September is nearly over and I cannot believe it. This whole year has been zipping by and this past month seemed to go by especially fast. That being said, I did not read as much as I hoped to in September, although I did listen to a fair number of audiobooks. In total I got through six books (2 physical and 4 audio), which is kind of disappointing but is what it is. Additionally, as of right now I am part way through the physical copies of two other books, The Iliad by Homer, translated by Caroline Alexander and Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende – so look for mini reviews of these two in my October reading wrap up!
So! Here we go – these are the books I read last month:
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (4 Stars)
When Rachel Chu’s boyfriend Nick invites her to his hometown of Singapore for a friend’s wedding she’s expecting to do some casual sight-seeing and meet his family. What she doesn’t know is that Nick is heir to one of the wealthiest families on the island and she’s about to entire the world of the CRAZY rich.
I started reading Crazy Rich Asians this past spring but for some reason put it down to read other things. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the story, but it didn’t capture me enough to hold my undivided attention. Then the movie came out last month and I knew I had to get my butt in gear and finish it. In the end I loved the movie and really enjoyed the book; it’s a unique story with awesome representation and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris (4 Stars)
This book of short stories is quintessential David Sedaris. Each story is a unique blend of humor and social commentary told through a diverse cast of anthropomorphic animal characters. Sedaris has a way of demonstrating the absurdity of human nature in a manner that will make you snort embarrassingly with laughter and wonder to yourself about how many times your own humanity has made you look like an ass in public.
I love David Sedaris. His books never fail to crack me up, and not in an attractive way either. I’ve been steadily working my way through his collected works and really enjoyed this book both for the stories and the illustrations by Ian Falconer.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (5 Stars)
Written as a letter to his adolescent son, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is a starkly important read for our modern day. Coates considers the autonomy, or lack-thereof, of the black body (specifically the male black body) within the context of the historical and modern United States. Drawing from his personal experiences with and academic study of racism in America, Coates’ book is a powerful call to action for social justice.
I listened to this audiobook in one sitting because a) it was incredibly gripping, and b) it wasn’t too long. Oh man, this was a good one. In a world where police violence against people of color occurs on a daily basis, this is a much needed first-hand perspective we all should read.
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (4 Stars)
Journalist Lo Blacklock gets the opportunity of a lifetime when she’s offered the chance to report on the maiden voyage of the Aurora, a brand new luxury cruise-liner, in the North Sea. But the trip takes an unpleasant turn when Lo believes she’s witnessed the murder and throwing overboard of the occupant in the cabin next to hers.
I enjoyed listening to this book (although it’s gotten mixed reviews by others). The story was reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and although it wasn’t the most original idea, I think Ware did an excellent job of conveying the oppressive and terrifying feeling of being trapped on a boat (one of my BIGGEST fears).
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (3 Stars)
Loosely based on real historical events, Alias Grace is the story of Grace Marks, a woman convicted of and imprisoned for a double murder when she was a teenager. In Atwood’s version of events, Marks has no recollection of the murders and her story has sparked a wave of sympathy from those who believe her to be innocent. When Dr. Simon Jordan, a pioneer in the field of metal health, comes to town he attempts to unlock the mysteries of Marks’ memories with his examination techniques – but will he be successful?
I love Margaret Atwood, but I just wasn’t that impressed with this book. It was overhyped to me so I think I was expecting too much from it. For a full overview of my thoughts, check out my review: Book Review : Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena (3 Stars)
In this domestic suspense novel, Anne and Marco Conti are the new parents of a beloved little girl, Cora. But one night, while the couple are at a dinner party next door Cora is snatched from her crib and the charade of their perfect family begins to unravel. Both Anne and Marco are hiding secrets from each other and as the mystery of Cora’s kidnapping deepens it becomes apparent that they will never be able to recover.
This book was okay. I listened to it on the plane while I was flying across the country to and from my 5 year college reunion, which means I was in and out of sleep while listening to it. The mystery appeared to have been solved (unsatisfactorily) about halfway through the novel, but then Lapena threw in a twist that propelled the story a bit further but sadly did not make it any more intriguing.