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September saw some voracious reading, including a couple of one-dayers, which are always fun. It boggles my mind sometimes that I can read an entire book AND work a full day. Having a ~1 hour each way train commute and pre-planned dinner helps! I will rarely complain about my commute, even though it’s on the longer side, because I get to read.

I actually can’t remember when I read this first book. I got all excited when I noticed that the e-book version was available from my library, but then when I downloaded it to my Kindle, it was 92% read, which meant I had read it before and completely spaced on putting it into Goodreads!

It was pretty good, but I still think What Alice Forgot is my favorite Liane Moriarty book. (Fun fact: I just learned that her name is pronounced “lee-ON.”) My favorite Goodreads comment:

Did others notice that Easter was portrayed as being in the autumn with the leaves falling and soon after school began? I found this very disconcerting and it colored the book for me. Don’t books have editors anymore?

PSA: It takes place in Australia.

This one was fine to read but it didn’t warrant a rating from me on Goodreads, and now I can’t really remember what I thought of it, which isn’t a good sign. I found the main relationship in it disturbing; well, really, I found the man in the relationship troubling. A theme I’m noticing is that I am made uncomfortable by disordered characters in books. The structure of this was interesting.

This book was sexy, y’all. It featured two highly intelligent academics talking very candidly with each other about sex and had some scenes that goldarn made me blush. This was a one-day read. I was taken aback by the sexiness at first because somehow in my head I thought this was YA, but once I got past that I really enjoyed it. And, a second book with these characters comes out on December 27!

I picked this up as a Harry Potter fangirl, but it totally stands in its own right as a mystery. I think Rowling is a great writer. It’s also interesting to read the story behind why she used a pseudonym and then how she handled it when she was outed. I’m not rushing out to read the rest of the Cormoran Strike books, but I enjoyed this first well enough.

This was September’s book club read and none of us liked it. We found it raunchier than we prefer to read (and I say this having read things like 50 Shades of Grey). We didn’t find the main character to be likable—she was selfish but never seemed to realize it. And it felt very despairing—there was no redemption or hope at all. So, womp womp.

**

Not what I expected but a good book!

A thing I’ve discovered in my reading life lately is going on author binges. I enjoyed it with Liane Moriarty, so I figured why not check out some of Moyes’ other books, since I of course loved Me Before You. This one was pretty delightful, with a fun storyline that ran through time and heartwarming character connections that fell tidily into place.

I should start making notes of how I came to add books to my reading list, because I’m not sure why this one was in the queue. It was a Christian novel of the ilk I would have loved a few years ago, but I didn’t realize that until I started reading it. It took place in Atlanta and offered an interesting take on the Civil Rights movement era in my city, but I could have done without the cheesy Jesus-y bits.

Oh, and I did this re-read in September! I feel like I can’t call a book a favorite until I’ve read it more than once, but I don’t do a lot of re-reading because, duh, so many books, so little time. But I want to have a shortlist of favorites on the tip of my tongue, so I’m trying to go back to a few from recent memory that stand out to see if they hold up. This one did! I need to figure out how to make Goodreads count this toward my yearly challenge number…I don’t necessarily want to lose the data of when I first read it, but unless I change the “date read” to this year, it won’t count. As a stopgap measure I added it to a “re-read” shelf. If anyone has any thoughts, let me know! #booknerdproblems

And, just for fun, a bookish hot take from yours truly:

Now it’s fall and excited to gear up for the holidays and do some seasonally appropriate reading. :)

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It’s September, which feels like time for fall and back to school, even though it was in the 90s today and kids in Georgia went back to school weeks ago. College football starts this weekend and I’m looking forward to a three-day weekend. I made it to the beach this summer, a couple of weeks ago, but I went with some friends and hardly read there at all, surprisingly! I also managed to hold book club again in August after having skipped June and July—whoops!

I heard about this book on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s podcast, What Should I Read Next?, which is a great and dangerous thing for me to listen to every week. I hear about at least 7 books in each episode, with the caller listing 3 books (s)he loves and 1 (s)he hates, and Anne adding 3 recommendations based on those. However, as book lovers are wont to do, more are often mentioned throughout the show, and the show notes are like a bibliography! Anyway, Anne didn’t say too much about this book because she thought the whole description would make it sound boring and…it kind of was to me? It had some sweet moments, but I wasn’t as blown away by it as I expected to be. It does defy description a bit, though, I’ll give her that.

August’s book club read! (Yes, we read Daring Greatly a couple of years ago, SO WHAT?) I think I am in a much more balanced place emotionally than I was when we read Daring Greatly, which covers more of the “vulnerability” part of Brown’s research, while this one focuses in specifically on shame. While I was reading it I was a little annoyed by the formulaic structure, but then reflecting back I realized that was helpful in making it very actionable. We had a great discussion about some of the guideposts, but I can’t say I had any grand revelations.

Another “boarding school novel,” this time set at a prestigious ballet school. Um, y’all, this book was DARK. It was a bit horrifying to think about ACTUAL teenage girls being like these…but one of the authors used to teach at a ballet school, so you have to think she got the basic idea somewhere. Aside from being appalled at how awful the girls were, to each other and to themselves, I enjoyed this book and am excited to see that a sequel is coming out this month.

When I went to grab this linked image, Amazon told me that this book is ranked #1 in books right now, and I can’t even. I don’t really know what to say about this book, er, script, except to say that it was sort of terrible but you should probably read it if you loved Harry Potter. It does not deserve to be called Harry Potter #8, nor can I fathom spending 200 British pounds on tickets to the play. Buy me a whiskey sour some time and ask me more about it and I will talk your ear off (not that I did that to some friends on night this week or anything).

This book left me like, “Huh, what?” I didn’t get it. It was Southern gothic magical realism chick flick literary fiction? It didn’t work at all for me, none of it. But I finished it.

And that was August! One day into September and I’ve already finished a book for this month, so stay tuned to see what else is on tap.

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I read articles all the time about how sometimes we all have to go into survival mode—not literally, fighting for our lives, but figuratively, nixing any activities that we don’t absolutely have to do to stay afloat. Ordering takeout if you have to rather than cooking, etc. I determined in July, which was somewhat of a crazy month, that when I’m in survival mode my reading shoots through the roof. We moved at the end of July, so in the stress leading up to that (which included listing our current place and closing on the new one) I read 9 books. I added loads of books to my various wish lists from Book Riot over the course of the month, and that’s where a number of these came from.

This was a fun collection of short stories. I read it in a single day, on the 4th of July no less, which felt sort of appropriate. There are a lot of weird twists in these, so be prepared!

I wanted to like this more than I actually did. It was timely in a fun way, though, given that I just celebrated my own 10 year high school reunion this year. The characters were interesting, and I liked the undertones of their relationships, but it didn’t leave much of a mark on me beyond that.

This book was so fun! I am not a video game player, nor was I sentient for any of the 80s, so I’m sure many of the references went straight over my head, but I enjoyed that they were there. This to me was almost like a less dark Ender’s Game. And I loved the ending!

I didn’t feel like this book really bore any relation to its description on the jacket. It was a little bit quirkier than the plain vanilla chick lit I expected, which was okay, just surprising. I liked it enough that I then read a second Close book….

…which I liked a bit less. Both of these were written in an odd, vignette-like sort of style, when I really wished they had just let themselves be fluffy fiction.

I had a book on my library wish list that I realized was the sequel to this book, so I checked it out first, and it was terrible. It felt like it was written for even younger than YA (tween?), which usually doesn’t bother me, but this one didn’t cut it for me. It was a cute concept, and it’s neat that Picoult and her daughter wrote it together, but let’s just say I didn’t check out the second one.

Okay, but then what had happened was I finally discovered Liane Moriarty. For some reason I have resisted picking up What Alice Forgot for years, even though I kept hearing about it, and I’m so glad I finally did. It was such a sweet book. Big Little Lies was a little darker but equally good, and now I’m on the libary waiting list for like everything else she’s ever written.

I’ve discovered that “boarding school novels” is a specific sub-set of the coming of age story, and that I like it. Prep is a recent classic in that genre, but I have to say I was underwhelmed. There were certain elements of it that rang very true for me, having gone to boarding school myself, but I can’t say I really liked the protagonist. (Maybe I wasn’t supposed to?) I had a bit of trouble making it all the way through this book.

Have you read any authors lately that have been popular for awhile but you’re just now jumping on the bandwagon? What’s your favorite time of life to read about in fiction?