What I Read in September 2020

Happy October! Here’s a run down of what I read last month. I finished thirteen books.

Members Only by Sameer Pandya

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This novel is a timely read, a story about race and class that’s different from the most common ones we hear about in the news. Raj is having a rough week. Two separate events, each involving accusations of racism toward Raj, snowball on their own, causing him to face some ugly truths about his life he’d been happily ignoring for years. This novel demonstrates that things aren’t always as straightforward as they seem. I highly recommend it for readers of literary fiction and current affairs. 

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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This is a beautifully written story full of love and loss, be prepared for your heart to be aching when you finish! Emma’s husband and high school sweetheart, goes missing after a helicopter crash on their first wedding anniversary. She moves back to her hometown to start over with the support of her family. When her husband is found alive years after being declared dead, Emma is faced with some devastating choices. I highly recommend this one for readers of literary fiction and romance.

Writers & Lovers by Lily King

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This story maintains a melancholy vibe that might not suit every reader these days. Our narrator Casey is thirty-one and broke, recently single and now reeling from her mother’s sudden death. She’s living in a crappy rental room and working as a waitress while she writes her novel. We follow Casey as she tries to get back on her feet. When she falls for two guys at the same time, she is faced with choices between her art and the other parts of her life. I’d recommend this one for readers of literary fiction.

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas

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Don’t be deterred by the fact that this novel is 800 pages. I let that put me off and I wish I hadn’t waited! Bryce was a party girl who was dealt a horrifying loss and hasn’t recovered. Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, who is now a slave. The unlikely pair are forced to work together to figure out who in Crescent City has called forth a murderous demon. The world building and character development here are stunning. The storyline is strong throughout and goes through some really dark places. I highly recommend this for readers of paranormal/fantasy, and any reader looking for a rich world to get lost in!

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

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This book has been on my shelf for years and I’m kicking myself for not getting to it sooner. It’s a hilarious look at family dynamics from the inside. The Foxman siblings are gathered at their family home to sit shiva and mourn their father. Over the course of seven days they fight, make up, fight some more, and deal with secrets that come to light. The writing is top notch throughout. I highly recommend this for readers of literary fiction and those who enjoy dark humor.

Jell-O Girls: A Family History by Allie Rowbottom

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This was my book club‘s read for September. it’s part family memoir, part history of Jell-O, and part commentary on sexism and the power of the patriarchy. I most enjoyed learning about Jello’s role in American culture throughout the decades. Through it all, the author explores the theory that there is a “curse” on the women in her mother’s family history. While interesting at times, the narrative is choppy. I’d recommend this one for readers of memoir and historical non-fiction particularly in regard to feminism.

The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adaci

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This is a fantastic read for pandemic life. It reminded me of Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F–k because both concepts come down to: evaluating your life, figuring out what’s most important to you and devoting your energy to those things. Kendra’s writing is positive, encouraging, and straight forward. There are 13 lessons, each is given a chapter and explained in clear terms with specific examples. Kendra writes with honest and humor that was comforting and inspiring to me. This is a practical, useful personal development guide that I will definitely refer to again in the future. I highly recommend it for anyone.

Frankly in Love by David Yoon

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What a gem! It’s such a unique spin on a coming of age story. Frank is a high school senior who never fits in anywhere. He has always been stuck between his Korean immigrant parents’ traditional expectations (such as “date Korean only”) and his life as a teen in Southern California. When he falls for a white girl, Frank knows he has to keep it from his parents. This is a complex story with many layers. This is a funny, heart wrenching read. I highly recommend it for readers of young adult fiction and coming of age stories.

*Note* I listened to the audio book narrated by Raymond J. Lee. He gives Frank personality and emotion that I would have missed if I’d read the physical book. I encourage you to experience the book this way!

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This is my book club‘s October pick. It’s an atmospheric creepy story set in 1950’s Mexico. After receiving a frantic letter from her cousin, Noemí’s father sends her to go check on things. High Place is the mysterious, isolated house in the country where her cousin is now quite ill. This is a slow paced story with a super bizarre plot. The writing is skilled and atmospheric, so I wanted to keep going to find out what happened. This wasn’t a big hit for me, but I’d recommend it for fans of this author, or those who enjoy creepy paranormal goings on.