The BFR Round-Up October 2021

October was 3/4 relentless and 1/4 relaxation. Al and I both had lots of work commitments at the beginning so it was total heads down although somehow I managed to read quite a few books. I put this down to having a target and listening to Atomic Habits (which I blogged about this month). We spent the last week by the sea in Whitstable, our first full week of holiday this year and it was very therapeutic. I may write a mini post on this in November as there were lots of literary places to enjoy.


If I were to single out two themes for October – they would be existential voyaging and fresh thinking. Several of the books expanded to cosmic level, taking my mind to places it sometimes didn’t want to visit. But the upside was that I discovered new perspectives and solutions at the same time. Rebel Ideas was particularly helpful in reframing my thoughts surrounding group dynamics.

Piranesi was my favourite read in October. I didn’t know what to expect from it, but in retrospective should have guessed that it would suit me. Susanna Clarke is a big fan of Tolkien and C.S.Lewis and it shows – albeit in a weird and twisted kind of way. All the other titles had something to offer even if a couple didn’t reach their full potential.

Books Read (74 books out of 80 target)

  • Rebel Ideas by Matthew Syed (4.25/5) – audiobook
  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K.Jemisin (4/5)
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (4.75/5)
  • Paper Girls 4 by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang and Matthew Wilson (3.75/5)
  • Penguin Green Ideas: The Democracy of Species by Robin Wall Kimmerer (4.5/5)
  • Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli (4.25/5)
  • Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski (4.25/5) – audiobook
  • The Sandman by Neil Gaiman (4.5/5) – audiobook
  • Penguin Green Ideas: What I Stand for is What I Stand On by Wendell Berry (4.5/5)
  • Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch (4/5)
  • Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed (3.75/5) – audiobook


Al only found time to read while we were on holiday and chose an unsettling collection of short stories. His score reflects the quality of the writing, but he felt that the short format didn’t quite hit the mark.

Books Read

  • Dead Relatives by Lucie McKnight Hardy (4/5)

Little M

Little M is definitely a fantasy fan! She read two books in October. We’ve agreed not to buy any more until she’s worked through her TBR.

Books Read

  • Kitty and the Starlight Song by Paula Harrison (5/5)
  • Beast Quest 2: Sepron: The Sea Serpent (5/5)

Film and TV

We all watched The Secret of Sulphur Springs while on holiday. A good mix of scare, thriller and sci-fi, which was vaguely reminiscent of The Watcher in the Woods and adult drama, Dark although much tamer than both. Al and I revisited The Village knowing the twist. Some of the plot devices would be impossible these days, but the cinematography, score and central premise are still quality.

Days Out

Everything bunched up in the final week while we were in Whitstable. Having the dog with us can be restrictive, but we still managed to visit a few bookshops (Harbour Books in Whitstable (pictured), The Fleur Bookshop and Tales on Market Lane in Faversham, Catching Lives in Canterbury). We also made days trips to Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens where Vita Sackville-West used to live and Bateman’s, the former home of Rudyard Kipling. I’d love to go back in the spring.

Planning ahead, November is a big birthday month for us so there will be a few treats. In the meantime, we’re excited to read the 14 books we brought home from Kent.

May your November be full of bonfire toffee, warm libraries and twinking lights.

Mel, Al & Little M


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  1. November 1, 2021 / 3:13 pm

    Sounds like a good month and always looks of book ideas. It is good to watch some scare flicks I think this time of year xxx

    • thebookfamilyrogerson
      November 5, 2021 / 5:03 pm

      Definitely! We are reading The Bewitching of Aveline Jones now – super spooky! xxx

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