When I built my September TBR, I tried to focus on books that have a school or campus setting. I mean, makes sense, right?!?! September = back to school. And while I stuck to the theme for the first half of the month, I quickly found myself picking up books that simply struck my mood by the second half.
Overall, it was a frustrating reading month for me. There are really no true standouts and I found myself very bored with the books I read. I’m really hoping October goes better for me because reading hasn’t been giving me a lot of joy latey.
September By the Numbers:
- Total Books Read: 10
- Audiobooks: 0
- Five Star Reads: 0
- Goodreads Shelf: 102/125 (82%)
- Unread Shelf: 1 (10%)
- Nonfiction Challenge: 7/12
- Books by BIPOC Authors: 3 (30%)
- By Women Authors: 7 (70%)
- Diverse Books: 4 (40%)
- Nonfiction Reads: 4 (40%)
- Debuts: 3 (30%)
- Published in 2021: 7 (70%)
Favorite Book of the Month:
This book was such a satisfying conclusion to The Heart Principle’s trilogy. I’m not a huge fan of the romance genre so it’s really saying something for me to have fallen for each of these separate – but connected – stories. I would have a hard time choosing betwen this book and the first one in the series, but honestly, they’re all good and worth the time to read! Be forewarned…this is very closed door! 🔥
For Those Fictional Campus Vibes:
- The Fortunate Ones by Ed Tarkington – This is a quiet novel about being thrown into a world that is very different than the one you’re used to. When Charlie Boykin joins the fancy private school, Yeatman, his eyes are now hyper aware of class, privilege, and a new set of friends. There isn’t a ton of action that happened, but Tarkington’s writing held my interest and I really wanted to see how this one unraveled.
For Those Non-Fictional Campus Vibes:
- We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper – This true crime memoir was one heck of a ride! Not only did Cooper lay out the steps she took to investigate the 1969 murder of Jane Britton, but it was also a deep dive into the archeological world. It reads quickly and almost felt like it was too crazy to be true.
- Learning in Public: Lessons for a Racially Divided America from My Daughter’s School by Courtney E. Martin – It seems like public schools are in the hot seat lately; I’ve even seen some unbelievable things happening in my local district. It’s concerning so I thought this might be a great book to read given all the unrest that schools seem to have right now. It wasn’t totally applicable to me (I’m in a small, rural district and not an urban school district), but it was still interesting to read about the differences city people are dealing with versus the concerns I’m seeing where I live.
For Those Who Crave New Releases:
- Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney – This book solidifies the fact that I have a love/hate relationship with Rooney. I really, really appreciate her ability to write. But for all her talent writing the most profound and nuanced sentences, she lacks on character development and overall story arc for me. I often feel like I end the book really not caring about the characters at all – and that’s disappointing after committing yourself to a book.
- Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult – There was a time I was obsessed with every book Jodi Picoult wrote, but I really feel her ship has sailed with me. Though she is a highly readable author, all of her books seem to be a bit formulaic for me, and this one was no exception. My biggest complaint about this book was its main topic: COVID-19. Without any spoilers, I’ll just say it felt a bit too soon and overly biased (which I also find too soon to so strongly declare at this point). I’ll be curious to see how this one stands the test of time!
For Those Who Enjoy Non-Fiction:
- * Redeeming Justice: From Defendant to Defender, My Fight for Equity on Both Sides of a Broken System by Jarrett Adams – Adams (along with two of his friends) was wrongfully convicted of a crime and spent eight years in prison. While there, he continually proclaimed his innocence and sought ways to appeal the decision. Ultimately he was released and he is now a lawyer who helps defend the wrongfully committed. This story reminded me of Just Mercy and it left me wondering how many people are wrongfully committed and are serving time in prison for a crime they didn’t commit. It’s maddening and I would love more than anything to not be able to read stories like this anymore!
- * Dancing With the Octupus: A Memoir of a Crime by Debora Harding – File this story with the likes of The Glass Castle and Educated! When Harding was kidnapped, raped, and left to die on the side of a road. And while that trauma would be a lot for anyone to overcome, Harding spent her childhood years trying to understand her mentally abusive mother’s behavior and reconciling her father’s role in her traumatic upbringing.
For Those Looking For Some Halloween Vibes:
- The Book Of Accidents by Chuck Wendig – While Wendig knows how to craft a sentence, his overall stories and characters lack something for me. This is probably the last book I’ll pick up by him as the stories just never really pay off for me after commiting to such a tome of a book. I think fans of Stephen King and horror/ghost stories will find this worthwhile though!
For Those Looking For a Powerful Coming-of-Age Story:
- * The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones by Daven McQueen – It’s the summer of 1955. Ethan is biracial and his dad drops him off in a small town in Alabama in hopes of teaching him a lesson in appropriate manners and behavior for a young kid. He quickly learns that this town is much different than. his hometown – much more racially intolerant. Thankfully, he befriends a quirky girl, Juniper, who enlists his help in having the best summer ever. Through themes of racial tension, coming-of-age innocence, and harsh realites, Ethan is forced to understand that the world can be an unrelentingly cruel place.
(Debuts denoted by *)
Unread Shelf Update:
As of the end of September, the total number of physical books on my shelves is: 238.
If you’d like to participate in the Unread Shelf Project, head over to Whitney’s blog for more information!