It’s that time again!

Last month’s goal:

“September will likely slow down with some travel and the return of class. I’ll go with a timid goal of 4 books and try to hit at least two more reading challenge categories.”

Reality? (Link to my Goodreads 2016 shelf where you can find individual reviews that may or may not differ from what is posted here.)

The Woman Who Wouldn’t – Gene Wilder – 3.5* – (Sept 18):


I found the writing a little repetitive and simplistic, but the story was touching. Where it really takes on meaning is when you know more about the author’s life: It was written by Gene Wilder, whose wife’s death from cancer (Gilda Radnor) clearly inspired this work.

I was surprised to find out that famous comedian Gene Wilder had written novels. It was decent and had some humor that I could certainly picture as his. I read this shortly after his death, and a lot of the feeling I had for the book was connected to his personal story rather than the book on its own merits.

In a Dark Dark Wood – Ruth Ware – 4* – (Sept 20):

darkdarkwoodSolid mystery novel, full of complicated relationships and misdirection. The setting here – a dark, dark house in a dark, dark wood – is a real star. I like that there are enough clues to make an educated guess at the ending, though I didn’t necessarily see them. I did guess the killer based more on instinct. I look forward to reading more from Ruth Ware.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity – Katherine Boo – 3* – (Sept 28):

behindbeautifulforeversIt was interesting and eye-opening with some beautiful lines. But also, it was tough to get through it and not a very enjoyable read.

I don’t think it would surprise anyone to read that life in this Mumbai slum are difficult, but reading details wasn’t always easy to stomach. From kids dying to teens supporting their families by collecting trash to corrupt leaders, this book didn’t paint a pretty picture. Only rarely did anything work out positively for any of the characters, which made it hard for me to keep going at times – it’s not that I require happy stories but to read tragedy after tragedy made this a heavy read.

What brought this book down most for me was the number of characters. It was sometimes hard for me to distinguish the individuals and almost every time I got attached to someone, they died.

I always wonder after reading a book like this if my life is better or changed for having read it. I don’t know.

I have three reading goals this year:

  1. Read 50 books: – I finished 3 in September, for a total of 42. According to Goodreads, I’m still 6 books ahead of schedule.
  2. Complete the PopSugar 2016 Reading Challenge: There are 40 categories, and I’ll count no book for more than 2. I also decided not to count re-reads (unless the category specifies it must be a re-read). Numbers below are new/add’l categories completed.
    1. January – 4 (blue cover, murder mystery, set in Europe, takes place in summer)
    2. February – 3 (culture unfamiliar with, translated to English, library)
    3. March – 10 (autobiography, political memoir, graphic novel, over 600 pages, satirical, guaranteed to bring joy, poetry, finish in a day, NYT bestseller, under 150 pages)
    4. April – 2 (road trip, published in 2016)
    5. May – 4 (YA bestseller, recommended by someone you just met, written by celebrity, protagonist with your occupation)
    6. June –  2 (Oprah’s book club, science fiction)
    7.  July – 4 (becoming a movie this year, 100 years older than me, takes place on an island, book and its prequel)
    8. August – 4 (recommended by family member, dystopian, future romance, home state)
    9. September – 3 (written by a comedian, Nat’l Book Award, first in bookstore)
      1. (Total = 36)
  3. Read at least 3 classics from new-to-me authors: 
    1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Diversity? Behind the Beautiful Forevers isn’t my usual thing. I didn’t read much so not much diversity this month.

Star ratings: I base this on the flat stars Goodreads displays in list-view, not the quarter-star system I assign in my reviews.

  • 5 stars: 4 books (1 re-read)
  • 4 stars: 20 books
  • 3 stars: 15 books
  • 2 stars: 3 books
  • 1 star: 0 books
  • 0 stars: 2 books (both books I started and abandoned)

Pages read:

  • January – 1608
  • February – 1420
  • March – 2521
  • April – 1258
  • May – 2197
  • June – 886
  • July – 549
  • August – 2433
  • September – 807

I was short on my number of books (that’s what starting a new class and spending a week at Disney World does) but I hit 3 reading challenge categories. I’m not sure what to expect from October. I’ll set a goal of 4 books and 2 more challenge categories.