Book Chat

September 2016 Reading Log

What a month! Nine months (and almost as much of my pregnancy) have passed since 2016 started, and September felt like it went by the quickest. A lot of this month was spent alternating between intense nesting and intense denial. So many, many lists were made. So many, many moments were spent ignoring said lists in favor of graphic novels or cross-stitching or looking up newborn Halloween costumes on Etsy (I mean, just look at this!). Birth and parenthood are looming exams and I’m not sure I’ve studied enough! Yet here we are, September has come and gone, and finals will be here before I know it. Bring on October!

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log

September 2016 Thoughts

Finished:

Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, edited by Stephanie Perkins

The Amateur Librarian // July 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 7/10/2016
Finish date: 9/25/2016
Grade: B
Genre/Format: Young Adult / Hardback

Finally finished this YA anthology of summer tales, on the last weekend of 90-degree weather. I didn’t find this collection as compelling as the winter version (Read my thoughts on My True Love Gave to Me from December 2014 here) but there were still a few that stood out. My very favorites were the first and last stories – “Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail” by Leigh Bardugo and “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” by Lev Grossman – and I also really liked “Inertia” by Veronica Roth, “Good Luck and Farewell” by Brandy Colbert, and “Brand New Attraction” by Cassandra Clare. But that leaves about 3-4 that were just fine and 3-4 that ranged from so-so to disappointing. I would definitely suggest reading this at the beginning of the season (or the height of winter)… it’s just hard to feel nostalgic for summer when it’s been so hot for so long and I’m dying for Fall!

Truly, Madly, Guilty, by Liane Moriarty

The Amateur Librarian // August 2016 Reading Log
Start date: 8/10/2016
Finish date: 9/5/2016
Grade: B+
Genre/Format: Fiction / Audiobook

I like pretty much everything Liane Moriarty writes, but I wasn’t over the moon about her latest release. The premise is pretty similar to her past novels – a few suburban families share a traumatic experience (this time at a barbecue), and their relationships are forever changed. I love her cheeky characters and the way she weaves in darker topics (this time it was hoarding, dysfunctional families, infertility) but the past/present POV chapters are getting a bit old, and there was SO MUCH buildup to the big twist, with several smaller tidbits along the way, that if I hadn’t been forewarned it probably would’ve driven me crazy. The audiobook was a good idea – I loved the Australian narrator’s voices for each character and it kept me coming back until the very (tidy) end.

If you’re interested in my thoughts on Liane Moriarty’s previous novels, look here:
What Alice Forgot (July 2014)
B
ig Little Lies (March 2015)
The Last Anniversary (June 2015)
Three Wishes (October 2015)
The Husband’s Secret (November 2015)

George, by Alex Gino

The Amateur Librarian // September 2016 Reading Log
Start date: 9/2/2016
Finish date: 9/3/2016
Grade: A
Genre/Format: Children’s Literature / Audiobook 

This is the controversial middle grade novel about a transgender child, in case you haven’t heard. George wants her friends, family, and classmates to know her real self and decides that the perfect way to do so is to try out for the lead female role in the school play; the plot is simple but the journey is not. At first I thought it was too “message-y” but by the end I really loved George and her story, especially the hopeful ending note. As an adult it was all too easy to relate to the people in George’s world who wanted to brush her perspective under the rug, to say that George is too young to recognize her true self, that she should keep it quiet so that others would be more comfortable. It seems like such a daring, complex topic to tackle, but to the kid going through it, identity can be much more straightforward than adults want to make it seem. Thought provoking and well worth a read.

...

In Real Life, written by Cory Doctorow and illustrated by Jen Wang

The Amateur Librarian // September 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 9/3/2016
Finish date: 9/3/2016
Grade: A
Genre/Format: YA Graphic Novel / Library book

Another graphic novel in my recent binge. I like how middle grade/YA graphic novels seem to be all bright colors and fun characters and quick reads, but then you find yourself thinking about minor details days later and realize how much under-the-surface stuff is also included. This one is ostensibly about a high schooler who starts gaming online, but it also dealt with peaceful protesting, culture clash, family relations, self-esteem, and feminism… and all of that took about an hour to read. Good stuff!

Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy, written and illustrated by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, and Brooke A. Allen

The Amateur Librarian // September 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 9/17/2016
Finish date: 9/17/2016
Grade: B+
Genre/Format: YA Graphic Novel / Library book 

An all-girl camp is run amok by mythical monsters, but a group of friends is up to the task of solving the mystery… or at least, hopefully they will in the next volume because this one ends on a big cliffhanger. The camp manual that pairs badge descriptions with each new chapter was a cute structure, and the art was really fun. The characters seemed a bit thin and I wasn’t super impressed with the story overall, but I checked out the first two in the series from the library, and I’m so glad I kept reading.

 

Lumberjanes Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max, written and illustrated by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, and Brooke A. Allen

The Amateur Librarian // September 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 9/18/2016
Finish date: 9/18/2016
Grade: A
Genre/Format: YA Graphic Novel / Library book 

The second volume in the Lumberjanes series was much better! It delved deeper into relationships among the campers and staff, and wrapped up a story arc in a much more satisfying way than the first installment. I don’t think I’m ready to commit to a never-ending series, but I put #3 on my hold list at the library. I would say this series is for a younger audience, probably leaning more toward middle grade than YA.

Smile, by Raina Telgemeir

The Amateur Librarian // September 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 9/18/2016
Finish date: 9/18/2016
Grade: A
Genre/Format: Children’s Lit Graphic Novel / Library book 

Another graphic novel, this one a memoir detailing the author’s orthodontic saga and her parallel coming of age. Nothing too dramatic happened, which was kind of comforting; it reminded me of Fun Home (my review from September 2015 here) with its realistic depiction of friendship and family life, although the central topics were much tamer. This would be a great introduction to graphic novels for a middle schooler (although now that I think of it, something like Lumberjanes or Roller Girl (see my thoughts from November 2015 here) would probably be more exciting.) Thanks to my recent library binge, my graphic novel repertoire is slowly growing and I appreciate this genre more and more, especially as a palette cleanser between novels.

Still Reading:

You Learn by Living, by Eleanor Roosevelt

The Amateur Librarian // August 2016 Reading Log
Start date: 8/13/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Memoir / eBook

Very soothing memoir by Eleanor Roosevelt, written when she was in her late 70s. Her commonsense philosophy isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s excellent bedtime reading when I want to settle my mind before sleep.

Sweetbitter, by Stephanie Danler

The Amateur Librarian // September 2016 Reading Log
Start date: 9/6/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Fiction / Audiobook
 

I debated sticking with this one at all, but about three-quarters of the way through it finally got interesting. The first half caused extreme eye-rolling, and I think part of the problem might be that I’m listening to this as an audiobook. The narrator is great at portraying a young twenty-something who takes herself way too seriously, but the structure of quick scene breaks and a million interchangeable characters is hard to follow (and care about, honestly). I’m invested enough to finish it up at this point, so we’ll see how it ends.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue, by Melanie Benjamin

The Amateur Librarian // September 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 9/19/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Fiction / Library book 

I haven’t had much time to dive into this one yet, but the story of Truman Capote’s infamous tell-all that revealed the secrets of all his thinly-guised socialite friends and caused his social ruin is too much fun.

 

I’m officially taking these titles off the list… maybe I’ll pick them up again eventually, but for now they’re DNF!

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4), by Marissa Meyer

The Amateur Librarian // March 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 3/29/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Young Adult / Library book

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, by Erik Larson

The Amateur Librarian // May 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 5/14/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Nonfiction / Paperback

Longbourn, by Jo Baker

The Amateur Librarian // Reading LogStart date: 6/9/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Historical Fiction / Audiobook

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay

The Amateur Librarian // June 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 6/25/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Children’s Lit / Hardback

Books read in September: 7
Books read so far in 2016: 50
Still reading: 3

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of September, the ninth (!) month of 2016.  I’m always looking for more book recommendations – are you reading any good books?

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2 thoughts on “September 2016 Reading Log

  1. Definitely adding some of these to my TBR pile, thanks! And completely agree with you on the latest Liane Moriarty – Amanda.

    Like

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