Autumn Extinguished: Fall Recap 2018


“October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces."
- J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

 One of my favorite Gatsby quotes attributes rebirth and refreshment to the summer, but for me, especially with the introduction of a new school year, fall promises just as much of a beginning. This fall marks a more definite beginning and end: my final year of high school. In the midst of homework and college applications, projects and extracurricular activities, I have again found a renewed appreciation for my blog and the outlet it has provided me through my high school years. From September to November, here's a recap of my life, bookish and otherwise:

What I read 

  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood / While at an English seminar at the West Point Summer Leadership Experience, I received a free copy of this book. I'd tried to read it as a seventh grader and stopped with at the second chapter, so I thought I would tackle it again now. I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would, but I still have some unanswered questions (and would love to discuss these). I heard there might be a sequel coming out soon as well (?).

  • Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke / Nice Try, Jane Sinner might just be my favorite young adult novel of 2018. The plot, based in a reality show created by college students, consumed me. As I grappled with some new developments in my own life, too, I could relate a lot to the perspective of the main character, making her growth throughout the story especially enjoyable. 

  • Vengeance by V. E. Schwab / Since reading Vicious a year ago, I have anticipated this sequel. Schwab did not disappoint, introducing even more morally gray characters that complicated the story. I do hope for a book three. 

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain / I read this book for discussion in my English class, and I still have mixed feelings. Though I appreciated how the ambiguity of the ending and some symbols in the book force readers to confront their own prejudices, the story felt slow-moving and the characters often frustrated me. 

  • Your Own Worst Enemy by Gordon Jack / Unfortunately, Your Own Worst Enemy was my most disappointing read of the season. I explained my full reasoning in my review of the novel. Ultimately, I felt that the political satire, intended for teen audiences, failed to reach us as a result of poor humor and lack of a message. 

  • The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee / I did not enjoy this book much, and found myself skimming much of the drama build-up to just see the results. I haven't yet decided if I will continue this series. I do, however, love this series's covers. 

Noteworthy on Clairefy

  • When a Forbes columnist suggested that Amazon bookstores replace public libraries to eliminate library taxes, I posted a rebuttal
  • This month, I asked Twitter for bookish influencers that would be interested in participating in my best books of 2018 round-up, expecting maybe one or two replies. To my surprise, I received over 214, and I am excited to share the favorite reads of these bookworms this month! (If you would be interested in contributing a paragraph, I am still open to submissions! Feel free to send me an email or tweet me.)
  • I also was approved on Netgalley for my first digital advanced reader copy in several months: Descendant of the Crane, a 2019 release. Thank you Albert Whitman Company!

Me, elsewhere

  • I hosted part one of a Model UN simulation for my school's club! We are creating resolutions on nuclear proliferation of the Korean peninsula. Our organization has never held practice sessions like this before and I am excited to introduce new preparation methods so that we might be more equipped for a conference later this year. I was especially inspired to see my peers get involved and speak in front of the group, some for the first time in the school year so far. 

  • I concluded my senior cross country season. Though I have grappled with injuries and race times, running has provided me with a community and an anchor throughout high school. This week, for the first time since starting treatment for my anemia, I ran a 7:00 mile! 
  • I had the wonderful opportunity to accompany my school's fall play, Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, on the piano! My talented friend composed the entire score, and we played in violin piano duet. This was my first public piano performance in nearly four years, and my first time being a part of a show, as opposed to the sound crew or production team. I had a lot more fun than I anticipated.

  • I attended county chorus. I enjoyed the singing experience, even if it left my voice hoarse for a couple days afterwards. This fall I have also loved practicing with my school's select choral group, the Wildcat Singers, and I look forward to performing with them in the winter.
What has been your favorite read this fall?


  1. I love your photos! V.E. Schwab and Margaret Atwood are two of my favorite authors, so I’m glad you liked their books. Good luck with the college applications! Happy December!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. You've been a busy bee these past few months! I haven't read Vengeful yet even though it's my most anticipated 2018 release, but I can't wait! Oooh I really hope you get into that uni, I still remember how nerve wracking the process was. Have a wonderful December Claire! <3

  3. I just stumbled across your blog, and I'm laughing just a bit at how much I related to this recap. Model U.N, Cross Country, school in general... floating in the same boat to say the least. Best of luck with college apps! (Also your photography is beautiful.)