Note: I wrote this around Sept. 8th but never published it. Oops. And now it’s almost time for my September wrap-up.
Goal of 10 books achieved! Though I think I’m going to shorten my reviews here and start sending you over to my Goodreads page if you want to read my longer thoughts.
The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins – 4* – (Aug. 6):
Incorrectly compared to “Gone Girl,” this book is a broody mystery of sorts. But it’s also the story of multiple women whose lives are all complete disasters for one reason or another. Most of those reasons could be solved by a healthy dose of self-esteem and independence instead of being so reliant on men. Especially sucky ones.
A Hundred Summers – Beatriz Williams – 4.25* – (Aug. 7):
More of a romance than I usually get into, but it was a definite beach read. For the most part, it was quite light, though it was set in the 1930s and dealt with anti-Semitism in an interesting way. I enjoyed the book for what it was and mostly for the trip back in time to that era.
This was a solid murder mystery but it had a unique angle to how it was narrated. A woman’s sister is missing so she travels to London to find her. The story is told as a debriefing to a detective after the main events have occurred. Learning about the Beatrice’s life, which is falling apart, as she tries to discover what has happened to Tess was engaging.
It fascinated me how this book wove in and out of the events of “Pride and Prejudice.” Following the lives of the Longbourn staff was eye-opening, not only in seeing their duties but also in seeing their hopes and dreams and disappointments. If you’re looking for more Darcy, this book doesn’t offer much. In fact, a scene at the end with him, Elizabeth, and primary figure house-girl Sarah felt so out-of-character, I deducted at least 0.5*.
The story of Letitia Landon wasn’t amazing as I didn’t find her relatable or particularly likable. However, there are aspects of the book involving religious evangelism and cultural assimilation in West African in the time period (1830s) that I found quite intriguing.
The Switch – Sandra Brown – 1.5* – (Aug. 23):
(This IS the Goodreads review.)
A murder mystery involving twins who (see title) switch places. Features much contrivance, a surviving twin who was a founding member of the Scooby Gang and smarter than the cops, an astronaut, Indians, a religions cult, and fertility clinics. I’m not making any of that up. For real.
Another mystery. This one involves an abduction of a girl but her captor decides not to turn her over to his boss. Instead, he takes her to a cabin in the woods. Aspects were good, aspects were awful. The epilogue was jaw-dropping. Then I spent a day or two thinking and it maybe causes way too many plot holes.
A couple witnesses a plane crash. There are no survivors. Chapters switch between the couple and family/friends of the crash victims. It was a somber yet sometimes hopeful look at what happens after loss. Because it was a small town, many of these people crossed paths in ways that were unexpected. Overall, it was a downer to read.
I read this to see what all the Duke controversy was about. I was promised porn and I was let down! Spoiler: There’s nudity on two pages, I believe. It’s cartoon nudity. In an autobiography about a woman’s coming out, her discovery that her father had relationships with men, and his death/suicide. I found Bechdel’s story worth reading, though I still don’t care for the graphic novel genre.
This short story collection was more hit than miss. Most stories focused on someone very down on their luck. Sometimes it turned around a bit, often it didn’t. The stories ran a wide range of main characters, though most were set in rural settings. The writing was quite lovely, almost poetic, which was a sharp contrast to the often crude dialogue and actions of the characters. I recommend it overall.
I made a commitment to 10 books and I read them. Go me. Because I’m so late with this post, the progress image below includes two books I read in September, so 62 of 40 books when I ended the month at 60 of 40. 150%? I read, write, and edit. I don’t math.
Diversity? A graphic novel, another book of short stories, some contemporary, a lot of mysteries, popular fiction (I guess that’s what I’d call The Switch). It could’ve been more diverse.
Star ratings: This is based on the flat stars Goodreads displays in list-view, not the quarter-star system I assign in my reviews.
- 5 stars: 7 books (including one re-read)
- 4 stars: 27 books
- 3 stars: 17 books
- 2 stars: 6 books
- 1 star: 2 books (not sure why I don’t use this rating more often)
- 0 stars: 1 book (book I edited but didn’t rate)
One last stat – pages read:
- January – 2010
- February – 2166
- March – 2419
- April – 2349
- May – 1752
- June – 819
- July – 2786
- August – 3318
One less book than July but more pages. Weird. Total is 17,619 pages for the year.
I failed at blogging for the most part but life has been throwing some curveballs. (See late post-date for this post.) I’m hoping to get back on-track.
I can already report a bit of a reading slump for September and the blogging isn’t going any better. I’ll see if I can turn that around.
Let me know if there’s something amazing you can recommend – especially if it’s on my TBR shelf!