Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Month In The Life: September 2018

After a lazy summer, fall kicked off with a little more action! My husband's work had their annual big event up at the lake, and then the next weekend we went to Minnesota for a family wedding, and then my mom was just in town a few days ago! Lots of stuff going on, but it was a fun month...this fall actually has most of our travel for the year, so it should be busy (in a good way)!

In Books...

  • Paint It Black: I loved Janet Fitch's White Oleander when I read it years ago, so I had high hopes for her follow-up. This book tells the story of Josie Tyrell, whose boyfriend Michael commits suicide, pulling her into the destructive orbit of his beautiful, talented, and arrogant musician mother Meredith. While the writing is filled with beautiful, resonant imagery, the plot just never really took off for me, and the same thematic beats recur over and over again.
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing: This book was good, but at the same time, it was a disappointment. It's about a 13 year-old boy named Jojo, whose white father is in prison for cooking meth and is being raised (along with his toddler sister Kayla) by his black mother, Leonie, in rural Mississippi. Actually, being raised mostly by her parents, since Leonie is a drug addict. There are ghosts, and echoes of Toni Morrison's Beloved, but mostly in a way that made me think about how incredible Beloved is and this just doesn't come close. 
  • Juliet, Naked: Nick Hornby is comfort reading for me. You know there will be emotionally stunted adults, probably obsessive behavior, maybe a winning small child, and dialogue sparkling with wit and charm. This, about a woman stuck in a dead-end relationship with an devoted fan of an obscure musician who finds herself drawn into that musician's life, is not the best of his that I've read. The plot didn't always quite work for me, but it was enjoyable enough that I didn't much mind.
  • The Silence of the Girls: I've always loved Greek mythology, so this Iliad retelling from the perspective of Briseis, the captive slave girl over whom Achilles and Agamemnon quarreled, seemed right up my alley. It was interesting to look at this story from another point of view, one traditionally unheard, but while it was well-written I never got emotionally invested in the story and I found my attention wandering. 
  • The Luminaries: This Booker Prize-winner set in gold rush-era New Zealand is a long one at over 800 pages, and its slow start had me fearing a slog. But it's an intricately crafted, zodiac-inspired mystery, and though it takes a bit to get going, once it does, it keeps revealing new twists and angles. I already want to read it again to take it all in knowing how it ends up. Really wonderful. One of the best things I've read this year.
  • Ready Player One: Oof, y'all. I was hoping for a fun adventure romp, what I got was a paint-by-numbers plot so boring I could not force myself to keep reading it except in short bursts and so many 80s pop culture references that even if I was into 80s pop culture it would have been too much. I know some people loved this, but it did not work for me in the slightest. 

In Life...

  • Weekend at Lake Tahoe: My husband has an annual work event up at the lake, which is always fun for me to join him at! I got on a horse for the first time since I was about twelve, and I know Drew loves me because he went riding too. 
  • Trip to Minnesota: I have a cousin who got married in Fairbault, which is actually where one of my colleagues grew up (small world), and it had been over a year since I'd seen that side of my family, so we went to Minnesota for a long weekend. We had a good time exploring the area, the wedding was super fun, and congrats again to Matt and Jessie!
  • My mom was in town: She was heading out west for a professional conference anyways, so she made a couple other stops, including Reno! It was only for about a day and a half, but we spent some time together, got our nails done, and had a lovely dinner with my in-laws!

One Thing:

This list of the top 100 books published since the turn of the century, compiled by book critics, features some things I've read and loved (Middlesex!) and some that leave me scratching my head (Outline). Do "normal" (read: not inside the literary bubble) people read that many poetry or short story collections? But I did add a few new books to my to-be-read list and it provided some interesting food for thought.

Gratuitous Pug Picture:


  1. Sounds like you had a very nice September

  2. I thought Sing, Unburied, Sing was totally overrated too. Did not get the hype at all.

    1. I mean, it was fine! Some things worked really well...but as a whole, I was definitely underwhelmed. If you're going to evoke Beloved, you better Bring It and It was not brought.

  3. It's so nice to have trips to look forward to! I have to say, I liked the movie Ready Player One better than the book!

    1. We didn't do much this summer, so it's definitely fun to have some out-of-town time! I do think RP1 would come off better onscreen than on the page. Reading about someone playing video games is just...not that interesting, but seeing it would be more fun!