Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Review copies of some of the books mentioned below were provided for free by publishers in the hopes that I would mention them on my blog.
Hey readers! Fall is upon us and the increasingly cold weather makes me want to forget the world and curl up with a hot cup of tea and a good BBC drama. Nevertheless, I have accomplished quite a bit of reading this month. Here’s what I’ve been up to…
Here are the books I received in September:
- Children of the New World by Alexander Weinstein (Review Copy)
- A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Book of the Month)
- The Guineveres by Sarah Domet (Unsolicited Review Copies)
- African Folktales by Roger D. Abrahams (Review Copy)
- Emily Dickinson: Selected Poems by Emily Dickinson (Review Copy)
My local library’s fall book sale was last week and I managed to limit my purchases to the following:
- Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
- Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
- Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
- Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
- The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
- Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
- Walking the Bible by Bruce Feiler
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
- Faith by Jennifer Haigh
- State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Not bad for twenty bucks! I really wanted to find some Barbara Kingsolver and Marilynne Robinson, but I am very happy with this haul.
August in Review
Books + Audiobooks
Here’s what I read this month…
- Nutshell by Ian McEwan: The story of a murder told from the perspective of a fetus. A horribly pretentious Hamlet rip-off.
- The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam: This story follows one young man over the course of a single day as he marries a woman he hardly knows while living on the front lines of the Sri Lankan civil war. Exceptionally well written, but I didn’t love it.
- Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue (audiobook): The story of a Cameroonian immigrant family trying to carve out a new life for themselves in New York City during the 2008 economic collapse. Outstanding narration by Prentice Onayemi–the best audiobook I’ve listened to so far this year.
- Mischling by Affinity Konar: The story of a pair of twins in Mengele’s Zoo. A compelling book with unique style, but I didn’t love it as much as I hoped I would.
- Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson: The lyrical coming-of-age story of an African American girl growing up in Brooklyn. I liked this book, but despite Woodson’s exceptional skill as a writer, it failed to have the impact I was hoping for.
- The Couple Next Door by Sheri Lapena (audiobook): The story of a couple whose baby is kidnapped while they are next door at a party. A taught mystery with enough twists and turns to keep your head spinning. Excellent narration by Kirsten Potter.
- Children of the New World by Alexander Weinstein: A collection of futuristic short stories exploring the impact of technology on human relationships. An uncomfortable, thought-provoking read.
- The Brain’s Way of Healing by Norman Doidge, M.D.: A look at how neuroplasticity can be harnessed to cure the seemingly incurable. A breathtaking dive into the power of the human mind and the best book I read this month.
- A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (audiobook): A memoir of the author’s walk along the Appalachian Trail. A fun educational travelogue sprinkled liberally with humorous moments and interesting facts.
- Making Sense of God by Timothy Keller: A case for the existence of God. Keller’s arguments come off as fresh (compared to other popular apologetic books) and his logic is air-tight.
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi: The memoir of a neurosurgeon who died of cancer last year at the age of thirty-seven. A beautiful and wise legacy to leave behind.
- Headscarves and Hymens by Mona Eltahawy: A feminist look at the egregious human rights violations women in the Middle East face everyday. A powerful and necessary book.
- Real Sex by Lauren F. Winner: A thesis on the Christian virtue of chastity. Despite her academic cred and erudite tone, Winner’s logic has more holes than a spaghetti strainer.
- The Immune System Recovery Plan by Susan Blum, M.D.: A diet and lifestyle plan for autoimmune patients. Compelling and well-organized.
- The Hospital Always Wins by Issa Ibrahim – The memoir of man who killed his mother in a cannabis-induced psychosis and spent twenty years in a state mental hospital after successfully pleading the insanity defense. A scattered and disjointed narrative seasoned with a little too much blame and self-pity to elicit a whole lot of sympathy.
Movies + Television
- Blackhat – A thriller starring Chris Hemsworth as a genius computer hacker beefcake. It’s about as believable as it sounds. Luckily, Hemsworth and his costar, Wei Tang, are so pretty one can almost forget how awful it is.
- A Walk in the Woods – The poorly cast adaptation of Bill Bryson’s Appalachian Trail memoir of the same name. Rarely has a book been so butchered on screen.
- The Revenant – A revenge/wilderness survival epic set on the 19th century American frontier. Based on the novel by Michael Punke, this adaptation is brutal and brilliant.
- Carol – An adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel, The Price of Salt, about a married woman and a young shop girl who fall in love. A bit heavy-handed with the typical Hollywood “follow your passion no matter who gets hurt” message, but Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara shine, as they always do.
- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – An adaptation of the 2009 Austen rip-off by Seth Grahame-Smith. Surprisingly fun and not half bad.
- Macbeth – A brilliantly acted, visually stunning screen adaptation. Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard are outstanding.
- Batman vs. Superman – Surpassed my expectations, which were extremely low to begin with. My biggest complaint is the utter lack of realism (even by comic book standards) in the fight/explosion/mass destruction scenes.
[bctt tweet=”Another Brooklyn, Behold the Dreamers, + More in The Inkwell: Vol. 2, Iss. 9 | @parchmentgirl37″ via=”no”]
News from the Book World
- After author Laura Silverman tweeted an anti-Trump message, white supremacist Trump supporters took revenge by bombarding her Goodreads page with one-star reviews. Thankfully, Goodreads removed the offending reviews and the online book community rallied in support of Silverman.
- A new made-for-TV Anne of Green Gables adaptation is coming to PBS this fall. It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that it will fail to live up to the 1985 miniseries starring Megan Follows, so I will be skipping this one.
- James Patterson called off the release of his new novel, The Murder of Stephen King, apparently out of concern for King’s comfort. Apparently even Stephen King might be a little put off by that title.
- Harry Potter’s famed Privet Drive house is on the market for the equivalent of $619,000. It’s a lot nicer inside than it looks in the movie.
- Author Brian Sibley was asked to write a new addition to to the Winnie-the-Pooh canon to celebrate the bear’s 90th literary birthday. Perhaps not very realistically, a new penguin friend has been added to the cast of characters.
- The Oxford English Dictionary is honoring Roald Dahl’s centenary by adding his made-up words to the dictionary. Considering the recent addition of words like “twerk,” “WTF,” and “jeggings” to Merriam-Webster, this seems exceptionally reasonable.
- The shortlist for this year’s Man Booker Prize was announced this month. The nominees are Madeleine Thien, Paul Beatty, Otessa Moshfegh, Graeme Macrae Burnet, Deborah Levy, and David Szalay.
Best of the Bookosphere
- 8 Books That Will Make You Laugh When Politics Make You Want to Cry – Off the Shelf
- 8 Amazing Audiobooks by Black Authors – Book Riot
- 21 Fall Film Adaptations – Goodreads
- What Do We Mean When We Say Women’s Fiction? – Lit Hub
- 28 Underused Words You Really Need to Start Using – BuzzFeed
- These 10 Nonfiction Titles Are Nominated for a National Book Award – Bustle
- The Most Unusual Words in the English Dictionary – Stylist Magazine
- Top 14 Most Sexually Charged Excerpts from Erotica Books – SheKnows
- Hoax! 4 Truly (or Falsely) Great Literary Frauds – Lit Reactor
- 20 New Books You’ll Need for Your Shelf in Fall 2016 – Huffington Post
[bctt tweet=”Book News, Links, + More in The Inkwell: Volume 2, Issue 9 | @parchmentgirl” via=”no”]
Most Popular Posts of the Month
One of my favorite ways to
waste time cope with boredom is browsing the internet for bookish content and adding on to my already jam packed TBR list. Here are 10 of my favorite websites to visit when I need literary internet downtime.
Whenever I finish a book, I take out my iPod, open the Goodreads app, change its status to “read,” and rate it from one to five stars. But I have a confession: sometimes I logon to Goodreads a few days or weeks later and change my rating. I’ve even been known to adjust a rating after writing a full blown review here on my blog. I am a fickle book reviewer.
The Girls is a vaguely feminist fictionalization of the Manson murders. Our narrator is Evie, an insecure 14-year-old girl who becomes infatuated with the dark-haired 19-year-old Suzanne. Suzanne is one of the slavishly devoted paramours of Russell, an aspiring musician and charismatic leader of the cultish commune that embroils Evie in increasingly sketchy activities.
Best of the Archives
Ready for a little globetrotting? You won’t even have to leave your armchair!
Books to Watch for in October
[bctt tweet=”6 New Books to Get Excited About in October + More in The Inkwell: Vol. 2, Iss. 9 | @parchmentgirl37″ via=”no”]
What have you been reading this past month?