Wrap Up | September 2017

Read in September

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Michaela

A Loving, Faithful Animal | Josephine Rowe- This one was just beautiful! At 160 pages it was a super quick read, but was so well done it felt longer since the story was so perfectly fleshed out in such a short space. Rowe used a really clever structure and created characters who felt real and alive through her seriously beautiful prose. The power of this book comes from just stunningly gorgeous writing and complex characters; it's hard to stop saying just how lovely it was. One I won't soon forget. 

Murder On the Orient Express | Agatha Christie- It's been easily a decade since I last sat down with Christie, and with the movie coming out for this one, it was time to pick it up. I breezed right through it in a few hours, and it was just good, easy, cozy fun to spend some time cloistered on the train with the passengers trying to figure out whodunnit! I really enjoyed the ending and how everything was resolved; this one is a classic for a reason.

Brideshead Revisited | Evelyn Waugh- A re-read for me, because it was a book club pick this month! This is the book that got me back into classics post-college. Waugh writes gorgeously and this book is nostalgic and beautiful and complex. Set primarily between Oxford, Venice, and the English countryside it deals heavily with class, love, alcoholism, religion, complicated friendships, grandeur, and loss. I seriously love this novel, and it's an under appreciated classic. Definitely pick it up!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society | Mary Ann Shaffer- This was Rikki's pick for me this month, as we each chose to read one of the other's favorite novels. It had a really similar tone to 84, Charing Cross Road for me, but dealt heavily in what life was like during WWII in both London and the Channel Islands. It was a really charming novel, but just not for me. I really, really dislike war books and even with the hopeful tone and charm of this one, it was still a struggle. If war books don't bug you though, it's a quick read with a delightful cast of quirky characters!

A Darker Shade of Magic | Victoria Schwab- Super good story and world building on this one. Nobody is calling this a literary masterpiece, but the main character, Kell, was interesting and likable, and the concept was fresh and interesting. I really enjoyed the plot, and the writing was strong enough to enhance rather than hamper it, so I'm considering it a win for a fluffy fantasy novel! Plus I was compelled to continue the series, which is somewhat rare lately. Which brings us to....

A Gathering of Shadows | Victoria Schwab- Which was more of the same. I don't get the super obsession with these books, but they're definitely fun!

Helliconia Spring | Brian W. Aldiss- Book club pick! Wasn't looking forward to it, not only didn't enjoy it, but abandoned it after 100-ish pages. The world building on this was fascinating, but there was such minimal character development or plot that I couldn't stay interested. Pass.

East of Eden | John Steinbeck- Our buddy read for August...that took us till September to actually finish. What a beautiful, beautiful book. You can read more about what we thought, and see our dinner party over here, but suffice to say Steinbeck remains one of my favorite writers and I loved every minute of this book, and it will stay with me for a long time.

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Rikki

East of Eden | John Steinbeck - Steinbeck is such a wonderful writer, I can't get enough! We savored this read for the past month. It's a book you undoubtedly have to take your time with, and it is so worth it! I loved buddy reading this one and the dinner party we had was so different from our usual, but so good too. If you've been putting it off, I definitely recommend you get to it!

The Secret History | Donna Tartt - This is Michaela's favorite book and with swapping favorites this month, this is what she had for me. Tartt is a magnificent writer, and I see why Michaela loves this so much with the strong atmosphere and detail of the book. I enjoyed those aspects immensely. However, much in the way she doesn't do war in stories, I equally have to have redemption, and I felt really sad to never get to that point. 

 

Featured Reviewer

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morgan | @nycbookgirl

Hi bookworms!  I’m Morgan, a book lover from NYC where I work in the theater industry as the assistant to a Broadway producer.  I’ve loved to read for as long as I can remember and studied English and Theater in college.  I started book-blogging four months ago and absolutely love it; I’ve made so many wonderful friends who subscribe to the literary lifestyle, especially Rikki and Michaela.  I’m also on the team of the Diverse Books Club, an online bookclub dedicated to providing recommendations of diverse literature of all kinds (three of my September reads were DBC picks).  Thanks, R and M, for letting me share my September stack!  See below for my top three picks from this month.

(Pssst you can go visit Morgan, and see more of what she read this month right over here!)

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The Hate U Give | Angie Thomas - This was our DBC September Young Adult pick and it is a brilliant debut novel.  I rarely read YA but am completely reconsidering that stance. The main character is a likeable, smart, and flawed first person narrator.  I never wanted this book to end because I was not ready to let go of her as a friend.  Unfortunately, this book is impossible to put down: it discusses racism and hate in the 21st century in such an honest way that I simply had to know whether or not justice would be served.  I would absolutely recommend this book to readers of all ages, young adult or not.

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Hunger | Roxane Gay - Within the first few pages, I was struck by the intense and honest tone this memoir takes.  Hunger is a remarkably candid portrayal of rape and obesity, two topics that are rarely addressed with such honesty in our culture.  Gay immediately lays it all out there, making herself so vulnerable that it would be impossible not to trust her.  Reading this book is painful and fascinating. It’s a very quick read but has stuck with me for long after I read the final page.

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Milk and Honey | Rupi Kaur - While reading Hillary Clinton’s What Happened this month, I found myself needing to balance the intensity of HRC’s book. I normally read only one book at a time, but I was slipping too far into her account.  So I picked up Milk and Honey and instantly fell in love with Kaur’s poetry. It is intensely personal and simultaneously incredibly accessible. I read it with a pencil in hand, marking up my favorite pages and passages. I know this is a collection I will return to frequently - it’s one of those books where different poems will provide you with different comforts, depending on where you are and what you need.

Posts in September

Other Notes

Did you hear us on the podcast What Should I Read Next? We had so much fun talking to Anne, and can't wait to have a dinner party based on one of her recommendations! Take a listen if you're curious about how we started this whole thing, and hear what different readers we are!

We got our first shipment as part of our partnership with Penguin Random House this month, and they're making our October TBR's look pretty promising! As always, our disclosures can be viewed right here.

As some of you may have heard, Rikki will be welcoming a new baby girl into her family in October, so that might mean some shifts around here for a little bit as she gets settled with her new family of five! 

Also! Look out for another dinner party coming your way, probably next week! We're excited to share!

Michaela Devine6 Comments