September, you were full of mostly good reads (with one exception) and I'm so glad for that! There's something about the first fall days that just makes me want to curl up with books but also be outside with all the cool breezes and falling leaves. I love this season and I already know it's going to be such a sweet one. Enjoy my little reviews of what I read in September!
For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker. // "Folks who thrive in God's grace give grace easily, but the self-critical person becomes others-critical."
So, I've never read anything from Hatmaker before. I've seen some of her posts on FB (they're very popular) and usually I don't like them...but I kept seeing people post about this book and how much they loved it. Eventually, I decided to give it a shot. Overall, it was okay. I liked bits and pieces, and got a few good nuggets out of it...but I just don't love her writing style. The humor and snark is okay in some places, but it usually just annoys me. Since it's more of a collection of essays than anything else, there wasn't a whole lot to really keep me super engaged or interested, but it was a quick read, a light read, and good for a Saturday in a coffeeshop, so I can't really complain. Girl's got a massive following, so other people must just love her style a whole lot!
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. // "I hope you aren’t holding an ice cream cone against your chest, ’cause your heart just warmed—and your ice cream just melted."
Okay, confession time. I could NOT finish this book. I gave it a shot, I really did. I got to page 172, but I just couldn't do it. I don't know if it's that I'm used to Aziz being pure humor, and this was a weird mix of stats and facts and research with humor thrown in, or what, but I just didn't like it. I thought the topic would interest me since obviously I live in today's world and am single so the way the dating world works these days affects me...but I didn't find the research or his findings to be that interesting. Oh well. Aziz, try again with the whole book writing thing and I'll give you another shot, but maybe stick to being funny since it's what you're really good at.
Rising Strong by Brene Brown. // "Rumbling with our story and owning our truth in order to write a new, more courageous ending transforms who we are and how we engage with the world."
I'm basically the biggest fan of Brene Brown that there is. (Probably not true at all because everyone I know who has read her loves her...but anyway.) I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one, and it did not disappoint. After reading Daring Greatly, I loved how this book took her thoughts to a deeper and richer place and added more richness and research to the conversations around shame and vulnerability and courage and owning our stories. The cover says "If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. This is a book about what it takes to get back up." We all fall and we all we fail and really, we just all need to read this book and rise stronger together. I can't recommend it enough. I would buy it for everyone and their dogs if I could.
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai. // "When someone takes away your pens you realize quite how important education is."
I read this book for #COLLABOREADS, so check out my full review on that post!
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. // "The sunset you see is always better than the one you don’t. More stars are always better than less."
This was a library find, and it was featured on a table and I liked the cover, so I grabbed it. This book was TOTALLY unexpected and I LOVED it. About 50 or so pages in, I was getting ready to give up, because it was a slow start and it hadn't hooked me. I'm so glad I kept going though. There is a major reveal that was a total plot game-changer and was nothing like I've ever read before. Read this if you want to know more -- it might spoil it a bit though! This book was surprising, intriguing, a bit haunting, eye-opening, nuanced, heart-breaking, and well-written. It brought to light a subject matter I had never considered before (animals used in science/research, etc), and in a way that made it shockingly real. It confirmed all of my vegan stances and really reminded me to check EVERYTHING to make sure nothing is tested on animals at all. Highly recommend this one if you want a different type of fiction read, but be warned that it might forever alter your worldview and it also might make you cry.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. // "First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered."
THIS BOOK. Couldn't put it down. It was sort of post-apocalyptic, but then not, so riveting, so fascinating, so well-written...I loved this one. The library did me so well this month! Imagining a world like this, when twenty-first century civilization like we know it comes to a total end, was so intriguing to me. This book wasn't depressing like The Road or similar end of the world books are, but instead made me really grateful for the life and world we have, and also really struck by the human experience and what we all would do if everything changed. Grab this one! Do it. It's so good.
Any must-reads you recommend?!