Books of the Month | September 2017

The good news is I did manage to get through  most of the library books I checked out for September (some just by the skin of my teeth!). But I have learned my lesson: don’t put too many books on hold. I got a lot of reading done this month, but several of these books were on the short side.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid – This book is touted as “one of the best of 2017”, but it really didn’t live up to the hype for me. It’s about a couple living in an unnamed, war-torn country with a desire to escape. They hear rumors of doors that act as portals to other countries and they travel around the world in this way, surviving together. It was a  good read for me, but not great. I just didn’t find it that memorable; to me books that fall in the “best of” category should stay with you a while after you put them down.

10% Happier by Dan Harris – I enjoyed this book as a guide about meditation and mindfulness and what worked for him. The book has a very “if I can do it, anyone can” message. I am interested in meditation and mindfulness as a part of overall wellness, so it may be a case of I read this at the “right” time. It’s a memoir of sorts, but it’s also about how to put mediation and mindfulness to use in our lives in a practical way.

The Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose – Another book that was just OK for me. Maybe I am too picky!  Or perhaps this genre just isn’t for me. The writing was fine, and parts of it really drew me in, but much of it was just too “DaVinci Code” for me.  It dragged a bit and was longer than it had to be in my opinion.

Books for Living by Will Schwalbe –  I came across this book in the bookstore and it looked interesting. The author also wrote The End of Your Life Bookclub, which got great reviews, but sounded too sad to me to read. I will definitely read it now. I really enjoyed  this book about books and reading. It’s not so much the books specifically he talks about (six of which I have read) that touched me so much as his thoughts on reading and how it affects our lives. The books he chose to talk about were an interesting and unexpected selection. One thing I really miss sharing with my dad is recommending books to each other. We had similar taste, but I haven’t had the opportunity to share a book with him for years. It really touched me  when the author talked about reading books that people who are no longer with us enjoyed or may have enjoyed, and keeping them with us in that way.

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong – This book is about a 30 year-old woman who comes home to live with her parents for a year to care for her ailing father who is in the early stages of dementia. This book touched me and made me remember some events from when my own father was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.  I might not be in a hurry to recommend this book necessarily, but drawing from my own life experience to relate to characters always makes me enjoy a book more than I might otherwise. I didn’t always relate to the main character, but there were certainly times when I did. The book was short at under 200 pages, and I was able to get through it quickly.

The Burning Girl by Claire Messed – I think most people who have been a teenage girl can relate to this story of friendship and growing up. Having said that, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It’s well written, but for  a short book it dragged at times.  The narrater (Julia) felt a bit flat at times. Still, there were definitely parts I could relate to.

 

This month’s favorites: 10% Happier and Books for Living.

 

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