Hello hello lovelies!
It has been a month. Some months that’s the kindest think I can say. It was exhausting – courtesy of both insomnia and the Kavanaugh hearings. I was also a little jealous of all those going back to school. I know, I’m a nerd, but few things made me as happy as that first week back at school.
Likely as a form of escapism and denial, I read a lot of immersive books this month – books I could truly get lost in. This includes fiction, non-fiction, memoir, YA, and poetry.
Here’s the list of everything I read this month:
More Than This by: Patrick Ness
All the Light We Cannot See by: Anthony Doerr
White Trash by: Nancy Isenberg
Come As You Are by: Emily Nagoski
Get Your Shit Together by: Sarah Knight
Help, Thanks, Wow by: Anne Lamott
brown girl dreaming by: Jacqueline Woodson
Romeo & Juliet by: William Shakespeare
Macbeth by: William Shakespeare
Hamlet by: William Shakespeare
Julius Caesar by: William Shakespeare
Ghostland by: Colin Dickey
Plan B by: Anne Lamott
Where Am I Now? by: Mara Wilson
Gerald’s Game by: Stephen King
Robin by: David Itzkoff
The witch doesn’t burn in this one by: Amanda Lovelace
What Alice Forgot by: Liane Moriarty
Sea of Strangers by: Lang Leav
The Sun Is Also a Star by: Nicola Yoon
I didn’t listen to any audio books this month. I think I find it easier to lose myself in physical books that I am reading. Otherwise my visualize attention can wander and I end up thinking about other things while I’m listening to an audio book. I’m not giving up on them! Just for me they have a very specific time and place.
Without further ado, here are my (spoiler-free!) thoughts on everything I read this month.
I loved parts of this book. The way Patrick Ness handled Seth’s sexuality, and the way he handled flashbacks/backstory in general, was brilliant. Those were my favorite parts of the book. The vaguely sci-fi twist at the end put me off a bit, not because it wasn’t interesting or well written, but just because that’s not really my thing and I wasn’t expecting it. 3/5 stars.
Anthony Doerr brilliantly interweaves multiple perspectives across multiple years with this book that mostly follows two children-then-teenagers, one a young German boy with an affinity for radios, and the other a young blind girl living in Paris, during the Paris occupation in World War II. 5/5 stars.
This was a fascinating read, but it should be understood that it is focusing on class in America and almost solely on how that affects white people. So while its claims are not unfounded, it does not comprehensively look at the impact of race, ethnicity, or gender. Still, worth a read if you’re interested in the origins of some of most deep-seated social and economic issues. 4/5 stars.
The science of sex continues to fascinate me. Emily Nagoski explores myths about bodies, sex and pleasure and uses science to debunk them, with an emphasis on the fact that more than likely you are perfectly normal and you don’t need to be embarrassed or ashamed of your body or your sexual performance or preferences. 5/5 stars
I like to think I’ve got my shit together, but I also really appreciate a good, irreverent self-help book. Sarah Knight talks you through getting your shit together without fucking up in a way that is attainable and accessible, and also just fun to read. 4/5 stars.
In this book, Anne Lamott details what she calls the three essential prayers: expressions of need, gratitude, and awe. It’s a beautifully simplistic look at spirituality and a way to ease into engaging in prayer if it’s not really your thing. 5/5 stars.
This book is a masterpiece, for people of all ages. Jacqueline Woodson shares her experience growing up as a black girl and her interactions with friends and family, and she does it all through beautiful, free-form poetry. This should be on all school reading lists. 5/5 stars.
I went on a bit of a revisiting Shakespeare rampage. I love Shakespeare, I love his use of language and characterization, so that holds true here. But boy do I wish that all the drama and proclamations of love between Romeo and Juliet happened after more than 24 hours of knowing each other and one conversation. If nothing else, this play is amusing as all get out coming from a modern-day perspective. 3/5 stars.
I was in a production of Macbeth (I was one of the witches) but it was a one-act, condensed version so it was nice to read the full version. Honestly it just makes me wish that I had the opportunity to dramatically die on stage during my time in the drama department. 4/5 stars.
Yeah, I think I love Shakespeare’s tragedies most of all. They strike this great balance between being a bit over the top and ridiculous (I mean c’mon, one slight and everyone dies) but also revealing some truths about human nature. 4/5 stars.
While I haven’t been in a production of Julius Caesar (though I’d love to), I did have an English class where we all picked parts and read the play out loud. I was Cassius, and I’d love to reprise that role on stage – playing the villain is just too damn fun. 4/5 stars.
This book looks at haunted spaces – homes, hotels, bars, etc that, in their local communities, are famous for the ghost stories attached to them. Colin Dickey then takes it a step further by examining what our attachment to ghosts and haunted spaces says about American identity. It’s a fascinating look at American society with a hint of paranormal intrigue. 4/5 stars.
Another month, another Anne Lamott book. I’ll be sad when I finish all her books and they are no longer a fixture in my months. Like so many of her other books (and yet not at all in a way that is repetitive or unoriginal) Anne Lamott writes about episodes in her life where her faith was tested or where she found grace. They’re witty, relatable, raw, and worth a read. 5/5 stars.
Mara Wilson writes cleverly about her time as a child star, and growing up after her time spent in the limelight. Her writing is witty and self-aware, and stands apart from the typical “Hollywood” memoir. 4/5 stars.
The beginning of this books didn’t feel like Stephen King. It was good, interesting, the plot moved along, but it was fundamentally a survival story. And then three-quarters of the way through Stephen King basically yells SIKE and hits you with his trademark brand of psychological horror. 4/5 stars.
This is a hard book to read for two reasons. One, because I still miss Robin Williams. And two, because he was an imperfect man and it’s never fun to have your heroes brought back down to earth right in front of you. However, it is the most in-depth look at Robin’s life that I have ever seen, and if you were a fan of his work you’ll likely enjoy this book. 4/5 stars.
I love Amanda Lovelace’s poetry. It’s unapologetically vulnerable and fierce. It’s simultaneously soothing and a battle cry. 5/5 stars.
I really like Liane Moriarty’s books. She takes the every day, mundane complications that arise in friendships, marriages, and families and elevates them to suspenseful, high drama. She is also a master at weaving together multiple perspectives. 5/5 stars.
Lang Leav’s mix of prose and poetry, some with a defined rhyme scheme and others more free form, makes for a cohesive collection that tells a story and is recognizable to most readers as something they too have gone through. 4/5 stars.
I love YA books that don’t shy away from important, timely issues. In this book, Nicola Yoon tackles the pressure of growing up in an immigrant family (in this case Korean,) the desire to follow your dreams even when it goes against your family’s wishes, and the politics and struggles of deportation, all wrapped into a beautiful love story. 5/5 stars.
Check in next month to see what I read in October!