Book Chat

Reading Log: September 2015

Another month come and gone. Lots of good books spanning some of my favorite sweet spots – home design, quirky illustrated scifi novellas, satisfying chick lit, and some magic sprinkled in there too. I’m sure my reading will drop off in a couple months when the packing and moving commences, so I’m trying to cram it all in now. I say it every month but it’s still true… I can’t believe it’s {insert next month} already!

Below is my Reading Log for September 2015, with my thoughts about each book to help me remember what I read.  I’ve included all the books that I’ve read or finished during the month (even if I started some of them outside of the month).  And of course I keep track of my rating on the grade system, the binding, genre, etc… just for fun!

September 2015

HB = Hardback, PB = Paperback, AB = Audio book, K = Kindle.
F = Fiction, HF = Historical Fiction, NF = NonFiction, YA = Young Adult,
CL = Children’s Lit, B/M = Bio/Memoir, SFF = Sci-Fi/Fantasy, C = Craft

Title Start Finish Grade/

Format

Genre
Invincible Louisa,
by Cornelia Meigs
8/4/15 Still Reading TBD
PB
CL
The Night Circus,
by Erin Morgenstern
8/10/15 9/4/15 A+
LB
SFF
Sorcery and Cecelia,
by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevemer
8/23/15 9/1/15 A
LB
SFF
Ready Player One,
by Ernest Cline
9/1/15 Still Reading TBD
LB
SFF
The Girl on the Train,
by Paula Hawkins
9/9/15 9/11/15 A
K
F
The Coelura,
by Anne McCaffrey
9/14/15 9/14/15 B
HB
SFF
Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant,
by Molly Wizenberg
9/16/15 9/26/15 A
LB
M
City by the Bay: A Magical Journey Around San Francisco,
written by Tricia Brown and illustrated by Elisa Kleven
9/19/15 9/19/15 B
HB
CL
Three Wishes,
by Liane Moriarty
9/21/15 Still Reading TBD
LB
F
The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful,
by Myquillyn Smith
9/22/15 9/23/15 B+
LB
C

 

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic,
by Allison Blechdel
9/27/15 9/28/15 A+
LB
M
Lovable Livable Home: How to Add Beauty, Get Organized, and Make Your House Work for You,
by John and Sherry Petersik
9/29/15 Still Reading TBD
HB
C

Thoughts:

Invincible Louisa, by Cornelia Meigs – TBD

 The Amateur Librarian // August 2015 Reading Log

Still reading. Haven’t picked this up lately, but I’m not giving up yet. I love Louisa May Alcott but the Transcendentalism movement (AKA her father) is not my favorite.

 

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern – A+

 The Amateur Librarian // August 2015 Reading Log

Two magicians are embroiled in a lifelong competition, but they don’t know the rules or even the other players involved. The game spans decades, contained within the constraints of the magical exhibits of an extraordinary traveling circus. I don’t usually go for carnival books, so I avoided this one for a long time, but it’s much more about the magic. And when Jim Dale narrates the audiobook, it’s suddenly ten times more magical. Something as simple as “the clock-topped hotel” stuck with me for days after hearing it. The plot wandered and meandered quite a bit, which might’ve annoyed me in a print book, but it was a perfect commuting listen.

 

Sorcery and Cecelia, by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevemer – A

The Amateur Librarian // August 2015 Reading Log

I forget how I heard about this one but I’m glad I did! Witty letters + Regency England + magical hijinks = my cup of tea! It was light and frothy, the alternate history was a fun twist, and a quick read. It was such a sweet standalone that I don’t feel the need to read the others in the trilogy, but I might at some point. The authors have a note at the end about how the book came about as a Letter Game back and forth between them, which is always fun background info to know.

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // September 2015 Reading Log

Still reading. I’ve heard lots of buzz and now Ready Player One is being adapted into a movie, but I honestly had a hard time getting into it. My library hold ran out but it was interesting enough to invest in the ebook, so I’ll keep reading when I have spare time.

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins – A

The Amateur Librarian // September 2015 Reading Log

I needed something to read on the plane ride to Toronto, and this was the perfect – in fact, it was so addictive that I ended up finishing it in a couple days (in the midst of Toronto traffic – thanks to my Dad for driving!). An alcoholic woman witnesses a crime through the windows of her commuter train, and becomes more and more involved as she finds out more. By now, this one has been on the buzz-worthy lists for long enough that I’ve heard plenty of reactions, especially comparing it to Gone Girl and complaints about the unlikeable characters. On both of those counts, I think the comparison comes with the unlikable characters and unreliable narrator, but I guess I read thrillers like this infrequently enough that it’s still a unique angle for me. It was certainly engrossing, like a car wreck you can’t look away from.

The Coelura, by Anne McCaffrey – B

The Amateur Librarian // September 2015 Reading Log

A strange little book that could only be published in the 1980s – not quite long enough to be considered a novella, not quite young adult but not quite adult fiction either, and with elaborate ink drawings on every other page. The sci-fi world building was brisk and fun to figure out, as our main character manages to save an endangered species, hook up with an intriguing stranger, trick her father into a double wedding, and all in the name of fashion! Or something like that. Whatever it was, it was fun to read.

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, by Molly Wizenberg – A

The Amateur Librarian // September 2015 Reading Log

I’ve never read Molly Wizenberg’s blog Orangette, but I really enjoyed her first memoir, so of course I had to find out what happened next! I’m glad she continued the story of her marriage and journey to opening a restaurant together with her husband – especially since the first book left me hanging when it ended just after their wedding. The behind-the-scenes look at her relationship and how the restaurant came together was a fascinating process. It seems like a risky business to write books about your life in real time rather than twenty years later with the benefit of hindsight, but I’ll keep reading as long as she keeps writing.

City by the Bay: A Magical Journey Around San Francisco, written by Tricia Brown and illustrated by Elisa Kleven – B

The Amateur Librarian // September 2015 Reading Log

I saw this picture book a long time ago in a San Francsico bookstore, so I put it on my PaperbackSwap wish list, and it finally became available. The pictures are gorgeous, if a bit chaotic to a grown up’s eyes; as a kid, I know I would’ve loved searching out each and every little detail. I wish the words were a bit more magical, but if you’re interested in trivia about the city, this is a good place to start. If I had read this book while we lived in San Fran, I probably would’ve made a game of visiting every place mentioned, but I think we checked off most of them. It feels like a million years ago that we lived there, even though we moved away less than two years ago!

Three Wishes, by Liane Moriarty – TBD

 The Amateur Librarian // September 2015 Reading Log

I don’t know why it took me so long to check a Liane Moriarty audiobook out from the library – perfect for the daily commute! Funny and engrossing just like all her others; I’m already dreading the day I come to the end of her backlist.

The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful, by Myquillyn Smith – B+

The Amateur Librarian // September 2015 Reading Log

I love a beautiful home design book, especially if it’s renter-friendly and practical instead of featuring spaces only suitable for a magazine. And this one was definitely reasonable, with lots of inspiring photos of a realistic home and some great thoughts about loving the home you have now even if it’s not perfect. But ultimately, I struggled with the purpose of this book. It doesn’t offer any tutorials, so it’s not a DIY book, and the design ideas can mostly be summed up in two sentiments: let go of perfection and shop your house to mix and match items you already own. I liked the memoir-style, but after ten chapters of the author talking about how she needs to be less materialistic and less of a perfectionist, I couldn’t tell who she was talking to anymore (other than herself). I also felt a bit uncomfortable toward the end when there was an abrupt shift from first-world decorating problems to her trip to Africa, including descriptions of the child she sponsored and the mud hut he lived in with his family, with a clumsy metaphor about true happiness, which only highlighted the superficiality of the author whining for 200 pages about living in 14 different beautiful homes and never being satisfied with any of them. I know the author was well intentioned, but that’s a pretty loaded topic for a couple hundred words in a design book. I really don’t mean to trash this book, and I enjoyed most of it, but I’m glad I checked it out from the library.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, by Allison Blechdel – A+

The Amateur Librarian // September 2015 Reading Log 

When I heard college freshmen were refusing to read this one, I had to check it out – plus, I’ve been meaning to read something by the creator of the Blechdel test. The author explored her relationship with her father, especially how his repressed homosexuality pervaded her childhood and in many ways overshadowed her own identity as a lesbian, especially when he died not long after she came out. Both the story and the honest look at her complex family relationships were fascinating, and I can only imagine how exhausting it must have been to relive all those memories and try to make sense of them. This is the second adult memoir/graphic novel I’ve read recently, and I really like the format. It’s not bogged down by too many words and the illustrations can convey so much more than a descriptive phrase. I can also see why it would be an excellent college text, with plenty of literary allusions and a modern coming of age story from a different perspective than the “old white men” on most syllabi.

Lovable Livable Home: How to Add Beauty, Get Organized, and Make Your House Work for You, by John and Sherry Petersik – TBD

 The Amateur Librarian // September 2015 Reading Log

Still reading. I still mourn the loss of Young House Love – no other home blogs come close to the easygoing, friendly banter and clean, bright design ideas they brought to the table. So of course I had to pre-order the book! The duo is also making an appearance at the Southern Festival of Books next week, so I’m excited to hear them speak!

 

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of September.  I’m always looking for more book recommendations – are you reading any good books?

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3 thoughts on “Reading Log: September 2015

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