The Best Books I read in September 2021
Despite having a couple slow weeks, I managed to finish 15 books in September. Only two of those were 5-star reads and three were 4-star, the other ten were 3-stars or less which makes for a pretty meh reading month.
However those five titles are worth raving about so here they are:
Know My Name by Chanel Miller
This is a powerful memoir written by a sexual assault victim. During the very public trial, she was known as Emily Doe and in this book, Chanel forces the reader to know not only her name but her identity beyond that of a victim. I avoided this book for a long time because I thought it would be too heavy and emotional. Now I’m regretting not reading it sooner because it’s incredibly well written and ultimately has a positive tone. Chanel takes us into what the daily life is like for a victim of sexual assault, from the moment she wakes up after the assault all the way through the trial and sentencing of her abuser. I thought I knew what victims went through but I truly had no idea. This book should serve as a wake up call to the justice system and victims advocates. It also begs us as a society to place blame where it deserves, on the rapists and their behavior, and no where else. I highly recommend this book for all humans!
Xeni by Rebekah Weatherspoon
This book embodies every single thing I love about the romance genre! It’s sweet, steamy, funny, and hits on some heavy topics. On top of all that, this book is gloriously positive and diverse all around. Even though the characters deal with some serious stuff, it never gets bleak. I also appreciate the variety of characters in regard to race, ethnicity, and sexuality. Xeni is a bisexual Black woman and Mason is a bisexual plus-size white man. It was such a fantastic change of pace from the majority of the romances I read. I highly recommend this one and can’t wait to read more by Rebekah Weatherspoon.
Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune
This is a beautifully written story about what happens after death. Wallace was a nasty person when he was alive, he knew it and didn’t care. Soon after his death, he’s met by a Reaper who takes him to a way station between life and what’s next. It is here that Wallace gets some perspective on what kind of person he was and realizes that’s not how he wants to be. This is a very sensory book, between the visuals and descriptions of sounds and smells and tastes, I was right there in it the whole time. The writing is strong and there’s some great humor. I recommend this one for readers of literary fiction.
The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant by Drew Hayes
This is a collection of short stories following the life of Fred, who has chosen to live his boring life as an accountant after being turned into a vampire. We follow Fred on several adventures as he adjusts to being undead and meets other non-humans. This is such a clever book! I loved the angle of a boring vampire, it’s so different from every other paranormal book I’ve read. Kirby Heyborne’s narration of the audiobook is straight up performance art. I don’t know if I’d have liked the book quite as much if I’d read it on my own. Add to that the sharp writing and dry humor and this was one hell of a listening experience. I highly recommend it!
This Jade World by Ira Sukrungruang
Advanced copy from MindBuck Media, expected publication October 1, 2021. This is a powerful memoir about marriage, divorce, and finding yourself again afterward. The narrative moves back and forth from the past to his present on his annual trip to Thailand to visit his family. The switches in time are a little jarring but I got used to them. I appreciate how he was comparing and contrasting the way he felt about his marriage/ex-wife in the past and how that evolved with time. This is also a story about the sacrifices we make in relationships of all kinds. It’s also about learning to believe you are worthy of love and speaking up for what you want. Although I’m a woman, and my previous marriage/divorce was very different from Ira’s, there was a lot about this book that resonated with me. He perfectly captures the roller coaster of an experience. I highly recommend this one for readers of memoir.
What was your favorite read in September?