a clue for him to find her.

The book might have been better with a different main character and a different unravelling style. A lot of time was spent on worldbuilding but it wasn't needed because the world is quite similar to real life. The society and way of living shown in the book are easily imaginable because they could easily be our future. By the time the real plot started, I was bored.

I was bored throughout the book. No part of it made me sit up and pay attention. It reminded me of The Giver by Lois Lowry but was nowhere close to that book's standard.

Half the book was spent on the boy finding his mother and the second half on the mother's story. The transition wasn't seamless and it didn't feel like I was even reading the same book. While the book is titled after the main plot, most of the book is about the main character's mundane life or the mom's eventful one. Only in the last 20% did the story latch onto the main topic.

Overall, it was a disappointing read. The plot was interesting sometimes but not enough to make me like it. There are better dystopian books with similar themes like The Giver and Fahrenheit 451.

sapiens: a brief history of humankind by yuval noah harari

sapiens book cover

This was my best read of October and will mostly be one of my best books of 2023. The book lived up to all the praise I've heard about it and more.

Sapiens is a non-fiction history book that chronicles the age of humans until the present. The first thing the author does is debunk the idea that we were ever the only humans alive and show how we came to be the only ones left. While it narrates our history, the book also contains links between different events and mentions patterns throughout time. The author does not shy away from raising questions, trying to answer them, and admitting that we don't know some of the answers.

The writing was really good. There was humour at parts and it was mostly written in casual language, without a lot of complicated terms. The author has made sure to make the book easy to read. I felt like I was reading fiction because it pulled me into the subject matter so easily, unlike most non-fiction books.

One thing I really liked was how the book explains multiple developments as causes and effects. Like how humans standing on two feet led to narrow hips which led to babies being born far prematurely compared to other animals. This method firmly removes the idea that how we came to be is an accident or is ordained by a supreme force.

The book also goes into the formation of culture, religions, empires, and capitalism. These subjects are delved into deeply. We see how our way of living—which seems so obvious and natural—isn't natural at all. Towards the end, the book becomes a little philosophical by ruminating on Sapiens' purpose and future.

There's honestly too much in the book for me to sum it up in a few short paragraphs. There was a lot of good information which made me think and connect with other information that I know. I annotated heavily and have written a lot in margins and sticky notes.

Overall, I absolutely loved it. I'll be proud to have this book on my shelf and I'm sure that I'll read it again. I highly recommend it.


Other than Building a Second Brain, I reread three books purely as quick comfort reads:

  • Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez
  • The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen
  • The Redemption of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen

chat with me!

What did you read in October? Have you read any of the books I mentioned above? Is there a book you're looking forward to reading in November? Tell me in the comments!

photo of Sumedha

Sumedha spends her days reading books, bingeing Kdramas, drawing illustrations, and blogging while listening to Lo-Fi music. Read more ➔

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  • Mehek says:

    This is such a great wrap up post! I am so glad that you enjoyed reading the All for the Game series and I completely agree with you, this story is so much more than just traumatised characters and the found family trope is done so well! Neil and Andrew are everything and I cannot wait for the newly announced book in the series to be released!

    I am really interested in reading BASB and Fourth Wing and am hoping to get to both of them soon but not sure when I will be able to tackle them!

    I read 3 books in October and my favourite was Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune, it was such a great and heartwarming reading, I have a few books I wanna get to in November and hopefully I will be able to tackle at least a couple before the end of the month.

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    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      i didn’t know you’re a foxhole court fan! i didn’t know there’s a new book??? do you have a link i can check out to know more? i couldn’t find anything on google. i did find the author’s tumblr page with extra content which was really nice.

      i hope you’re having a great reading month!

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  • jenny says:

    Sapiens sounds right up my street! I've heard NON STOP chatter about Fourth Wing. It's definitely a really hyped up book at the moment.

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  • abookowlscorner says:

    I'm happy to hear you had such a good reading month! Though, honestly, you're starting to make me feel really ashamed for not having read the All for the Game series yet - you make it sound even more exciting than I already figured! 🤗

    Also, you're definitely not alone on having torn through Fourth Wing! I'm not going to argue against it having been tropey and predictable, but I just didn't care. It had me so hooked that I adored it anyway!

    Our Missing Hearts, though? I thought in was alright, but in my opinion, it's definitely Celeste Ng's weakest book. However, have you read Everything I Never Told You? I love that one even more than Little Fires Everywhere, so maybe it'd make up for your disappointment a little bit!

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    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      thank you, Naemi! also, yes please read All for the Game series!! it's TOO good. (also, as i'm typing this, i'm currently in the middle of a full reread of the 3rd book... like... it's got me in a chokehold)

      oh I haven't read Everything I Never Told You but I have seen it around, I'll try to pick it up sometime!

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  • anoushka says:

    i half want to read building a second brain because see if a book can convince someone into clearing their digital files, then that book is magic. (also the fact that i. um. need a book to convince me into doing this too because my laptop's a mess and i cant find anything ever) plus it sounds mildly interesting? (smol sidenote but i'd pretty much give up a book for your digital organization setup post SO YES WRITE IT THANKS)

    HA accidentally reading introductions to classic books without realizing they're basically a summary of the entire story kind of makes up 7464% of my life. why do people find it so hard to GIVE A SPOILER WARNING SOMEWHERE?? like GAH i know it's a classic but I MAY NOT HAVE READ EVERY SINGLE CLASSIC KNOWN TO MANKIND?? but GOSH you make it sound so good!!!

    i read through 50% of our crooked hearts earlier this year, but i,, never really continued it because I WAS BORED TOO? funny you should mention the giver because i've also only ever listened to about 30% of an audiobook version of that one too, BUT THE SIMILARITIES WERE SO OBVIOUS HA.

    IM OBVIOUSLY RIDICULOUSLY GLAD YOU LOVED SAPIENS I SWEAR IVE NEVER READ A MORE INTERESTING BOOK IN MY LIFE OKAY. like,, my younger self would have been so GLAD to get so many of her questions answered like that, BUT ALSO I LOVE IT TOO MUCH RIGHT NOW TO REALLY BE MAD. i cant wait to read the author's other books!!

    anyway. YAY ON SUCH A GREAT READING MONTH (except for the PARA method obviously. authors reusing content and then making you pay for it when you've already read it once just SUCKS and im sorry) HAVE THE BEST NOVEMBER.

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    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      I highly recommend trying Building a Second Brain! It has a lot of good insights and discussions in the beginning to get you into the topic and then gives easy advice to make life better. You may not organize everything in your life but anything is progress haha. (i'll work on my org setup post soon!!)

      EXACTLY where are the spoiler warnings for classics! i understand the "it's been out for 100 years" idea but at least in the beginning of the book???

      Sapiens was actually so good!!! I'm beyond impressed with it and it's def an absolute brilliant book.

      thank you!! i hope you have the best november too!

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