Which books are worth the read and which should you skip? Find out what books I’ve been reading lately and whether or not I recommend them.
September, can you please stay a little longer?
After the never-ending summer break of 2020, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my September. All of my kids are back to school, the weather has cooled off somewhat, and I’m just feeling rather happy.
Not that everything has been perfect. A massive windstorm blew through Utah, knocking down plenty of trees and fences, canceling school for a few days.
Yet, even though my reading numbers are way down, my blogging time is way up. That’s the thing about being a work-at-home book blogger. Even if I manage to get free time, I always have to balance reading books and writing about them.
Here’s a quick look at my September reading, with my advice on which books to read and which to skip.
September Reading List
In the Midnight Library, there are two books – one book for the life you’ve lived and one for the one you could have lived. After attempting suicide, Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library. Now she must decide which book to choose from. What if she had made different choices? Would her life have been any better? All of us have regrets, and by allowing Nora the possibility to redo her life, Haig does a brilliant job showing how we can never predict the outcomes of our choices. A thoroughly enjoyable read that intimately talks about the pain of depression and second-guessing has on our life. 4 Stars. Read more →
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Viking through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
One day, a mother in Nigeria opens her door to find the dead body of her son. Starting with Vivek Oji’s death, Akwaeke Emezi slowly unravels the explanation of why and how he died. Born to a distant Nigerian father and a loving Indian mother, Vivek has always struggled with his identity. He feels closest to his cousin Osita, who struggles to understand his cousin’s crisis. Exploring otherness and identity with sharp social commentary, The Death of Vivek Oji was such a talked-about book that I included it in my Fall Reading Guide.However, I struggled with this one. It’s very much literary fiction – jumping timelines, switching narrations, and foreshadowing galore. The crux of the book is about understanding your identity – gender identity, sexual orientation, and racial identity are all explored. However, after one too many explicit descriptions, I decided that this one just wasn’t for me. DNF Read more →
In the fifth book of J. K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike series, Private Investigator Strike takes on the cold case of a mother who mysteriously disappeared forty years ago. Meanwhile, his trusty colleague Robin Ellacott is going through a messy divorce while struggling with her feelings for Strike.Currently, Rowling is embroiled in a Twitter controversy over transgender comments, which has spread to her chart-topping book. Many critics are blasting Troubled Blood as a transphobic story about a cross-dressing serial killer while others are claiming such critics haven’t read the book.
So how controversial is Troubled Blood? In my opinion, not nearly as much as it’s made out to be. Though the story is definitely not unproblematic, it’s really no worse than the earlier books in the series. If it had been published a year ago, almost no one would have batted an eye. Yet seen through the light of her recent comments, critics are pulling apart every little detail looking for connections. Given that the serial killer is not even a main focus, being too obvious a suspect, I think the book’s controversy is being pulled out of proportion. Yet, should you separate the art from the artist? That’s a debate for another time since this review is already long enough.
Aside from the controversy, how is the book? Long. At over 900 pages, Troubled Blood is a massive undertaking that should have been edited down to a more reasonable length. If you are in it for a thrilling mystery, you’ll be disappointed. The central cold case proceeds at a steady pace throughout, with plenty of red herrings but no exciting climax. Not even a slow-burn, the mystery was simply background noise. Honestly, the only reason to read Troubled Blood is for the will-they-or-won’t-they aspect of the relationship between Strike and Robin, which I enjoyed more than in any other book in the series. 4 Stars. Read more →
Should you have it all and be the perfect version of you or should you ignore what others think and do whatever? Kendra Adachi implores you to take a third path – the lazy genius way. By being a genius about what matters to you and lazy about what doesn’t, Adachi promises to help you avoid overwhelm and discover a better way to life. Having read so many minimalism/productivity/girl power books recently, I feel like I’ve read every argument under the sun about living your best life. However, Adachi surprised me with a new take on the topic, combining the best advice in a unique way, always emphasizing the importance of doing what’s best for you. 4 Stars. Read More →
I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook & Multnomah through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
What happens when a white person’s assumptions about race are challenged? The normal reaction is defensiveness, which Robin DiAngelo calls white fragility. Unpacking why whites are so fragile, DiAngelo shows how much this defensiveness hinders cross-racial discussion. I’ve been trying to increase my understanding of racism in America (and in myself) by reading up on the topic, including DiAngelo’s controversial book. It’s a book about racism written by a white person to a white audience, so it’s bound to be controversial.
I definitely didn’t enjoy this book and disagreed with many of her opinions. However, her point is an important one to internalize – as a white person, I need to understand that I am not exempt from racism just because of fill in your favorite excuse here. By losing the defensiveness and being willing to open up and see how I can improve, I’ll then be ready to fully listen when I read more about racism. 3 Stars. Read More →
L. M. Montgomery
One of the best perks of being a book blogger is receiving advance review copies (ARCs) of upcoming book releases from publishers.
At the beginning of each month, I cover all the new book releases coming out, and the October 2020 book releases are right around the corner. Here’s a peek at the October releases I’ve already read.
My To-Read List
What’s up next for me? Before I let you go, here are a few of the titles I’m hoping to get through this upcoming month.
Be sure to come back in October to see which ones I read.
What books did you read in September?