Nerdy Special List October 2015

Happy October! Have you eaten all the pumpkin spice-flavored things yet? I have some pumpkin-flavored mochi balls calling my name from the refrigerator, so I’d better hurry up with this post.

Here are the book releases this month that my blogger friends and I found noteworthy.

From Jen at Jen’s Book Thoughts:

youdonthavetolikemeYou Don’t Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism by Alida Nugent (Plume, October 20)

Blogger Alida Nugent makes it abundantly clear in her new essay collection that feminism isn’t defined by wearing certain clothes, using certain vocabulary, forgoing certain traditions. What feminism IS defined by is a woman’s right to choose: to choose to take her husband’s name or keep her own, to choose the right to have a career or be a stay-at-home mom, to choose her level of sexual activity.

With a savvy mix of bluntness and humor, she discusses misperceptions about feminism, realities of being female, and why no woman needs to fear the label feminist. She candidly discusses her battle with bulimia, the ludicrous logic of expecting women to be flattered by catcalls, and what needs to be done on both sides of the gender line to help achieve some semblance of equality.

This is an empowering book, both for women and men. It’s also highly entertaining. Share this one with the favorite women in your life!

From Rory at Fourth Street Review:

The Lake House by Kate Morton (Atria Books, October, 20)

9781451649376_p0_v4_s192x300Spanning seventy years in Cornwall, England, The Lake House is both suspenseful and moody. In 1933, Alice Edevane is a clever teenager living on a gorgeous lakeside estate, and while she loves to make up stories, nothing could prepare her for what is about to happen in her own life.

After a large summer party at her home, her brother disappears without a trace. Sending the family down a path they never anticipated, Theo’s disappearance is never solved. Seventy years later, Sadie Sparrow is a detective living in London. While on leave in Cornwall, she discovers the abandoned lake house and begins investigating the crumbling estate.

The lives of Sadie and Alice are about to intertwine in ways neither of them imagined. Despite the novel ending quite tidily, Kate Morton’s latest novel is far from disappointing. It’s a mystery at its core and Morton’s careful plotting keeps the pages turning.

If you’ve read and enjoyed any of her previous novels, you are going to love this one. If you’re new to Kate Morton, this is a good place to start. The Lake House is perfect for October’s crisp autumn nights, so this book may be best enjoyed under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate (or chocolate anything, because chocolate is never a bad idea).

From Lauren at Malcolm Avenue Review:

The Dogist: Photographic Encounters with 1,000 Dogs by Elias Weiss Friedman (Artisan, October 20)

dogistAfter being laid off from a major New York agency, Elias Friedman decided to combine the two things he loved most: photography and dogs. The result was a 2013 Instagram feed (@TheDogist) that took off across most social media platforms (1.2 million followers on Instagram; same Twitter handle and Facebook page name).

Elias’ work is brilliantly expressive; it’s mostly close-up work on the streets and truly captures the many different personalities and essences of “dog.”

The collection is put together in entertaining categories too numerous to recount here, but including heavyweights, barkers, sassy, haircuts, head tilts, rare breeds, snow, bionic, tongues, beautiful blends, cones of shame—you get the picture. There’s something for everyone and I guarantee you’ll see more than one thing you’ve never seen before.

Elias has been doing the work long and steadily enough that there is no shortage of material to work with, and each page is a lesson in the beautiful and unique qualities of human’s best friend. Elias also created the Give a Dog a Bone program, featuring stories of shelter dogs (more than 50 in 20 different shelters), most of which have found homes.

Highly recommended for photographers and dog lovers alike, or a great Christmas present for the dog lover in your life.

From Patti at Patti’s Pen & Picks:

Dark Reservations: A Mystery by John Fortunato (St. Martin’s Press, October 13)

9781250074195_p0_v5_s192x300A recent winner of the Tony Hillerman Prize for best debut mystery set in the Southwest, Dark Reservations is a good mystery within the world of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, and state politics.

Joe Evers is our hero, a widower still mourning the loss of his wife after two years. His drinking has cost him his job. At the beginning of the book, he is heading toward a forced retirement. He starts working on a new case, mostly because he’s the one available when the call comes in.

It’s a cold case that brings Joe out of his funk. A congressman’s car turns up, twenty-two years after it went missing, but the bodies that belong in the car are not there. Joe’s job is to find the bodies and to find out what happened two-plus decades ago.

I really liked Joe, his evolvement throughout the book, and his heart. Highly recommended!

From PCN:

Guess what? My October recommendation is the same as one of the above. Since we all have different tastes, this is the first time an overlap has happened in the 3 years since I started doing the list.

Instead of recommending another title, I’m going to throw my vote behind Rory’s and second her choice. The Lake House was my favorite October book, an intricate story deftly spun by Kate Morton. Six-hundred-page novels usually give me pause, but never when they’re by Morton. I enjoy diving into her lush, vivid worlds and staying there for a while. And one of the protagonists in Lake House is a mystery author—how could I resist?

Which books are you looking forward to this month?



  • Reply
    October 7, 2015 at 7:09 am

    Wow, lots of good stuff this month, as always, and most new to me. I’ve heard of The Lake House, but at 600+ pages I turned the other way. Now you’ve almost convinced me not to dismiss it out of hand due to length. Patti’s pick may be right up my alley, and Jen’s streak of great non-fiction continues. Aces, kids!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      October 8, 2015 at 11:59 am

      One of the things I love most about doing this list is hearing about books that are new to me. I’d never heard of your or Jen’s rec, and they both sound really interesting.

    • Reply
      October 21, 2015 at 7:33 am

      Almost convinced you?!

    • Reply
      Rhonda H.
      November 29, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      I just visited PCN’s site to see if she had reviewed The Lake House and saw this. I have about 7 hours left (21+ hrs total) of the audio, and I do not want it to end. I needed a book on my way out the door this week and looked at TLH since it kept popping up on my audible page. I used my credit instantly when I saw that Caroline Lee was the narrator. She does narration for some of Liane Moriarty’s books, and I love her. Thanks to everyone for the great recommendations!

      • Reply
        Pop Culture Nerd
        November 29, 2015 at 3:45 pm

        Yay! So glad to hear you’re enjoying it. Caroline Lee is one lucky gal, getting to narrate Morton’s and Moriarty’s books.

        Thank you for checking PCN for recommendations/reviews. I’m thrilled to know this site has any hand in helping you decide what to read.

  • Reply
    jen forbus
    October 8, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    I have to mention that I, too, considered THE LAKE HOUSE for the list this month. Luckily I had my other good option to share! TLH was definitely worth the length to me…unlike the wretched 900+ page thing I just reviewed for AudioFile. Ugh!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      October 8, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      That would have been highly unprecedented if three of us recommended the same book! Sorry to hear about the 900-page disaster (was it a million hours on audio?). I imagine that was spirit crushing.

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