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September 2017 Book Report (And a Look to October)

Whoops, I did not mean to let the blog go silent through the month of September… and yet here we are, the beginning of October without much to show for the last month. My job search is in full swing, including a couple of interviews, but so far nothing has been quite the right fit. On the plus side, I’m feeling ready to get back into a routine and out in the world, so fingers crossed something works out soon.

On the plus side, I got a lot of reading done this month. I finished nine books, including a few chunksters, which felt really satisfying. Here’s what I read in September:

  1. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (fantasy)
  2. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (young adult fiction)
  3. Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi (nonfiction)
  4. Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A. by Danielle Allen (memoir)
  5. A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn, narrated by Angele Masters (fiction, audio book)
  6. What Happened by Hillary Clinton (memoir)
  7. The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin (fantasy)
  8. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (fiction)
  9. The Vegetarian by Han Kang (fiction)

There are two things I am particularly excited about from this month of reading: every book was by a woman, and six of them were by women of color. A couple months ago I noticed that my reading had been very white this year. I attribute that to not paying attention and, for the early part of the year, reading mostly as a tool of comfort and escape. That’s not to say that books by authors of color can’t be means of escape… just that my brain wasn’t in a space where I was making an effort to read diversely, and that really showed. Having a month like this one — with more books by authors of color in the queue for the next few months — is satisfying.

I am really hard-pressed to pick favorites this month because they were all so good. The first two books of N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Trilogy — The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate — were complicated and weird, but I think I really liked them. I adored Celeste Ng’s new book, Little Fires Everywhere, but was very confused by Han Kang’s The Vegetarian. I am glad to be talking about it with my book club soon.

What Happened, Hillary Clinton’s memoir, was a tough but good read. The same descriptors probably work for Cuz by Danielle Allen, which I am so glad to have read even if I’ve been struggling to find the words to describe it. Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi reminded me about the importance of getting off my devices, but I haven’t gotten myself to implementing her suggestions just yet.

A Look to October

One of my favorite days of the year come in October — the fall edition of Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon! I already have October 21 blocked off in my calendar, and I’ve been thinking about what books I want to read. As much fun as it is to go to the library to pick out Readathon stacks, this year I think I’d like to focus on my personal TBR shelf (except maybe comics — I’ve got my heart set on Lumberjanes, if my holds come in on time).

Typically, I like to focus on books that are around 250-300 pages with a reasonably-sized font. I find those books are long enough that I can sink into them early in the day, but the pages turn quickly enough that I get the satisfaction of finishing several books in a single day. I don’t have a list yet, but I promise to post it closer to October 21.

Happy September, everyone! What books are you excited to read in October? 

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • bermudaonion (Kathy) October 1, 2017, 8:28 am

    Yay for a good reading month! Good luck with the job search.

  • Jenny @ Reading the End October 1, 2017, 10:57 am

    I am so so SO excited for the readathon in October. I’ve done two readathons already this year and I love them so much and I don’t understand why I never did any before this year when they are so objectively amazing and great.

    Also, dude, I HEAR you on reading authors of color. Even now, when I have been intentionally reading more diversely for like three, four years?, if I stop paying attention, it’s so easy to slip back into reading mainly white authors. Book reviews from traditional sources and book displays at bookstores are just overwhelmingly white still, and it’s really frustrating and disappointing.

    • Kim October 2, 2017, 5:04 pm

      That’s the biggest problem — if you rely mostly on buzz and press and displays to pick your books, you’re inevitably going to get a lot of white authors. Seeing the stats from early in the year reminded me that it takes consistent effort… blech!

  • Bryan October 1, 2017, 4:17 pm

    Fingers crossed for you on the job front here too. I already have my Readathon stack, all from the library. I had one stack, then I had to switch out half when I realized I had all white male authors. For me, the diversity needed was in gender,and now I am looking forward to my choices.

    • Kim October 2, 2017, 5:05 pm

      I’m kind of in awe that you can pick your pile so early. I have some I’m considering, but I really like to do it in the week before so it can all be mood driven for that moment. Plus then I get to think about it all month, which I like too.

  • Tasha B (heidenkind) October 1, 2017, 11:07 pm

    The Vegetarian is a very wtfjusthappened type of book, but it makes you think for sure

    • Kim October 2, 2017, 5:06 pm

      It’s super WTF! I didn’t really get it at all, so I’m glad I got to talk about it with my book club to get some other perspectives.

  • Heather October 2, 2017, 5:12 pm

    That’s an impressive list. I’ve heard great things about The Fifth Season. Looking forward to reading it soon. I’d love to hear your thoughts on The Vegetarian. I heard that it wasn’t translated very well into English and that that has caused some of the confusion.

    • Kim October 9, 2017, 10:31 am

      We talked a bit about the translation at book club, although that didn’t really seem to be the biggest issue for us — mostly, I think, because it was hard to know what the translation issues actually are. I think we had a lot of questions about the cultural differences we might have from the author/main character, and some of the very visceral parts of the story.

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