September felt very, very long. I started a tough new job, spent the month alone while my husband visited his family in California, and worried about my niece who may have been infected with COVID (she wasn’t, thankfully). We lost RBG, and the country seems to be in free-fall.
I’ve got my mail-in ballot sitting on the dining room table, which I will soon complete and drop off at my registrar’s office.
Last weekend was the National Book Festival, held online of course — and that was okay with me as I hate crowds and long lines, and you have to watch most of the authors on a video screen anyway. I watched interviews with Emily St. John Mandel, Madeline Albright, and Colson Whitehead.
Here’s what I read in September:
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (audio)
- A Burning by Megha Majumdar (audio)
- Network Effect by Martha Wells
- The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory (audio)
- My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris
- Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done by Laura Vanderkam
- A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King (audio)
- Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
- How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee (audio)
- If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane
- Faithful Place by Tana French (audio)
- The End of the Day by Bill Clegg
- The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite
- Sherwood by Meagan Spooner (audio)
My favorite read: Probably the best book I read this month was How We Disappeared, which was about the “comfort women” in Singapore during World War II. It was nominated for this year’s Women’s Prize, which was well-deserved. I love historical fiction that teaches you a lot about what happened but also makes you care about the characters, and this book did that.
I read mostly for comfort this month, and I’m pretty sure I’ll continue to do so for the next month or two. So if you’re looking for a page-turner to distract you, I can certainly recommend Network Effect (science fiction), If I Never Met You (romance), and Faithful Place (mystery). I also loved my second read by Meagan Spooner, Sherwood, a retelling of the Robin Hood story with Marian as its hero.
Most disappointing read (or DNFs): I had mixed feelings about Fleishman is in Trouble, and I DNF’d How Much of These Hills is Gold by C. Pam Zhang. I didn’t care for Bill Clegg’s new release, though I loved his first novel.
What I wrote about this month: I struggled to get anything posted this month, but I did write about some of my favorite new (to me) authors in 2020.
Books for challenges: none. I’m in full slacker mode.
What I’m reading now: I just started City of Brass by S. A. Chakroborty for my book club this month. I also have an ARC from Alix E. Harrow called The Once and Future Witches.
Things that made me happy this month: With Mr. CG on the opposite coast this month, I spent time on a few new shows. One show I really enjoyed was Atypical, about a family with a son with autism. I also discovered a show called Love on the Spectrum which was informative and moving, about young people with autism and their challenges with romantic relationships.
Another show that really made me happy was Jamie Oliver’s Keep Cooking and Carry On, a show filmed early in the COVID crisis. I’d never watched Oliver before, but if you’re looking for comfort + cooking, he’s perfect. Everything he makes looks easy, and I just love watching him get so excited. I made bread for the first time based on his super-easy recipe (pretty good though I made much more of a mess than he did – flour EVERYWHERE).
And we just got new British Baking Show. Enough said.
So that’s September. As I was turning the calendar I realized that next month is NOVEMBER. I don’t know why I found that horrifying since I’ve been counting down the days to the election for months now. But right now, I’m a mix of terrified for the state of my country and just plain dreading winter.
Hope you’re all staying safe and healthy, and reading something that makes you happy.